E.R. Thomas-Detroit Motor Company



 TimeLine Gallery

At the top left of the page is a

1906 Thomas 7 PassengerTouring



Click the Thomas Flyer radiator badge for a story on the Flyer in Spanish.  Nice pictures of a Franklin Mint miniature.

The Thomas Flyer at the start of the Great Race

(citations and credit)

This image and page are located at:

George Eastman House Photography Collections

This is a beautiful 1909 Thomas Touring


E.R. Thomas-Detroit


The 1907 Thomas Flyer 4-35 seen here in the National Automobile Museum is the current and only record-holder for an around-the-world stock car run, which went from New York to Paris, finishing in 1908. This record has held for 100 years.

The route of the race led west across North America, then shipped to Siberia, and across Asia to Paris.  The Thomas Flyer 4-35 was the first car across the line, six weeks ahead of second place.
Image at:National Automobile Museum

This car bears the stamp of Howard Coffin, brilliant mechanical engineer, and Roy D. Chapin, already known as a design engineer and a test driver for Oldsmobile.

<-----  The Thomas Flyer passing through Buffalo on its way to history...

 Roy Chapin had sold out his stake in the Automobile Equipment Company in 1903, in order to be part of the startup E. R. Thomas Motor Co. in Buffalo, NY.

In 1906, Chapin left Oldsmobile and opened a factory to produce the Thomas cars in Detroit, under the name of E. R. Thomas-Detroit.

In 1908, the 1907 Thomas Flyer 4-35 won the NY to Paris Around-the-World Race, commonly referred to as "The Great Race".

This car was taken out of a dealership in Chicago and driven to Buffalo for race preparation.

The Centennial of the race is now being planned, and the race will be re-run on the old route.

By 1909, E. R. Thomas-Detroit was in dire financial straits.  Chalmers bought into the venture and renamed it Chalmers-Detroit.

Meanwhile, Coffin and Chapin had dreamed up a new, lighter, faster, smaller car.

When Maxwell merged with Chalmers-Detroit, a lawsuit resulted, and Coffin and Chapin sold out their Thomas shares to start fresh.

Hugh Chalmers, Coffin, and Chapin went to Joseph Hudson, of Hudson Department Stores, and convinced him to back their enterprise.  At this point they found the name of their creation, and it became Hudson Motor Car Company

E.R Thomas of Buffalo was soon out of business as well, sold in 1913.  Individual units were built to order from existing assets under the new ownership until 1918 or 1919.

 From the Open Library Project-

1906 E.R. Thomas "American Car" Ad

<--- 1909 E.R. Thomas Catalog "A"

<--- 1909 E.R. Thomas Catalog "B"

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