Sign in to follow this  
swhowell

1920 Cole V-8 Coupe

Recommended Posts

This weekend I came across what I believe to be a very rare car. It is said to be a 1920 Cole with a V-8 engine. It has a two passenger coupe body and appears to be very complete and in good condition. Does anybody out there have any information on these cars? I found very little information on the web. Thanks Seaton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seaton,

Coles were early competitors of Cadillacs that were made in Indianapolis using a Northway (subsidiary of GM)manufactured v8 engine. Real nice cars and they don't seem to be overly pricey. Sometime in late 2006 or 2007 I believe the Horseless Carriage Gazette ran a nice article on them. I suggest you go to their website and look at them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a very good article on a 1919 Cole restoration in the July 2007 Hemmings Classic Car magazine, this is issue #34.

They say there are 70 Coles known out of some 40,000 built. They used a Northway engine. Northway also built Cadillac engines but there are significant differences. The Cole has removable cylinder heads, the Caddy doesn't. And, the Cole engine is larger and more powerful. 350 cu in/80HP vs. 315cu in/70HP.

It is a very rare, interesting early luxury car. Now unknown, but at one time a worthy competitor to Cadillac and Packard.

They estimate the value of a Cole to be from $4000 to $30,000.

I knew I had the article around here someplace. It just took me a while to find it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My reference shows the 1920 Cole Aero 8 was a 127" wheel base car with 80 HP and 9 body styles. The only coup listed is a Sportcoupe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First two series of Cadillac V8, 51 of 1915 and 53 of 1916 were fixed head engines. The detacheable head blocks after that until 1924 were apparently interchangeable on the earlier engines. In 1972 I saw a 1917 number engine in Queensland with one block of each type on it. (obviously not original.)

Ivan Saxton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the distinctive features of Cole cars of the 1920's were the unusual model names, such as:

  • Tourosine
  • Sportosine
  • Sportsedan
  • Brouette
  • Tuxedo Roadster
  • Aero-Volante

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cole was a fine car... the Cadillac of assembled automobiles, as it were. There is one on display in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, if I'm not mistaken. Indianapolis-built, as mentioned earlier. Would love to see photos of the 1920 Coupe, sounds intriguing. Early closed cars invariably are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 1949-50,,,on Rt 2A in Acton Mass was a 1919 [or abouts] was a 7pass Cole gigantic Sedan

I cant recall if it had a division,,All original needing paint badly,,The owner Glenn Gould was asking I think $300,,[Glenn later AACA senior judge],,,I wonder all these years if it survived??

A car like that wasnt worth much,,esp if it needed something,,

Was called BOUC,,,,big old used car,,A Murphy 1931 Lincoln,was looking for a home at $400,,

next town over,,,yes it was a disapearing top style,,

I bought a 29Packard w/4wheel brakes,,,,Cheers,,Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, I find this thread very interesting >>>>>>>Didn't a company by the name of Hall-Scott make a V-8 engine in the US first? Do believe it tied into airplanes also. >>>>>> Didn't the first >> cadilac >> V-8 engine come from a firm in the UK which dis-mantled and studied a Dedion V-8 engine in Europe.>>>> Then came back to the US and designed and built cadilacs V-8 engine ???? >>>> truly need to know who was first for histotical research.>> I am gathering from the posts here>>> that Cole had a V-8 in 1919>> is that correct ?? >>>> Didn't the cadilac engine have articulating rods which one hinged off of the other ??? Please help me here>>>> as I truly need to get this historically correct. >>> thanks, >> John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please lose the arrows. It is distracting, to the max, and makes the post ponderous to read and decipher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Please lose the arrows. It is distracting, to the max, and makes the post ponderous to read and decipher.

58 mustang, for some reason while posting, the site will not let me go/drop to the next line, sorry that it bothered you, just trying to do some significant historical work, John Even while writing this quote, it will not let me drop a line ???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In regard to Cadillacs, you need to spend a small sum on a good secondhand copy of Maurice Hendry's comprehensive book , Cadillac: Standard of the World. This is not very expensive on the internet. Their conrods through 1927 were " fork and blade", with the bronze bearing locked in the forked rod. Lincoln used fork and blade through their L series V8 into early 1930s, and may have retained that in some early V12s. I have never seen any reference to Cadillac engines being made outside by Northway. Engieering and manufacturing standards were different. You need to read that book. Articulated conrods were used in radial engines, and in the triple bank Napier Lion. Rolls Merlin of WW2 had fork and blade. Hall Scott made engine for one maker in California, and though Harrahs had a survivor, they were probably too big a monster for wide appeal. Hewitt produced a V8 in NY in 1907 approx.; and Rolls Royce made a sedate town car with an underfloor wide angle V8 just earlier, which found little favour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cadillac V8 was not a copy or derivation of anything. That legend arose in part from a poorly grounded story in Car Life magazine back in the 1960s, and which has unfortunately grown some legs.

The documented truth: As part of its research on V8 engines, the company surveyed the state of the art, a common practice then as now. Cadillac purchased a De Dion V8 at the New York Auto Show and also contracted with Hall-Scott for a V8 engine, which was installed in a Cadillac chassis for testing by Kettering's experimental group. In the development of Cadillac's own V8 engine, these served mainly as examples of what not to do. Except for being V8s, these engines share no significant features. If one can read a drawing, one needn't take my word for any of this. Just compare the engines and one will see they have nothing in common. The chief designer and architect of the Cadillac V8 was D. McCall White.

The V8 engine itself is not an invention, as it is not novel nor unique. It's simply one type of cylinder configuration. There were dozens of V8 engines before DeDion, Hall-Scott, or Cadillac, including Levavasseur, Clement Ader, Renault, Darracq, Rolls-Royce, Harroun, Marmon, Curtiss, et al.

I will join Ivan Saxton in recommending Maurice Hendry's Cadillac: Standard of the World, which includes some historical background on V8 engines pre-Cadillac.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ivan & Magoo, Thank you both for replying ! In doing archival research, as you wrote Magoo, sometimes you research and read things which are unfounded and incorrect, as you stated the article from Car Life in the 1960's did. One has to learn and post questions to learn, from experienced and knowledged individuals, which have read all about a certain subject. Both of You gave me good direction. Some background, as you stated in your post, located in the Cadilac book, may not be enough for me to get the timelines correct. I will research each V-8 engine manufacturer you noted above, which hopefully the articles may bring forth other V-8's built in timeline ! I am supplying my phone number, which I do not normally do, and if you would care to call and spend some further educating me, I would appreciate it. Warm regards, John 217-734-9400

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And, the Cole engine is larger and more powerful. 350 cu in/80HP vs. 315cu in/70HP.

I found a reference in an Australian newspaper to a Cole Aero-Eight setting a new speed record for the trip between Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA in July 1920. The 852 mile distance was covered in 31 hours and 30 minutes, breaking the previous record by over 7 hours. The only mechanical work that the car required was the changing of a spark plug. This record shows that the Cole had some excellent performance and speed.

Coles were imported into Australia at the same time. They were advertised as the "Rolls-Royce of America". Sales must have been very small though.

One final comment about the Cole. Company founder Joseph Cole could see that the writing was on the wall for low-volume companies such as his, so he voluntary ceased production in 1925 and liquidated his assets, rather than let the company go bankrupt and insolvent, which would have lead to large personal losses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The man behind the early Cadillac and the first Cadillac V8 was Henry M Leland, "The master of precision™ He gave Cadillac the reputation of Standard Of The World. Henry Leland and his son Wilford went on to found the Lincoln Motor Company. It's no wonder that the first Lincolns had a fork and blade rod design similar to Cadillac. The man was an industrial and mechanical genius, founding two great car companies that survive to this day. Anyone interested in American auto history should study this man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being an Indianapolis guy, proud to say some of the finest cars of the past were produced here in Indy, and around the state.

My uncle S.Ray Miller had a great collection and museum in Elkhart, In, and was in the process of filling his museum with ONLY cars made in Indiana when he passed.

RM Auction held the sale, October 14th. - 17th. 2004. He was my mother's brother.

I wish you well with the Cole,

Dale in Indy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harris Speedster asked about conrods articlulating one off the other. The Hollier V8 from the mid teens had this feature. I have seen inside the remains of an engine. The car was built by Lewis Spring and Axle in Michigan but I don't know who designed or built the engine. There was a restored example in Ireland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom Martinez, This is the basics of what I had read, and thought was true. There seems to be opinion in this topic which differs. It is very hard to get all facts, when different writers of history books, write contradicting historical stories. One can only sort through all and compile what is known. The guys that have posted within this topic, all have posted new avenues of study for me, thank you guys !! I will sort through all.


nzcarnerd, Thanks for the input on the V-8 built in the teens, I will explore the Hollier engine, and place it in the chronological order for histories sake. Smithbrother, Being you are an Indy guy, the builder of the Speedster I have researched for 25 years, hosted the very first SCCA racing events in Indianapolis. He hosted the events at the Studebaker proving grounds in conjunction with Mr Harold Vance, believe he was the President and owner of Studebaker? We have some neat pictures of Harold and Ben documenting these events. Ben also hosted the Government military base SCCA races in Indiana. To further this, if you jump up to Wisconsin, Ben was a stock holder, participated in design, and is the man, on Road America's history page, throwing the finish line flag with Johnson and Hill going by almost side by side at 130mph. He had a good friend, Harley Earl, bring some concept cars to this Innagurial race. This special man worked with Wacky Arnolt & Jim Kimberly to build the SCCA in infant years to the National SCCA as we know it today, all hung together and Wikipedia acknowledges and states that in infant years, it was the Chicago region which was responsible. We are working on gaining a copy of an early film, with Kimberly, Ben and David Biggs driving around the Road America track before it was paved, shaking her down !! There is much more to the racing side of this man & Kimberly like being in the first edition of Sports Illustrated for their very first racing story, Ben at the Glen, in Cuba, Bahama's, California golden gate races, Ohio, Michigan and sooooo many more, right down to them being Pres and V president of the SCCA, him and Kimberly being given special wallet sized metal cards for lifetime admittance to any SCCA event, the only ones we are aware of !! The only reason I have added the above, is to let everyone know that I am serious in getting time lined chronological order of V-8 engines. Bens Special exotic supercar, the size of an AC Cobra, had a twin cam, twin ignition, dual carb V-8 which weighed in at 160 lbs and perhaps was the first V-8 of this nature? In historical research and work, I want to set the record straight on std V-8 engines through the years which build up to the engine which powered Ben's special creation in time. I hope everybody sunderstands why it is so important to me, and why I am picking everybody's brain on V-8 engine History ! Thank you guys, BTW, we did not build this very special automobile with 15 firsts, we only report what we have found documents and pictures of, we are only the caretakers of this man and machine, which one day will no longer be obscure in Automobile racing books and design History. One of the History Channel shows will air a few minutes of the Speedster in the future, as they were here for 7 hours filming. About 1/5th of what we have has been made public. Again, thank you guys for your continued posts in assisting and setting history straight !!!!!!!!!!!!! Warm Regards, John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not re-checked my books yet because I have other important priorities right now. For twin cam V8s you need to check Griffith Borgeson's book The Classic Twin Cam Engine, and Mark Dees' The Miller Dynasty for the V8 in the four wheel drive racing cars of the 1930s, and the V8 Novis. Apart from the postwar Spanish Pegaso of Wilfredo Rickart , V8 twincams abound in F1 GP racing, including the past F1 champion Repco Brabham engine which used an American cast aluminium stock block. Maserati made them, Coventy Climax, and they have been built until what is current or recent past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ivan, Thanks for the reply. The engine was built between 1931-1932, by a gentleman named Harold Swindler in Ohio. This is a street exotic car, not a race car. The Harris Speedster logged on over 10,000 miles on the street. If I were to say that it was a track race car or a land speed racer, which it was not either, then I would never make the statement I said above. That is what research is all about, as you and most others herein realize. Even though we have some very rare projector film of the Speedster on an old boardwalk race track, it is not a race car, but it is neat that Ben's special creation can be entered into 2 different classes at Invitational showings, at least that is what A senior class judge from Pebble told me. So my historical work and statements are based entirely on other street driven automobiles built by manufactures in the era and from around the world. Ben was highly involved in AAA racing as an official and as a racer before he and his friends seen that it was doomed and began their work on Nationalizing the SCCA. Another one of his good friends was Wilbur Shaw. Smithbrother, did your Uncle Ray have an early race Maserati, or a prewar blown Bugatti ordered new by Malcomb Campbell in his collection, if so, we have projector film of those race cars and about 75 more. In closing, it is street cars that we are researching and desire knowledge and historical fact on Warm regards, John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Early V-8

H,H,Buffum in Abbington Ma Model H I think,,1905 was a not too large v-8,,

small production,,He concentrated on improvement and change,,

He also made a flat 4 in line,,ca, 1895,,,A opposed flat 4 in 1901 [prod' batch of 18]

A flat opposed 8cyl for racing,,called the Grayhound,,1904,planed to enter the Gordon Bennett,,

And in 1907 a v-12,,,small boat engine probably at Laconia New Hampshire

He favored the foundry at Laconia,for some time,,

One of the Buffum family has done extinsive research on the cars,,,info at Dyer Memorial Library in Abbington Ma,,Think he spent a couple of months on that,,He ran a machine shop

making shoe sewing machines,,and invented the nail gun,,MANY multi ++ page patents,,

French Durracq [sp? ],,1905and 06 at Daytona,,1500 cid push rod intakes

Part of the car has been found,,there are 2-3 or more vids on U/tube,,yes inches not cc

Victor Hemry and Fred Mariott became competing friends,,in 06

The Northway engine was said to have been built in a brick building in Natick Mass,,

Building still standing now National Guard armory,,,Not sure of years,,

Watch for any possible connection between Northway and Pierless V-8 engines

Watch for any crossover from air-ship engines,,,some of those are amazing,,

All this from memory,,so check details,,,but its a clue to the past,,Cheers,,Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cben09, Thank you for what appears to be the earliest of all V-8 engines ever built. Timeline is very important, and as Magoo pointed out in this topic, even car and Driver wrote incorrectly. I will research H.H. Buffman and the engines he built. History as written usually comes from one point of view, and often is wrong, OR, should I say, until the Fat Lady Sings, it is never over. Perhaps with what is being gathered here, the history and timelines of those individuals, or car companies, which did build V-8 engines, can finally be set straight in History books forever. Who would have actually thought, that one of the most common engines in the world, had no origins until now at AACA ?? Hopefully with what is being gathered here, I can correct my own writing, and then continue on to who built the first twin cam, twin ignition, dual carb V-8 for a street manufactured automobile ! Warm regards , John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this