Stevens-Duryea was an American manufacturer of automobiles in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, between 1901 and 1915 and from 1919 to 1927.
The company was founded after a falling-out between J. Frank Duryea and his brother Charles in 1898. In 1900 Frank went on to form Hampden Automobile and Launch Company (Springfield) where he developed a new automobile and looked for a manufacturer to produce it. J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company, who were about to enter the developing car business, entered into a partnership with Frank and took over the factory of steam carand bicycle maker Overman (car company) (sharing the premises for several months).
|Founder||J. Frank Duryea|
|Headquarters||Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, United States|
Stevens-Duryea's first product was a two-cylinder, 5 hp Runabout that sold for $1,200.00 in 1901. No production numbers are known for 1901 but the firm produced 61 cars in 1902 and 483 in 1903. (A 1903 example can be seen at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.) By 1904 the runabout, a tube chassis 6 hp (4.5 kW) flat twin buggy runabout victoria, was called the Model L. It had a flat-mounted water-cooled straight twin, situated amidships of the car, four speed gearbox (three forward, one reverse), wire wheels, full-elliptic springs, and tiller steering. Weighing 1300 lb (590 kg), it sold at US$1300. This would be imported to Britain by Joseph Baker, but would not succeed there; in the U.S., it would survive several years. It was joined in 1905 by the US$2500 Model R, an aluminum-bodied, five-seat, 20 hp four with three-speed gearbox and live axle.
The model line grew in 1906, adding a US$2400 runabout and a US$3300 limousine. There was also the new Big Six, with a huge 9.6 liter six-cylinder motor, seven-seater tulipwood body, weighing 2900lbs. (1315 kg), at US$5000.
In 1907, both the L and R were dropped, and Stevens-Duryea focused on sixes. The company still put four-cylinder engines in its 1908 Model X and 1909 Model XXX. After 1909, it made only six-cylinder engines. The shortage of skilled labor hampered the company; only some fifty units were sold in 1904, and maximum production did not exceed 100 a year.
The 1915 Model D was the company's last new design, an 80 hp (60 kW) 472ci (7740cc) six. It was this year Frank Duryea sold out; production stopped in 1915 because of financial problems and the plant was sold to New England Westinghouse Company. Several former employees bought the name and goodwill and in 1919 restarted production of the D as the Model E, at a stratospheric US$9500 (at a time when a physician might earn US$3000 a year).
A nicely preserved example of a 1914 Stevens-Duryea is on display at the Winery at the Biltmore Estate. George Vanderbilt had purchased a 1913 model, but traded it in for 1914 since the latter had electric rather than oil-burning headlamps.
This did not improve the company's prospects, and it was purchased by Ray Owen (of Owen Magnetic) in 1923 to produce gas and electric cars under the Rauch and Lang brand, in a factory next to the Stevens-Duryea factory. A new model Stevens-Duryea was announced, the Model G, but this was basically the same as the Model E. After only 28 cars were sold in 1924, manufacture of the Model G continued on an orders received basis until 1927.