In 1886, the Zimmerman Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Auburn Indiana to manufacture buggies for local sale.
In 1907, the officers of this company were Elias Zimmerman President, Franklin T. Zimmerman Vice President & General Manager and John Zimmerman, Secretary-Treasurer. Elias Zimmerman was father to Franklin and John Zimmerman. The Zimmerman Manufacturing Company produced an American Automobile from 1907 to 1915.
Entry into the American Automotive market was not difficult for the makers of carriages and buggies. The Zimmerman Manufacturing Company had a basic chassis and other components on hand from the buggy line. Wheels, running lights, steering gear and other necessary items were readily available from other manufacturers. Including engines that were manufactured in Auburn Indiana by the Model Gas Engine Co.
1909 Zimmerman Runabout
The first Zimmerman was a Runabout or High Wheeler shown above. This two passenger automobile was equipped with a two cylinder 12 horsepower Model Gas Engine and solid rubber tires. According to this ad the Zimmerman was offered in both a Planetary transmission and a friction drive.
1909 Zimmerman Runabout
In this 1909 magazine ad (see above) The Zimmerman was offered in four models, three different High Wheeled Runabouts and a Surrey. The vintage photo below is the Surrey mention in the above advertisement.
1909 Zimmerman Surrey or Touring Car
A surrey shown above is usually described as an open four passenger automobile, often equipped with a fringed top. About 1910 the Surrey was also referred to as a Touring Car.
After the first two cylinder model Zimmerman's were successfully built by The Zimmerman Manufacturing Company, four and six cylinder models were in produced in 1910. The Model Z-35 shown above had a 115 inch wheel base, a four cylinder engine with 35 horsepower. Prices in 1910 ranged from $650.00 to $1,500.00.
By 1911, horsepower on the four cylinder was increased to 40. Additional features included a 117 inch wheel base and a new selective type sliding gear transmission. Four styles of bodies were produced in 1911 and prices ranged from $1500.00 to 1700.00.
There are some reports that the de Soto Motor Car Co. of Auburn who produced the de Soto automobile was apparently a six cylinder Zimmerman with a different name plate.
In 1911 The Zimmerman Automobile Co. was taken over by The Auburn Automobile Co. In 1915 the Zimmerman automobile line was discontinued and all assets purchased by the Auburn Automobile Company.