The 1908 Stearns: “Cyclonic Action”

October 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Vintage 1908 advertisement for the Stearns 30-60 H.P. Model automobile

“Its action upon hills is cyclonic”

This great ad from late 1908 for the F. B. Stearns Company’s “high quality motor cars” claims both “cyclonic action” on hills, and speeds on flat ground “faster…than any one cares to travel.” Indeed, the company was one of the early manufacturers of sports cars. As points out, Stearns was known for its innovation when it came to design and technology, and “would even make sport car models that would become popular with early racing drivers” such as Al Poole and Cyrus Patschke.

For a very thorough overview of Frank Stearns and his company you can see this excellent article, which points out that he “from the beginning built powerful cars for the well-to-do sporting motorist, which could be called one of America’s first sport cars. Early Stearns cars were among the largest and most powerful cars built incorporating the latest in engineering design. As early as 1901, Stearns were successfully competing in endurance runs….Then for the 1907 season, at the age of 28, Frank Stearns introduced the superb 30-60 HP four-cylinder, which sold for $4,600.00 and the legendary 45-90 HP 800 cu. in. six, retailing for $6,250.00. In 1907 the 30-60 HP had 19 important victories, during which it set three world’s records.” Note that $6,250 in 1907 is the equivalent of about $150,000 today.

The article concludes by claiming that Stearns automobiles were for a brief moment the “King of American motor cars,” and that they “were simply too good and too important to be so utterly ignored as they have been by many historians of the American automobile industry. It is a motor car which truly deserves more attention than it has received, either in its time or ours.”

The F.B. Stearns factory building in Cleveland remained standing until 2001, when it was razed.




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