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This article is about the American automobile. For other uses, see Peerless (disambiguation).
Peerless Motor Company
Former type Automobile Manufacturing
Industry Automotive
Genre Luxury sedans, touring cars
Founded 1900
Defunct 1931
Headquarters Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Area served United States
Products vehicles
Automotive parts

Peerless was a United States automobile produced by the Peerless Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio from 1900 to 1931. The company was known for building high-quality, precision luxury automobiles. Peerless' factory was located at 9400 Quincy Avenue in Cleveland. [1]


Peerless Motor Company factory, circa 1910s

Established in Cleveland in 1900, Peerless Motors began producing De Dion-Bouton "machines" under license from the French Company. At the time, Cleveland was the center of automotive production in the US. Peerless employed Barney Oldfield as a driver of its Green Dragon racecar; in early speed races Peerless proved the durability of the product and setting world speed records. Peerless was noted for its use of flat-plane crankshafts in its engine designs.

In 1905, a 35-horsepower Peerless, owned by Herman Hoster, competed in the world's first 24-hour endurance race in Columbus, Ohio. Piloted by Earnest Bollinger, Aurther Feasel, and briefly by Barney Oldfield, the Peerless led the race for the first hour before crashing into a fence, and experienced radiator trouble, but finished a close 3rd place.[1]

As the Peerless evolved, it, along with makes Packard and Pierce-Arrow, became known as the "Three-Ps of Motordom" (premium vehicles) in the US.

Peerless' downfall was in its high quality going in to the depression.[citation needed] In the 1920s, the company was producing conservatively-styled vehicles that endured for ten or more years. Current Peerless owners retained their cars, which ran very well. New buyers of luxury cars were attracted to LaSalle, Packard, and the Studebaker President series after Peerless ceased production of cars.

End of production[edit]

Peerless emblem

In 1930-31, Peerless commissioned Murphy Body Works of Pasadena, California, to design what the company envisioned as its 1933 model. The task was assigned to a young Frank Hershey. Hershey's design for Peerless was a remarkably clean, elegant vehicle, powered by the company's planned V16 engine.

Peerless did not go out of business, they simply changed business models from the costly production of cars during the depression to the more popular business after the end of prohibition, distributing beer. Just as the final car was ready to be shipped back to Cleveland, the Board of Directors pulled Peerless out of the automobile business and reoriented the company to brew beer under the Carling Black Label brand. The last production model was 1932. Hershey's prototype was walled up in a room at the Peerless factory where it sat until the end of World War II. Hershey's prototype is now owned by the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland.

The following Peerless vehicles are deemed "classic cars" by the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA): 1925 Series 67; 1926 — 1928 Series 69; 1929 Model Eight-125; [2]1930-1 Custom 8 and the 1932 Deluxe Custom 8. However, all Peerless vehicles are considered collectible.

Gallery of selected models[edit]

Main gallery of images: Commons:Category:Peerless vehicles

1911 Peerless Model 32
1912 Peerless Model 36 with right-hand drive
Peerless Model 56 7-Passenger Touring 1917
1931 Peerless


The Peerless Motor Car Company - 1905


  1. ^ "Eventful 24 Hours". The Motor Way (Chicago, IL) 13 (1): 13. 1905-07-06. Retrieved 14-08-10.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ 2013 CCCA List of Full Classics; 8-125 owner Mr. John Knight of Canada
  • Kimes, Beverly R., Editor. Clark, Henry A. (1996). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1945. Kraus Publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  • Howell, James W. and Hershey, Hershey Franklin Q. Franklin Q. Hershey's Murphy-Bodied Peerless V-16 Prototype Collectible Automobile, Volume 12, Number 4, December 1995. pp. 56–63.

External links[edit]