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The Pan Automobile & The Pan Motor Co.

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Pan
The Pan Motor Co.
St. Cloud, Minnesota
1917-1922

In 1916, Samuel C. Pandolfo a one time insurance salesman and former teacher decided to form his own American Automobile company. Pandolfo was one of the first businessmen to use the automobile in the Southwest and had owned 37 different makes. His dissatisfaction with all of them for one reason or another started him thinking about his own design.

The announcement that The Pan Motor Co. would locate in St. Cloud, Minnesota was made public on March 2, 1917. By the end of 1917, Samuel Pandolfo raised $9.5 million through stock sales and formed The Pan Motor Co. Pandolfo then went to Reed & Glaser, a consulting engineering firm in Indianapolis, and arranged for several cars to be built for display and demonstration purposes.

1918 Pan Touring Car
1918 Pan Model 10 Touring Car

They were called the Model 10 Pan automobiles, but they were assembled from existing available parts and eventually 10 Automobiles were produced for the company. They were equipped with Lycoming four cylinder engines.

Before the incorporation proceedings were completed, Pandolfo began flooding the country with brochures promoting the sale of Pan cars. The catalog was among the most lavish and expensive ever produced in the automobile industry. This literature, mailed from Chicago in the early months of 1917, would form the basis of the later suit against the officials of the company. The catalogs described the Pan automobile in general terms and its primary purpose was to sell stock.

1919 Pan Motor Co. Stock Certificate
1919 Pan Motor Co. Stock Certificate

Stock in the Pan Motor Company was priced at $10.00. Half of the purchase price went to a surplus fund out of which Pandolfo paid all stock sales commissions and all the expenses of the company. The second $5.00 was applied to the capital fund. The stock's $5.00 par value was stated plainly on the stock certificates. The main source of money for salaries, construction, and material came from the stock. Pandolfo promised to build as many automobiles as Henry Ford.

1918 Pan Model 250 Touring Car
1918 Pan Model 250 Touring Car

After a time even Pandolfo realized that he could not postpone producing the Pan automobile. Cash was needed and it was estimated 1 to 2 years before by The Pan Motor Co. designers would get the Pan into production. One solution was to begin selling another assembled automobile called the Pan Model 250. The 108 inch wheelbase Model 250 was equipped with a 34 horsepower four cylinder Continental engine and was priced at $1,000.00, raised to $1,250.00 a few months later.

In 1919 a factory was completed in St. Cloud, Minnesota together with a residential community for the workers. Pandolfo also erected a small city next to the factory and name it Pan-Town-on-the-Mississippi.

1919 Pan Model A Touring Car
1919 Pan Model A Touring Car

The 1919 Pan Model A Touring Car was not an assembled car like the 1918 Pan and was built in the The Pan Motor Co. plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Pan Model A was designed by Victor Gauveau, chief designing engineer. Features include 108 inch wheelbase, 33 x 4 inch wheels and tires.

Pandolfo Tourist Sleeper
Pandolfo Tourist Sleeper

The 1919 Pan Tourist Sleeper featured a folding bed. The details of the 1919 Pan sleeper automobile and method of transforming the body into a bed compartment is shown above. With foot rest in place, the front seat would swing down forming a bed. According to advertising it would form a large comfortable bed with ample space for two people.

Pan Four Cylinder Engine
Pan Four Cylinder Engine

The 1919 Pan Model A Touring Car was equipped with a light weight water cooled four cylinder L-head type engine that developed 45-50 horsepower. The bore was 3 1/4 inches and the stroke was 5 inches. The transmission on the 1919 Pan had three speeds forward and one reverse. One unique feature of the 1919 Pan was that you could lock the automobile in reverse, making it thief proof. The wheels and tires were 33 x 4 inches.

However all good things come to an end. Locally trouble began when the Associated Advertising Club of Minneapolis, a forerunner of the Better Business Bureau, lodged a complaint with the State Securities Commission claiming the company was spending more on promotion than its Minnesota charter permitted. By 1922 Samuel C. Pandolfo was in jail and the company was in receivership

Pan Motor Co. Tractor
Pan Motor Co. Tractor

Sam Pandolfo also attempted to produce farm tractors in 1917. He designed two different models, one a conventional type (shown above) and a Tank Tread based on a British army development during the war. Neither one ever went into production.

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