1913 CHALMERS MODEL 18 SEVEN PASSENGER TOURING
Chassis No. 34269
Dark red with black belting, fenders and red pinstriping with black tufted leather interior and a black top
Engine: six cylinder, 54hp; Gearbox: four-speed manual with reverse; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic leaf springs with rear three-quarter elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: two wheel rear brakes. Right hand drive.
In 1908 Hugh Chalmers teamed up with former Thomas-Detroit executives Howard Coffin and Roy Chapin. The duo of Coffin and Chapin had just set out on their own, dissatisfied under the guidance of executive E.R. Thomas. They had hoped to find a financial backer who shared their automotive vision and as luck would have it, Hugh Chalmers came into the picture. Chalmers had been an extremely successful marketing man at the National Cash Register Company and, though he did not have any experience in the motoring world, he felt he would try his hand. By July of that year the Chalmers-Detroit Motor Car Company was founded. Within a few short years Hugh Chalmers had diversified his interests and included the Hudson name as a subsidiary company. After differences arose between Chalmers and the team of Chapin and Coffin, the two companies were split with Chalmers staying with his namesake and the duo joining the Hudson Motor Car Company.
The clever marketing genius that he was, Hugh Chalmers knew that if his cars were to gain notoriety they would have to race and win. In 1908 his cars did just that as two Chalmers finished first and second in the grueling Jericho Sweepstakes of Long Island, New York. In the years that followed, Chalmers continued to race, perform quite impressively and even win on occasion. This strategy did indeed pay off as sales increased and the clientele did as well. It is reported that even families like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts owned Chalmers motor cars. Chalmers made a point of putting the right kind of people in his cars, he even donated a brand new car to baseball's annual Most Valuable Player. His four cylinder motor cars did quite well in the company's early period and Chalmers took the next step forward and introduced a new six cylinder for the 1912 model line. By 1913 Chalmers offered a variety of alternatives including a respectable four cylinder, 30 horsepower, 115 inch wheelbase Model 16, a 118 inch wheelbase, 30 horsepower, four cylinder Model 17, as well as the car on offer here, the Model 18. The 1913 Model 18 Chalmers was the company's top-of-the line product and was available in six different body styles. All Model 18s were six cylinder cars and featured a horsepower rating of almost 55 and utilized a 130 inch wheelbase chassis. They were well received and regarded as being one of the better, more reasonably priced American automobiles available at the time.
This rather well powered car appears to be an honest example of the Model 18. It was purchased for the Browning Collection in 1988 from Mr. Jim Dillon. Since then it has received minimal restoration attention as it is understood that only the radiator and interior were redone. The paintwork appears quite old and is showing extensive wear in many areas. The motor and engine bay appear very original, however, an earlier restoration is quite likely. The underbody shows equal wear and lends to the car's well driven appearance. Currently, the Chalmers is fitted with a Rayfield carburetor, a Jordan motometer, dual side mount spares and a rear mounted trunk. A Warner speedometer and Gray and Davis amperes gauges are also equipped in the driver's area of the car. The brightwork appears to have some imperfections and blemishing throughout. This Model 18 Chalmers has dual head and side lamps, a fold down windshield and a Gray and Davis tail lamp numbered 115.
Though presentable as is, this rare example offers the new owner both the option of current use or the chance to embark on an extensive and complete restoration. With a healthy horsepower rating of nearly 55, this Model 18 Seven Passenger Touring car offers both comfort and performance at a fair price, much as it did in 1913. The Chalmers would undoubtedly be a welcome entrant and participant at many Horseless Carriage events and tours.