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The Lindsley Automobile & The J. V. Lindsley & Co

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The J. V. Lindsley & Company
Dowagiac, Michigan

In 1907 J. Victor Lindsley the son of a wealthy Lumberman in Dowagiac, Michigan wanted to build an American Automobile. He then established The J. V. Lindsley & Co in Chicago, Illinois. However, no automobiles were made there.

In Chicago Lindsley soon discovered that it takes money to make money.

So in 1908 he moved back to Dowagiac, Michigan looking for financial help from his father, J. A. Lindsley. With his father's financial assistance J. V. Lindsley bought out the Dowagiac Automobile Co. This company was organized in 1907 by machinists Frank Lake and Doras Neff.

1908 Lindsley High Wheeler Chassis
1908 Lindsley High Wheeler Chassis

The "Lindsley Car Chassis" was offered at $250.00 and the purchaser could then add his own buggy body. The chassis included a 12 horsepower water cooled two cylinder engine, planetary transmission, double chain drive, solid tires and every part required to make a complete a automobile. Except the body.

1908 Lindsley Car & Lindsley Delivery Car
1908 Lindsley Car & Lindsley Delivery Car

In addition to the Lindsley Car Chassis The J. V. Lindsley & Company made a complete High Wheeler for $395.00. It was equipped with a 10 horsepower water cooled engine, planetary transmission and double chain drive. In addition the Lindsley Surrey could be equipped with 14 or 16 horsepower engine. The advertisement above indicated that a 16 horsepower Deliver Car was much cheaper than a horse.

1908 Lindsley
1908 Lindsley Advertisement

The Chicago address on the above to advertisements appear to be a sales office. But then according to a report in the December 1908 issue of Horseless Age "J. V. Lindsley, an automobile manufacturer of Dowagiac, Mich., disappeared from his home about three weeks ago. and the affairs of the Lindsley Automobile Manufacturing Co. of which he was president, are being wound up by his father, John A. Lindsley, a former lumberman. Young Lindsley recently secured a $6,000 bonus from the Board of Trade of Seymour, Ind., and intended to move there. He is twenty-eight years old and married, and his wife disappeared with him. About thirty men were employed at the factory at the time of Lindsley's disappearance." The plant was then closed down before many automobiles were made.

The Lindsley venture was purchased by a group of Dowagiacs residents including Frank Lake who had sold the show to J. V. Lindsley. The 15 1908 Lindsley automobiles that remained to be completed were put together by the newly formed Dowagiac Motor Car Company and were sold as Dowagiacs. Some reports show the new firm as The Dowagiac Auto-Car Company. The new firm planned to continue production of a light Delivery Car and carry the Dowagiacs name. It was to be marketed under the phonetic spelling of Doe-Wah-Jack. It is unknown how many Delivery Cars were produced. Frank Lake was killed in an accident in July 1909. In 1912 The Tulsa Auto Manufacturing Company purchased the assets of The Dowagiac Auto-Car Company and moved the auto works to Oklahoma.

The National Builder Advertisement
The National Builder Advertisement

The National Builder was a monthly journal for the architect, contractor, builder and wood worker. The publication was devoted to practical building interest. It was published by Porter, Taylor & Co. on Dearborn St. in Chicago, Illinois. The J. V. Lindsley & Company did some advertising in there monthly journal. (See advertisement above and below.)

Porter Taylor & Co. Advertisement
Porter Taylor & Co. Advertisement

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