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I've been interested in Elcar automobiles for 40 years. My family had one for over 60 years. There may not be enough enthusiasts to have an Elcar Forum...but since many have CCCA Classic status[Models 8-80, 8-81, 8-90, 8-91, 8-92, 120, 130, and 140]...I'll put in a word for the company. The company began as a coachbuilder, literally, with 44 years of buggies, carriages and harness starting in 1873(Elkhart, IN); then built about a thousand Pratt and Pratt-Elkhart automobiles from 1909-1915; and about 18,000 Elcar automobiles from 1916-1931. In-line-eight models introduced in 1924.

 

 oo1928_elcar_8.jpg Elcar photo from coachbuilt.com

 

Elcar Model 8-78 and 8-82 standard sedan: 1928 

1928 Elcar illustration from Philadelphia Free library.

 

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Here's one for sale on ebay until 12/10/16. It's a Mod. 8-78.

 

 1928 Elcar Sedan 8 cylinder

123" w.b., $1,395 new at Elkhart, IN factory, odometer shows 18,761 mi.

Car in barn last 45 years - located S. of Fort Wayne, IN

62 HP Lycoming mod. GT straight-8

Engine Ser.#: 15789

Car Ser.#: A7K88

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18 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Saw a fellow listed an Elcar on ebay today - under Misc cars

Thanks, John. You're quick. I was typing this in when you posted. I'd buy it sight unseen if it weren't for Ferengi Rules of Acquisition violations 1, 2, & 3: I don't have enough credits, can't pay the transporter, don't have a storage bay for it. 

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Jeff,  I was just thinking about Elcar the other day and its connection to Mercer in 1931.   When did production actually wind down?  I have noticed that the period magazines seem to show cars in production 1-2 years after conventional wisdom said they were shut down.

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Image result for 1930 Elcar biler .dk

 

1930 Elcar in Jysk Automuseum, Gjern, Denmark. Photo from Flickr by perryolf taken 9/1/2007. 1930 Elcars may not register to too many viewers....but remember, one of their models was the fourth most powerful American motorcar that year.   

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On 12/5/2016 at 1:41 PM, alsancle said:

Jeff,  I was just thinking about Elcar the other day and its connection to Mercer in 1931.   When did production actually wind down?  I have noticed that the period magazines seem to show cars in production 1-2 years after conventional wisdom said they were shut down.

The connection:

1931 Mercer.jpg

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56 minutes ago, jeff_a said:

Image result for 1930 Elcar biler .dk

 

1930 Elcar in Gjern Automuseum. Photo from Flickr by perryolf taken 9/1/2007. 1930 Elcars may not register to too many viewers....but remember, one of their models was the fourth most powerful American motorcar that year.   

 

1. Duesenberg 270 hp.

2. Caddy V16 170 hp.

3. Pierce Arrow 125 hp?

4.  Elcar ?

 

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My source is Karl Zahm, Special Interest Autos, Jan/Feb, 1977, pg 58, in his piece "Continental Motors: America's Auto Engine Specialist, Part II". He said: "The fourth most powerful American car in 1930 was the Elcar 140, equipped with a 140-hp, Model 12K Red Seal eight-cylinder engine." 

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   Mr. Zahm doesn't lay out what the others were. The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 listing for Elcar says the hp increased "...culminating in a top-of-the-line 140 hp eight that was among the most puissant engines in America of the period, outpowered only by the Duesenberg and Cadillac V-16." The pennant for most horsepower shifted a lot back then. In 1929, Peerless had the Continental 12K in their Model 8-125, out-horsepowering all eight of the General Motors nameplates and the Model L Lincoln, but not Cord, Stearns-Knight, Stutz, or Duesenberg. In 1930, Auburn, Cadillac, Franklin, and Packard didn't have V-12s, and the Marmon V-16 was still on the way.

 

   West, thanks for the picture of the 1931 Mercer. I read that Wm. S. Locke owned it at one time.

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44 minutes ago, edinmass said:

The 385 CID Pierce in 1930 was 135 hp.

Picking a nit, the 1930 Pierce Model A, 385 cid, was advertised at 132 hp.  (It's a very rare delight to be able to catch Ed on some nitnoy detail!)  :-)

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George, if I tuned it I bet I would have gotten another five to ten out of it!

 

Ill probably get hammered for this, buy I bet the Contentinal didn't make more than 115. Manufactures claims and assembled cars often blurred the lines on horse power. What wad the CID of the Elcar? To make 140 it needed to be BIG.

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Both the Elcar 130 (1930 and 1931) and 140 (1930) were advertised at 140 hp. The 12K in the Peerless 8-125 for 1929 was listed at 114 hp. Ivan Saxton has written previously about the 322 Cu. In. Continental (which would include the 12K, 13K, and 14K) using Ricardo combustion chambers to get more power. Maybe that plays a part.

 

The big sedan in Post #9 is a Model 140.

 

With 23 posts in two days, maybe the Elcar guys ought to start a forum. I don't think any of us in this discussion actually have one. AACA Forums Member "v.milke" from Mexico does. There must be more than one.

 

 

 

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At 322 I think 140 is a big over reach, wasn't the over head Stutz about 322 CID and wasn't claiming 140. I have worked on a K 12 and I am quite sure it isn't 140. The Peerless guys quote 115 hp for the K 12 and the two I have driven feel more like 80.  I guess the best way to describe any car from the era is adiquate or under powered, as to the very few that has excess or above average performance. In a thirties car it takes between 150 and 200 hp to notice any difference. Ed

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The 322 CI SOHC Stutz of 1929-1933 was advertised at 113 hp.   I think it was a little more that that though.    What octane was the gasoline in 1930?  70?  Putting 89 octane gas in one would increase the hp today wouldn't it?   I know guys who rebuild Stutz engines now who up the compression ratio to 7:1 and get a lot more hp out of them, and that's with stock carburation.  That probably includes boring it .0030 over too.            

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I will let Victor know he needs to chime in on this thread with some pictures of an Elcar.  Jeff - my apologies for going off topic but you started it :).

 

 I think Ed is right.  The Model J was more like 220-250 and not 270.  There were a  lot of shenanigans with those HP numbers and a company going under like Elcar would have nothing to lose.

 

My BB Stutz engine is full race courtesy of Ed's buddy and we should have it on the dyno next year.  We are hopping for 170hp, but that is with 4 Winfields, 7-1, ported, polished, 4 inch header, etc.

IMG_1255(1).JPG

IMG_1253(1).JPG

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Thank you A.J. Yes, I own the remains of an Elcar... originally identical to the one in the very first post. A seven seater, model 8-81, from 1926.

 

I know nothing of it's history but it was down here in Mexico, together with a touring car which curiously had the inmediately prior serial number. The Touring car was destroyed and I only saw a few bits from it. Here is a pic of both cars, as found in the early 80's by Jaime Cuevas (unkown to me), who sent the picture to Bill Locke (the Elcar historian and expert who has a great book on Elcars!), who facilitated it to me... and then some other pics also taken by him at later dates. If you look closely, you can see the deterioration process thoughout the years... ;-(

 

The car sat there abandoned for years and was then bought by a collector who restored the engine but passed away. At this point, the remains of the body are fully deteriorated, to the point of making it non restorable (IMHO). Luckily, fenders, hood and cowl are still usable, so I will most likely make a copy of a Cantrell Suburban Woody for which I already have drawings and many pics. 

 

Quite frankly, I am not sure Elcar ever sold chassises to body builders, but as a medium priced car of good quality, I assume they would have, so in that sense I would not be doing a 'very' incorrect car, and it is a way of saving one of the few remaining Elcar chassis around.

 

I need to run now, but will later post pics of a good number of the surviving Elcars known to me.

 

Victor

 

 

00, 1926 Elcar 8-81, foto Jaime Cuevas de 1984, 1.jpg

00, 1926 Elcar 8-81, foto Jaime Cuevas de 1984, 2.jpg

00, 1926 Elcar 8-81, foto Jaime Cuevas de 1984, 3.jpg

00, 1926 Elcar 8-81, foto Jaime Cuevas de 1984, 9.jpg

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8 hours ago, alsancle said:

I will let Victor know he needs to chime in on this thread with some pictures of an Elcar.  Jeff - my apologies for going off topic but you started it :).

 

 I think Ed is right.  The Model J was more like 220-250 and not 270.  There were a  lot of shenanigans with those HP numbers and a company going under like Elcar would have nothing to lose.

 

My BB Stutz engine is full race courtesy of Ed's buddy and we should have it on the dyno next year.  We are hopping for 170hp, but that is with 4 Winfields, 7-1, ported, polished, 4 inch header, etc.

IMG_1255(1).JPG

IMG_1253(1).JPG

Your missing a cam!

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Thank you for the photos Victor. Interesting to hear the story of your car. I remember discussing your Elcar and my Grandfather's Elcar a few years ago here on the AACA forums. His was a '26 Landau Roadster that was dark blue and turquoise...now in the Elcar Museum.

 

I looked on the forum search feature and see there are 9 pages of posts with the word Elcar, going back to 2001. Most of them are from people trying to sell parts and listing all the makes they fit, but a few are better. On a thread about how there are cars with funny names, one guy said Elcar is Spanish for car(?). Someone in Finland(2002) wrote in saying he has a 4-cyl. engine from an Elcar and knew the name of the Elcar importer in Tampere, Finland.

 

 ----Jeff Brown, Salmon, Idaho  

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The compression will make a big difference, the fuel won't. If you recurv the distributor, increase compression and swept volume, and trick out the carburation a ten percent to fifteen percent increase in horsepower is doable, if the motor can hang together. Many will also go to inserts when hot rodding the motor. I haven't put inserts in my motors, but I don't have an issue with it. Ed.

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Here's Glenn D. Brown's '26 Elcar 8-81 Landau Roadster about 1930 in Kansas somewhere. He traded a Travel Air biplane for it when the Elcar was near-new. Photo by my Grandfather Brown. L to R: in the leather aviator cap, my Dad, Bernard; my Aunt Geneva; and my Grandmother Brown.

1926 Elcar Landau Roadster, old pic (2).jpg

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But it used to be two tone blue... and white before that!

 

If I recall the story correctly, but you can surely elaborate, the guy that got the plane from your grandfather in the trade crashed it that same day or within a few days... luckily your Grandfather's car is still around and as you can see it is quite a car!

 

 

1926 Elcar 8-81 Landau Roadster, 1, Dave Sanders.JPG

1926 Elcar Landau Roadster, old pic (3).jpg

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Two forum users talking about Elcars they have:

  1.  "hoppy172" (2012)...a 1928 Sedan in Indiana, probably the one for sale on ebay now 
  2. "Tassie 1"...a 1925 8-80 Touring Car in Tasmania, Australia(formerly Peter Taylor's)

 

Victor and I had a discussion about the top here 7 or 8 years ago(Gen Disc., "Elcar information or parts?", 1/28/09-12/12/10) re: when Glenn D. Brown was restoring it in 1972. It was restored a second time by someone else. Here's a picture Victor sent me of the 1926 Elcar some time ago of what it looked like when at a Gilmore Car Museum show in Michigan in 2012(I recognize the Pierce-Arrow and CCCA Museums in the background): 

 

 

1926 Elcar Landau Roadster, 2012, 3.jpg

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To add up to the discussion of Elcars...

 

I guess you could sum it up by saying Elcar is one of those brands to which history has played a bad joke on… too few survivors out of decent production rates. Why? No idea. They were clearly good cars, medium priced and I have read about their good engineering. Besides the powerful engine mentioned, and some important experiments with valves, Elcar had important advances in suspensions, or things like carburators in which you could adjust the mixture from the dashboard, supposedly to get a leaner mixture and use less gas once on the open road. My car has such "Swan" carburator. But my memory is not great and my mechanical knowledge almost non-existant. For anyone real interested, William (Bill) S. Locke can be called the marque's historian and has a great book on them: "Elcar and Pratt Automobiles: The Complete History"...  (no wonder he is admitted into the Automotive hall of fame, or something like that I believe it is called). In his book, Bill even lists all known survivors, down to serial number plates. Bill is a great guy. I visited him at his Florida home and learned a lot about Elcars.

He also owned many of the surviving cars that eventually got sold to another collector in Indiana, who has a private museum just outside of Elkhart, for the cars and for his pedal car collection. He is almost entirely into Elcars and has over a handful of them. I visited him and I took many pics. Very nice guy but I am reserving his name as I couldn't find him on the internet on a quick search and he might prefer to keep his privacy... but to anyone real interested, drop me a line directly and I will give you his contact information.

 

Anyhow... I offered to post pics of the Elcars known to me, either that I have personally seen them or that I have gotten their pics on the net or via friends. I will do so from old to new...

Edited by v.milke (see edit history)
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