The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on October 25, 1996 · 36
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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · 36

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Friday, October 25, 1996
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C12 The Ottawa Citizen, Friday, October 25, 1996 Wheels !akishy km Umiemlmgvms seiry bnofi teo stow In the first decade of this century cars began looking less like carriages without horses, and more like what we came to call cars. They gradually got rid of their high buggy wheels and tiller steering, and the engine found its place between the front wheels in most applications. Once they began building lower vehicles, some companies carried the trend further than others. One of these was the American Motor Car Co. which was established in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1906. American built its first car in 1906, but it was not the model for which the company would be remembered. This would come in 1907 in the form of the "underslung." Although the company did not officially adopt the American Underslung name until 1912, it would be its lasting legacy The underslung design is widely credited to Harry C. Stutz, a practical automobile engineer who would later go on to establish a company producing cars bearing his own name. Although Stutz designed the conventional chassis for the American Motor Car Co., and was with American when the underslung was conceived, the man who produced it seems to have been one Fred I. Tone. In order to make the car as low as possible, Tone in effect turned the conventional method of building cars upside down. Instead of mounting the frame above the axles as others did, Tone put the underslung's frame below the axles, with the semi-elliptic leaf springs above them. Although American would continue to manufacture conventionally "overslung" models for several years, the underslung vehicles were by far its sportiest offering. The underslung was rakishly low for the day To preserve ground clearance, huge 40-inch wheels were used, and the engine was mounted on its own raised MOTORSPORTS Brewery among 10 inductees to hall of fame TORONTO (CP) Drag racers, motorcyclists and a brewery are among the list of 10 inductees to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, the hall announced. v Graham Light of Edmonton, who made his mark in drag racing, and team member Bernie Fedderly, also of Edmonton, currently co-crew chief for the drag racing legend John Force, will .be inducted at the Hall of Fame's fourth annual black-tie dinner Feb. 17. Motorcyclists Ted Sturgess of Hamilton and John Williams of Markham, Ont., will be inducted as competitors and Molson Breweries will be inducted as a builder, thanks to its involvement spanning four decades. Others gaining entry include: Doug Duncan of Toronto, a stock-car and su-permodified team member; Warren Coniam of Burlington, Ont., the only Canadian to win the Oswego Super-modified Classic twice; industrialist Walter Wolf of Montreal, a former Formula One team owner; and Craig Hill of Oakville, Ont., as a competitor and builder. Inducted posthumously will be Harvey Hudes, the former president and general manager of Mosport Motor-sport Park. Here's a look at the week's top auto races WINSTON CUP Dura Lube 500 Site: Phoenix International Raceway, one-mile paved oval, Phoenix. Date: Sunday. TV: TNN, 12 p.m. EDT. Qualifying: Friday-Saturday. BUSCH GRAND NATIONAL Idle Next race: Nov. 3, Jiffy Lube Miami 300, Homestead Motorsports Complex, Homestead, Fla. INDYCAR Season completed ; FORMULA ONE Season completed CRAFTSMAN TRUCKS GM Goodwrench Services-Delco Battery 300 Site: Phoenix International Raceway, one-mile paved oval, Phoenix. Date: Saturday. TV: TBS, 3:40 p.m., EDT. Qualifying: Thursday-Friday. NHRA Winston Select Finals Site: Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif. Date: Saturday. TV: TNN, 4:30 p.m., EDT. Qualifying: Thursday-Saturday. -3 Bill Vance MEMORY LANE sub-frame. With front fenders that were about even with the top of the hood, that first 1907 underslung Roadster was a dashing machine indeed. The company extolled the safety virtues of its underslung design, emphasizing its stability and resistance to roll-over. With a centre of gravity located just above axle height, sales literature claimed that the car could be tilted up to 55 degrees without rolling over, compared with 43 degrees for conventionally suspended competitive models. It was an impressive feature. The underslung was powered by a huge 392.7 cubic inch (6.4 litre) four-cylinder engine rated at 40 horsepower. For 1908 an additional enlarged 50 horsepower engine of 476.2 cubic inches (7.8 litres) was made available. There was a strong advertising incentive in those days for a car to prove itself in competition, not only to demonstrate its speed, but also its durability In 1908 American Motor Car entered one of the larger engined underslung Roadsters in the Savannah Challenge Cup Race held in Savannah, Georgia, an America racing mecca of the era. Alas, a low centre of gravity alone wasn't enough. A car also needed prodigious power to compete with the monsters of the day The underslung just didn't have it, which resulted in it qualifying slowest YOUR OTTAWA QUALITY PLUS FORD & MERCURY DEALERS PRESENT ill If 24 MONTH LEASE only $2,995 Downpayment After $750 Lease Cash deducted 3.8L 200 H.P. V6 - The most 1 l.J ) fij K' -- n PER I X I j II MONTH ONLY Ll w W I C i r iL Dual Airoags 4-5peed Automatic Air Conditioning Power Windows, Mirrors, and Locks AMFM Stereo Cassette 4-Wheel ABS Brakes 15" Aluminum Wheels Tilt Steering '97 APR05PORT YIT " SPORTING GREAT TOWING CAPACITYI ! i n. m LITED YDIME "SlrfSi i!If l?i Sjh.t;l,'i?S.1!r,tly 5Tf ".' 1 t2 ilmdZZ fSrl 1 1913 American Underslung Roadster had 40-inch wheels to keep and finishing last. This lack of success didn't prevent the company from offering a 1909 roadster based on the 1908 race entry, and somewhat ironically calling it the Speedster. At about this time the two-passenger underslung models were joined by a four-passenger underslung named the Traveller. It would turn out to be the star of the lineup. For 1910, the engine was given pressurized lubrication, and the cylinder bored increased to 5.75 inches, which upped the horsepower from 50 to 60. More improvements were made for 1911, but by this time it was becoming apparent that American was in financial trouble. The company was reorganized and the name changed to American Motors Co. A decision was made in 1912 to switch all models over to the most dis gg jj n-jr Q g 7 powerful engine in any minivan! ALSO PRESENTING . FOR ONLY A 1 A After $750 Cashback deducted ' ii r a. v . if v if ml 11 OR '97 VILLAGER GS - V ONLY C new for '97! Includes: NOW GET Aluminum Wheels Air Conditioning VILLAGER GS Antilock Brakes Power Windows 8. Locks WITH QUAD Remote Keyless Entry Dual Power Mirrors CAPTAIN'S SEATS Dual Airbags Tilt Wheel and Speed Control ba",d m" ;'4"""5n,;s! ''om Fo,d Mt0 3ual','Kl ",ail lMWM' 00 "PP"" crH)i' 2.5 wipiymil rtquired .tier S750 lea cash SS! ".k" A,.rmf5"' XL "f 635A iNce" ,997 y9" Glwi,h 975A- mon,hly lMse pamn' bMd on 2" 4 3 tinguishing features the company had; the underslung chassis. To capitalize on this, the cars became officially known as American Underslungs. A proliferation of models issued forth under the new company, including a much smaller car called the Scout. But this couldn't overcome the fact that the enterprise was inefficient and over-extended. Its relatively small production was divided among three factories, for example. For 1913, the year in which Fred Tone left to pursue other automotive interests, Underslungs were fitted with electric starters and lights, which had been introduced just a year before on the Cadillac. A six-cylinder engine was also offered. In an attempt to stave off the inevitable, the 1914 Underslung models were introduced in April, 1913, and W j Equipped with the luxury of Quad Captain's Seats WINDSTAR Windstar GL rated "Best Buy" by Carguide Magazine! Equipped with: Electronic Stereo with Cassette Luggage Rack Air Conditioning Sport Appearance Package -Sport Wheel Covers -Running Boards - Two-Tone Paint . )fi PER MONTH l j a if t 24 MONTH LEASE with $2,685 Downpayment After $750 Lease Cash deducted OFFER! fri . K Slit" Edmonton Journal photo low engine from scraping ground - they were very handsome cars indeed. ' Unfortunately, the company went into I bankruptcy in November 1913 and an- other interesting and innovative car ; had left the scene. The reason for the Underslung's ' demise seems to have been linked to two things. First, the company wasn't well managed, and second, it stuck to high quality expensive models when the marketplace was moving in the direction of low-priced, utilitarian vehi-; cles like the Model T Ford. '' That, sadly, would be the epitaph for ; many of the grand old marques. Bill Vance is the author of Reflections on Automotive History (Eramosa Valley Publishing; '', $18.50 paperback, $28.50 hardcover). He -welcomes suggestions for column topics. Write to Wheels, the Citizen, 1101 Baxter Rd., P.O. Box 5020, Ottawa K2C 3M4, e-mail to . or fax to 726-1198. 6 - 9 -- - . &St ' ALTA VISTA DRIVE WALKLEY ROAD Xn HUNT CLUB ROAD j DONNELLY'S OTTAWA FORD SALES 2496 Bank Street 733-6931 ORLEANS ST. JOSEPH BLVD. I YOUVILLE DRIVE j LOCATION I D4 QUEENSWAY JIM KEAY LINCOLN MERCURY 1 1438YouvilkDr.-0rteans 841-10101-800-265-9211 CHOYDEN AVE.- "J' -. jeS- LINCOLN HEIGHTS MERCURY 1 377 Richmond Road 829-21 20 MONTREAL ROAD E OQILVIE RD. t i ST. LAURE Z 5 CENTRE3 ? S CANADIAN QUE ENS WAY " TIHE I STERLING FORD ) 1425 Ogilvie Road 741 -3720 HUNT CLUB ROAD AIHPOHT OOLFLAND BEAVER LINCOLN MERCURY 660 Hunt Club Road 733-0950 - CAR LINO AVE. QUE ENS WAY CAMPBELL FORD 1 1 500 Carting Avenue 725-361 1 I I liftoff is ilgned back to Mti. Firn month') payment and wcutity deposit required. - n"'",h '"' ,,om f0fd Credit to quXiid mail on oved credit

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