SPORTIEST OF ALL BRASS ERA CARS?
The American Underslung might be the sportiest of all brass era cars thanks to its unique design by Fred Tone, American’s chief designer. While most brass era cars were built with the frame over the suspension, Tone’s design placed the frame under the suspension, giving the car its lower stance. But don’t call it a lowrider.
“This version is called a Traveler” collector Corky Coker says with a smile. “It’s a 48 horsepower, five passenger car. The interesting thing about the American Underslung is it has forty-one by four-and-a-half inch tires. The tires are the largest diameter tires in the brass era car range.”
With thirty-two inch rims that’s more than twice the diameter of most modern cars. Based in Indianapolis American Motors Company produced cars from 1905 to 1914.“This car was restored in the 1950’s, it’s a wonderful car, a great tour car.” – Corky Coker
This Traveler, car number 0967, would have cost about $4250 new. “It’s a great, original car [that] came from the Barney Pollard collection. Pollard collected so many brass cars in the 1940s and 1950s that he stood them on end in a barn.”
With the lower center of gravity came a sportier look, better handling and improved safety from roll-overs at higher speeds which led the marketers at American to coin the slogan: “The Safest Car On Earth”.
If you own the American Underslung with some of the largest diameter tires of the brass era, it’s helpful to have good source for rare and custom tires. Somehow we think Corky will be okay.
_Vintage Auto TV_
Story by Guy Smith
Photography by Matthew Emmer & Guy Smith
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