It has been an interesting week ....
In the course of picking up this 1909 Buick Model 10
I had the opportunity to learn about this 1912 Crow-Elkhart Touring
Which led me down the Detective Trail to find what I could about
The Orphan Indiana Car Manufacturer.
I randomly selected an image to post on Facebook - a single image - of this car:
Which - in turn - led to a text message received the same day I posted:
“ Saw your post on AACA Facebook page.
My wife’s great and great great grandfathers founded that company. “
This led to a few phone calls with the message sender ( Bobby ).
Bobby & His Wife discovered their connection to the car maker
while cleaning out a relatives old papers.
Bobby began a search in earnest for a vehicle which led him to his 1912
he bought just a couple years ago.
Their family’s association was from 1909 to 1918 when the company was sold.
His research had turned up (4) remaining vehicles ....
His 1912 Touring
A car in South Dakota in poor condition.
A 1918 Speedster once owned by the Rockefeller family & then passed
into the care of the prestigious Owls Head Museum in Owls Head, Maine
which sold it years ago to a private party.
A 1913 Touring in the Stone Mountain Museum in Georgia.
That car - turned out - was the car I laid eyes on.
Very interesting Jim. Elkhart is only a few miles from here. Good looking cat to.Thanks for sharing!
(3) years before I was born - a picture appeared on
the front page of a Newman, Georgia newspaper in 1957 .....
A young Atlanta car collector - Tommy Protsman poses
with his 1912 Crow-Elkhart Touring .......
Tommy was the founder of the Stone Mountain Museum
in Stone Mountain, Georgia ...:...
That car - is the same car I laid eyes on .....
(Message edited by enclosed_ford_transport on March 05, 2018)
Thank you for this, I noted that you slipped two pictures of the Crow Elkhart into one of our classified ads and was curious about it. Quite a scare make it is a treat to see one!
I was tired when I was uploading images for the 1913 Touring T classified ad.
This story is unfolding into a remarkable journey.
It will tell the story of a mid-level entry race car manufactured by an assembly line car company in Elkhart, Indiana capitalized & founded by a Doctor who moved there from California.
This particular custom ordered automobile features a rare acetylene starter system in lieu of a magneto.
Passion & Love ....
Truly great stories have these elements - an automobile can inspire a husband to buy a car his wife desires when they tour a Museum in Stone Mountain, Georgia years ago ....
Documentation accompanying the car shows it appears to be ordered
by a Horseshoe Company Owner in Bowman, Georgia.
The engine is a Monobloc - the car builder name is in the casting.
It will be interesting to learn who was instrumental
in the design of the early Touring Models .....
Documentation from Bobby ( 1912 Crow-Elkhart Touring owner )
should disclose the founding individuals of the company.
Research might link one or more of those folks to other
regional auto makers.
Look at the incorporation of the logo in the rear window of the top ....
Compare the 1912 Touring ( red car ) with the 1913 Touring ( blue car )
Both have original factory tops ....
Notice the difference ?
Red car = black top
Blue car = white top
My gratitude to Skip Seaton of Skip's Restorations in New Salem for his assistance in researching this story.
We had lunch yesterday - Skip is the recent recipient of more awards - from the AACA for his multi year restoration of a 1942 Lincoln Zephyr Convertible.
I did a story on one of my visits to his shop last year here on the forum:
Great story Jim! Thanks for sharing it.
It is ongoing .....
This is a story that needed both car owners to share
information in order to be told.
The coincidences are remarkable in the two stories
and they directly relate to each other.
I look forward to receiving documentation about
Crow & Crow Elkhart over the next few days from Bobby.
When he married his wife (25) years ago - there was the family story about the involvement of distant relatives on her side owning a car company in Indiana.
(3) years ago his wife’s mother passed away - when her paperwork was gone thru - the specifics became known.
The coincidences continue to amaze me ....
This letter from Crow to the Horseshoe Company referencing
the purchase of Lee’s 1913 Touring
was included in the paperwork that came with his car.
The date on this letter is May 25th - the birth date of Bobby’s mother in law who passed away ....
What are the brass / copper lines running from the firewall to the fixtures in the access plugs on the engine. Are these oil lines or ?
Thanks for the info.
Acetylene starter gas lines
I wonder if this car was also equiped with shower of sparks? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Hey Jim - wheredja pick up that Buick? I saw it's twin at a car show at the Codman (distant relatives) Estate in Lincoln, MA a few years back.
It was a really nice little car.
Courtesy of Skip ....
As Skip pointed out - looks like it was an active touring car back in 1987 - note the region ....
I am updating this thread because Lee - the owner of the Crow - called me a couple days ago - he has decided to put it up for sale.
Documentation accompanying this car shows correspondence between the manufacturer & the original owner.
It is believed that owner or the family sold the car to Tommy Protsman prior to 1957.
Lee bought the car from the Protsman family at Stone Mountain Museum in Georgia.
That would most likely make him the third owner.
This is the only surviving example known to exist for the model year.
Please PM or call me if you have a serious interest.
Update for Janet
FJ, Along with the great stories, I enjoy your photos. The detail is usually fantastic.
Hello FJ & All - The photos of the dash-firewall of the Crow Elkhart shows both a rare acetylene Prest-O-Starter and a Briggs (not related to Stratton) Magneto. This combination is on my 1912 Michigan Model K (another orphan auto brand). Also the the water jacket cover that shows the casting "CROW ELKHART" appears to be a shape reminiscent of the BUDA engine in our MICHIGAN. I'd need a photo of the motor to confirm its a BUDA. I'd also be very curious to know if the owners you met have used the acetylene starter. I'm heavily into restoration of our MICHIGAN, which was purchased new by my wife's great grandfather. See more info at: http://michiganmotorcar.com/nuts-bolts-2/prest-o-starter-acetylene-starter/ and http://michiganmotorcar.com/what-is-an-acetylene-starter/ Thanks, Craig in Carlsbad CA.
Lee has not ran the car.
Skip Seaton feels it is a mid range manufacturer or higher.
He believes it is more of a race car than a touring car.
I have more images.
I'd love to see a photo of the engine - left & right sides. Here is our Michigan with a BUDA model "T", engine. 40 HP with 312 c.i.d.
The Michigan was an "assembled" automobile using components manufactured by other companies. I suspect that the Crow Elkhart was similarly "assembled". Briggs Magneto company was based in Elkhart IN and later became "Chicago Telephone Supply" currently known as CTS Corp.
Thanks for your posting - Craig in Carlsbad CA
According to Bobby ( read above ) - this Crow was a production line manufactured vehicle - the building still stands today.
(Message edited by enclosed_ford_transport on August 15, 2018)
Lets see, a model K (Michigan) and a model T (Buda engine). This thread is almost on topic!
All kidding aside, I love the non-Ford horseless carriages and have very much enjoyed the pictures (all of them).
I have seen a Crow Elkhart before, in a museum. But have seen several Michigan automobiles and know several of the owners. They are incredible cars, loved and some of them toured often by their owners. Although they are generally considered to be rare, the Bay Area Horseless Carriage Club (an HCCA Regional Group) has several of them among their membership. Craig Correll probably knows them. (If not, he needs to contact the club!)
Only a few manufacturers were totally "in house" in those days. Some of the biggest and best like Pierce Arrow and Packard were mostly in house, however even they used numerous parts from other suppliers. There were a lot of companies that made engines, but about a half dozen of them made most engines for about half of all automobile manufacturers (although most were lower production cars). Buda engines were and are considered by many to be among the best and highest performance of the many common engines used by numerous car companies. They also made excellent truck engines (maybe not so high performance?).
I am very curious as to who designed this Crow ....
The standard go to response is that a car was assembled from various components - that is not always the case.
(Message edited by enclosed_ford_transport on August 15, 2018)
FJ - Thanks for the photos. The engine does not appear to be a BUDA. BUDA usually enclosed the push rods, springs & valve stems. Also the intake & exhaust manifolds were usually together on the same side. The story of the Crow car is really fascinating - thanks for sharing it.
Wayne - I will contact the Bay Area HCCA group regarding other Michigan cars. This old car hobby is really great. You go to places, learn things and meet people you would otherwise never have the opportunity to know. And....... the introduction to it all is usually a Model T Ford...... smile....... (see, we're back on topic) Thanks Guys!