The Big Car Database


The Sandusky Automobile Company was an automobile manufacturer in Sandusky, Ohio, United States, from 1902 to 1904. It was located at 1114 Camp Street.


The Sandusky Automobile Company was founded by James J. Hinde who "had been a successful paper manufacturer who entered the automobile business with the belief that a small, reasonably priced car could capture a mass market." This concept influenced Henry Ford. The Lucas County/Maumee Valley Historical Society concluded that "the Sandusky Automobile Company may be far more significant because of the passing interest of Henry Ford than for the number of cars they built and sold. At the time Ford was not yet a manufacturing magnate. He was a successful engineer turned inventor, who had given up his profession to enter the automotive field." Although the company did not succeed, James J. Hinde made "conceptual contributions" to "the production strategy of Henry Ford." 


The company made an open runabout car, seating two people. The 1903 model had a "piano-box body, and a rounded bonnet front on top of the dash", with a 5-horsepower single-cylinder engine water-cooled by natural gravity circulation. Power was transmitted to the rear axle by two chains. Weight of the car was 600 lb (270 kg). This car was exhibited at the New York Automobile Show at Madison Square Garden in 1903.

The 1904 model had a one cylinder, 7 hp, water-cooled engine, a planetary transmission and a sliding gear suspension. It had a 65" wheelbase. One version, called the Sandusky, was advertised at $650, in a review of 88 current models in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly.

Sandusky also made a somewhat more expensive car, the Courier, with similar specifications, but a steering wheel instead of a steering lever. The 1904 model was advertised at $800, and at $700. The 1905 Courier F was a two-seater roadster that weighed 1,100 pounds (500 kg), had a 70-inch wheelbase, wooden body, and steel frame. The engine was one-cylinder and 7 horsepower, with a transmission that had two forward speeds and reverse.

The Sandusky is equipped with a water cooled single cylinder horizontal engine that developed 4 horsepower. Power is transmitted to the rear axles by two chains, and this double drive insures against a complete break-down on the road, for if one chain is disabled the other will bring the car home. The carburetor is throttled by means of a foot push-button, and there is also a muffler cutout. It was claimed that three gallons of gasoline carried in the tank was sufficient to take the car 100 miles. The high speed claimed for the car is 25 miles per hour. The car weighed 600 pounds.

We are looking for additional Sandusky automobile photographs or vintage Sandusky advertising for this web page. In the mean time enjoy this Rands Mfg. Co. Automobile Top ad from a vintage 1916 magazine.

The Rand Mfg Co. formerly Wheeler Mfg. Co. produced tops for any make of American Automobiles. This company had a large out of 5000 tops per annum. The old B&W photo (featured above) is of a 1901 Autocar.


The Courier was a brass era car manufactured by Sandusky Automobile Company in Sandusky, Ohio in 1904 and 1905.

The 1904 Courier was a runabout model. It could seat 2 passengers and sold for US$650, making it one of the lowest-priced cars on the market at the time. The flat-mounted single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 7 horsepower (5.2 kW). A 2-speed sliding transmission was fitted. The angle iron-framed car weighed 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and used Concord springs.