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George Albright

WNTD: 1931-33 Canadian Frontenac De Vaux cars,engine.Leads?

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Dear Friends I am looking for one of the 1931-33 SOHC engines ,built by Van Ranst and Louis Chevrolet for the Canadian built Frontenac Six Automobiles,built by Dominion Motors of Toronto,successor to Durant of Canada. I would consider a complete car also. The same basic car was built in Michigan and Oakland California as the 1931-33 De Vaux car,with a flathead six engine designed by Col. Hall but actually built by Continental Motors. They used many left over parts from the Durant Automobile. Attached is a photo of Van Raust and Chevrolet with the motor I am looking for. This is from the Borgeson book written in the 1960s. Leads appreciated.Please pass this on to the DeVaux Registry and other De Vaux car owners. I will be at Hershey. Thanks,George Albright,Ocala,Fla. email; gnalbright@gmail.com cell 352 843 1624

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

The car currently on Ebay is the De Vaux USA model with the Col. Hall designed flathead 6 built by Continental. I am looking for the SOHC six put in the Canadian built Frontenac models. Again I might be mistaken,and the engine pictured might only be a prototype,and the Fronentac might have ALSO used the flathead 6 Continental used in the De Vaux cars in the USA. We need a Frontenac owner to step forward and enlighten us! Thanks,George<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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There was a restored Frontenac car at the Portland Swap meet 2 years ago and I do not think it had an overhead cam. I may have taken some pictures of it. We are pretty heavy into the VCCA so had an idea of the cars importance. There is a fellow here in Vancouver that has a DeVaux but I think it has the Continental engine as well.

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I am not sure where you are getting the idea Chevrolet built an OHC engine for the Canadian Frontenac company. The article does not mention any such connection. And the Canadian firm would not have had enough cash to develop, and build, such an engine. There was a reason the Canadian Frontenac firm used US-built Continental flathead engines in all their cars - no money to build their own engines and not enough sales to make it feasible.

The brothers Chevrolet (Louis, Arthur and Gaston) in 1916 formed the Frontenac Motor Corporation to build racing equipment, making most of their money from building and selling hop-up equipment for Ford Model T engines (Fronty-Ford) and racing cars. As the Chevrolet brothers were building engine parts, and not production cars, they held no rights, even in the U.S., to prevent another manufacturer from building cars under the Frontenac name.

The engine shown in the article most definitely is not from the 1930's. It is far too tall and the crankcase too large. Judging by the engine, and the age of Chevrolet himself in the photo, that engine probably dates back to the teens and was meant for racing. Note the mention of Stutz in the photo's caption. And the article mentions Chevrolet supposedly had a job in a Chevrolet factory in the 1930's, the period the Canadian Frontenac was built.

I have a copy of "Canadian Automotive Information Handbook", 1939 edition. It mentions the manufacturer of the engines in Frontenac models -

1931 - E 6-18 : Continental 22A

1932 - 6-70 : Continental 22A

1932 - 6-85 : Continental 32A

1933 - C-400 (4 cyl) : Continental

1933 - C-600 (6 cyl) : Continental

1933 - Ace 6 (imported) : Continental

All of the Frontenac cars built in Leaside, Ontario, were based on Durant, DeVaux or Continental mechanicals. Bodies were built by Canada Top & Body.

So I do not believe you will come across any OHC Frontenac engine, or any OHC engine built by Chevrolet for Frontenac in Canada.

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Bill I don't know where you got your info but Durant, De Vaux, Frontenac and Continentals used Hayes body's in Leaside and US. The Canadian 633 Durant, using the 680 De Vaux body (as does the 685 Frontenac), has the Hayes number tag on the outside firewall. The C-400 / C-600 Frontenac has a Hayes medallion.

To complete your list

1933 C-400 (4 cyl) used C-400 Continental engine.

1933 C-600 (6cyl) used C-600 Continental engine

Ace (6 cyl) was imported and Frontenac name put on it and used 41A Continental engine.

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I have a white(60s repaint)1933 c-600 that was bought new by my grandfather in 33. The head has c-600 stamped on it, but from all the pictures I can see it is the same design and fuction as the 32-a in american models. It was mated to a 3 speed floor shifter. It was commonly known as the "red seal motor". The red seal was also used in many trucks and tractors and farm equipment as well. (Replaced the distributor with one off a combine in Arborg,mb)

 

Chevrolet was part of the design of the inline 6 with Durant(I believe) but it's in no way a Chevy engine. Durant then sold the whole design to de vaux, then continental got it. Durant even went on to be CEO of GM... 

 

If you're still looking for a complete c-600 I'm open to offers. (I'm aware its 8 years later)

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2010 at 12:32 PM, George Albright said:

Dear Friends I am looking for one of the 1931-33 SOHC engines ,built by Van Ranst and Louis Chevrolet for the Canadian built Frontenac Six Automobiles,built by Dominion Motors of Toronto,successor to Durant of Canada. I would consider a complete car also. The same basic car was built in Michigan and Oakland California as the 1931-33 De Vaux car,with a flathead six engine designed by Col. Hall but actually built by Continental Motors. They used many left over parts from the Durant Automobile. Attached is a photo of Van Raust and Chevrolet with the motor I am looking for. This is from the Borgeson book written in the 1960s. Leads appreciated.Please pass this on to the DeVaux Registry and other De Vaux car owners. I will be at Hershey. Thanks,George Albright,Ocala,Fla. email; gnalbright@gmail.com cell 352 843 1624

 

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The picture of Van Ranst & Chevrolet was taken in the fall of 1921.  The engine was a prototype to be used in Louis Chevrolet's forthcoming Frontenac touring car.  The engine was shown at the 1922 New York Automobile Show, and there are photos of it in the lobby of the Commodore Hotel (now Grand Hyatt) in NYC.  Articles about the engine were published in Motor Age, and Automotive Industries.  

 

Louis finished the prototype touring car in mid-1922, and it featured coachwork very similar to an HCS Stutz.  Unfortunately for Mr. Chevrolet disaster struck in the summer of 1922, when the principal investor in the project (Allan A, Ryan) was caught in a huge Wall Street scandal.  Stock in the Frontenac Company was suspended, and investors were spooked away.  The project never got past the prototype phase.  The Frontenac Motor Company declared bankruptcy in the spring of 1923.

 

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A new Frontenac Motor Company was form by a group of Chicago businessmen in the summer of 1923, and it was incorporated in the state of Delaware.  Louis Chevrolet was a participant in this venture, and built a 2nd prototype car in 1924.  That car featured the Argyll single sleeve valve straight 8 engine.  Coachwork was also similar to an HCS Stutz.  The new Frontenac Company was never able to sufficiently raise capital, and the car never went into production.

 

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For more information on the Frontenac touring cars check out the website in my signature.

 

Billy

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