The Indianapolis Automobile Industry

A History, 1893–1939


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SKU: 9781476666914 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

In 1893, Indianapolis carriage maker Charles Black created a rudimentary car—perhaps the first designed and built in America. Within 15 years, Indianapolis was a major automobile industry center rivaling Detroit, and known for quality manufacturing and innovation—the aluminum engine, disc brakes, aerodynamics, superchargers, and the rear view mirror were first developed there. When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909, hometown manufacturers Marmon, Stutz and Duesenberg dominated the track. The author covers their histories, along with less well known contributors to the industry, including National, American, Premier, Marion, Cole, Empire, LaFayette, Knight-Lyons and Hassler.

About the Author(s)

A native of Indianapolis, Sigur E. Whitaker, is the great-great-niece of James Allison, one of the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A retired banker, she lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Sigur E. Whitaker
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 319
Bibliographic Info: 88 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6691-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2938-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 2
1. In the Beginning 7
2. A Seed Is Planted 16
3. Indianapolis-Built Cars Dominate Racing 37
4. Indianapolis-Built Cars Continue to Dominate Racing 53
5. Stutz Cars Make an Entrance 78
6. National Leads the Way 94
7. Legislation Threatens the Indianapolis Auto Industry 106
8. Adopting the ­Six-Cylinder Car 121
9. Stutz Named Car of the Year 132
10. The Marvelous Marmon 34 148
11. The War Years 161
12.  Peace Brings Significant Growth 174
13. Overcapacity and an Economic Recession 181
14.  The Duesenberg Brothers Unveil Their Automobile 191
15. Industry Under Stress 197
16. Duesenberg Dominates Racing 218
17. E. L. Cord Buys Duesenberg 229
18. Then There Were Three 233
19. The End Comes 248
Chapter Notes 257
Bibliography 282
Index 307

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent”—The Automobile
  • “Scrupulous attention to detail…extensive notes and references, but it stands alone in gifting the automotive historian with a compelling and comprehensive picture of the early years and up until the end days of Indianapolis as a powerhouse of the early industry…excellent photographs…this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who has a passion for the founders and innovators in the industry as well as those who cover books related to motor racing.”—SAH Journal