Continental Motors Company

Continental Motors Company
Continental Motors Company
Industry automobile engines, automobiles
Successor Continental Motors Corporation
Founded 1905

Continental Motors Company was an American engine and automobile manufacturer. The company produced engines for various independent manufacturers of automobiles, tractors, and stationary equipment (i.e. pumps, generators, machinery drives) from the 1900s through the 1960s. Continental Motors also produced Continental-branded automobiles in 1932/1933. The Continental Aircraft Engine Company was formed in 1929 to develop and produce its aircraft engines, and would become the core business of the Continental Motors Corporation.


Company history

In 1905, Continental Motors was born with the introduction of a four-cylinder, four stroke cycle L-head engine operated by a single camshaft. 1906 Type "O" 45 hp (34 kW) engine was developed to power aircraft. 1929 A-70 radial, seven-cylinder engine was introduced. 170 hp @ 2000 rpm 4.625x4.625 = 543.91cuin (8.91L)

In August 1929, the Continental Motors Company formed the Continental Aircraft Engine Company as a subsidiary to develop and produce its aircraft engines.[1]

Continental Motors entered into the production of automobiles rather indirectly. Continental was the producer of automobile engines for numerous independent automobile companies in the 1910s and 1920s, including Durant Motors Corporation which used the engines in its Star, Durant, Flint and Rugby model lines. Following the 1931 collapse of Durant, a group having interest in Durant Motors began assembling their own cars, using the Durant body dies, in Oakland, California under the De Vaux brand name. When De Vaux collapsed in 1932, unable to pay for a large number of engines, Continental assumed automobile assembly and marketed the vehicles under the Continental-De Vaux brand name for the balance of the 1932 model year.

Continental Motors introduced a completely new line of Continental-branded automobiles for1933. These cars were not based upon the 1931 De Vaux, a product of the De Vaux Motors Corporations of Oakland, California, which had been using body dies left over from the former Durant produced by Durant Motors until 1930.

The 1933 Continentals were marketed in three model ranges: the largest and most expensive was the six-cylinder Ace, next was a smaller six called the Flyer and also the low-priced four-cylinder Beacon. None of these met with success in the depression era economy. At this same time, Dominion Motors Ltd. of Canada was building the same Flyer and Beacon cars under arrangement with Continental for sale in Canadian market, and importing the larger Ace models. Dominion then converted to building Reo brand trucks. The Ace and Flyer models were discontinued at the close of the 1933 model year. Finding that its cars were unprofitable, Continental stopped assembling even Beacon automobiles during 1934.

Automobiles that used Continental engines

The following automobile companies used Continental engines[2]:

Trucks that used Continental engines

See also


  1. ^ Leyes, p. 87
  2. ^ Hemmings Motor News (print and expanded in blog), 12/10/2008
  3. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.1012.

Foss, Christopher F. (1974). Jane's Pocket Book of Modern Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. Collier Books. pp. 45–49. 73-15286.  * Leyes II, Richard A.; William A. Fleming (1999). The History of North American Small Gas Turbine Aircraft Engines. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 1-56347-332-1. 

External links

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