Stevens-Duryea Model U "Little Six"

Leo Warila's Model U at the Princeton Auto Museum
Leo Warila's Model U in the 1954 Glidden Tour
The Model U as shown in The Horseless Age in Dec., 1906

Stevens-Duryea was a maker of fine quality automobiles from 1901 through 1915 in Chicopee falls, MA (the company was sold to Ray Owen, of Owens Magnetic, who tried to produce gas / electric cars - this venture failed in 1924 - but Stevens continued to sell cars from inventory through 1927). J. Frank Duryea with his brother Charles are well known automotive pioneers here in the US and Frank is most often credited with the design of the car he drove to victory in the 1895 Chicago Times-Herald race.  By 1898, the bothers had a falling out and Frank went out on his own, starting the Hampden Automobile Company in 1900. While looking for production capabilities, he met the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company, who were interested in entering the automobile business and a partnership was born. Stevens-Duryea introduced their first car in 1901 - a two cylinder of Frank's design.

The Model U "little Six" is a 35 hp, six cylinder car with the cylinders cast individually. It was introduced in 1906 and was continued through 1908. In 1907 they introduced the Model S "Big Six" with a larger bore and stroke producing 50 hp but of similar construction to the "Little Six". In the press the company made may claims to the industry moving to all six cylinder cars, however Stevens never stopped producing 4 cylinder cars (the model R and in 1908 the model X). The "Big Six" was campaigned in the period in various reliability trials and won the MacDonald & Campbell Trophy in 1907 (awarded by the Quaker City Motor Club to the fastest car over the course set - Philadelphia to Harrisburg).

Dad remembers the 1906 (sometimes noted as a 1907) Model U of Leo Warila pictured here, from his early days in the VMCCA. I have found reference to two 1907 Model U touring cars existing today - one of which is known to be a different car than Leo Warila's. The henry Ford Museum also holds a beautiful 1908 Model U Limousine.

James Frank Duryea passed away in 1967.
The Model S as shown in The Horseless Age in Dec., 1906


Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal of Jan., 1907

Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal of Jan., 1907


1 comment:

  1. Stevens-Duryea suspended production between 1915 and 1920 - while the company was free of debt, banking interests who could supply financial support wanted a cheaper range of models, which James Frank Duryea wouldn't agree to. The factory was sold for $1,000,000 to Westinghouse.

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