The Merrick Auto Museum Collection
$13,200 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
- Renowned St. Louis–built automobile
- 42 hp Lycoming engine
- Well-appointed sedan body
Russell Gardner, a Tennessee native, left home in 1879 for St. Louis. Before the turn of the twentieth century, he had commenced to manufacture Banner buggies, an endeavor that left him a millionaire several times over. Building some bodies for Chevrolet positioned him to begin assembling Chevys and eventually led to distribution up and down the Mississippi River. When his sons enlisted in the Navy during World War I, he sold his business to General Motors. At war’s end, the Gardners were able to establish their own Gardner Motor Company.
The first Gardners, introduced as 1920 models, were medium-priced cars using four-cylinder, 35 hp Lycoming engines. Initially, there were just roadsters, touring cars, and sedans on a 112-inch wheelbase. In 1924, Cannonball Baker made a new midwinter transcontinental record, traveling from New York to Los Angeles in a Gardner in just seven days, 17 hours, and eight minutes.
The Merrick Auto Museum purchased this Gardner in January 1999. Previous owners include Wade Accomazzo of Tolleson, Arizona, and James Murray Miller of Phoenix. The tan body harmonizes nicely with black fenders pinstriped in body color, and the greenhouse is finished in a similar motif. The black disc wheels are also tan striped and mounted with 4.50 × 21 Garfield whitewall tires. The spare is carried in the left front fender, and there is a trunk rack at the rear. Features include an under-seat heater, roller shades in the passenger compartment, and pockets in the rear doors. The upholstery is done in tan mohair. The engine, a Type CE Lycoming, develops 42 bhp from 206 cubic inches.
Of the more than 100 makes of automobiles built in St. Louis, Gardner ranks with Moon and Corvette among the best remembered.