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Martin Dart Midget Car
The Martin Aeroplane Factory
Garden City, Long Island, NY

The Martin Dart was an unsuccessful venture into the production of a midget car. Several Pilot models were made, extensive press coverage was done and a great deal of advertising was purchased by James V. Martin of Garden City, Long Island, NY.

James V. Martin is not to be confused with Glenn L. Martin who founded the Glenn L. Martin Co., an American aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company.

James V. Martin was an inventor and airplane manufacturer that tried to enter the American Automobile business in the 1920s and 1930s. His first attempt was the three wheeled Martin Scootmobile (1922) and then a Midget Car called the Martin, Dart or Martin Dart.

1929 Martain Dart
1929 Martin Dart With Oval Window

The Martin Dart was equipped with one of James V. Martin aviation invention. It consisted of a rubber and cord suspension instead of automobile springs. His invention was widely used on airplane suspension in the 1920s. Foreseeing a market for a $200.00 automobile Martin approached engineer Miles H. Carpenter who built the Phianna (1919-1922). Carpenter agreed to engineer Martin's Dart and he did this during 1926 inside a warehouse in Garden City Long Island. Carpenter designed and constructed three different Darts between 1926 and 1929. All three can be seen below.

1929 Martin Dart
1929 Martin Dart

The Martin Dart was equipped with a modified air cooled Cleveland motorcycle engine that developed 20 horsepower. The engine had a unique cooling system that consisted of a jacket completely inclosing the motor through which a fan forced a blast of cooling air. The radiator was just a shell and simply an ornamental dummy. The three speed standard transmission, deDion rear axle, electric starter and controls were standard. The Dart weight only 600 pounds and could be rolled about with one hand. The interior furnishings were plain but practical. Besides the three two-passenger closed models a four passenger pleasure car and a half-ton commercial truck was planned. All on a 60 inch wheelbase.

1930 Martin Dart Brochure
1930 Martin Dart Brochure

Headlines in 1929 read - "A $200.00 Midget Car Parks in a Box"! It's proposed selling price was based on production of 2,000 automobiles a day. The garage didn't cost anything. Customers were reportly able to use the weather proof packing case with hinged doors that housed it permanently.

Martin Dart With Round Window
Martin Dart With Round Window

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