Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Derby (Canadian automobile)

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The Derby was a Canadian automobile built in Saskatchewan between 1924 and 1927. Company principal Louis Arsenault believed that with a booming wheat trade in the Prairies, customers and investors would support a car company. Arsenault opened an office for Derby Motors in Winnipeg, Manitoba in early 1924.

The car was in fact an early example of badge engineering. Rather than build cars, Arsenault imported American built Davis cars, changed the nameplates to "Derby" and added "Derby" tire covers. Conversion of the cars took place in the former Marshall tractor factory in Saskatoon. The Derby used a Continental six-cylinder engine, and came in four different models:

  • Series 92 tourer, selling for CDN$1995;
  • Series 92 Man-o-War roadster, selling for CDN$1750;
  • Series 92 Legionaire sedan, selling for CDN$1750;
  • Series 93 sedan, selling for CDN$1750
  • Series 93 coupe, selling for CDN$1750
  • Series 93 tourer, selling for CDN$1750
  • According to surviving company records, 31 cars were sold before the venture folded in 1927.

    Saskatoon business identity Cec Wheaton gave this account of the abandoned factory in 1927, when he and a couple of teenaged friends gained entry by an unlocked door:

    ‘“Along the north wall of the factory were about a dozen Derby car frames, stacked on end and painted black. The boys ventured upstairs, where they found a scene that Wheaton describes as eerie and sad. The Derby company board room was located on the second floor of the factory. "There was a huge table," Wheaton says. Papers were stacked neatly around the table as if waiting for board members to return. "It looked like they just got up from the meeting, and left," he says. The stacks of papers included letters from Saskatchewan people who had invested in the company and were anxious for word on their savings. "I remember one letter from a widow who had invested all her money in the company," Wheaton says. "She was writing to say that she was expecting dividends and hadn't received any."’

    References

    Derby (Canadian automobile) Wikipedia


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