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The Elcar Automobile & The Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Co.

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Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company

In August 1915, William and George Pratt invited a number of individuals to invest in their company, The Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co. The brothers wanted to generate additional cash to fund capital improvements. The corporate name was then changed to Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company.

The Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co. starting in 1873 built horse drawn carriages, a Motor Buggy in 1908 and a great American Automobile called the Pratt-Elkhart (1909-1915).

The Elkhart Carriage and Harness Mfg. Co. was a phenomenal success in the early 1900s and became one of Indiana's largest businesses by the turn of the century. The Pratt Motor Buggy reflected its roots. However, the Pratt Brothers realized in 1914 that the Pratt-Elkhart was priced too high at $2,000.00 for most people.

So in late 1915 they designed and produced the 1916 Elcar with a four cylinder engine A five passenger Elcar touring car and a two passenger "Clover Leaf" Elcar Roadster was produced for a low price of $795.00. A four passenger touring roadster was added to the 1917 line. All three models were listed at $845.00 in 1917 advertising.

1916 Elcar Advertising
1916 Elcar Advertising
1920 Elcar Advertising
1920 Elcar Advertising

Click on image above to see full size.

When the country was gearing up for World War I, the company destroyed most of the horse drawn side of the business to make way for the building of ambulance bodies for the army in May, 1918.

Elcar Logo

At the end of World War I in 1919, automobile production resumed for The Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company with a carry over of the 1918 models. Like most manufacturers, Elkhart Carriage and Motor Car Company had an immediate post war boom period. 4,000 Elcar units were produced in 1919 in spite of material shortages from their suppliers. In 1920 production decreased to 2600 units due to a tightening of credit.

1925 Elcar Roadster
1925 Elcar Roadster

In 1921 William B. Pratt and George B. Pratt decided to retire from the automobile business. Their company was sold to a number of former Auburn executives and the name changed to Elcar Motor Company. 1900 automobiles were sold that year and 1300 the following year. About 2000 automobiles were sold each year from 1923 to 1929. However, the "Great Depression" changed this company like many other automobile manufacturers. By the end of 1931, The Elcar Motor Company was bankrupt and only built a few Taxi cabs from 1931 to 1933, when they closed the doors for good.

1929 Elcar Magazine Ad
1929 Elcar Magazine Ad
1929 Elcar Magazine Ad
1929 Elcar Magazine Ad

Click on image above to see full size.

1917 Darling touring Car
1921 Elcar Touring Car

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