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Weymann-American Body Co.
Weymann-American Body Company, 1926-1932; Indianapolis, Indiana
Associated Builders
Holbrook & Co.

American automobile enthusiasts associate the name Weymann with Stutz and Duesenberg, since most Weymann bodies built in this country were mounted on those chassis (a few were built on Cord L-29, Marmon, Peerless and Pierce-Arrow chassis). However, in Europe they were much more widely used and were mounted on virtually every luxury chassis built during themed-to-late 1920s, notably Bentley’s famous LeMans racecars and the legendary Bugatti Royale. 

Although Charles Terres Weymann (1889-1976) spoke fluent French and was generally regarded as a Frenchman, he was actually born to a wealthy American father and French mother who were on a cruise ship traveling to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on August 2, 1889. An early aviation pioneer, he got his pilot’s license in 1909 (#24 with the American Aero Club), and within a year was successfully competing in major European aviation events in a variety of aircraft, winning the Gordon Bennett Cup at Eastchurch, on the Isle of Sheppey - 40 miles from London - in 1911. 

During the War, he worked for the French airplane manufacturer Nieuport as a test pilot. Now a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and recipient of the Croix de Guerre, he stayed in his adopted homeland after the Armistice. Weymann’s background in aviation led him to develop a flexible automobile body based on aircraft design principles and by 1921 he had built his first motor vehicle body prototype in his small Carrosserie Weymann at No. 20 Rue Troyon in Paris. 

Weymann stated that his frame was based on his "principle of four parallelograms," but in actuality the framing was constructed using a series of parallelograms and arches. Vertical posts at the cowl, windshield, and A, B and C-pillars were all joined to their corresponding posts on the opposite side of the body by a curved bow. These frames were in turn attached to the body sills in a semi-flexible manner with cross-members of wood joining the opposing body sills wherever possible. 

The body used an ultra-light ash framework, held together by 4mm.-thick (1/8”) I, L and T-shaped steel plates instead of the mortise-and-tennon joints used by other coachbuilders. To cut down on squeaks, the plates were separated from the wooden frame during assembly using greaseproof paper and 2- to 7-mm spacers that held the wood in place while each brace was screwed to the two (or three) ad­joining pieces of wood. Most adjoining wood sections were kept two millimeters (1/16”) apart, while door openings had a clearance of four millimeters (1/8”) along the hinge side, and seven millimeters (7/32”) at the lock or opening side where more flexibility was natural. Once the frame was completely assembled, the spacers were removed and could be re-used on the next body. 

When a rounded corner was desired, such as the corners of the cowl or the back of the roof, small metal panels were placed between the framework and the fabric in order to give the body the proper contour and support. Straining wires were used inside the doors so that they held their shape when opened. Custom locks were fabricated that allowed the doors to move silently within the framework when stressed due to bumping, rapid acceleration or braking. 

Large open areas were covered with chicken wire and the assembled framework was then covered in muslin, followed by a thin layer of cotton batting and finally a pigmented synthetic leather - usually a pyroxylin-coated fabric such as DuPont’s Zapon in much in the same way as the roofs of conventional bodies were covered at the time. Other brands of synthetic leather at the time were: Fabrikoid (DuPont), Drednaut (Chase), Elascofab, Meritas (Standard Textile), Rexine, and Tole Souple - The final step was to affix decorative aluminum moldings to the beltline and to cover any exposed joints in the fabric. The completed body was then mounted to the chassis with rubber insulators.  

Another selling point of the Weymann bodies were their adjustable seatbacks. A strap was diagonally attached between the seat­back and the seat cushion. A clip at one end of the strap attached to an adjustable bracket anchored to the cushion frame. Attaching the clip to the lowest hook of the bracket resulted in an upright driving position, while the uppermost hook gave the owner a more comfortable, reclined seating position. As with his fabric body, Weymann’s adjustable seatback system was patented and licensed to a large number of European coachbuilders and became very popular in the twenties and thirties. 

To attract attention, Weymann equipped a number of high-end European chassis (Voisin, Panhard, Hotchkiss, Delage) with his fabric body starting in 1921. While a small number of bodies could be built in Weymann’s own shops in Paris, initially most Weymann bodies were built under license by other European coachbuilders. In 1923 he formed a British subsidiary called Weymann Motor Body Co. with a British firm called Rotax to sell licenses in Great Britain. 

By 1925, a British factory was established when Weymann purchased the assets of the Cunard Co. in Putney, South-West London, renaming it, Weymann's Motor Bodies Ltd. Licensing offices were established in New York City and Cologne, Germany later the same year. 

By 1926, Weymann had made a fortune on his patents - he boasted of 123 licensees worldwide - but the American market proved elusive, so when Fred Moskovics approached Weymann looking for a light-weight body for his new Stutz 8, Weymann was eager to please. Both Stutz and Weymann tried to interest a few production body builders in setting up a line to build the fabric bodies for Stutz, but nobody was interested. The former Rubay/National factory was leased in Indianapolis for the new venture and the first Weymann-equipped "Safety Stutz" rolled out of the Weymann American Body Co. factory in the Spring of 1927. Although the details are sketchy, rumor has it that a substantial portion of the capital used to outfit the new factory was furnished by Stutz. The venture was described as a "uniting of European and American capital."

The new venture was announced to the trade in the May, 1927 issue of MoToR:

"THE WEYMANN BODY; 400 POUNDS LIGHTER - and It Can't Squeak (The Flexible Fabric Body) by Harold F. Blanchard, MoToR Technical Editor

Wood does not touch wood.
Walls are leather stuffed with hair.
Floors are covered with linoleum, felt and carpet.
No paint on the outside.
Easy to repair.
Lighter, gives more power and speed and lower center of gravity.

"There was an article in the April issue Of MoToR, ‘Why a Four-Speed Transmission?’, in which it was pointed out that the fundamental purpose of the modern four-speed transmission with silent, internal geared third was to permit the use of a fast axle without sacrifice of all-round road performance. An axle in this case was defined as one with a 3.7 to 1 ratio whereas the same car, the new Paige Eight, with the usual, three-speed transmission would require a 14.8 to 1 ratio -- in short, a 'slow' axle.

"No need to repeat here the advantages which the fast axle offers beyond stating that engine smoothness, silence, fuel, economy and life is greatly enhanced. In the closing paragraph of this article it was noted that the four-speed transmission is but one of several ways of utilizing the fast axle without reduction in road performance.

"One of the alternatives is to reduce the total car weight including average passenger load in proportion to the reduction in axle ratio. Thus if a five-passenger car weighing 4,400 pounds is considered to have an average passenger load of 450 pounds, the total weight is 4,850 pounds, and if this car has a low axle with a 4.5-to 1 ratio and it is desired to secure equal performance with a 3.7 to 1 ratio, the total weight must be cut to 3.7/4.5 x 4,850, or approximately 4,000 pounds, Deducting 450 pounds, the assumed passenger weight, the car weight becomes 3,550 pounds. Subtracting this figure from 4,400, it is seen that the car weight must be cut 850 pounds to secure the same performance with a 3.7 to 1 axle as with a 4.5 to 1 axle.

"Such a marked weight saving is obviously impossible with our present knowledge of the art of motor car building. But it is interesting to note that a long step in this direction may be taken by adopting the Weymann type of body construction which is now standard on a certain percentage of Stutz cars.

"The Weymann body, by the way, is fully described in the captions, numbered 1 to 10, accompanying the illustrations on these pages and therefore it should be sufficient to say here that it consists of a relatively light but strong wooden framework, the wooden strips being joined by strap iron and bolts without the use of mortised of glued joints. Adjacent pieces of wood are separated by an eight(h)-inch gap entirely to prevent body squeaks; door and window glass have 1/4-inch clearances; and the whole structure is designed for full flexibility. Over this framework is stretched 12- to 14-ounce duck, curled hair stuffing is p1aced over this to give the panels fullness, being held temporarily by vertical guide threads about two inches apart. When the correct amount of hair has been placed on a panel it is covered with muslin to hold the hair in place, and over this is stretched Zapon nitrocellulose artificial leather which is available in nearly all colors. The advantages are briefly:

"Complete absence of body noises including squeaks and drumming, a lower center of gravity and a marked reduction in weight, due to the use of a lighter framework and because the fabric covering weighs very much less than metal.

"The Stutz four-door sedan, for example, when equipped with a composite wood and metal body weighs 4100 pounds in, round numbers whereas with a Weymann body of similar appearance it weighs 3,975 pounds - 425 pounds less - and it is estimated that an additional saving of 200 pounds might be made in the chassis if the car were redesigned for Weymann bodies exclusively. Since the Weymann body is highly flexible a lighter frame could be used, and this plus a reduction in weight all through the chassis because of the lessened load would bring the chassis weight 200 pounds under its present figure, making the total weight saving 625 pounds.

"If we assume that this more or less hypothetical automobile is geared 4.5 to 1 - the average for American cars - with a composite wood and metal body, it could be geared 3.92 to 1 without sacrifice of performance if the weight were reduced 625 pounds, as noted by taking full advantage of the Weymann construction. And as previously suggested this would be a long step toward the utilization of the fast axle without going to a four-speed transmission.

"This thought, however, should not he regarded as a positive argument against the four-speed transmission, for regardless of how slow or fast the axle is the four-speed transmission still offers a definite ratio of improvement. This car geared 3.92 to 1 with a three-speed transmission might be geared 3 to 1 with a four-speed transmission. Picture how smoothly the engine would run!

"However, since all this is more speculation, the question arises as to how much actual difference there is in the performance of the Stutz five-passenger four-door sedan fitted with a Weymann body. To answer this question, let us recall that the weight with a composite body is 4,400 pounds and with a Weymann body on the same chassis the weight is 3,975 pounds, a difference of 425 pounds, and this is approximately the average weight of three passengers. Therefore, a Weymann-bodied Stutz with five passengers will climb hills as well as a five-passenger composite-bodied Stutz with only two passengers, assuming the same gear ratio in each case.

"If the Stutz car in question is geared 4.5 to 1 with a composite body, and the assumed passenger weight is 430 pounds, with the same passenger weight the Weymann body will permit a gear ratio of 4.1 to 1 with the same high gear performance, and this change is well worthwhile.

"The Weymann fabric body has numerous other advantages although before explaining them it is perhaps well to remark that the Weymann construction while new in this country has been thoroughly tried out abroad, for bodies of this type have been built in Europe for several years and are extensively used by many of Europe’s leading automobile manufacturers.

"The Weymann body was developed by Charles T. Weymann and H. Steinbrugge, cousins, both born in the United States but reared in France. At the outbreak of the war, Weymann became a citizen of France. Prior to the war they were interested in Jeager speedometers and clocks, Nivex gauges, and the Exhausteur vacuum tank, the last a Weymann invention, which may be marketed later on in this country.

"Shortly after the war they began the development of the Weymann body which has grown steadily in popularity abroad. On a recent trip to Europe, F.E. Moscovics, President of the Stutz Company, became interested in the Weymann construction, and believing that it would prove popular in this country and also being desirous of applying it to the Stutz, Mr. Moscovics offered to guarantee to buy a certain number of Weymann bodies if a factory were established in this country. As a result the Weymann American Body Co. was formed with B.W. Twyman, a well-known figure in the American automotive industry, as President, and H. Steinbrugge, as Vice-President and Chief Engineer. The National Automobile plant in Indianapolis was secured as a factory and bodies have been built there for some months past, mainly for Stutz but also some experimental bodies for other automobile manufacturers.

"Returning to a discussion of the advantages of the Weymann body, many consider that the extreme silence of this body is even more important than its greatly reduced weight. Body squeaks are apparently impossible because adjacent pieces of wood do not touch, as already noted, and the use of fabric leather panels eliminates all drumming noises. Perhaps the most convincing evidence regarding the silence of this body is the fact that the usual chain type window lifts cannot be used because the chains rattle objectionably although their noise is entirely unheard in conventional bodies. Heavy, indestructible silk cord connected to the window crank and operating over pulleys is used for window lifting. Similarly to smother road noises due to the pounding of the tires on the road, the bouncing of stones against the chassis and so forth, unusual measures must be taken to prevent these noises coming up through the floor, and therefore the floor is first covered with linoleum, then a layer of felt is applied and finally the carpet is put in. On the best European jobs felt ¾ inch thick is used.

"Due to the light weight of the Weymann body the center of gravity of the car is considerably reduced, and in fact the center of gravity of a Weymann closed is just as low as the center of gravity of the composite open car, it is said. In other words, a Weymann closed car handles just as well on turns as a composite open car.

"A Weymann body, it is contended, is easier to repair in case of an accident than the conventional type There are no metal panels to straighten out and no painting to be done. The fabric from the damaged panel is readily removed, new fabric is installed and the car is ready for use without any delay for painting. Some people raise the objection that fabric leather is not as attractive a surface for automobiles as polished, lacquered metal panels but time alone will answer this question.

"All of us have been brought up on brightly finished panels and it will take some of us some time at least to get used to the less shiny fabric leather panels, and until we, do get fully used to them we are not in a fair position to judge which is preferable. The truth of this view is readily demonstrated by stating that there are many owners of Weymann jobs in Europe who prefer the appearance of the fabric leather finish and they argue that fabric leather is a more attractive finish for automobiles just as it is for suitcases and they ask, who would want a highly polished lacquered metal suitcase? Or conversely, how many people would accept an open car with glossy, patent leather upholstery? Beauty is largely a matter of what we are accustomed to, and consequently, those who argue that the fabric leather finish is fundamentally more attractive must be respected, whether we agree with them or not, for the future may show that they are right.

"It is said that the nitrocellulose fabric leather finish is even more durable than lacquer.

"From a manufacturing standpoint the Weymann body has much to recommend it. A punch press and a few simple dies are about all the equipment required for forming the metal fittings out of 1/8-inch iron, and the wood members are quickly made on standard wood-working machinery. In short, the machinery required is very much less expensive than the huge presses and dies needed for metal panel body construction. The cost of these dies is so great that it is not usually considered economical to change a single body design until at least 2,000 of the one type have been built.

"Whereas with the Weymann construction a body design may be changed almost overnight. The straight pieces which form the bulk of the Weymann body frame are planed to size and of course no special fittings are required in their making. A curved piece, such as a door pillar, is curved only on one of its six surfaces and this contour is produced by a simple jig-consisting of a board with the same contour as the piece to be finished, then the latter piece is attached to the former, and the two are moved across the forming cutter as shown in Picture No. 10. The fabric leather is cut from paper patterns and obviously it is little trouble to cut new patterns.

"Only a moderate amount of factory space is required because the framework is quickly assembled and after that it does not take long to finish the job. No room is required for storing bodies while painting because there is no paint on the bodies, except the bead molding.

"At the present time Weymann bodies cost a little more than conventional types but it is believed that when they are manufactured in larger quantities they will cost less than the conventional. Up to the present it has been customary to build the body directly, onto the chassis,, and unless means are developed for handling the body as a separate unit, it is likely that the Weymann body plant in Indianapolis will be used solely to produce bodies for chassis shipped in, plus experimental jobs for automobile manufacturers, who may later take out a license under the Weymann patents and build bodies in their own plants.

"Picture 1 – (Picture of Stutz with Weymann body.) An eight-cylinder Stutz equipped with a four-door five-passenger Weymann flexible fabric body. The hood is also covered with fabric for harmony. The rear fenders are attached to the body and a rubber filler strip keeps the front end of the rear fender from scraping against the runningboard which is attached to the frame.

"Picture 2 - (Picture of the interior of the body of, the Stutz shown above.) The interior of this car, a typical Weymann body, job, is conventional. Seats rest directly on the floor boards and are not attached to the body sides, thus the seats do not interfere with the body flexibility. The top of the body is designed to sway 1/8-inch under extreme conditions.

"Picture 3 - (Shows a pile of wood pieces out and ready for assembly.) Here are all the wood members used in this body, finished, and ready for use. (The pile was pretty small covering an area of two feet wide, four and a half feet long, and about ten inches high.)

"Picture 4 - (Shows the completed assembled wood framework.) The various wood members of the body are hold together by 1/8- inch thick iron brackets countersunk flush and secured by bronze bolts, out off and riveted over. There is a space of 1/8-inch between all abutting pieces of wood held by these brackets, thus preventing body squeaks. Between each bracket and its wood member is placed a layer of anti-squeak felt or oiled paper. The doors are secured, at three points, the two hinges and the lock. Doors have ¼-inch clearance all around. As shown, the body consists fundamentally of three parallelograms laid on the car frame.

"Picture 5 - (Shows front and rear wood assemblies, front where the dash attaches and the rear that fits just to the rear of the rear door.) Front parallelogram, left and rear parallelogram, right, as well as the center parallelogram and the doors, are made up as separate assemblies. Metal cowl panels are attached to the cowl cross-member on the front parallelogram, and for flexibility the front edge of these panels are allowed to slide on the dash, instead of being attached rigidly to it.

"Picture 6 - (Shows front and rear door wood frames.) Front and rear doors are shown at left and right. The brace wires shown support the door in case somebody hangs his weight from it.

"Picture 7 - (Shows Stutz without hood or rear fenders with the fabric attached to the body on the outside but not yet tucked around the edges of the doors and attached.) This view shows the body half finished. The fabric leather has been tacked in place except on the cowl.

"Picture 8 - (Shows Weymann bodied car, apparently French, on a street and upside down resting on the top. The left front wheel, fender, etc. was the point of impact. The Weymann body was not crushed under the weight of the car when it rolled over.) This picture of a European car fitted with a Weymann body shows that the construction was strong enough to protect the passengers in this accident.

"Picture 9 - (Shows a drawing of how the doors are sealed against the body.) Since the doors have 1/4-inch clearance all around, they are rendered weather-proof by using two fabric covered rubber beads, one tacked to the door pillar and the other to the door.

"Picture 10 - (Shows a drawing of a wood shaper tool rounding the edge of a piece of wood.) A forming tool of standard design is used for producing a curved surface. The cutter rotates at high speed. The jig or form is pressed against the base while the piece to be formed is attached to the jig and is cut the same shape while the two are moved along the tool."

George Connolly, an experienced body designer formerly of Hupmobile and Murray, was appointed president, and two bankers, Hermann Steinbrugg - a banker cousin of Weymann's - and Maurice Dollfus were elected to the board of the new firm. Steinbrugg had previously served as the US representative of Weymann and helped with the tests carried out by the Checker Cab Co., Weymann’s only American licensee.

Included in Stutz’s 1928-29 catalog were half-a-dozen models by Weymann, mostly two or four door sedans on both the standard 134½ -inch and longer 145-inch wheelbase that was used for seven-passenger models and custom bodies. They were aggressively priced midway between Stutz’s regular production bodies and the series-built customs they were buying from Fleetwood and LeBaron. Included in the 12pp catalog were the following Weymann-built bodies: Aix-les-bains, Biarritz, Chamonix, Chantilly, Deauville, Monaco, and Versailles.

The racing history of the Stutz Black Hawk begins during a dinner conversation in London, England between Frederick E. Moskovics, the president of Stutz and Weymann. A race between the new Stutz Vertical 8 Black Hawk Speedster (equipped with a lightweight Weymann body) and a Hispano-Suiza was proposed as a publicity stunt that would garner some much-needed publicity for the two associated firms. Both parties agreed to a $25,000 winner-take-all event which would last for 24 hours and be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The race commenced at 1:00pm on April 18th, 1928, the Black Hawk piloted by Tom Rooney and Gil Anderson, and the Hispano-Suiza H6c Boulogne Speedster driven by Weymann and Robert Bloch. Early in the race the Stutz dropped a valve, and despite the best efforts of their mechanics, the race was conceded after 19 hours, 20 minutes with the $25,000 going to Weymann. 

Undaunted, Moskovics challenged Weymann to complete the remaining 4 hours and 40 minutes with a replacement Stutz. As expected, The H6c took an early lead, but after a short 10 laps, the Stutz overtook the French car, and over the next four hours, it lapped the Hispano three times, eventually finishing more than 7 miles ahead. Although it was a convincing victory, no purse was at stake and the event was barely mentioned in the press. It is interesting to note that in the following year Weymann entered a Weymann-bodied Stutz Black Hawk at Le Mans, finishing second to the works Bentley. 

A 1930 Stutz brochure described the Weymann bodies: 

“The principle of the Weymann flexible body is a Stutz importation from Europe. It is exceedingly light and strong, being built like the wing of an airplane. Weymann frames consist of a series of parallelograms, or arches, each having a high, independent strength. These are connected by longitudinal members at the top and bottom, forming a thoroughly braced and counter braced 'basket' as the body skeleton. At the joints, wood does not contact wood, thereby eliminating all possibility of squeaks and rattles. Weymann bodies are covered with fabric which 'gives' with the flexible body frame. 

“A new luxury in motoring is experienced in riding in a Stutz equipped with a Weymann flexible body. There is an incredible quiet that results from the elimination of body noises, including the vibration called 'drumming', the feeling of swift floating flight as the car glides over the road, an undisturbed poise of the passengers cushioned on the deep seats firmly anchored to the frame." 

In 1928 Weymann American's management was reorganized. John Graham, formerly with the Holbrook Co of Hudson, NY became its president, A. H. (Bert) Walker, its chief designer and E. G. Izod its managing director. Graham, a pioneer in the custom-body field, co-founded Holbrook in 1908 and was its guiding hand for a great many years while Walker - one of Great Britain’s foremost designers and body engineers - had previously worked with C.T. Weymann in the Paris factory and had later managed the English plant. Izod had worked for Weymann’s British subsidiary in the same position. The board of directors was also reorganized with H. Leigh Whitelaw, an American natural gas company executive, elected as chair. Whitelaw probably brought in a sizable amount of cash as he was also given a seat on the parent company’s board (now called Weymann Corp.) as well as a seat on the board of Weymann Motor Bodies, Ltd, its British subsidiary.

Stutz’s 1929 Weymann offerings retained their French names and padded appearance, but were slightly redesigned to take advantage of their new low-profile M Series chassis. Later that year, a new Stutz brochure introduced their new “Chateau Series” of cars that were “strictly European... with contours formerly associated with Bentley, British Rolls-Royce and Hispano” whose “interiors carry no foreign strangeness to the inner cir­cle of Continental nobility and society."  The Monte Carlo’s short roof, letter slot windows and extra-high belt line undoubtedly inspired more than a couple automotive cartoons and illustrations during the next few decades. A  Pytchley sliding roof was included on the illustration of the Longchamps coupe. Although popular in Great Britain, it was a rarity on British Weymann's as “Sushine Roof”-equipped examples tended to leak badly due to the flexing of the roof in inclement weather.

In 1929 Weymann issued its own catalogue depicting a number of unidentified American-looking chassis adorned with Weymann bodies. Among them were a Stutz Monte Carlo, a Pierce-Arrow coach, an L-29 Cord Faux Cabriolet and a Duesenberg Model J sedan. While Stutz remained their best customer, Weymann made a total of 13 bodies for Duesenberg including a speedster that still retains its Weymann body. Auto designer Gordon Buehrig worked a short time for Stutz during late 1928 and early 1929. While he was there he designed the Weymann-built boat-tail speedster bodies for the factory’s 1929 LeMans entries. He also designed most of the 13 Weymann bodies that made their way onto Duesenberg Model J chassis after he left Stutz  to work for Duesenberg in 1929. (Weymann's immediate successor - the A.H. Walker Com­pany [aka Walker-LaGrande] - built six more bodies for Duesenberg in 1934-35). A handful of bodies were produced for Marmon, Peerless and Cord, the most famous being two Cord L-29s - a coupe and a cabriolet - built for bandleader Paul Whiteman.

Unfortunately, 1928 proved to be Weymann’s best year and the firm experienced a steady decline in business – both in their own factories and in licensing fees - commencing early in 1929, long before the stock market crash that marked the beginning of the end for all of America’s custom body builders. One contributing factor was that Cellulose-based lacquer was now available on most any new vehicle – coachbuilt or not - and the public had tired of Weymann’s limited pallet of mat-finished fabric bodies.

To counter their critics (and the downward sales projections), Weymann introduced a metal-clad version of their flexible body alternately called the 'semi-paneled' or ‘semi-­rigid’ system at the 1929 Paris Salon on a magnificent Bugatti Royale chassis. It was developed after Willy Vanden Plas, a British Weymann licensee, built a number bodies using fabric above the beltline and aluminum below it. Slightly larger braces replaced the standard Weymann hardware below the beltline and the doors were built using standard composite body construction with three standard hinges instead of the two lighter ones used previously. It featured a more rigid cowl and lower rear tonneau section, that still allowed the body some degree of flex, but the rigid doors facilitated the need for more rigid door jambs although Weymann’s patented spring-loaded locks were still used, albeit with the snubbers and locating dowels found on most other custom-built bodies.

The semi-rigid body was flexible to some degree, but it was also much more costly than their previous products and at the start of the Depression, money was becoming tight even for the wealthy. An aluminum-clad Weymann body on a 1931 Stutz chassis cost $2500 more than the fabric version and there were few takers. To further complicate matters, the new semi-rigid Weymann’s had little to distinguish themselves from their competition.

The January 1930 issue of Autobody contained the following announcement:

“Weymann American to Build Metal ­Paneled Weymanns Here 

“John Graham, president of Weymann American Body Co., who it will be recalled was the guiding hand of the Holbrook Co. for a great many years and one of the pioneers in the custom-body field, has given us the following information with respect to the activities of the Weymann American Body Co. at Indianapolis:

“A body has been developed which is paneled with metal, instead of fabric as heretofore, and which still maintains the Weymann principles, the engineering features and advantages of the Weymann body as regards light weight, silence and comfort in riding. 

“We anticipate that the trade will be interested in consider­ing the new metal-paneled body for production manufacture. To meet this demand, we are preparing to collaborate with manufacturers by funding samples and by engineering for the production of these bodies in the manufacturers' own plants or their production sources of supply. This can be worked out most advantageously as the metal-paneled Weymann, in production, can be built at a cost competitive with the compositive body and without making it necessary for the body manufacturer to revamp his methods of production. 

“One of these metal-paneled Weymanns was exhibited on a Duesenberg chassis at the Chicago Salon and received most favorable comment, not only from the manufacturers but from the public in general. 

“I appreciate that in the past considerable resistance was ex­perienced on account of the fabric covering, because most of the public demanded a highly polished exterior, but with the development of the metal-paneled body this resistance is elim­inated and there is no restriction so far as design is con­cerned. The Weymann metal-paneled body appears no dif­ferent, to a layman's eye, than a composite body and yet it embodies all the essential advantages of the Weymann con­struction. 

“The Weymann American Body Co. will still maintain their manufacturing and engineering headquarters in Indianapolis.

Unfortunately Weymann American ceased operations - within a year of the above press release - at the end of in 1931 although a few 1932 Stutz’s were equipped with leftover bodies. Weymann’s last job for Stutz was a handful of DV-32 Bearcat and Super Bearcat bodies introduced in 1931. The first few Super-Bearcats carried Weymann bodies, but when they shut their doors later that year, Murray took over their manufacture. A.H. Walker took over the abandoned Indianapolis Weymann plant in 1934 to build a few bodies (6) for Duesenberg’s LaGrande custom body program which are known today as Walker-LeGrandes.

 The French branch had closed its doors in 1930, but the British branch managed to survive the Depression by building bus bodies. In 1932 Charles Weymann resigned its board of directors making way for a reorganization of the firm. A new distribution company was formed called Metropolitan Cammell-Weymann Motor Bodies Ltd, to sell bodies from both Weymann and Metropolitan-Cammell (a Birmingham firm who had been building buses and railroad cars for over 100 years). The two firms maintained separate factories and corporate identities until 1963 when Metroplitan Cammel finally bought out Weymann. The new firm continued to make buses and taxicabs through the late 1980s.

Weymann returned to his first love, aviation. He designed and manufactured a Renault-powered monoplane and his famous Weymann CTV 201 autogiro. He remained active in the field of auto accessories for many years and as late as 1963 patented an automatic clutch. He spent his final years living in quiet retirement in France, where he died in September 1976.

Most of Weymann’s creations didn’t fair as well as he did. Due to is lightweight construction and its tendency to rot once humidity was introduced to its interior, the lifetime of a Weymann body was a short one and only a very few Weymann bodies survive to this day - and those that do have been rebuilt numerous times. Most of them are on Bentley chassis – but a handful of Stutz’s and a couple of Duesenbergs are known to exist.

Weymann was not the only firm to introduce an alternative to the standard composite body, however they were the most successful. In the United States, Kenneth L. Childs introduced a similar system in the early twenties that was used by Merrimac and E. J. Thompson and a few others. One early Childs body was exhibited at the 1923 New York Auto Show on a Packard chassis, then driven around the country for a year and exhibited again at the 1924 show. Although the stunt was intended to show how well it withstood thousands of miles of hard usage, Hugo Pfau recalled that “it looked just as bad as it did new”. In Europe, a number of competitors emerged. Most successful was Gordon England, but others included Kelsch, Silentblok, Paul Audineau’s Claripax, and Hibbard & Darrins Sylentlyte.

© 2004 Mark Theobald -


Below is the entire August 1929 "press release" detailing the new Stutz Weymann Chateau models that was sent out to dealers in The Stutz and Blackhawk - Vol 2,  No 11 - Indianapolis, Indiana - dated August 15, 1929

Stutz Presents the New Chateau Series of Weymann Flexible Custom Bodies

Vision is the keynote of Stutz; leadership; probably more worth-while features of the modem automobile have been introduced or fostered by Stutz; than by any other single manufacturer. In line with this traditional policy of keeping always ahead of the field, Stutz; encouraged a few years ago the estab­lishment of an American plant of the Weymann Body Co.

Several months ago, executives of the Eng­lish Weymann company visited America. After careful investigation, it was decided to completely revamp the existing Weymann American body factory to produce only the highest quality of custom coachwork; to reor­ganize the American company along the lines of European body plants and to construct duplicates of contemporary European types; in design, quality and painstaking workmanship.

So again, Stutz; has pioneered. Not content with building the safest and most advanced chassis on any American car, we now add the finest coachwork of Europe-the strictly Eu­ropean Weymann.

No longer is it necessary to import a for­eign chassis in order to obtain that highly de­sired individuality and charm of English body work, English appointments and English atmosphere.

You can now enjoy that ideal of motor car satisfaction - inimitable Stutz; chassis engineer­ing and unmatched old world coachcraft - a blending of the skill of two continents - to­day’s ultimate in motordom.

The Chateau line of Weymann flexible bodies is conceived as a strictly European offer­ing-contours that were formerly associated with Bentley, British Rolls-Royce and His­pano; interiors that carry no foreign strange­ness to the inner circle of continental nobility and society. No American modification is permitted.

Logically the first step in this unique pro­gram was to bring to our shores the necessary creative ability. The managing director of the English Weymann Company, Mr. E. G. Izod, was given complete charge. He brought with him one of the foremost designers and body engineers of England, Mr. A. H. Walker, as­sociated with Mr. C. T. Weymann in the Paris factory and later manager of the English plant.

These men and their associates transformed to an actuality the Weymann dream-to build a body in America, for the Stutz; chassis identical in every respect to the European Weymann; in style, design, workmanship and quality. For months the Weymann American plant has been a hive of activity-not in the daily production of "mine run" bodies-but in the production of ideas and the perfection of one body in which no flaw could be found. An exact reflection of current thought in over­seas design-an application of that thought by English designers working as they would in England-not goaded by American efficiency experts, unhampered by a production schedule -slowly but definitely creating in Indianapolis a product that would be no different were it made in Paris.

These exclusive creations represented in the Chateau Weymanns are brought to you with out the evils of importation; without fancifully extravagant prices and high import duties, without that dreadful reality of having to send clear to Europe for parts and service, without the necessity of waiting several months for delivery and finally receiving a style that is obviously several months out-of-date; without the prolonged negotiations, legal advice and red tape incident to purchasing abroad.

Stutz; with body by Weymann is decidedly more European than domestic in character. Such engineering features as worm drive, over­head camshaft, low gravity center, fully ad­justable seating equipment and other such ad­vanced Stutz features are also to be had in the more expensive foreign makes. Is it any won­der then, that the authentic Weymann body is so admirably adapted to Stutz-and vice versa?

The Chateau series of Weymanns consists, of four extremely smart designs, pictured in the accompanying illustrations. The first public presentation at Saratoga in conjunction with the August, 1929, races, un­mistakably has given New York society some­thing to talk about. Visitors at the display have to be convinced that these Weymanns are not from Paris. The contours, the rakish angles, the soft, velvety leathers, the luxury and attention to minor comforts so evident in their marvelous interiors breathe the spirit of continental body work.

These four introductions, while entirely dif­ferent from anything this country has pro­duced, are not experiments. They have their counterparts on famous chassis of Britain and the continent. The speedy Monte Carlo type of body shown on page one, for example, won first honors recently at the famous Concourse d' Elegance at Monte Carlo-the automobile fashion show of Europe.

Production of Chateau models started with the Saratoga show cars. Orders are already flowing into the Sales Department with such increasing rapidity that it begins to look like a scarcity of these beautiful cars this fall. Or­ders placed now will, of course, enable us to anticipate requirements and give more prompt deliveries.

And just a word about prices. They com­pare with our present line of custom Stutz. At such extremely reasonable list prices the Chateau Weymanns will meet no price resist­ance. They form their own exclusive class

Twelve Big Reasons

The J. Gurney Nutting Co., Ltd., is one of the outstanding custom Weymann builders of England. Their Weymann bodies are quite in evidence among the socially elite of Europe. The favorite equipage of the Prince of Wales is a Gurney Nutting. Likewise His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, owns a Lan­chester with Nutting-Weymann, and a His­pano-Suiza similarly equipped is the property of Lord Louis Mountbatten.

In summing up the superiority of Weymann bodies over ordinary metal construction, the Gurney Nutting people stress these twelve major features - in reality the twelve conclusive reasons for Weymann.

(1) Absolute silence.

(2) As durable as any other body.

(3) Withstands rough roads and speed!

(4) No squeaks, rattles, or draughts.

(5) Absence of drumming and rumbling. (6) Lightness increases operating economy and speed.

(7) Most luxurious.

(8) Perfect comfort in any weather.

(9) Less expensive than custom built com­posite bodies of similar quality.

(10) Easily cared for.

(11) Easy to wash and clean.

(12) Easily repaired in case of accident.

These qualities are just as applicable, of course, to the Chateau Weymanns as to the Gurney Nutting bodies-Weymann construc­tion throughout the world is licensed under the same patents; the principles and high stand­ards of workmanship are identical.

Weymann Construction is Unique

Weymann flexible bodies have been used for several years on all types of European cars from Rolls Royce to Austins. So popular have Weymanns become abroad that, the majority of expensive European cars of today furnish them as standard or optional equipment. In England alone, more than thirty factories are licensed to build genuine Weymann bodies.

Flexible bodies have so many points of supe­riority over the ordinary body construction that their almost instantaneous success is quite easily understood. Not only is it more diffi­cult to overturn a Weymann-bodied car be­cause of its light superstructure, but the radi­cal reduction in weight results in increased power, speed, economy, acceleration, decelera­tion, hill-climbing, road adhesiveness, and easy­riding. In fact, almost every quality of a mo­tor car's performance is enhanced by the Wey­mann body. Furthermore, it is noise proof. Weymanns are built with the triple purpose of eliminating weight and noise, and increas­ing comfort.

The mounting of Weymann bodies on the Stutz chassis results in an ideal combination of similar principles of safety and performance.

SAFETY. A Stutz Weymann flexible bodied sedan weighs approximately half the passenger load less than a similar type with steel and wood body. The advantage, however, is not so much in the amount of gross weight saved, but in lowering the center of gravity.

The weight reduction is practically all in the upper part of the car-above the frame. It is apparent that with very little dead weight above the car frame, the danger of turning over is largely eliminated. A Weymann equipped Stutz can be tilted safely about one and a half times as far sideways as a conventional bodied car of the same size.

The light Weymann frame is even more durable than the conventional composite frame. The former is built around three sturdy sec­tions or parallelograms represented by the windshield section, center pillar section and rear quarter pillar section. The parallelograms or sections are of sufficient strength to support the weight of the car resting on its top, with­out regard to the rest of the body framework.

Weymann bodies are framed from the finest quality ash, combining great strength and flex­ibility with light weight. While the thickness of a Weymann door pillar appears less than that of a composite body, it is really stronger. The reason is that pillars for composite bodies must be mortised at each end and in the mid­dle for the joints, and cut into for the heavy lock.

Regardless of the thickness or weight of a conventional type of body-pillar-it is no stronger than at its weakest points, at the joints and lock. Thickness does not mean strength where stock is mortised out. The strength of each part of wood used in the Weymann frame is the same throughout its entire length.

Flexible Weymann joints are constructed of steel plates fastened permanently to both faces of the parts joined. The plates are rigidly fixed at one end, but connected at, the other with a pivot, thereby allowing the different frame members to weave. Being made of steel, the joints are practically unbreakable in case of accident.

The best proof of Weymann safety, how­ever, is the accumulated good will of Stutz own­ers. Many experiences have been reported to us during the past two years in which the credit for averting serious accidents has been given largely to the Weymann body.

COMFORT. Your first ride in a Weymann will convince you that it is the most com­fortable car in which you have ridden. Like the Weymann safety features, riding comfort results from a number of constructional details.

The seats and floorboards are bolted directly to the frame of the car. There is no possibil­ity, therefore, of body vibrations affecting the passengers. Road shocks, which are magnified in the ordinary rigid type of body construction are cushioned in the flexible body.

Weymann seats are marvels of luxury and comfort. No expense is spared in making them the most comfortable that can be built. Of course, the front seats are fully adjustable to suit any size passenger.

No slamming is necessary to close a Wey­mann door; no nerve shattering noise results. You do not have to try two or three times to close it tightly as you have done many times in a steel bodied automobile. Weymann doors can be closed easily with one finger.

The same ease of controlling the car ex­plained as a safety feature of the Weymann body, because of lowered center of gravity, also adds to the riding comfort.

APPEARANCE. Because of the increas­ing similarity in the mechanical construction of conventional motor cars, appearance 'has recently become a much more important fac­tor. Weymann bodied cars are by far the most distinctive 'looking automobiles in America.

They are European through and through. Arriving in Europe, the American notices at once the large proportion of Weymann bodies. On his return, he just as vividly notices that all Weymanns built in America are on Stutz­-made chassis. Without doubt they are imbued with an atmosphere of aristocracy.

Weymann bodies cannot; possibly be dented as steel bodies very often are, and are much less susceptible to scratching. Under impact, Weymann surfaces yield and rebound like the tires. A blow sufficient to dent a steel body will leave no destructive evidence on the sur­face of a Weymann; because of the toughness of the fabric covering material, known as Zapon.

This material is made by uniting successive layers of lacquer paste to a tough cotton cloth, the tensile strength of which is in excess of 110 pounds to the inch. The various layers of lacquer are homogeneously knit together, forming a very thick but flexible coating. Col­oring pigments are, of course, a part of the lacquer, so like solid gold or sterling the ex­ternal appearance goes clear through:

DURABILITY. Notwithstanding light weight, Weymanns are in many ways more durable than heavy steel bodies. The strength of Zapon, the heavy fabric covering material, already has been mentioned. It is exceedingly strong and tough, and successfully resists or­dinary bumps or shocks. If an accident does result in a torn section of fabric, a new piece may be easily substituted for a fraction of the expense necessary to replace a metal panel.

PERFORMANCE. Weymann bodies are the lightest built. It is easy to comprehend the significance of this fact in practically ev­ery phase of performance.

The net available horsepower is materially increased as a result not only of the decrease in weight, but an appreciable decrease in wind resistance, because of reduced cross section. Correspondingly, an increase is obtained in ac­celeration, top speed and hill-climbing ability.

Gas and tire mileage are increased. The decreased strain and weight on the chassis les­sens the expense of maintenance.

Cleaning and repairing Weymann models is simple. An occasional application of soap and water keeps the surface in perfect condition. New Zapon material can be obtained econom­ically and applied by any good upholsterer.

If the color is to be changed or renewed, the old covering can be easily stripped off and the new material substituted. The expense does not materially exceed that of a first-class paint job on a conventional metal body.

Weymann bodies include such a long list of features superior to metal bodies that, before many months, they will be as popular in Amer­ica as they are in other countries. Stutz fol­lows its own precedent of being the first Amer­ican car to bring to this country the worth­while developments of painstaking Europe.

President Well Known

John Graham, president of the new Weymann American Body Company, is well fitted to produce bodies that meet the high standards required by Stutz and by Weymann.

Mr. Graham, after wide practical experience in body designing and building, became a founder of the Holbrook Company, recog­nized as one of the few leaders among strictly custom body builders of this country. He served as president of Holbrook for fifteen years until picked by the Weymann interests as the logical head of the American Weymann factory.

Upon taking over his new duties, Mr. Graham explained the Weymann policy - "to inculcate in the Weymann body the finest in design, workmanship and detail." An inspec­tion of the Chateau series proves that the Weymann factory is adhering strictly to policy.

This rear compartment view of a Monte Carlo suggests the perfection of inside appoint­ments. Seat springs are firmer than in many so-called "comfortable" cars, to provide maximum restfulness over rough going' and long distances-not merely a yielding sensation when at rest. The attention to detail is carried even to the rear window curtain, which can be operated by the driver through a convenient extension cord. Of course, smoking requisites are furnished.







John A. Senior, Alan Townsin & John Banks - The Weymann Story 1923-1945

Hugo Pfau - Weymann - Cars & Parts – September 1974

Elston Joseph Melton - History of Cooper County, Missouri

Roland Jerry - The Fabric Body and How It Flexed - Automobile Quarterly Vol.14 No.3

Roland Jerry - Coachbuilding In Canvas - Old Motor, Vol.8 No.5, Sep/Oct 1974

John W. deCampi - Weymann Motor Bodies - Flying Lady, pp 2074-2075 issue 78-3, May 1978

Roland Jerry - The Weymann Principle of Body Construction - Flying Lady, pp 2927-2929, issue 84-5, Sep/Oct 1984

Walt Gosden - Coachwork Lines: Marmon in Matte - the Classic Car, December 1987

Weymann American to Build Metal­Paneled Weymanns Here - Autobody, January 1930

The Stutz and Blackhawk - Vol 2,  No 11 - August 15, 1929

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

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

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Raymond A. Katzell - The Splendid Stutz

Marc Ralston - Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - There Is No Mistaking a Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

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

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

John Webb De Campi - Rolls-Royce in America

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

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