• 1911 Chalmers Detroit Model 30
  • Kingfisher blue with black leather
  • The first model to conquer the 2,851-mile Glidden Tour
  • From a significant Spanish collection
  • In fully operational condition


The 3.7 litre Chalmers-Detroit with its overhead inlet valve design engine was one of the most versatile of American sporting cars of its time and for good reason was the chosen make of the elite. The Vanderbilt’s and the Rockefellers were among its patrons.

The company evolved from the Thomas-Detroit, makers of the renowned ‘Thomas Flyer’ motorcars when the young CEO of the National Cash Register Company Hugh Chalmers had bought out the interest of E.R. Thomas and changed the name to Chalmers-Detroit. He left his lucrative position at NCR and entered the automobile industry, taking with him his leading salesman Joseph E. Fields. Very soon Fields was travelling all over the USA setting up dealerships for Chalmers while a new plant was built on Jefferson Avenue, Detroit to cope with the strong sales he was creating.

After an intensive fact-finding trip to Europe by the Chief Engineer a fine new model was introduced. The “30” with a 115-inch wheelbase and $1,500 price tag the car was fully the equal of its transatlantic contemporaries with a monoblock-four-cylinder engine in unit with a three-speed gearbox and multi disc clutch. The engine featured overhead exhaust and side inlet valves, had separate coil and magneto ignition systems. A single pedal operated clutch and parking brake and from 1910 a lowered chassis provided a sportier profile.

The astute Hugh Chalmers constantly found new ways to promote his marque and the Chalmers Detroit Model 30 demonstrated its durability and reliability in a much publicised 20,000-mile trial in which a standard car covered the 200 miles between Detroit and Pontiac Michigan four times a day around the clock for almost a month and in 1910 the marque entered and won outright the gruelling Glidden Tour, a national reliability and endurance event organised by the American Automobile Association (AAA).

The Glidden Tours were the first motor race to use a chequered flag to indicate the end of the race. The time checks at the end of each section were performed by “checkers” who used chequered flags to identify themselves.

For a decade before the post First World War recession the Chalmers was one of America’s most popular makes and in 1922 the company was acquired by Chrysler and their original factories continued to be used by the Chrysler Corporation until the 1980s.


The excellent Chalmers Detroit Model 30 we are now offering for sale is finished in Kingfisher blue and is known to have spent part of its life in California. Bought in the 1990’s by the well-known collector of impressive cars Terry Cohn it eventually passed into a significant collection of cars in Spain where it remained largely unused for the past 20 years.

A strong and impressive car for its age which will be an unusual entry in European tours and a welcome entry for those in America given the reputation the Chalmers enjoy.

This Chalmers Detroit Model 30 is available for sale and immediate inspection at The Classic Motor Hub.

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