Peerless

Peerless

[peer-lis]

Peerless was a United States automobile produced by the Peerless Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The company was known for building high-quality, precision luxury automobiles. Peerless' factory was located at 9400 Quincy Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.

Established in Cleveland in 1900, Peerless Motors began producing De Dion-Bouton "machines" under license from the French Company. At the time, Cleveland was the thriving center of automotive production in the United States. Peerless employed Barney Oldfield as a driver of its Green Dragon racecar; in early speed races Peerless proved the durability of the product and setting world speed records. Peerless was noted for its use of flat-plane crankshafts in its engine designs.

As the Peerless evolved, it, along with makes Packard and Pierce-Arrow, became known as the "Three-Ps of Motordom" (premium vehicles) in the United States.

Peerless' downfall was in its quality. In the 1920s, the company was producing conservatively-styled vehicles that would last for ten or more years. Current Peerless owners held onto their cars, which ran very well; new buyers of luxury cars were attracted to LaSalle, Packard and the Studebaker President series.

In 1930-31, Peerless commissioned Murphy Body Works of Pasadena, California, to design what the company envisioned as its 1933 model. The task was assigned to a young Frank Hershey. Hershey's design for Peerless was a remarkably clean, elegant vehicle, powered by the company's planned V16 engine.

Just as the car was ready to be shipped back to Cleveland, the Board of Directors pulled Peerless out of the automobile business and reöriented the company to brew beer under the Carling Black Label brand.

Hershey's prototype was walled up in a room at the Peerless factory where it sat until the end of World War II. Hershey's prototype is now owned by the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland.

Today, Peerless vehicles are hard to find.

References

  • Kimes, Beverly R., Editor. Clark, Henry A. (1996). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1945. Kraus Publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4.
  • Howell, James W. and Hershey, Hershey Franklin Q. Franklin Q. Hershey's Murphy-Bodied Peerless V-16 Prototype Collectible Automobile, Volume 12, Number 4, December 1995. pp. 56-63.

External links

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