Vintman

Last of the Indianapolis firsts?

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Hi,

We at the Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society (UK) have an active Help Page on our website (currently http://www.svvs.org/help152.shtml) where the general public can get free assistance with identification of old cars from old photographs. While searching for answers we often come across photographs of interesting vehicles which we put aside for later study/investigation. One such case is a photo, which is attached, showing a car that we have subsequently not been able to identify.

The photo is titled “Hough-McRae Motor Co”. The car dealership in the background is for Harroun Cars. Roy Harroun was the first winner of Indianapolis and later went to make his own car. Our suggestion is that he could be the figure on the left. He manufactured about 1,200 cars, called the Harroun A1 or AA1, 1917 – 1921. He then introduced the Model AA2 in 1922 shortly before production stopped.. We have not been able to find a picture of the AA2 and wondered if the car in this photo is one of them? The slight worry is that the radiator and bonnet seen very familiar, being similar to other American cars of the period. The rest of the car does have similarities to the AA1.

Does anybody have any ideas or suggestions? Does anybody know of the “Hough-McRae Motor Co” and whether they were agents for any other maker.



Regards

Vintman (UK)
www.svvs.org

Hough-McRae Motor Co'c.jpg

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Thanks Dustycrusty. Further digging revealed photo was taken at "Hough-McRae Motor Company showroom at 3829 South Fox Street in Englewood Arapahoe County Colorado" and confirms the  Harroun car connection. However, search on Google streetmaps suggests the address is very much in a resedintial area??


Could anyone please advise which is the car that the radiator is remiscent of ?

 

Thanks

 

Vintman (UK)

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 The front end is reminiscent of several automobiles of that post-war era, the contemporary Durants and Buicks are pretty close, but  it is a pretty generic design, although it is oddly lacking an manufacturers logo or emblem on it.

 

I think the best clue as to its identity is the epilogue in the Wikipedia article on the Harroun Motor Co.

 

      "After the war, the company tried to get started again, creating a new model for 1920. Representatives took the car on a tour from Detroit to Montana and on to Denver to prove its reliability."

 

Your picture is probably an image from that trip. It shows  a car that is obviously brand new (the paint still has some "shine" to it!) with a Michigan  manufacture/ dealer license plate (Harrouns were built in Wayne, Michigan) from 1919,  and is parked in front of a Harroun dealership in  Colorado. This has to be a prototype or early production model or it wouldn't sport that license plate, and it appears to have been driven to Colorado from Michigan, a little worse for wear.

 

 Also according to that entry, this was also the company's swan-song as they halted production in 1920 and their assets were sold off in 1923.

 

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harroun

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Some interesting details in pic. See a C-Cab truck chassis reflected in windows from across the street. In showroom in addition to a wooden spoked vehicle, a 4 cyl chankshaft and a 4 cyl block. Interesting sales props! Anyone blow up the sign to see what it says if readable besides "A Triumph of Engineering"?

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Hi Folks,

 

Useful thoughts Dustycrusty. Thanks for your input Leif. Commonwealth was indeed one of them, but the one I was thinking of, and have now found, is the Cole as below. Agree with Keiser, neither match but certainly evident that fashion went in definite phases. We may just have quite a unique photo here! Still digging.

 

Regards

 

Vintman

haroun'cole.jpg

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Wow that’s a great picture you have found. 

Here is a picture of my 1919 Harroun.

it sure does look close. 

Frame and fenders are exact. 

Cowl, windshield, hood, and radiator are a bit different though. 

Dusty might be right on this one, maybe an early test mule / prototype. 

Also look at the front springs, I don’t have whatever that is attached outside of the spring.

Ray Harroun is not one of the guys in the photo.

I need to look through my old pictures and see if I can identify them. 

 

Todd Harroun

Kalamazoo, MI.

DA1F4EF9-0444-4F6A-AB9D-7F8BCE7852AC.jpeg

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 Hi Todd,

The device attached outboard of the front springs is a Hartford type friction shock absorber. They sold tons of them aftermarket for Fords and they were OEM on some other makes. Perhaps they were standard equipment on the new Harroun for 1920? More likely they added them as a worth-while investment to that car's suspension if it was going to be driven from Michigan to Colorado. Remember, this was before interstate highways and paved roads beyond town limits!

 

How about a close-up picture of that radiator emblem?

397230.jpg

Edited by dustycrusty (see edit history)
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Hi Folks,

 

Some fabulous information coming out on this one. Lovely to have the Harroun logo. Had copy of a damaged one which I photo repaired so pleased I got it right. Could not help noticing that Todd’s name is Haroun; so presumably from the family? So I guess the family do not have any photos of the 2AA.

Regards

 

Vintman (UK)

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Well there are only 2 Harroun car known to exist. 

Here is the other one. 

I think I might just be crazy enough to take on the restoration challenge. 

ADEE95DE-6CB9-4952-9CBE-5989F4706D48.jpeg

AD740BEE-C1FC-4D90-B21E-F14B6A1D1D55.jpeg

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Hi Folks,

 

Many thanks for your kind responses. I have been doing further research and have been in contact with Wayne Historical Museum to see if they have any records on the Harroun cars, but seems not. So therefore in the absence of a negative, I am led to believe that the photo is indeed of a cca 1921 Harroun AA2 Touring, and that this may well be the only photo in existence of this car.  I have written a short article on my findings on our website Help Pages at http://www.svvs.org/Probably_c1921_Harroun_AA2_Touring.shtml .

 

Thanks for your inputs

 

Regards

Vintman (UK)

 

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On 2/8/2020 at 9:12 AM, Pacewagon said:

Well there are only 2 Harroun car known to exist. 

Here is the other one. 

I think I might just be crazy enough to take on the restoration challenge. 

ADEE95DE-6CB9-4952-9CBE-5989F4706D48.jpeg

AD740BEE-C1FC-4D90-B21E-F14B6A1D1D55.jpeg

I’d love to see some more photos of that Motor ! 

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Would a 22 carry a 19 tag? If it were a prototype, it would certainly carry a badge, wouldn't it. I'm not sure the speculation fits but I would agree, it is a Harroun. There were two in a recent conversation but only one was followed up on. What happened to the second car, the one setting in a field?

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The dates in this story seem to be in flux. Some sources say they were building cars in 1922, others say they were out of business by then. The recounting of the trip from Wayne, Mi. to Denver, Co. says that they were testing a brand new 1920 model, so a 1919 tag makes sense in that timeline. 

 

As far as no insignia visible on the "prototype", that also makes sense;

If youre taking an unproven design on a very visible shake-down journey I wouldn't want my name on it until it proven it's meddle! No manufacturer wants to be identified on the front page  in some local  newspaper with an anointed  photograph of their latest and greatest creation on the side of the road with a blown engine or a busted axle! I'm sure they slapped one on AFTER it successfully made it's rounds....

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