Three more forgotten Detroit-built cars

1927 Falcon-Knight Model 10 Gray Ghost RoadsterHere we present three more obscure automotive makes that add to the incredibly rich and complicated history of the Motor City. 



Here’s installment number five in our series on Detroit-based automotive makes—and as yet, there’s no end in sight. Recognize any of these three little-known cars?


1921 Nelson Touring carEmil A. Nelson, originally from Cleveland, was a journeyman Motor City auto man with experience at Olds, Packard, and Hupmobile when he launched his own firm, the E.A Nelson Co., in 1917. His Nelson automobile featured a fairly advanced four-cylinder engine of 2.5 liters with a single overhead cam and four-valve head. The Nelson plant at Bellevue and Kerchival Streets averaged as many as 10 cars per day before the company closed down in 1921.


1905 Crown Runabout DetroitYet another car maker that featured Detroit in its name, the Detroit Auto Vehicle Co. marketed the Crown automobile in 1905 and 1906. Models included a two-passenger runabout and delivery vehicles in several styles, all propelled by a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine and friction-drive transmission. The enterprise apparently failed when the purchase of its factory building could not be negotiated.


1927 Falcon-Knight Model 10 Gray Ghost Roadster leftThe Falcon Motor Car Co., producer of the Falcon-Knight, had its headquarters in the ritzy Majestic Building in downtown Detroit, but was in fact a shadow company controlled by Willys-Overland of Toledo. A parts-bin special crafted from various Willys products, the Falcon-Knight combined the chassis of the Whippet 93-A with a small-bore, 46 hp version of the Willys-Knight sleeve-valve six.

At one point, C.H. Wills of Wills Sainte Claire in Marysville made a pitch to produce the Falcon-Knight for W-O, but that deal never came to pass. Instead, engines were manufactured by the Willys-owned Wilson Foundry in Pontiac, Michigan, while the cars were assembled at W-O’s Garford truck plant in Elyria, Ohio. Produced in two models, the Model 10 (above and lead photo) of 1927 and the Model 12 of 1928, the Falcon-Knight was discontinued in ’28, replaced by a very similar product with Willys badging, the Willys-Knight 56 Standard Six.


More features on lost and obscure Detroit makes at Mac’s Motor City Garage:

+   Five forgotten Detroit-built cars    Thomas-Detroit, Anhut, Krit, Rickenbacker, Columbia

+   Six more forgotten Detroit-built cars   Detroit, Liberty, Graham, EMF, Saxon, Rockne

+   Four more forgotten Detroit-built cars    Hupp-Yeats, King, Northern, Harroun 

+   Another five forgotten Detroit-built cars   D.A.C, Divco, Benham, Owen, Terraplane


4 thoughts on “Three more forgotten Detroit-built cars

  1. Well I gotta go with the Falcon-Knight because of the cute flapper babe. It’s a shame about her left arm being stuck in that position though. I guess doctors weren’t as good at setting broken bones back then.

  2. Very interesting that Wills wanted the Falcon-Knight job. Desperate to keep the factory open, obviously. I never understood the reason for the Falcon-Knight;

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