1900 - 1926

Apperson

Information about Apperson

Nestled in the heart of Kokomo, Indiana, the Apperson brand emerged as a significant player in the American automobile landscape from 1901 to 1926. The company’s inception can be traced back to brothers Edgar and Elmer Apperson, who branched out after leaving Haynes-Apperson. Initially, vehicles produced under the Apperson brand continued to feature a FR layout-mounted flat-twin engine, which was soon followed by a horizontal four.

By 1904, Apperson had notably expanded its range, offering two models equipped with vertical fours. Among them, the 1904 Apperson Touring Car stood out. Priced at US$6000, this car boasted a vertical-mounted straight-4 engine situated at the front, which delivered an impressive 40 hp. With its steel frame, the vehicle weighed 2800 lb and had a wheelbase of 96 inches. A unique aspect of this model was its inclusion of electric lights—a genuine innovation for the era—and a modern cellular radiator.

In terms of high-performance vehicles, 1906 was a pivotal year for Apperson. A 95 hp four-cylinder model was introduced at the astonishing price of $10,500. 1907 marked the birth of the iconic Jackrabbit speedsters, featuring a 60 hp engine and priced at $5000. The influence of the Jackrabbit was so pervasive that for some time, the entire range bore the “Jack Rabbit” name.

In the years that followed, Apperson continued to innovate. By 1913, a 32.4 hp four-cylinder and a 33.7 hp six-cylinder were added to the line-up. A 33.8 hp 90-degree V-8 engine, with a displacement of 5.5 L, was introduced in 1914. Two years later, the “Roadplane” concept was launched. Although not referring to a specific model, the term “Roadplane” encapsulated a marketing vision devised by Elmer Apperson. It was applied to various models, such as the “Chummy Roadster” and the “Touring” car. Elmer even patented the “Chummy Roadster” design, signaling its unique contribution to automotive history.

Further milestones include the launch of the “Silver-Apperson” in 1917, designed by Conover T. Silver and later renamed the “Anniversary” in 1919. By 1923, Apperson had introduced a sedan proprietary with six cylinders, followed by a Lycoming eight-cylinder in 1924.

Despite these achievements, challenges loomed on the horizon. Sales began to dwindle for Apperson and its early collaborator, Haynes. Rumors of a corporate reunion failed to materialize, leading to the unfortunate cessation of Apperson in 1926, even though four-wheel brakes had been introduced in that year’s models.

The Apperson brand remains etched in automotive history as an emblem of innovation, luxury, and performance. Though its journey has come to an end, the impact and legacy of Apperson automobiles continue to be studied and admired by auto enthusiasts and historians alike.

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