Lorraine Car Company - 1917-1921 - (Motor Hearse Corp. of America) later Pilot - 1921-1924 - Richmond, Indiana

    With the professional car business booming, D.H. Cummings launched the Lorraine Car Company in 1917 to manufacture funeral vehicles. By 1919 the company offered a large line of both conservative 12-column carved-panel hearses and modern limousine-style coaches. They introduced a passenger car in 1920 using a Wayne Motor Works (also in Richmond) assembled 122" chassis equipped with a 55hp Continental six-cylinder engine. The depression of 1921 affected many small automobile manufacturers and Lorraine was no exception. Cummings was forced to sell to the firm to his more successful Richmond neighbor, Pilot.

Now under Pilot ownership, Lorraine introduced a full line of coaches in 1922 and 1923. Directors could order a subtly carved 12-column hearse or a modern limousine-style combination coach in a range of colors which including a beautiful two-tone silver and gray.

The Lorraine funeral car remained in production until Pilot folded in 1924.


LORRAINE- Richmond, Indiana - (1920-1921) - D.H. Cummings launched the Lorraine Car Company in Richmond in 1917 with $200 in cash and a blue­print. The blueprint was of a hearse, and the funeral car trade was the focus of Cummings' new business. For a while it prospered, and in 1920 the company also offered a line of large limousines. The cars were placed on a 122-inch wheelbase chassis, and were fitted with the 55 hp six-cylinder Continental 7R engines. This activity was strictly a sideline to the principal Lorraine business, and passenger-car production was minimal. In 1921 the Lorraine Car Company hit the postwar depression head-on. "Few people understand how hard the un­dertakers of the country have been hit by the unusual conditions," D.H. Cummings lamented to a Richmond reporter when Lorraine went into receivership in Sep­tember 1921. "It has been calculated that the number of funerals, the country over, have been only two-fifths of normal, since last October." Apparently Lorraines were built for the company by Wayne Motor Works. Subsequently, Lorraine was taken over by the Pilot Motor Car Company of Richmond, which continued to market the Lorraine, but as a hearse only.


LORRAINE (US) 1919-1924                

Pilot Motor Car Co., Richmond, Ind.

Lorraine hearses were a sideline of the Pilot company, a minor assembler of 6-cylinder private cars. Specification was conventional, only the house colors of silver and dark grey distinguishing Lorraines from other contenders in this class. Sv power units by Herschell-Spillman or Teetor-Harley were fitted. MCS


    For more information please read:

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional Car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company: a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999


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