The Lexington was an automobile manufactured in Connersville, Indiana from 1910 to 1927. The Lexington Motor Company was founded in 1909 in Lexington, Kentucky, by Knisey Stone, a Kentucky race horse promoter. In 1910, a group of Connersville businessmen noted that the community had too much tied up in the buggy and carriage industry which was being displaced by the growing use of the automobile. The group enticed the infant Lexington Motor Car Company to relocate to their city.
1921 & 1922 Lexington's were offered in two series: Series S a 47 horsepower six-cylinder on a 122-inch wheelbase, and the Series T a 60-horsepower six-cylinder on a 128-inch wheelbase, body styles including 5 and 7 Passenger Touring, Sedan, Coupe, Sedannette, and 7 Passenger Salon Sedan.
In 1909, Knisey Stone founded the Lexington Motor Company in Lexington, Kentucky and in less than a years time, had outgrown its facilities and moved to the McFarlan Industrial Park. During the first year of production, the Company produced over 120 vehicles; the following year production had risen to 625 and by 1912, had reached over 1000. The cars were mostly hand built, utilizing components from many different suppliers. As the years changed, so did the suppliers.
The Lexington cars were simple, yet packed full of technology and innovation. The company's chief engineer, John C. Moore, was the man responsible for many of these ingenious ideas. In 1911 he introduced a multiple exhaust system that gave the engine more power while reducing fuel consumption. Each cylinder was given their own exhaust allowing the engine to breath more freely.
1912 was an impressive year for the company, both in sales and accomplishments. To promote their vehicles to a wide audience, examples were entered in the Indianapolis 500 and the Glidden Tour. The car entered in the Indy 500 was driven by Harry Knight and was powered by a 422 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. The car had qualified 9th in the starting grid, but withdrew from the race prematurely due to engine problems. The team finished in 23rd place, out of the 24 entrants.
1913 was a difficult year for the company, as financial difficulties forced them to sell to E.W. Anstead. Upon the acquisition, the company was tasked with building the six-cylinder Howard engine for a Chicago distributor, which lead to the company being renamed to Lexington-Howard. The name change was only temporary, and by 1915 the company was again known as the Lexington Motor Company. During this time, the company used the new Anstead engines with the four-cylinder units being set aside in favor of a light six and a supreme six.
During the 1915 model year, the company produced an impressive 2,814 examples, which lead to the company expanding its facilities to better accommodate the increase in production. Four years later, further expansion was realized by the company, this time with a new 106,050 square-foot building.
In 1920, two Lexington vehicles were entered in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The cars were powered by Ansted engines and were able to achieve a first and second place finish. This had been the vehicles first attempt at this grueling event and had emerged victorious. A few years later, Otto Loesche was able to repeat this accomplishment, and was awarded the Penrose Trophy, which is now on display at the Reynolds Museum.
In 1920, the Lexington Motor Company merged with the Anstead Engineering Company and the Connersville Foundry Corporation, creating the United States Automotive Corporation. Sales of the Lexington models soared to over 6000 units, the high point in the company's career. This would be their greatest sales year; the following year sales were still strong, but had fallen to 4,236 units.
Part of the company's decline in production figures was the post World War I recession which forced many automotive companies to close their doors permanently. By 1923, the Ansted Engine Company and the Lexington Motor Company had entered receivership. In 1926, E.L. Cord and the Auburn Automobile Company purchased the Ansted Engine Company, and shortly thereafter, the Lexington Motor Company. Production of the Lexington Cars continued for only a short time after the acquisition, and soon was relegated to the history books. By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2007