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info request; COLUMBIA automobiles; mfg 1917 - 1924

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by atch, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 4,372


    this is a restoration, not hot rod, information request. please don't read further if this upsets you.

    i'm hoping that a hamber can help a friend (Bob Emery) fill in some blanks. bob owns two Columbia automobiles, a '23 touring car and a '23 sedan. there were about 18,000 columbias manufactured between 1917 and 1924. in the detroit area. in a building that formerly was the hudson factory until hudson outgrew it and moved. the building is still standing and the building's owner has given bob copies of all the info that he has. bob has also spent time in a couple of libraries in the detroit area looking for info. there must be many of these cars left, but bob only knows of four.

    these cars were assembled with lots of purchased components; such as continental engines, trannies of a name i recognized but can't remember (borg-warner maybe?) and a long list of other manufacturers of individual parts i recognized.

    sooooooooooo... does anyone out there know the whereabouts of any more columbias? any history of the company?

    bob isn't a hot rodder. wouldn't know what the hamb was all about if someone explained it to him. BUT, he is a good friend of mine and i'd like to help him in his quest for info if i can.

    THANX for any/all help y'all can give.
  2. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,992


    Here's a little info.....

    I looked through the indexes for 16 years worth of Automobile Quarterly and also through the indexes for all of the years of Special Interest Auto magazine (yeah, I'm a closet antiquer, too !!), but there were only brief references to Columbia automobiles. One source said there was (2) different Columbia cars and a third manufacturer made the Columbia Electric car. Your friend will have to make sure he's on the trail of the right company !!

    If I was doing the research and was serious about it, I'd join the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) and make use of their extensive library. They'll do searches for members, charging a nominal fee for their time. If your friend can get to Hershey, PA., I believe they'll let you do your own research, like any other library.

    Also, I understand the Detroit Public Library has one of the largest automobile historical and literature archives in the world.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. [​IMG]
  3. Foul
    Joined: Mar 25, 2002
    Posts: 643


    flipped real quick through the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 and found more than a few entries for cars called Columbia - about 10. The one I'm assuming you're referring to is under COLUMBIA SIX - Detroit, Michigan - 1916-1924

    "In 1915, the executive suite of the King Motor Car Company in Detroit became a temporarily lonely place as the firm's president, sales manager, and manufacturing superintendent took an abrupt leave to start their own company. Joining J.G. Bayerline, Walter L. Daly, and T.A. Bollinger in the formation of the Columbia Motors Company of Detroit were William E. Metzger, one of the founders of the E-M-F Company, and A.T. O'Connor, formerly of Olds and Packard. With a roster like that, success seemed assured - and for a while it wass. The Columbia Six was an assembled car, but a particularly fine one: Continental engines, Timken axles and roller bearings, Detroit Self-Lubricating springs, Warner transmission and steering gear, Borg & Beck clutch, Stromberg carburetor, Harrison radiator. But one feature that belonged exclusively to Columbia was its motor temperature control: a thermostat placed just above the fan that automatically opened the radiator shutters as temperature increased. The Columbia Six was probably the first car in its class to feature such a device. Most Columbias sold for under $2,000, and were nicely finished. The $1,475 Sport Model, for example, had a walnut instrument panel, French beveled plate window, and hassocks instead of the usual footrail. An even sportier model was rather cleverly called the Columbia Six Shooter. "The Gem of the Highway," ads said. When sales reached 6,000 units in 1923, however, the men who had so wisely guided Columbia's fortunes thus far became overenthusiastic. Anticipating a boom, they acquired plants formerly occupied by Hudson and the B.F. Everitt Company, and bought out the Liberty Motor Car Company across town in Detroit. Both Liberty and Columbia went bust the following year."

    total 1923 production - 5,903, no breakdown for body styles.

    we generally take the info in here with a grain of salt, but it's correct the majority of the time.

  4. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,739


    atch, I think there a few HAMB members that are into restorations and automotive history along with rods beside myself. My interest is in the Connecticut built Columbias, which are not related to your friends cars. I'd log onto the AACA Fouun at and post the questions. The AACA library may have some info on file that can help.
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

    Joined: May 13, 2002
    Posts: 3,257


    If he needs parts (mechanical)I have NOS in stock.
  6. columbia owner
    Joined: Feb 17, 2007
    Posts: 1

    columbia owner
    from Australia

    sorry for the delay in replying
    I own a 1923 colvmbia six touring car. I have been keeping a register of columbia cars since 1966. If your friend would like to contact me at I may be able to help.
    Keith Potter
  7. Here's a Columbia boattail roadster ('24 ?) that may still be for sale here. I found this thing in the woods north of here many years ago. It had been disassembled and the parts were either buried or scattered throughout the woods. It got restored after two different old car guys took a shot at collecting all the parts. I helped with the fabrication of some parts.

    Attached Files:

  8. flathead okie
    Joined: May 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,480

    flathead okie

    Well I wouldn't exactly call it a boattail, but it sure is intresting to me.

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