Today’s post features the first of four Edwardian vehicles built in the USA. Reading any standard text on the history of the motor car 1908 is remembered as the year the mass produced Ford Model T went onto the market that it would dominate for nearly 20 years. For those of us born more recently this advent glosses over many other vehicles of that particular age some with no less interesting and almost unbelievable characters. One such is the story of E-M-F which has a strong link to the story of the Model T.
The initials stand for a wealthy coach builder and financial genius named Byron F. Everitt who did some work for Henry Ford, a super salesman who took 2700 orders for Cadilacs when they had only built three cars by the name of William E. Metzger and a industrial colosus Walter E. Flanders, of whom Henry Ford was fearful, who invented and organised much of the production machinery that was required to build the Model T.
In June 1908 circumstances brought Everitt, Metzger and Fanders together with E. LeRoy Pelletier, Fords secretary and publicity manager, to celebrate the merger of the Wayne Motor Company, under the control of Everitt and Flanders and the Northern Motor Company of which Metzger was in control to form E-M-F with the aim of mass producing a $2500 car which was to sell at $1250 or “twice the car for half the price”.
The in many ways, apart from it’s mid price range, unremarkable 4 cylinder Model 30 was launched in September 1908 with Pelletier basing his marketing strategy on “Nothing added-no frills or furbelows. Nothing omitted that experience has proven or convention taught you to consider a necessary part of a first- class motorcar. Not one original feature-not a single novelty-no startling innovations. Not one experiment-not one hair-brained theory or half-baked mechanical idea-not an untried or unproven invention-or metallurgical hallucination-will you discover in the E-M-F ’30’.”
The “Classy” Model 30 was well received although early examples relied on what turned out to be inadequate thermo-syphon cooling which damaged the new Marques reputation. The early cars were all recalled to have water pumps fitted, while low end Henry Ford went the other way deleting water pumps from the Model T in favour of themo syphon cooling ! Despite becoming, thanks to distribution by Studebaker, the second largest supplier of US automobiles by 1911, behind only Ford, as early as 1909 things started to unravel at E-M-F as the titans of the industry began to fall out. By 1912 Studebaker had taken full control and the E-M-F name disappeared for good though the Model 30 would live on in the Studebaker and parallel Everitt / Flanders Marques. For the full unbelievably complicated rise and fall story of E-M-F I recommend reading John M Daly’s E-M-F website linked here.
Today’s featured car #43222 was built originally built in 1912 and has recently been restored by Robb Stewart, pictures of the restoration can be towards the bottom of his flickr page linked here..
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing these photographs which were taken at Palo Verde in 2011.
Thanks for joining me on this “Unbelievably Complicated Story” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !