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This is one my favorite early American photos that I have collected. It is what appears to be a brand new 1912 American Tourist.  The Tourist was the intermediate size four cylinder car in the American lineup for a couple of years.  The earlier Americans were well decorated with two tone paint and lots of striping.  They didn't reserve the flash!

Alan

 

American_Tourist.jpg.3969e48d992a74d9a15f3dc4d6aa0713.jpg

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American did offer a race car in their catalog.  It was built on a modified 50 hp chassis.  i don't much about the racing history of American but they apparently were not very successful.   There were also private owners who stripped down their cars  and went racing.  The photo is of a factory race car.  The large fuel tank is a giveaway.

American_Underslung-Racecar.jpg.13063f5536b0492b2c8a9e7bc366fb5f.jpg

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47 minutes ago, A Woolf said:

This drawing is interesting and has been useful to me during the restoration of my car.  The chassis is for the 132 inch wheelbase six cars.  It was used for the Type 644 touring and 642 roadster.

scan0006.thumb.jpg.6c13018fc98c49fd943aeb5909759d67.jpg

That’s great! The drawings and plans along with the maintenance drawings are artwork in themselves. 
Thanks for sharing! 

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American didn't rack up much of a record in upper echelon racing, but the cars did participate in local races.  Here's an early one, apparently driven in the race by designer Tone himself.  The Atlanta race in May of 1910 was reported elsewhere as the Amercican car's "debut ... in track."  Maybe they meant as a factory operation.

 

And there was a vigorous American dealer in Mexico City.  Americans were raced there for several years.

1908-11-15_PittsburghDailyPost.jpg

1910-12-09_Life.jpg

race 1914-05-12.jpg

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I am really enjoying this thread! Thank you Bob in Virginia. I cannot recall ever seeing an American Underslung on a tour, or running anywhere. I have seen a few of them in museums.

I did come close to buying a Regal Underslung almost fifty years ago. It was actually a pile of parts from two cars (the seller said it was 1909, but even then I knew it was later than that). One of the original cars had been a roadster, the other a small touring car. A lot was missing, but between the two, one car could probably have been resurrected. I didn't have much money in those days (probably actually have less now!). As a basket case, it was pretty cheap, but more than I had available easily. I told the fellow that I wanted to be interested in it, but didn't know if I could scrape up the money anytime soon. I also told him to go ahead and sell it if anyone was ready to buy it. I did some scrounging, collected a few dollars owed to me, and about two weeks later went back to see the fellow. He had sold it the afternoon before.

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The same Mexico City dealer managed to play a bit part in the 1913 Mexican Revolution with his Underslungs.  One of the wilder episodes was when he sneaked several people out of the city at midnight in his American Underslung Scout, at gunpoint.  This photo shows him in the Scout on a section of that route, which he subsequently used as "an excellent means of demonstrating the superiority of underslung automobiles."

1913_Mexico_terrain.jpg

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Craig,

The photo of the car you show at the LeMay Museum is not an American.  I think it is Tourist (not to be confused with Royal Tourist) which were built in Los Angeles, California.  Note that the car has a mid engine and is probably 2 cylinders.  All Americans were 4 or 6 cylinders and had a front mounted engine, and mid mounted transmission. 

 

Alan 

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Ok, thread keeps getting better and better. I know where an early American Underslung  is sitting in a garage up north......probably has not been out in years, but they were making it run about a year ago. When and if I go north to visit my 95 yer old mother for the holidays, I'll see if we can get it out for a drive and video........no guarantees but I will try. 

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2 hours ago, A Woolf said:

Craig,

The photo of the car you show at the LeMay Museum is not an American.  I think it is Tourist (not to be confused with Royal Tourist) which were built in Los Angeles, California.  Note that the car has a mid engine and is probably 2 cylinders.  All Americans were 4 or 6 cylinders and had a front mounted engine, and mid mounted transmission. 

 

Alan 

Me BAD! 😈

 

Craig

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42 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Ok, thread keeps getting better and better. I know where an early American Underslung  is sitting in a garage up north......probably has not been out in years, but they were making it run about a year ago. When and if I go north to visit my 95 yer old mother for the holidays, I'll see if we can get it out for a drive and video........no guarantees but I will try. 

 

Are you going to tell the owner or just jimmy the lock?

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9 minutes ago, Graham Man said:

Not my favorite body style... from a 1915 show Who Pays?  from the pictures the poor American is carrying most of the burden...homebuilt?  

IMCDb.org: American Underslung in "Who Pays?, 1915"

 

 

Doubtfully home built but definitely poorly built.

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I had been searching for that photo of a very young W.C. Fields in his American. At the time he was a very high paid Vaudeville performer. I have been searching for the book I have about him that shows other views of the same car during a visit to his former home in Philadelphia around 1910.large.jpg

Edited by dibarlaw (see edit history)
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It certainly would appear horse power was more about pulling through mud than fast travel. Most of these American Underslung cars are shown without windshield and the occupants are all wearing hats that would fly off at any decent speed. Of course, there were very few decent roads in this era, so why build a 50 hp car? Sure, the Apperson Big Dick was a production car of 75 hp but it was also a special built car just for racing and only nine were produced. The Thomas Flyer was a similar high hp car, said to have the largest displacement of any production car in its time, but was it to go fast down roads that were non-existent or to pull through mud and muck that would stall out lesser cars?

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48 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

Ok, If you two guys are taking a pass I'd be happy to make room in the garage for that Centerdoor, would make a great stable mate for the Regal Colonial Coupe, a car I've always admired.

 

Did you see the post I made a few back on the Colonial Coupe?

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I like the last line of that sales flyer: "A speed of 70 mph is at the driver's command, or its equivalent in power for hills, sand, or when needed." They are marketing the speed, appealing to the competitive nature of the wealthy, but also pointing out the practicality of the horse power creating that potential for speed. It is a brilliant piece of marketing. A man could buy this car and go racing or take his family to church on Sunday!

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1995459464_IMG_0947(2).thumb.JPG.55f544174428a29e71f8b985f4b7b81a.JPG

Somebody said most Underslung owners didn't drive them much.  But the only one I was ever around much

was on 3 Great American Races in the late 1980's.   Joe Atkinson and his wife Judy, drove their 1913 American

Eagle Underslung Roadster on at least 3 races.  Like most exciting car events, I don't know where the pictures

are, but it seemed like a tiny car with big wheels.  

Edited by Paul Dobbin
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6 minutes ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Somebody said most Underslung owners didn't drive them much.  But the only one I was ever around much

was on 3 Great American Races in the late 1980's.   Joe Atkinson and his wife Judy, drove their 1913 American

Eagle Underslung Roadster on at least 3 races.  Like most exciting car events, I don't know where the pictures

are, but it seemed like a tiny car with big wheels.  

 

 

Most cars on that "race" event are extensively modified.........not very many stock cars make that run from what I have observed. 

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Here's a question: How long were 40" tires available? I know of only one other car that used that size tire, the Olds Limited. This means it would always be a very low production tire, very pricey, and unavailable, even today. No wonder people don't drive these cars, and, its amazing any survived. The larger sized tires fell out of favor early anyways but this 40" was probably non-existent by 1916? When did Coker last have a production run? I remember reading about the restoration of a large car, it may have been the Walter Seeley story, and a request had to be made to have some tires produced to complete the restoration. These cars are beautiful to look at, amazing, but very impractical, not that it matters a whit.

Edited by AHa
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30 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

 

Most cars on that "race" event are extensively modified.........not very many stock cars make that run from what I have observed. 

    That may be true now, but not in the early years under Tom McRae.   They had inspections and you had to run the car

    as the age of the newest part.  The one off cars got a closer look and rumors were always around.  The inspection was visual

    and no tear down rules applied, but I suppose some internal cheating occured.   I remember when Frank Currie first ran his 

    1919 Packard Speedster and they made him run as a 1920 because the diffferential was a 1920.   Most of us ran 100% stock

    vehicles and in those days when the rule was 1936 and older with a timing handicap for the older vehicles.  but, they liked

    flashy.    Electic fuel pumps and seat belts allowed, but no radial tires.   With tire expansion, controlling that with Nitrogen was

    the only thing to do.

    

     1920packardSpeedster.thumb.jpg.d949d205f14facb29a3091d150b4165b.jpg

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I don't know what size tire the American Underslung actually used but just out of curiosity, I called Universal tire. They have ten of the 43x4.5 blackwall in stock. They also have several other large size tires but no 40".

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