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Issue 07:12:02 - December 10, 2007

Chandler Motor Company: Quality build at moderate prices

In the early 1910s, Chandler Motor Company started by Frederick C. Chandler was one of the many independent automobile manufacturers in the United States. The company was trying to build its reputation on quality cars that the everyday worker could afford.

Frederick C. Chandler was a designer with the Lozier Motor Company, which was a top end luxury automobile manufacturer. In 1911, Chandler and several more executives left Lozier to form the Chandler Motor Company. With Frederick C. Chandler as President, Chandler Motor Company was incorporated in 1913 with its factory and headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.

Chandler had a goal to produce only quality cars priced within the middle-class American's budget. Chandler fabricated its own chassis, cast its own engines, and later built its own bodies. In 1920, Chandler produced six medium-priced models ranging from $2095 to $3595. The Chandler cars, produced from 1913 through 1929, had many features including power brakes, the One Shot Lubrication System, and a synchromesh transmission.

Lower prices than ever

With the huge success of the Chandler Motor Company, Frederick C. Chandler was encouraged to organize the Cleveland Automobile Company for producing a lower-priced automobile. The company produced 16,000 Cleveland models. The Cleveland was a five-passenger touring car. This roomy car had seating for two in the front, three in the back, and jump seats in the middle. In 1913, this car sold for nearly $1800 and dropped to around $1300 by 1916, making it the least expensive Chandler car on the market.

Even though Chandler Motor Company produced more cars than any manufacturer in Cleveland, sales and profits still declined in 1921. In 1926, Frederick C. Chandler decided to consolidate his two companies, the Chandler Motor Company and Cleveland Automobile Company. This consolidation brought about the Chandler-Cleveland Motors Corp. During this time, Chandler and Cleveland cars won many auto endurance and hill climb races, and in 1923, the Chandler engine got its new name, the "Pikes Peak."

In 1926, the Cleveland line was phased out by Chandler. In 1927, the standard six-line was formed using the Cleveland specifications. Also introduced was the eight-cylinder line.

The American public received the Chandlers very well, and in 1927, the company had its peak year with 20,000 cars being sold. Unfortunately, with hopes for continued growth the company had over-expanded. By 1928, the company had accumulated a debt of more than half a million dollars.

In 1929, Hupp Motor Works, which was Chandler's expanding competitor, purchased Chandler Motor Company and ended the Chandler line. Hupp Motor Works bought Chandler's factory and manufacturing facilities to increase its sales and handle its own growth in the market.

Some great Chandler models

The 1916 Chandler Model Six, priced at $1295, had rear wheel drive, front engine location, a six-cylinder engine, normal aspiration, and induction. The displacement on the Model Six was 269.40 cubic inches (4415.5 cc and 4.4L) with a horsepower of 35 (25.8 KW). The HP/Liter was 8.0, and its fuel type was gasoline-Petrol.

With less than 10 % produced, the 1918 Chandler Couple was an uncommon sight during its time. The buyer of a Coupe did not have a choice of colors because it was only available in a dark blue body and wheels with everything else black. For an extra $110, the buyer could choose the optional Houk quick change wire wheels

With a Fisher Brothers body, the 1920 Cleveland Model 40 Roadster had a front engine, rear wheel drive, and a six-cylinder engine. The displacement on the Roadster was 190.90 cubic inches (3128.9 cc and 3.1L). Its horsepower was 21.6. It used gasoline-petrol fuel. The price on the 1920 Cleveland Roadster was $1386.

Sitting on a 124-inch wheelbase, the 1926 Chandler Comrade Roadster was powered by an inline six-cylinder engine and capable of producing 55 horsepower. With a price tag of $1695, the Roadster had rear wheel drive, a front engine, and a displacement of 288.60 cubic inches (4730.2 cc and 4.7L).

The 1927 Chandler Standard Six, priced at $995, was a five-passenger sedan. This vehicle had 12 valves (2 valves per cylinder), SV valve train, a front engine, rear wheel drive, and four main bearings. The horsepower was 21.60, and the displacement was 180.25 cubic inches (2954.3 cc and 3L). The Chandler Standard Six weighed 3510 pounds (1592.1kg).

Some other Chandler models available were the 1919 lightweight Model 19 Touring, a 1920 Coupe retailing for $3095 new, and the 1922 Metropolitan Sedan, which retailed for $2295.

Features on the Chandler

Even with lower prices, the features remained the same on all Chandler cars. These included Bosch spark plugs and magneto, Gray & Davis electric generator and electric starting motor, Rayfield carburetor, enclosed silent chains for driving motor shafts, worm-bevel rear axle, Mayo radiator that was a genuine Mercedes type, Firestone demountable rims, hand-buffed real leather, Jiffy curtains on Golde patent one-man top, and clean running boards on a luxurious streamlined body.

Other features on the Chandler were a large gasoline tank located in the rear, imported annular ball-bearings, a completely contained oiling system within the motor and no outside piping, cast aluminum motor base extending from frame to frame, motor-driven horn, speedometer, plus all the usual equipment.

Everyone wanted to know how Chandler kept their record-breaking prices with such great, convenient features. Their answer was maximum production with low overhead expense.


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