The Big Car Database


The Cameron was an automobile manufactured by the Cameron Car Company of Rhode Island from 1902 to 1906

Then in Brockton, Massachusetts from 1906 to 1908, then in Beverly, Massachusetts from 1909 to 1915, Norwalk, Connecticut in 1919, and finally in Stamford, Connecticut in 1920. No cars were produced from 1915 to 1918. The company made two, four, and six-cylinder models.

In 1903, Everet Cameron convinced a wealthy textile machinery manufacturer from Pawtucket, Rhode Island named James Brown to finance the production of a single cylinder gasoline-powered automobile. Cameron produced over five hundred single cylinder air cooled cars in 1903 and 1904. In late 1904, two and three cylinder cars were added to the line. 

The Cameron won the distinction of being the first air cooled car to reach the top of Mount Washington without a stop. It also won the dirt track half-mile record that year in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company produced cars until 1920. 

Although all the single cylinder cars were manufactured in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Cameron moved his company to eight other cities. Manufacturing moved to Brocton, Massachusetts, Beverly, Massachusetts, New London, Connecticut, Attica, Ohio, Alma, Michigan, West Haven, Connecticut, Norwalk, Connecticut, and finally to Stamford, Connecticut. No other car company in production had moved to more cities since the first cars were made at the Pawtucket facility. 

In 1920, after producing and selling only a handful of cars, the company ceased production forever. Everet Cameron then put his efforts into the design and manufacture of aviation and marine engines. 

For the past three years, Dick Shappy and Sean Brayton have been restoring one of the earliest known surviving examples of this rare and beautiful little piece of Americana.


The Cameron is known to have performed well in numerous racing events and hill-climbs at the time, including setting a half-mile world record at about this time in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The Cameron was produced in 7 different cities and under 8 different corporation names from 1901 to 1921. Financial trouble was the reason for each company name change and relocation.

The first Cameron was a small light gasoline runabout with a wheelbase of 72 inches, 40 inch tread and 28 inch wheels and tires. The body was suspended on semi-elliptic springs in the front and full elliptics in the rear.

The Cameron was equipped with an single cylinder air cooled engine that developed 5 horsepower. This engine had a bore of 3 1/2 inches and a stroke of 4 inches. The engine was located under the front hood of the car instead of under the seat. It had a sliding gear two speed transmission and shaft drive.

By 1903 the Cameron was larger and more powerful.  Horsepower was increased from 5 to 9, new was a fan for additional cooling and jump spark ignition. Wheelbase was increased from 72 inches to 76 inches. The body was made of air seasoned whitewood lumber and the frame was made of oak.

The 1903 Cameron Runabout was priced at $350.00 and $750.00 with a detachable Tonneau. Cameron advertisements claimed "A Satisfactory Light Family Car" and "We use brains and good materials".

Prior to 1912 and 1913 the Cameron Automobile had been distinguished by its separately cast air cooled cylinders. By 1912 water cooled engines were installed in the American Automobile called the Cameron.

In changing over from air cooling to water cooling, the Cameron Mfg. Co. was not been content with any half way measures and developed a type of motor that had a number of noteworthy features.

The 1912 and 1913 Cameron four cylinder engine was a long stroke high speed type. The Bore was 3 5/8 inches and had a stroke of 5 inches. It had a displacement of 206.4 inches and was rated at 30 horsepower. The transmission elements include a inverted cone clutch and Cameron direct drive four speed gearset on rear axle.

In 1912 and 1913 The Cameron Mfg. Co. assembled all of the Cameron automobiles in West Haven, CT. Parts and bodies were produced at other factories in Beverly, MA and Attica, Ohio. Prices ranged from $975.00 to $1,200.00.

Addition features of the 1912 and 1913 Cameron included a 115 inch wheel base, 32 inch wheels and tires, a special designed pointed radiator, electric lighting and starting, left drive with center control, mohair top with boot and side curtains, windshield, speedometer, tools, tire repair kit, air pump and a jack.