More About the Standard Motor Co. [1903-22]


The United States Long Distance Automobile Company
by W. O. MacIlvain

There were many fledgling motor car makers at the turn of the century, but few adopted a name comprised of six words. But the United States Long Distance Automobile Company wanted a name that would distinguish the firm from its many competitors. It did.

The company's name wasn't the only distinction to separate it, its merger partners and descendants from the competition, there were also such novelties as an engine without a crankcase, a gear oil pump in 1906, a V-8 engine in 1907 and a member of New York's highest aristocracy heading up a company manufacturing trucks.

The U.S. Long Distance cars were specially developed for touring American roads. Hailing from Jersey City, N.J., the first model was placed on the market in 1901, designed by C. C. Riotte. Lewis Nixon was the president. In 1903 the firm merged with the Standard Motor Construction Co. and the resultant product, exhibited at the 1904 New York Show, was listed as the U.S. Long Distance Standard Tourist.

Standard's primary field of interest was that of marine engines and power boats. With the new automotive connection, it was decided to use the same four-cylinder engine as in the Standard Racing Launch. In this engine, common with marine practice, there was no crankcase, the cylinders being mounted on six posts, with cam and crankshafts fully exposed. This made for more convenient bearing adjustment. A sheet metal pan ran the full length of the underside of the engine and transmission, and it was advertised that ducts were so placed that none of the dusty air taken in by the cooling fan would reach the mechanism

According to the Horseless Age, "Oiling is accomplished by a belt driven oiler mounted upon the dash. This oiler comprises a long rocking beam, having attached at each end a row of cups which dip down into the tank and are then slowly raised until the beam is nearly vertical. The cups then spill their contents into a set of hoppers, whence it is piped to the different parts requiring lubrication ... the complete operation is repeated about once a minute ..."

As the U.S. Long Distance Automobile Co. had been taken over by the Standard Motor Construction Co., the automobile business of the latter was again absorbed by the Hewitt Motor Co. of New York City in 1905. Standard remained in the marine engineering business at least as late as 1922.

(Excerpts transcribed from Cars & Parts, Oct. 1981, pp. 52-54 )

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page — LF]


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Leslie Field, 1999