The Saxon Motor Car Company was founded in 1913 in Detroit, and foundered in Ypsilanti after the recession of the early 20s. The company's highest production years were in 1915, 1916 and 1917, when it at its peak it was the eighth largest producer of automobiles in America. Over 100,000 Saxons were built in its 10 years, but today the Saxon Registry can only account for about 150 remaining examples, mostly the small roadster.
The $395 Saxon 2-seat runabout had a four-cylinder engine (made by Ferro and by Continental) and a 2-speed inline standard transmission. Later versions have electric lighting and three-speed transmissions, and were well-known to outpace Model Ts over hills. A $785 six cylinder car (engine by Continental) was introduced in the early spring of 1915 and became an instant hit because of its ease of operation, its durability and its affordability. The Charles Lindbergh family used its Saxon Six on the campaign trail in 1917, and young Charles drove his mother in the car from Little Falls, Minnesota to California. The green and black Six can be seen in the family home today. Other Saxon drivers included evangelist Bob Jones; George Olsen (Jack Benny’s bandleader) and Scottish entertainer Sir Harry Lauder. Some notable Suffragettes crisscrossed the nation in a Saxon to bring the vote to women. Mexican Revolutionary General Ortega was fond of his Saxon Six.
Saxons were among the very first cars to cross the country on the Lincoln highway. The roadster was known for its fuel economy, and in many endurance runs averaged 35 mpg for runs of thousands of miles. Saxons were heavily marketed to women, farmers and businessmen, with the promise of economy, ease of operation and durability. Saxon Motors proclaimed that “America Needs Men With Cars!”
The Saxon was developed by Hugh Chalmers, and is part of the lineage of the modern Chrysler Corporation. Saxons are included in the collections of many automobile museums, including the Henry Ford Museum.
Performance of the Six
The Automobile (Sept. 1915) “Saxon Six…enters its second year … 34.7 h.p. at a speed of 2200 r.p.m.”
In early 1916, a Saxon Six covered the 490 tough miles between Los Angeles to San Francisco in 13.5 hours, beating the Southern Pacific’s fastest train, “The Lark”.
On July 15, 1916, 105 Saxon Sixes left Detroit and were driven by dealers to their respective hometowns. A total of 26,360 miles were driven with an average fuel consumption of 21 m.p.g. (and a high of over 36 m.p.g.) Only one quart of oil was consumed, on average, each 152.5 miles.
Performance of the Four
July 4, 1914: 3389 Miles, coast-to-coast on the Lincoln Highway, in 30 days! One of the first American cars to travel the Lincoln Highway
1914: 100 Saxons, 200 miles each, average 34.53 miles-per gallon
Strength. Economy. Service.