SGV (automobile)

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SGV Company
PredecessorAcme Motor Car Company
Founded1911; 112 years ago (1911)
FounderHerbert M. Sternbergh, Robert E. Graham, Fred Van Tine
Defunct1916; 107 years ago (1916)
SuccessorPhianna Motor Company
HeadquartersReading, Pennsylvania,
Key people
Herbert M. Sternbergh, Robert E. Graham and Fred Van Tine, R. J. Metzler
Productsluxury car
Production output
unknown - hundreds (1911-1916)
1914 SGV Touring car postcard
Lancia Beta on which the SGV was based

SGV was a Brass Era American automobile manufacturer that made luxury automobiles using Lancia components, from 1911 to 1916.[1]



The Acme Motor Car Company sold its site and plant to J H Sternbergh for $72,100 in May 1911.[2] Sternbergh in turn sold the Acme Motor Car Company and leased it plant to a New York consortium. The company's name was changed to SGV.[3] SGV Company was named for Herbert M. Sternbergh, Robert E. Graham and Fred Van Tine, the owners of the company and formerly with Acme. Fred Van Tine was the shop manager and designer of the car. Herbert Sternbergh died in March 1913.[4][5]

Acme had been making SGV models since 1910. This was a high-quality product, based on the Lancia Beta with a relatively small 3.1 litres (190 cu in), 25-hp 4-cylinder engine with pressure lubrication and a hot water jacket over the inlet manifold. Shaft-drive and a low frame that was up-swept over the rear axle were featured and the dash was made with Circassian walnut.[6] [1]

SGV Company[edit]

Newspapers of the time described the SGV as lightweight and mechanically efficient. The Lancia engine was used with a four speed transmission. The steering radius was noted being small, making the car maneuverable in city traffic.[7]

With the sale to SGV in 1911, the new company produced eight models including a limousine, touring car, torpedo, toy tonneau, and roadster models.[8] They were priced from $2,500 to $3,500 (equivalent to $109,925 in 2022), and achieved 15 to 20 mpg.[9][10][11][4]

In December 1912 a 35-hp car, the model D, was introduced.[12] A Coupe-Landaulet model was priced at $4,000, equivalent to $121,297 in 2022.[1] Custom coachwork from Quinby and Fleetwood were available that could increase the price up to $12,000.[1]

The SGV was a high-class small car in the same class as the Brewster. SGV was sold in New York City by Hol-Tan and Gotham Motor Car Company. In San Francisco the E. Stewart Automobile Company sold a large amount of SGV's.[1][4]

S.G.V. decided to try the Vulcan (Cutler-Hammer) four-speed electric gearshift, mounted in the steering wheel spoke and push button actuated. This resulted in one of the industry’s very early recalls (a 40 car shipment of SGV cars) and created bad publicity for the company that already had shaky finances.[1][4]


In the summer of 1915, the entire S.G.V. plant went on the auction block. Press reported the inventory included "thirty-two complete chassis of the latest model 1915, 100 assorted up-to-date Quinby and Fleetwood bodies, a large quantity of radiators, etc." R. J. Metzler bought the factory and said he planned to continue the S.G.V. in manufacture. Metzler partnered with industrialists John A. Bell and T. M. Pepperday, who in 1916, sold the plant and moved production from Reading to Newark, New Jersey. Only one SGV was built in Newark before Metzler joined with a consortium of several other businessmen who went on to produce the Phianna based on the SGV.[4][13][1]

Motor Racing[edit]

An SGV was entered in the 1911 Vanderbilt cup race but did not compete.[14] They also competed in the October San Francisco to Los Angeles and back endurance run with C Matthews driving.[15]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kimes, Beverly Rae; Clark Jr., Henry Austin (1996). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942 (3rd ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-87341-428-9.
  2. ^ "Motor Car Company sold". Reading Times. May 13, 1911. p. 13. Retrieved June 16, 2015 – via open access
  3. ^ "Acme auto plant leased". Allentown Leader. May 20, 1911. p. 6. Retrieved June 16, 2015 – via open access
  4. ^ a b c d e Georgano, Nick (2001). The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile (3 vol. ed.). Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. ISBN 1-57958-293-1.
  5. ^ "Sternbergh will in full". Lebanon Daily News. March 11, 1913. p. 9. Retrieved June 16, 2015 – via open access
  6. ^ "Car here negotiating with leading dealers". The Washington Times. October 25, 1910. p. 13. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  7. ^ "S.G.V" "SGV car one of the interesting exhibits". San Francisco Chronicle. March 5, 1911. p. 40. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  8. ^ "S.G.V" "SGV limousine reaches this city". San Francisco Chronicle. November 19, 1911. p. 46. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  9. ^ "SF Advertisement". The San Francisco Call. February 23, 1911. p. 12. Retrieved June 16, 2015 – via open access
  10. ^ "S.G.V" "SGV Advertisement". San Francisco Chronicle. March 5, 1911. p. 39. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  11. ^ "S.G.V" "SGV Advertisement". San Francisco Chronicle. July 30, 1911. p. 45. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  12. ^ "SGV Advertisement". Oakland Tribune. December 8, 1912. p. 37. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  13. ^ "Final claims in SGV case". Reading Times. April 29, 1916. p. 7. Retrieved June 16, 2015 – via open access
  14. ^ "Hundred cars expected to be entered". Asheville Citizen. October 8, 1911. p. 11. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access
  15. ^ "Seven cars off on endurance run to south". San Francisco Chronicle. October 12, 1911. p. 9. Retrieved June 15, 2015 – via open access