1913 Regal Underslung Model N
Typical American roads in the early 20th century were unpaved muddy tracks, so cars were built high for good ground clearance. Sleek looks and high speed stability were lower priorities. But two makes, the American and the Regal, bucked that trend with 'underslung' chassis running below the axles, not above them. The benefit was exceptionally secure handling and dramatic good looks. Not only are the Regal's proportions - low body, wide track, driver set well back - startlingly modern and handsome, but the position of the headlights and smooth look of the tapered cowl reveal the designer's sensitivity. And its performance matches its good looks with a 199 cubic-inch engine that would propel the car at a mile a minute. In period, Regals were raced and used as police cars as they could catch anything else on the road.
This car's owners evidently appreciated its special virtues from the beginning because it has been amazingly well preserved with its original leather and top and much of its paint.
The Regal Automobile Company of Detroit, Michigan produced automobiles from 1907 through 1918. The company was formed by the Charles R., J.E., and Bert Lambert along with Fred W. Haines. Paul Arthur was hired to design their car. Their vehicles were a medium priced car which received good publicity when their Regal 'Plugger' successfully traveled from New York to San Francisco in the summer of 1909. It would cross the country five more times before returning to Detroit in the summer of 1910.
Power was from the company's four-cylinder engine. In 1915 a V8 was introduced along with a lighter four-cylinder option, both of which were designed by S.G. Jenks and supplied by the Port Huron Construction Company.
In 1918, the company entered receivership. Part of their downfall was the shortage of materials due to World War I. The company and its assets were purchased in the summer of 1918 by Maurice Rothschild. The factory remained open, making spare parts servicing vehicles, for a period of time.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2014
The Regal Automobile Company also exported vehicles to Britain as the Seabrook-RMC.
Sold for $110,000 at 2015 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Arizona.
Many early automobile manufacturers mounted the frame on top of the axles; the underslung chassis, however, had the frame suspended from the axles. This underslung setup design is credited to Fred Tone, the chief engineer of the American Motor Car Company of Indianapolis. Though the company never badged their vehicles as the 'American Underslung', this is how they many of their vehicles are commonly referred to in modern times. Several other companies, included the rear of most Morgan sports cars, employed this underslung suspension design. With the underslung setup, the car's center of gravity was able to be lowered, while it also preserved ground clearance, as long as larger wheels were fitted.
With the lowered center of gravity and improved handling, many consider the American Underslungs to be the first American sports car. Certainly, the American Motor Company was the most prominent maker of underslung cars in the United States. The Regal Motor Car Company, of Detroit, Michigan, was the second most-prominent US underslung maker. The company began as a partnership between brothers Bert and Charles Lambert and Fred Haines. Their early cars, produced in 1908, were conventionally constructed and priced in the mid-price market. Their first underslung models were introduced late in 1910, in the smaller 20-horsepower line. This model was called the Model N, and were initially produced as runabouts. Tourers and coupes were added in later years. The company called their coupe the 'Colonial Coupe.'
This Model N Regal Underslung Roadster was acquired by the Edison Institute of Dearborn, Michigan, in 1930 from a Mr. J. Crook, of Detroit, Michigan. (The Edison Institute of Dearborn is currently known as The Henry Ford.) The car resided in the museum until 1979, at which time it was put into storage. In the early 1980s, it was de-accessioned and sold to a Texas collector, who retained the car for nearly 3 decades. Ownership then passed to Robert Pass before being purchased by its current caretaker.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2015
This Model N is perhaps the most original example in existence. It has recently been re-commissioned. It features new seat upholstery in black buttoned leather. The brass Stewart speedometer is unusual for having a gradometer in addition to the requisite speed and distance measurements. The engine is a 198.8 cubic-inch L-head four-cylinder unit offering 25 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission, two-wheel mechanical brakes, and a wheelbase that measures 108 inches.
Sold for $88,000 at 2016 Bonhams : Quail Lodge.
The Regal Car Company was founded in Detroit in 1907. Paul Arthur was hired to design the car, and the Fisher coachworks of Detroit provided the coachwork. Their vehicle was a medium-priced, medium-sized, conventional vehicle that enjoyed considerable success.
In 1910, the company introduced the Underslung model which sold for $900 for a runabout, and $1,250 for a colonial coupe. Since the bodies were interchangeable, the car with both bodies could be purchased for $1,400.
The first full year of production was in 1908, which saw 425 vehicles sold. Their peak was in 1915, when they had 8,227 sales. Between 1911 and 1918, Regals were imported into the United Kingdom by Seabrook, of Great Eastern Street, London EC2 and sold as 'Seabrook RMC's.
A shortage of materials, due to World War I, contributed to halved production in 1917 and by February of 1918, the company was out of business.
This particular example is an Underslung Model N Roadster. It was discovered by Edward 'Bud' Catlett in 1938. After a half-century of ownership, Mr. Catlett finally parted with his Regal in 1999, when it passed to the current owner. A few years later, the car was given a sympathetic restoration.
This Roadster is powered by a 200 cubic-inch, Side-Valve, 4-cylinder engine fitted with a single carburetor and offering 25 horsepower. It is backed by a three-speed manual transmission, and there are two-wheel mechanical brakes.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016