The Cole Automobile 1909-1918 & The Cole Motor Car Co.

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The Cole Motor Car Co.
Indianapolis, Indiana

In 1904 Joseph J. Cole, formerly with the James Moon Buggy Company, who built the Moon Automobile, purchased the Gates-Osborne Buggy Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana. He then formed The Cole Carriage Co. an became a horse drawn carriage manufacture. By 1909 Joseph Cole organized The Cole Motor Car Co. and produced a primitive high wheeler with a 90 inch wheelbase, solid tires and a air cooled opposed two cylinder engine with 14 Horsepower.

The Cole High Wheeler was not very successful. So Joseph Cole turned his attention to a more conventional four cylinder American Automobiles. By 1913 he was building six cylinder automobiles and by 1916 some of the nations first American Automobiles with V-type eight cylinders engines.

1910 Cole 30 Torpedo Roadster
1910 Cole 30 Torpedo Roadster

The 1910 Cole Roadster shown above was equipped with a 4″ x 4″ four cylinder engine that was rated at 30 horsepower. This new engine was well designed and quickly found approval with the public. Ignition was furnished by a Splitdorf magneto and a battery system. A three speed selective gear set transmission was used along with a cone clutch. The Cole 30 had a 108 inch wheelbase with 32 inch x 3 1/2 inch wheels and tires. Note the spare tire mounted on the rear. The 1910 Cole Roadster and Touring Car was priced at $1500.00.

In 1911 the Cole got longer and was strengthened (see below). The wheelbase was increased from 108 inches to 115 inches, wheels and tires were increased to 34 inch x 4 inches, the frame was given a drop effect and a new Northway engine was used. The 4 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch four cylinder 30 horsepower Northway engine was built by The Northway Engine Co. of Detroit. A Touring Car and Roadster were built.

1911 Cole 30 Roadster Advertisement.
1913 Cole 60 Touring Car Advetisement.

In 1912 the Cole wheelbase was now 122 inches with 36 inch wheels and tires. The Cole for 1912 was called the 30-40 due to another increase in horsepower on the Northway engine. The drive train consisted of a clutch, selective transmission and shaft drive. The regular gear ratio was 4 to 1, also available was 3 1/2 to 1. Once again a Touring Car and Roadster were built.

A new line consisting of three chassis models called the Series 8 was introduced by Cole in 1913. The three chassis models consisted of a small four cylinder with 40 horsepower, a larger four cylinder with 50 horsepower and a 60 horsepower six cylinder engine. All engines were produced by Northway with electric Delco starting and lighting systems.

1914 Cole “Four” Touring Car Advertisement.
1914 Cole “Six” Touring Car Advertisement.

The Cole “Four” and Cole “Six” introduced in 1914 had left side drive, center transmission control, automatic spark advance, speedometer and many other advanced features. The big four cylinder 50 horsepower model was dropped. The lighter four cylinder’s wheelbase was increased to 120 inches, while the six cylinder wheelbase was increased to 136 inches. 1914 Cole four cylinder models included a $1,925.00 four passenger Toy Tonneau, $1,925.00 two passenger Roadster and a $2,350.00 three passenger Coupe. Six cylinder models included a $2,600.00 six passenger Toy Tonneau, $2,600.00 two passenger Roadster, $3,000.00 four passenger Coupe and a $4,000.00 seven passenger Limousine. 1914 models were painted Cloe blue with the fenders and running gear black.

1915 Cole Standard Four “440”
1915 Cole Big Six “660”

1915 Cole automobiles included a Standard Four “440” and a Cole Big Six “660”. The 1915 Standard Four model 440 had Northway four cylinder 29 horsepower engine, selective gear three speed transmission, cone clutch, shaft drive, 120 inch wheelbase, 56 inch gauge, 34 inch x 4 inch wheels and tires and typical Delco electric system. Three different models were made. A $1,485.00 Touring Car, $1,485.00 Roadster and a $1,885.00 Coupe. The 1915 Cole Big Six model 660 was equipped with a Northway six cylinder 44 horsepower engine. Special features included a 136 inch wheelbase and 37 inch x 5 inch wheels and tires. Both Cole models had left side drive and center controls. 1915 models were painted Brewster green and the running gear was black.

1915 Cole Touring Cars
1916 Cole Eight Cylinder

Only a seven passenger Touring Cars and three passenger Roadsters was produced by The Cole Motor Car Co. in 1916. 1916 was also the first year that Joseph J. Cole used a Northway eight cylinder V-type engine in one of his automobiles. This was about one year after Cadillac< introduced it's first Northway V-8 in an American Automobile. Common features of the 1916 Cole automobiles included 127 inch wheelbase, 56 inch tread, cone clutch, selective sliding type three speed transmission, spiral bevel drive, full floating axle, emergency brake and demountable 35 inches x 4 1/2 inch wooden wheels. Both models were priced at $1,595.00 and included a top, top hood, windshield, speedometer and voltmeter. 1916 models shown below were painted Norland green and the running gear was black.

1916 Cole Touring Car 860-G
1916 Cole Touring Car 860-G

1917 Cole production included four different models all equipped with eight cylinder V-type engines. (1) Model 860 seven passenger Touring Car $1,695.00 (2) Model 861 four passenger Tuxedo Roadster $1,695.00 (3) Model 862 seven passenger Toursedan $2,295.00 and (4) Model 863 four passenger Tourcoupe $2,295.00. See all four 1917 production models below.

1917 Cole Touring 860
1917 Cole Tuxedo Roadster 861

All 1917 Cole automobiles used the new water cooled Northway V-8 engine. This was the same engine used by GM in their Cadillac automobiles. The engine had a 3 1/2 inch bore and 4 1/2 inch stroke, lubrication was force feed to all bearings, cast in fours, arranged in a V type (90 degrees) and had a N.A.C.C. rating of 39.2 horsepower. A cone clutch was used to transfer power to a selective sliding gear transmission with three speeds forward and one reverse. Final drive was by a shaft and floating rear axle.

1917 Cole Toursedan 862
1917 Cole Tourcoupe 863

Model’s 860 & 861 were painted Norland green with cream wheels, while Model’s 862 & 863 were painted American flag blue. Specifications included 127 inch wheelbase, 56 inch tread or gauge, wood wheels, 35 inch x 4 1/2 inch anti-skid tires, electric starting system and six volt electric lighting system. In addition to the above specification the price included top, top hood, windshield, speedometer, ammeter, tire pump, electric horn and demountable rims.

1917 Cole Toursedan
1917 Cole Eight

The 1917 Cole Eight four door Toursedan was advertised as “A Fitting Finale To Closed Car Achievement”. The Toursedan was an open Touring Car, a divided Touring Car, a Family Sedan, a Towncar Limousine, or a Berline Limousine as the occasion or weather demands. All parts need to convert the Toursedan from a closed car to an open car could be stored away out of sight.

A new measure for power replaced the antiquated N.A.C.C. rating. The Cole V-8 came in rated at 70-80 brake horsepower and stayed there until Cole car production ceased. The above 1917 Cole eight advertisement claimed 70 horsepower. Also note that the Tourcoupe and Toursedan bodies were made in Springfield, MA.

1918 Cole Eight Touring 870
1918 Cole Eight Sportster 872
1918 Cole Eight Roadster 871

By 1918 the total production of the Cole Motor Car Company was twice that of any other year in the company’s history. The Cole 870, 871 and 872 was a sensation at the 1918 Auto shows. A Touring Car, Sportster and Roadster were produced with the same specifications as the 1917 Cole models. New body colors for 1918 were Cole deep blue with running gear black on the Model 971 and dust-proof gray on the models 871 and 872.

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