Peerless Motor Vehicle Company

From Ohio History Central

The Peerless Motor Vehicle Company was located in Cleveland, Ohio. The Peerless Company originally built clothes wringers and bicycles but in 1900 began producing its first automobiles. In its early years, Peerless was known for its innovation in automobile design. It was the first American automobile manufacturer to mount the engine in the front, using it to power the rear wheels through a solid drive shaft. This design dominated the American automobile industry throughout most of the twentieth century.

To promote the company and its products, the company hired a famous race car driver, Barry Oldfield, to drive one of its cars. The car soon earned the nickname the "Green Dragon." Oldfield set a number of speed records in the Green Dragon, making Peerless a respected name in automobile manufacturing. Over time, a number of "Green Dragons" were built to advertise the company.

Soon, Peerless began to promote its automobiles as luxury cars. The company's slogan became "All that the name implies." Advertising for the car described "an interior resembling a cozy and luxuriously furnished drawing room." The focus on luxury meant that only wealthy Americans could afford to own a Peerless. Unfortunately, although Peerless had been known for its technical innovations in automotive design in the early years, it began to stagnate by the 1910s and 1920s. Eventually, Peerless no longer focused on the luxury market and began to manufacture automobiles for mainstream markets. The company changed its slogan to "Now There's a Peerless for Everyone."

Like many American automobile manufacturers, the Great Depression proved to be too much of a challenge to the Peerless Motor Vehicle Company. The company built its last cars in June 1931, although some of these cars were sold as new models in 1932.

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