1910 Stoddard-Dayton Model K

The Stoddard-Dayton Company produced automobiles from 1905 through 1913. The Dayton Ohio based company was formed by John W. and Charles G. Stoddard. John had made his fortune in the agricultural business, but by 1904 he decided to move into the ever-evolving automobile manufacturing business. Charles was sent to Europe to learn their techniques, designs, and production methods. He returned to America convinced that the gasoline combustion engine was the choice of the future and that the steam and electric vehicles were on the verge of becoming obsolete.

The early Stoddard-Dayton cars were outfitted with Rutenber engines. The Rutenber Motor Company was based in Chicago, Illinois, and produced four-cylinder engines that had been designed by Edwin Rutenber. His first engine was a single-cylinder version introduced around 1892. A four-cylinder version was created by 1898.

In 1902 the Rutenber Company was relocated to Logansport. The Auburn Company also outfitted their cars with Rutenber engines until 1923.

By 1907 the Stoddard-Dayton vehicles were being powered by modern six-cylinder engines. This amplified the companies' position of creating quality cars with powerful engines. The entry-level vehicles were given 15 to 18 coats of paint, while the limousine models featured nearly 30 coats of paint. Each coat of paint was meticulously hand sanded. After the painting process and the car were complete, the cars were driven 150 to 400 miles to verify quality. After this, the engines were disassembled and they were re-cleaned and inspected. Then it was reassembled, and another road test ensued.

The cars were not only top-quality machines; they were also very potent on the race track. The company proudly advertised its many successful sprint races, hill climbs, dirt track races, and other sporting accomplishments. In 1909 a Stoddard-Dayton won the first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after averaging 57.31 mph. In 1911 the first pace car ever for the Indianapolis 500 was a Stoddard-Dayton.

To offer a wider assortment of vehicles, the Courier Car Company was formed in 1909 by Stoddard-Dayton. Their lines of vehicles were smaller and lower-priced versions of their Stoddard-Dayton siblings.

During the early 1910s, the Stoddard-Dayton merged with the United States Motor Company. In 1908 the International Motor Company was formed and later renamed the United States Motor Company in 1910. The company's existence was due to Benjamin Briscoe. The company represented multiple manufacturers, a total of 11 in 1910, including Maxwell, Courier Car Company, Columbia, Stoddard-Dayton, Alden Sampson Trucks, Gray Marine, Brush Motor Car Company, and others. Their goal was to help provide and find financial support for small and struggling independent automotive manufacturing companies.

By 1912 the United States Motor Company had entered into receivership, and by 1913 they were bankrupt. This was also the demise of the Stoddard-Dayton manufacturing company. The Stoddard-Dayton had failed to compete with the low-priced, high-quality, mass-produced manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.

The Maxwell Company purchased the assets of the bankrupt Stoddard-Dayton Company and continued to offer the Stoddard-Dayton models 30, 38, and 48 in 1913. Maxwell was later reorganized and became part of the Chrysler Corporation.

by Daniel Vaughan | May 2019

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