1910 Elmore Model 36 Demi-Tonneau

  • Brand: Elmore
  • Car Code: 150551

1910 Elmore Model 36 Demi-Tonneau

The Elmore is a curious footnote in the annals of American automotive history. Based in Clyde, Ohio, the company was founded by brothers James and Burton Becker in 1902. Like many in the pioneering days of the horseless carriage, the Beckers got their start in the bicycle business before gradually moving into motorized transport. Their first car, produced in 1900, featured a single-cylinder engine mounted in the middle of the chassis. They built about ten cars before incorporating Elmore Manufacturing Company in 1902, the name borrowed from a parcel of land where their father operated a stave mill. On the surface, the Beckers were just like hundreds of other starry-eyed young entrepreneurs vying for their part of this burgeoning market. But Elmore stood apart as one of the earliest adopters of the two-stroke engine and staunchly defended its merits for the entirety of the company’s existence.

Early advertisements touted the Elmore as “the only two-cylinder motor in the world that can be started without cranking!” and all subsequent Elmore marketing featured the tagline “the car that has no valves.” The Becker brothers were vehement evangelists for their chosen technology, and to their credit – did not waver in their support of it, despite doubting critics in the press. From 1902 through 1905, Elmores offered either single or two-cylinder engines, mounted amidships in the chassis. By 1906, Elmore introduced a redesigned model with a front-mounted engine and either a three or four-cylinder layout. The cars grew in size and power output, from 24 to 36 horsepower, and they even listed a 70-horsepower tourer in 1911! Admittedly, the power outputs were estimated and were probably considerably underrated due to the 2-stroke engine’s nature. Sales were steady, though never stellar, and annual production peaked at 648 units 1908, thanks in large part to the three-cylinder model’s popularity as a taxicab.

The novelty of Elmore’s engine technology caught the eye of Billy Durant, the infamous founder of General Motors. While on one of his notorious buying sprees, he purchased the Elmore company from the Becker brothers in 1909, reportedly for a generous sum of $500,000. Unfortunately, joining the GM empire did not help Elmore’s fortunes, and the company was dissolved after 1912 in the wake of Durant’s tumultuous ouster from GM by the board of directors.

As one of only a few known survivors of the fascinating American marque, this 1910 Elmore Model 46 Demi-Tonneau provides a glimpse back to the early days of motoring, when engineers bristled with creative experimentation. The Model 36 features a 254.4 cubic-inch four-cylinder, two-stroke engine, nominally rated for 36 horsepower – although the few who have experienced an Elmore suggest they were underrated.

Descriptions & Pictures by hymanltd

Production Start 1910
Country of origin USA