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weymann body.

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:DHow does a Weymann  body actually works  and how to repair them ?  Are the bodies limited to Stutz ?

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Weymann was a French inventor who came up with the Weymann patent body design around 1920. The big problem with closed cars was that they twisted and shook to pieces with time and use. The usual solution was to try to strengthen the body by adding steel reinforcements, braces etc. Weymann's insight was to do the opposite, make the body flexible so it could move with the frame. To achieve this he made the framing of the body with flexible joints and covered it with fabric rather than sheet metal. There were different brands of fabric but mostly they used artificial leather of the kind used for upholstering furniture, with the usual grained material on the roof. The material normally had a dull finish or leather grain finish but the fabric companies did develop a stiff, shiny patent leather like material that could be softened with hot water and formed to fit the car.

 

These flexible bodies were light weight and did not develop cracks, squeaks and rattles like conventional bodies. They could be made quickly by semi skilled labor and did not require painting or finishing. They had a considerable vogue in Europe in the twenties.But for various reasons they did not catch on in the US.

 

Stutz was the only American company that took up the Weymann patents and offered genuine Weymann bodies as original equipment or catalog models. They felt the light weight Weymann bodies fitted well with the sporting nature of the Stutz cars with the added advantage that they did not require large investments in presses, dies, tooling etc. as needed for conventional bodies.

 

There were other body companies that offered similar fabric covered, flexible bodies but they were special order or custom jobs, not original equipment.

 

In the end the flexible body was made obsolete by the modern mass produced all steel body. These were immensely strong and not prone to the problems of the old wood framed bodies, and were cheaper to make in large quantities.

 

There is not much information on these bodies, there was an article in Automobile Quarterly years ago and there is a little information on the net. But they are mainly a forgotten dead end in auto body construction.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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As for repairs the normal life of a car back then was ten years or less. If you had a Weymann body and it got shabby, rather than have it painted you would have the outer fabric replaced. Same with accident repairs, although it took quite a blow to damage the body, small blows would bounce off and not leave a mark.

 

Eventually if left outside leaks would allow water to rot the frame and then the body was pretty well done for. If you found a Weymann body that had been stored inside it would be possible to strip the outer covering, repair any damaged or rotten framing and recover it. Believe it or not the original fabric is still available. A few years ago some English enthusiasts found one of the original production machines from the 1920s in an abandoned factory, they got it out, restored it, and are making fabric for restoring and remaking fabric bodies. As I said, they had considerable vogue in Europe and were used on a lot of Bentleys and other sporting cars. If you see a picture of a LeMans style Bentley with a dull finish body in a different color from the hood and fenders, that is probably what it is.

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I believe there was a fairly recent article in the CCCA magazine about Weymann bodies.

Aircraft and old canoes also used the basic concept of waterproofed fabric over wood.

 

I recall seeing a Bentley in Ohio some years back with both fabric body and fenders.  There is a very nice Weymann Stutz at Hickory Corners .

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MG used cloth covered bodies over thin wood framing on their early type M boattail. Then sheet metal over plywood  on later ones.

 

I had a job about 30 years ago replacing all the wood and making new doors for a 31 Type M. One of the few surviving sheet metal bodied ones.  

 

The steel chassis was so  thin and flexible it needed plywood covering the framing of the body to keep from flexing the wood joints apart.  Sometimes things can flex too much.

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)

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The Weymann factory building was in Indianapolis , Indiana a short distance from the Stutz factory. As of about 10 years ago it was still basically in the same shape ( no additions) it was when they were building bodies there. Take a look in the September/October 2019 issue of the Antique Automobile pages 72 to 75 if you are an AACA member. period information, period images. No speculation on what they were doing maybe, sort of.....All stuff from my archives, includes a half page factory issued explanation of "The Weymann principle of Body construction". I only base what I report on period information or actually seeing first hand what was designed, built etc. I examined Weyman bodies in England 30 years ago that were under restoration and apart and also an intact and wonderful Minerva that is owned by collector Steve Babinsky  that has a Weymann body. A complete and outstanding wonderful original car to behold.

Walt G.

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Here is an article on the Rexine fabric and how it is being reproduced. They went to this trouble because the correct fabric has not been made in England since 1982. But a web search reveals that it is still made in India. Whether it is the same as the stuff they turned out in the twenties I don't know. But the English guys have gone to a lot of trouble to be sure theirs is.

 

https://www.vintagebentleys.com/services/rexine-magazine/

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In the late Stutz years, aluminum panels were an options available rather than the coated fabric.  A few of the Stutz Monte Carlos by Weymann are aluminum paneled.

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With Weyman bodies a designer is limited as to the amount of curvature he can design into a body. Concave panels would be difficult if not impossible I would think.

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3 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Here is an article on the Rexine fabric and how it is being reproduced. They went to this trouble because the correct fabric has not been made in England since 1982. But a web search reveals that it is still made in India. Whether it is the same as the stuff they turned out in the twenties I don't know. But the English guys have gone to a lot of trouble to be sure theirs is.

 

https://www.vintagebentleys.com/services/rexine-magazine/


I have seen that as well, although what I have not seen is anyone actually selling Rexine, or for that matter any pyroxylin-based "leather cloth" of any sort. I did look around the web pretty extensively the last time we had a thread about this (someone was looking for upholstery material for a French car). Have you seen it turn up anywhere?

 

Rexine is a trademark, so other sources probably wouldn't be calling it that. Additionally, nothing would be stopping the trademark owner from slapping the name on something else.

 

As for India, I have come to the conclusion that "Rexine" in India has become a word for any artificial leather, much like some Americans use "Kleenex" for any facial tissue, or "Frigidaire" for any refrigerator. If that is not true, then Rexine must be available everywhere in India, including some street markets and Amazon, yet still not surface outside India's borders. It seems unlikely, but I really don't know. Do any of you know?

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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The Bugatti factory team cars had a Weymann type fabric body. This Type 50 was a very low mileage car and still has its original upholstery and body material. Total shock to find this book at Pebble Beach, the only car I've painted to grace the cover of a book. Bob 

s-l225.jpg

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And remember that all the Zeppelin's had flexible bodies.

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Back in 2016 in a small museum in southern NSW saw a 1927 Darracq with a Weymann body under restoration. The current owner used it as his daily driver for many years when he lived in London UK.

'27 Fabric bodied(Weyman) Darracq.JPG

'27 Fabric bodied(Weyman) Darracq2.JPG

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19 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Here is an article on the Rexine fabric and how it is being reproduced. They went to this trouble because the correct fabric has not been made in England since 1982. But a web search reveals that it is still made in India. Whether it is the same as the stuff they turned out in the twenties I don't know. But the English guys have gone to a lot of trouble to be sure theirs is.

 

https://www.vintagebentleys.com/services/rexine-magazine/

The original machine it processed on was found in 2015:

 

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Alsancle got it right, the Weymann bodies built here in the USA at least, used Zapon fabric not Rexine. This was reported in the printed matter during the time these cars were being built in both the press of the day and advertisements in things like Salon souvenir programs etc. Lots of opinions here on the forum as usual , all good ?, but to be accurate you have to look to the period material . Experts abound. 🙄

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There were many manufacturers who made similar materials. Dupont's Zapon and Fabrikoid, Standard Textile's Meritas, Chase's Dreadnaught, then there was Elascofab, Rexine and Tole Souple. No doubt there were other brands made in Europe. Every country where autos were made, had its Weymann licensee and there were other body companies that made similar bodies without paying royalties or using the Weymann name or patents.

 

The first bodies had a dull or semi gloss finish, or a leather grain finish. Later they came out with shinier materials. There was a variety of materials to chose from in a range of colors.

 

Standard Textiles did a lot to promote their Meritas material for car bodies. They made demonstrators and showed them around the country. The Mengel  Body Company in Louisville  mass produced Meritas covered sedan  bodies for Ford Model T chassis, and sold them to Ford dealers as a stylish alternative to the Ford sedan. They offered a Rolls Royce style radiator shell to complete the transformation.  Mass produced in this context means a few hundred bodies.`

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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I have a 1929 m30 stutz weymann car . The car was always in side had 2 pc. wood dryrot . Frame is painted with   bare body. Doing engine rebuild. Cloth is question.The blackhawk in france  i think is m30 Thanks John

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In 1930, Peerless introduced a 4th line of cars, the Peerless Weymann. It's difficult to find information on price and number produced, but here's a factory photo of a Limousine taken in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. One market report pegged the Peerless Weymann price at $ 3,435 .

 

peerlessWithWymannBody.jpg

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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