Alphabetical Index|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

Bill Stout
William Bushnell Stout (b.1880-d.1956)
Associated Firms
J.C. Widman & Co.

William B. Stout was an early aeronautical engineer whose main claim to fame was the design of the Stout 2-AT and 3-AT tri-motor airplane, the direct predecessor of the Ford 4-AT Tri-Motor, an early all-metal airframe that was affectionately known as the ‘Tin Goose’. The Tri-Motor was the culmination of Stout's earlier experiments with all-metal monocoque airframes which paved the way for his similarly-constructed mid-thirties motor coaches, railcars and automobiles. Like his contemporaries, Ferdinand Porsche and Hans and Joseph Ledwinka, Stout was an early proponent of lightweight, rear-engined, air-cooled automobiles and for many years earned a living as a journalist, under the nom de plume of 'Jack Kneiff.'

William Bushnell Stout was born on March 16, 1880, in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois to James Frank (b. Feb. 25, 1850) and Mary Louisa (Bushnell) Stout. Both his father (b. 1850 in New York) and grandfather (James Stout b. 1818 in New York) were Methodist clergymen who can trace their history to a Captain Stout, an Englishman who had settled in Virginia in Colonial days.

The elder Stout's listing in the 1903 Northwestern University Alumni Directory follows:

“James Frank Stout - Born Feb. 25, 1850, at Potter Center, N.Y. to James and Sarah A. (Comstock) Stout. Prepared at Northwestern University Academy. A.B. 1878, A.M. 1896, D.D. Also D.D. from Hamline University. Beta Theta Pi. Second prize in Interstate Oratorical contest. Clergyman, Methodist Episcopal. Pastorates at Pittsfield, Springfield, Quincy, Bloomington, Danville, Ill. Joined Minnesota Conference; at St. Paul, Minneapolis, Mankato, Red Wing and Winona. Married Mary Lewellen Bushnell , in 1875, at Evanston, Ill. Children—Mary B., born in 1878; William B., born in 1880; Frances B., born in 1885. Residence, 316 E. Broadway, Winona, Minn.”

In his autobiography Stout claims his mother Mary (b. Nov. 8, 1846 in Princeton, Bureau County, Illinois to William Francis and Mary Fowler [McKean] Bushnell -d. Mar. 20, 1927) was the granddaughter of David Bushnell (b.1740–d.1824), the inventor of the ‘American Turtle’ an early combat submarine that was used, albeit unsuccessfully, during the Revolutionary War. Her father, William F. Bushnell, was a well-known master carpenter who supervised the construction of Evanston, Illinois’ Grosse Pointe lighthouse in 1872.

Our subject’s siblings included a twin brother William F. (b. Mar. 16, 1880), older sister Mary B. (b.1877) and a younger sister, Francis (b.1885) Stout. The 1880 US Census shows his grandfather, the Rev. James Stout was living with the family at the time and Stout recalled that the part-time cobbler “cared for men's soles on weekdays and men's souls on Sundays”.

Over the course of J.F. Stout’s pastoral career with the Methodist Episcopal Church the family relocated many times, his father serving the Lord in Pittsfield, Springfield, Quincy (where William was born), Bloomington (1884) and Danville (1881), Illinois. He subsequently joined the Minnesota Conference where he had parishes located in West St. Paul(1887), Minneapolis (1889), Mankato (1895), Red Wing (1897) and Winona (1899).

As William couldn’t develop many long-time friends, his interests turned to art and technology - he also taught himself to play the piano and to converse in a handful of foreign languages. In 1890 an observant Minneapolis teacher discovered that young William had a hard time seeing the blackboard and he was soon fitted with his first set of spectacles, a thick-lensed prescription that he would wear for the rest of his lifetime.

In 1893 his maternal grandfather and namesake invited the family to his home in Chicago to visit the World’s Columbian Exposition, where he became infatuated with the mechanical wonders exhibited inside 'Machinery Hall.' He was soon constructing his own toys and in 1894, his first working Aeroplane – built using plans contained in The Youth's Companion, a weekly magazine for boys.

Stout became adept at making useful devices out of household objects and began writing  how-to articles for the local newspapers. The 1895 Minnesota State Census lists him living with his family in Mankato, Blue Earth County, Minnesota, and alongside the 14-yer-old's name is listed an occupation; 'journalist.'

William attended the Mechanical Arts High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, working after school copying papers for a local patent attorney - a job that proved beneficial later in life when he began preparing his own patent applications.

After his 1898 graduation from high school he enrolled at St. Paul Minnesota’s Methodist University, dropping out early to take a teaching position in a 30-student one-room schoolhouse located near Winona, his father’s current parish. He continued toying with home-made contraptions, one of which was a water-powered phonograph constructed of sewing spools, a wooden pillbox, and a piece of paper for a diaphragm.

He became bored with the limited prospects offered by his position and decided to return to college, enrolling at Hamline University whose Alumni Quarterly stated was known to the class of ‘01 as “Our Meat” and the class of ’02 as “Fusser Extraordinary.” During that time he began to capitalize on his writing and toy-making skills, authoring a number of how-to articles for Harpers, Youth's Companion and Scientific American as well as a handyman’s column for the St. Paul Dispatch and Minneapolis Times newspapers.

During this period he adopted the pen name of ‘Jack Kneiff,’ (aka ‘Jack Knife’) a reference to the fact that the only tools needed to complete his how-to projects were a file and a jack knife.

He also developed an automatic furnace tender that remotely controlled the operations of a heating unit using a simple alarm clock. After writing about the novel device in his column a Minneapolis firm started offering a nearly identical device. Unfortunately he failed to patent the invention, a valuable lesson that would not be repeated.

In 1902 Stout left Hamline and enrolled in the Engineering College of the University of Minnesota but while preparing for his final examinations he developed a corneal abscess and upon the advice of an oculist, elected to postpone the exams.

Stout had yearned to take a trip to Europe for a number of years, and turned his misfortune into an opportunity touring France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and England all the while writing about his adventures for Cassells Magazine, the Saint Paul Dispatch, the Minneapolis Times and the Harmsworth newspaper syndicate. The US Dept. of Immigration records he departed London, England on October 6, 1903 on-board the freighter Lancastrian, arriving at the port of Boston on October 18, 1903.

At the time Europe was enthralled with technology and he followed the exploits of the continent's early aviators with great interest, immersing himself in the study of aeronautics upon his return. He took a job at St. Paul’s Central High School as an instructor in manual training, and continued to supply local newspapers and national magazines with entertaining articles on various subjects. The 1905 Minnesota State Census lists him living with his family in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, his listed occupation, the same as a decade earlier; 'journalist.'

Stout also began his own aviation experiments using scale models and fell in love with a beautiful Canadian-born girl living in St. Paul named Alma E. Raymond, marrying her in Winnipeg, Ontario on June 16, 1905. Alma was born April 5, 1884 in Morven, Town of Loyalist, Lennox and Addington County, Ontario, Canada to Ira (b. Jun. 15,1832) and Lydia Almira (Clarke b.1839) Raymond and to the blessed union was born a daughter, Wilma Frances (Stout) on February 22, 1912.

During his spare time Stout studied the latest accomplishments of such notable air pioneers as the Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, Alberto Santos-Dumont and Octave Chanute and in 1906 met the latter while he was visiting Chicago. Chanute thought so highly of young Stout that when illness prevented him from making the trip from Chicago to St. Paul for a scheduled presentation on ‘Artificial Flight’ before the St. Paul Engineering Society, he asked Stout to fill in for him.

The May 1906 issue of the Inland Printer reveals that Jack Kneiff made personal appearances:

“Great success is crowning the efforts of the St. Paul Dispatch to interest the boys of the city and vicinity. The first of a series of ‘Jack Kneiff’ shows was recently given in the Metropolitan Opera House at which there were over three thousand boys and nearly four thousand more were turned away unable to gain admission. The show consisted principally of the nature of a manual training school, where the boys were shown how to make boats, sleds and the like, and is the development of a weekly feature in the Dispatch of a similar nature. This is a form of ‘general publicity’ advertising in the interest of the circulation department, from which direct financial results cannot be counted, but it is to be noted that papers that once start a plan of this character are so well satisfied with its profitableness that it is developed and continued indefinitely.“

Stout’s star was clearly rising in the literary field and the McClure syndicate began distributing his column “The Adventures and Inventions of Jack Kneiff” and “Jack Kneiff’s Page” nationwide. Some representative projects, some of which were so involved that they required an entire newspaper page to detail, included:

“Jack Shows How to Make a Shelter Tent and a Folding Stove; Jack Tells How Any Boy Can Make an Automobile for Himself; Jack Tells About A Carrier And a Telephone; How To Make A Model Sand Dredge; Jack Kneiff Makes A Cigar Box Water Mill; Jack Kneiff Makes A Model Elevator; etc.”

Stout was soon making enough money from his Jack Kneiff column that he was able to quit teaching. Later columns were syndicated under ‘Homemade Toys For the Boy’ column, whose subjects included:

“Plans for Making a Bicycle Alarm; Model Canal with a ‘Lock’; How To Make Hammered Copper Writing Set; Realistic Santa and Reindeer; Inexpensive Xmas Gifts; How To Make A Powerful Water Motor; A Real Model Airplane; How To Make A ‘Sqwawker’; Here’s A Railroad Any Boy Can Make; Target Pistol That Won’t Hit The Mark.”

In addition to his Jack Kneiff personal appearances Stout made large numbers of speeches extoling the virtues of aeronautics to whoever was willing to listen. The Twin City Library Club made a visit to ‘Jack Kneiff’s sanctum’ on February 3, 1908, their 1908 minutes reporting:

“The Twin City Library Club held its regular meeting on February 3rd, 1908, the St. Paul Dispatch acting as host. A delicious dinner was served in the lunch room at seven o'clock, after which the club assembled in the library room, where Miss Marie Hohler, the librarian, read a very interesting paper explaining the work and purpose of the Reference Library and Information Bureau. Mr. William B. Stout, better known as ‘Jack-Knife’, gave a delightful talk on ‘The newspaper as a factor in industrial education,’ showing models that had been made by boys throughout the state from suggestions given in the Dispatch. The remainder of the evening was spent in visiting ‘Jack-Knife's’ sanctum and workshop and in inspecting the excellent system of filing used in the Reference Library.”

Time magazine recalled Stout's ‘Jack Knife’ columns in a 1943 article saying:

“Every boy in town made a dive for the paper each Sunday morning to see what new gadgets ‘Jack’ had though up for us to make, and many a Sabbath was desecrated by the sound of hammer, saw and chisel.”

The February 1908 issue of Motor Illustrated mentioned a ‘remarkable run’ recently made by ‘Jack Knife’ Stout:

“Motorcycle Aids the Press.

“A truly remarkable motorcycle run was made in St. Paul recently by ‘Jack Knife’ Stout, who was commissioned to carry a photographic plate from a football field to the St. Paul Dispatch office, in time to get an illustration into the paper's afternoon edition. The plate was given Stout at 2:13, and it was necessary for him to ride for some distance through a crush of automobiles, bicycles, carriages, and pedestrians. He followed a road with a trolley line that had to be considered, and the course was mainly macadam and poor paving, yet the run of nine miles by map figures was made precisely in fifteen minutes, without accident to machine, rider or spectators who crowded the road at many points. Stout rode a three-horsepower, chain-drive machine, and overtook and passed several automobiles going his way.”

In late April of 1908 Stout and his young bride embarked upon a five-thousand-mile motorcycle tour of Europe, the April 25, 1908 edition of The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review announcing:

“Stout Sails for Extended Tour.

“W.B. Stout, a St. Paul (Minn.) newspaper writer, whose nom de plume is ‘Jack Knife,’ sailed this week for what is probably the most extensive foreign tour yet undertaken by an American motorcyclist. He took with him an R-S motor bicycle, on which he will spend a year ‘doing’ Great Britain and the Continent.”

The June 1908 issue of The Review of Reviews, included an interview with the vacationing ‘Jack Knife’, who made a visit to their London offices that May:

“The Art and Craft of Boys Toys: by ‘Jack Knife.’

“Last month there visited London, on his way to the north of Europe, a young American, twenty-eight years of age, who has achieved considerable distinction in the United States under the title of ‘Jack Knife.’ The St. Paul Dispatch, one of the most enterprising papers in the North-western States, discovered that ‘Jack Knife,’ whose real name is Mr. W. Bushnell Stout, and who, by the way, is a nephew of Dr. Kate Bushnell, well known in British philanthropic circles, possessed a singular genius in the way of making most ingenious toys out of the most worthless materials with the aid of the simplest instruments. They employed him to describe how to make steam engines, boats, lifts, electrical machines, trolley-cars, motorcars, mechanical animals, and all manner of such things, as a stimulus to the ingenuity of their youthful readers.

“‘Jack Knife’ very soon became an institution. His fame spread far beyond the confines of Minnesota; his weekly sketches became an indispensable feature of the American Sunday paper, and after having established his specialty, of which he possesses the monopoly, he is now with his wife cycling across Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, to pick up suggestions for the future, and to act as special correspondent for the St. Paul Dispatch.

“‘Jack Knife’ called at our office in the middle of May, and in the course of an amusing and entertaining conversation he set forth the whole art and mystery of his ingenious profession.

“‘You see,’ said he, ‘there is nothing boys like better than making things. In American lads the constructive instinct is very strong. The American boy, especially in country districts, has to make his toys himself, or go without. In England they tell me there is a large factory which does quite a big business in manufacturing parts of machines which your ingenious youth put together, which seems to indicate that English boys who have money are often of a mechanical turn. But the majority of boys in all lands have no money, or very little, and I have made my success in showing how they can construct all manner of things out of the waste of a household. A jack-knife, a saw, a file, a screw-driver, and a pricker are all the tools that are necessary, and they are to be found in most houses.’

“How did you start? I asked.

“‘I sent a contribution in to the Editor, with simple drawings showing what could be done. He inserted it, and the interest which it excited led to a demand for more. That is all. Very simple, isn’t it? Look here,’ said he, and he showed me a photograph of a boy sailing a flat-bottomed boat, roughly nailed together with coarse un-planed boarding, but with a mainsail and foresail. ‘That boat, although it looks rather crude, was, nevertheless, quite sea-worthy (or lake-worthy rather), and was put together by a boy of fourteen. That, of course, was one of the more ambitious pieces of construction, for everyone cannot build a boat, nor is there always water available for sailing it; but model electrical machines, model tram-cars, model telephones which carry speech a distance of 800 feet, model elevators—all these can be made by boys of from nine to fifteen years of age. The directions are very simple, and the materials are ready to hand in any lumber room. Take, for instance, spools of old bobbins. These are extremely useful for all manner of wheels and pulleys. Old bicycle-pumps or waste tubing of all kinds can be converted into cylinders for steam-engines. Rusty screws come in mighty handy for electrical machines, while cigar-boxes are simply invaluable. The wood is dry, and you can make almost anything out of a cigar-box. Several of our boys have made electric motors driving a wheel at the rate of 1,500 revolutions a minute. Another of our lads made a water-engine, which, fitted to the tap in the bath, proved itself quite capable of running a sewing-machine. All the water passed through the nozzle of a bicycle oilcan.’

“Do you do anything in musical instruments?

“‘Oh,’ said Jack Knife, ‘there you touch upon one of our greatest successes - the pan-jo. To make the pan-jo, you take an old pan, fit it with a long handle, fix strings across it, and it makes a very creditable instrument. After having learned the pan-jo, you can proceed to study the banjo, when you have got means enough to buy the better instrument. They are played in exactly the same manner.

“How do you make your telephone? ‘Oh, very simply. The only difficulty is in arranging the wires properly so as to turn the corners. I make the diaphragm of damp paper, which I glue to the disc while it is damp. It stretches quite tight and will carry the human voice quite audibly from house to house. Another ingenious thing is a puzzle toy, in which, with the aid of a couple of match boxes and an arrangement of mirrors, you are enabled to look through a deal board.’

“You mentioned mechanical animals. What kinds do you make?

“‘Our great success,’ he said, ‘is the Teddy Bear. You can understand this by looking at the accompanying diagram. You will see there is an elastic inside the bear. By alternately tightening and slackening this, the Teddy Bear will run up a string with great agility. Until you know the secret, it is almost impossible to ascertain how his movements are brought about.’”

US Immigration reports Alma and William B. Stout returned to New York City on October 21, 1908 on board the SS Teutonic, which departed Southampton, England one week earlier (October 14, 1908).

The Stouts used a pair of Reading-Standard motor bicycles for the trip, and upon their return, the R-S’ manufacturer, the Reading-Standard Co. of Reading, Pennsylvania, produced a series of display advertisements lauding Stout’s achievement, one of which appeared in the May 1, 1909 issue of the Saturday Evening Post:

“A 500-Mile Foreign Tour – Repairs, 70 cents.

“Mounted on an ‘R-S’ Motorcycle, ‘Jack Knife’ (Mr. W.B. Stout) of the St Paul Dispatch, recently completed a 7-month’s tour through 9 European countries, covering 5,000 miles. During the entire trip he never had a broken valve; never took the engine down; and spent only 70 cents for repairs.

“This splendidly-built machine is the cheapest method of transportation – a pint of gasoline carries you 30 miles, at a cost of 7 cents, and repairs are almost eliminated.”

Soon after Stout returned to the US he commenced the design and construction of a radically new type of motorcycle based on vehicles he had seen in Europe. His ‘Bicar’ motorcycle (bicycle-car) was similar in many respects to the Zenith Bi-Car, another dual-framed motorcycle introduced in 1906 by the Zenith Motor Engineering Co., of London, England. The Zenith’s system is explained in the following excerpt from the following display advertisement:

“The ‘Zenith’ patent system of double frames, each working independently of the other. The upper frame connects the wheels only, and all ordinary vibration is absorbed by it, being passed along from wheel to wheel, so that it cannot be transmitted to the lower frame (which is connected only at either end by springs and hinges), on which the whole weight both of the rider and also of the engine and all machinery is placed.”

It’s unknown if the Zenith Bi-Car was distributed in the US, however it’s almost certain Stout came in contact with one of the unusual bikes (or its advertisements) while visiting Europe, so to avoid a conflict he called his creation the Bicar, rather than ‘Bi-Car’.

Like the Zenith, Stout’s Bicar motorcycle featured a separate frame with the body fitting down over the frame for separate springing. Stout also designed a novel clutch and two-speed gear for the cycle, which he described as a delayed-action automatic shift. Its auxiliary seat was designed so women could ride side-saddle. Although Stout was unable to get anyone interested in putting the Bicar into production, his ingenuity landed him a job as draftsman at the Schurmeier Motor Truck Company in late 1909. Stout’s biography “So Away I Went!” contains a small chapter on his experiences working at the firm:

“While I was promoting the Bicar project, one of my high ­school confreres introduced me to a Mr. Whitney, owner of the new Schurmeier Motor Truck Company. This small concern had been, started by the Whitney family, who saw in the oncoming motor-vehicle field a real business future. The Whitneys were known for wagon and buggy manufacture and were to Minneapolis and St. Paul what the Studebakers were to South Bend.

“They had hired from somewhere a “chief engineer” with a foreign accent (which of course meant he had ability), a conversational personality and a nebulous idea.

“They had erected a new building about two hundred feet long, and equipped it with shop tools, lathes and machinery for him to build trucks for the market.

“In this shop, with thirty men, the company built a complete truck, including a two-cycle engine, designed by the “Chief engineer” and his staff. Everything except the rear axle and wheels was made in this, shop, with scant tooling and mostly hand equipment. The wonder was that they ever finished any trucks.

“There was, for example, a $30,000 piston-grinding machine, to take care of the production of twenty-five two-cylinder trucks for that year!

“At the time I saw Mr. Whitney and showed him my Bicar motorcycle, they were up against it in the drafting room. After I talked to him, he made me a proposition: If I would help bring up to date their tracings of the design changes being made, he would build my next motorcycle for me, after the trucks were finished. I was to receive, meanwhile, a very nominal salary.

“And so I became a tracer in the drafting room of the Schur­meier Motor Truck Company.

“The first motor built was fed by a rotary valve to let the air into the crankcase at the proper time.

“This valve refused to do its job at the proper time, and its cost was too great. I redesigned it with a new manufacturing method, and it was put into the engine - which started off like a dancing dervish.

“Evidently no one had balanced the engine. When the chief engineer came to me about it, I mentioned counterbalancing the weight of the connecting rod. That was the first time he had ever heard of such a thing.

“In a two-cycle engine, if there is much empty space in the crankcase you have to fill it or you won't get proper compression. This particular motor had the crankcase filled with cast-iron “flywheels” as crank spacers to fill up the crankcase.

“In order to counterbalance the engine, I redesigned those spacers, cast of aluminum around cast-iron balancers getting the right weight and the center of balance at the proper place.

“When these were put in, the engine ran with a pencil standing balanced on the end of the cylinder block - which was called extremely smooth - and the truck was on its way.

“Remember, there were no crankshaft balancers in those days. In fact, little instrumentation was available for any part of engine design and development. I did not know much about it, but neither did anyone else.

“The rest of the parts worked fairly well, by the standards of 1910. We finally got the engine to idle and to accelerate so as to push the truck up to a speed of thirty miles an hour - a real speed!

“By that time the chief engineer had gone, and I was in charge of all design. Within a short time the money had all gone too, and the firm closed its doors, as any business analyst could have foretold long before.

“It was my first experience as a ‘chief engineer’ and the Bicar motorcycle was not yet in production.

“The experience at the Schumeier Motor Truck Company was, however, a lesson of things not to do, one of which was against two-cycle engines.

“It was fairly obvious, that no small company with small capital was going to break into the automobile business and make all the parts. That field was to be reserved for Detroit.”

Somewhere between 25 and 100 vehicles were produced by Schumeier during 1910 and 1911. By December of 1911, the Schurmeier Motor Car Company had gone bankrupt, and its assets were purchased by H.H. Bigelow, who may have produced a handful of vehicles during 1912. As the Motor Car Co. was a separate entity, its failure did not affect operations at the wagon company, which by that time had started building truck and bus bodies in its plant at 419 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis.

In June of 1910 Stout attended an air show at the State Farigrounds in St. Paul, where 'Jack Kneiff' had charge of the model airplane contest. Real airplanes were the main attraction and the even included such notable early aviators as Glenn H. Curtiss, Lincoln Beachey and Eugene Ely. When the latter pilot's Curtiss biplane made a low flight and crashed into a fence, Stout helped him rebuild it, recalling the event in his 1951 autobiography, 'So Away I Went!:

“I was hired as a mechanic by Ely, to help him build his machine into shape for the next day’s flight.”

Glenn H. Curtiss flew his 60-hp ‘June Bug’ in what would be his last official appearance as a test pilot. The event also marked the official meeting of Curtiss and Ely who was hired on as Curtiss' replacement. The event had a great impact upon Stout who soon-after turned his interest in aviation into his life's passion.  Soon after, his informative columns in the Twin-Cities' papers landed him a job at the Chicago Tribune.

As in the Twin Cities, Stout helped organized a model airplane club for Chicago high-school students, some of whom later became prominent in the aviation industry (eg: James McDonnell of McDonnell-Douglas), the March 3, 1912 issue of the Chicago Tribune included an article on the Aero Club of Illinois’ first airshow:

“High School Boy Wins Aerial Test; New Sport In Chicago

“High School Boys of Chicago took up a new sport yesterday, when they flew machines made by themselves at the model Aeroplane contest in the Auditorium under the auspices of the Aero Club of Illinois.

“Two hundred boys were present. Under the leadership of W.B. Stout – ‘ Jack Kneiff’ of the Tribune – the aviation meet proved as interesting to those present as a big meet.

“The winning machine flew ninety feet, the full length of the hall in which the contest was held. It would have gone fifty feet farther had there been room, for it struck the wall with force about ten feet up from the floor. This machine won the contest for the Hyde Park High School.

“Harry Wells, representing the Lake High School, came near winning the meet, for his machine had a two foot lead over the others when Arthur Nealy prepared to make his final attempt, the closing flight of the day. He came up to the line and wound up the aeroplane’s rubber motor. This machine had shown speed and distance qualities in earlier flights, but the pilot had been unable to make it keep a course, and it would climb to the ceiling or turn to one side. With the first release, the model, getting into its speed, shot toward the floor, the propeller buzzing like a bee. Then as the speed increased it straightened out level and fifty feet down the floor from the start began to climb, travelling all the while as steady as a wagon and in a perfectly straight line. It passed the spot on the floor where Well’s model had stopped on the previous flight and crashed into the wall.

“The model association has several hundred members in Chicago alone. With the weather gets warmer the meets will be held at the big flying grounds of the Illinois Aero Club. The next meet will be indoors, two weeks from next Saturday, and anyone who is a member of a high school aero club or any club whose members are 14 years old or over can enter."

Stout was eventually made the Tribune's technical editor, where he wrote about such varied subjects as airplanes, trains and automobiles.His contract with the Tribune stipulated he could continue to write his syndicated Jack Kneiff columns and in early 1913 Stout helped found Aerial Age, America's first aviation magazine. He also became interested in cycle cars, and was susbsequently hired by Motor Age as their cycle car editor.

The cyclecar idea was introduced in 1909 when a Frenchman named Maurice Barbeau built a long and slender car that resembled a canoe on four wheels. The combination of low price, low maintenance costs and simplicity made for an instant albeit short-lived (1913-15) sensation in the United States, becoming so popular that it spurned an American magazine called ‘Carette: America’s First Small Car Journal.’

His newspaper articles and experiments with lightweight automobiles brought him to the attention of William H. McIntyre of Auburn, Indiana, a small automobile manufacturer whose W.H. McIntyre Co. became the first domestic manufacturer to offer a cycle car.

Stout was hired to handle the advertising of the $375 600 lb. Imp that was introduced in November, 1913 by McIntyre's Imp Cycle Car subsidiary in the pages of the November 1913 issue of The Automobile Journal:


“The Imp Cycle Car Company, Auburn, Ind., appears to be closely related to the W. H. McIntyre Company, a concern which has been in the vehicle manufacturing business for 44 years, and which has experienced success in the production of both pleasure cars and motor business wagons. Experimentation in the cyclecar field has been under way for the past year and a half, and for some time one of these machines has been on the road. The company already has begun to make deliveries on orders and several agencies have been established. The cars are made in the McIntyre factory.

“The Imp cyclecar follows rather closely the accepted design of this type utilized in France. The two-cylinder motor drives through a friction transmission and belt to the rear wheels, no differential being utilized. The machine seats two passengers arranged in tandem. The wheel base is 100 inches and the tread 36. The ground clearance is eight inches. The weight of the machine is 550 pounds and the maximum speed, 50 miles an hour. It is stated by the manufacturer that tests indicate that it will cover 50 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

“The motor is a two cylinder air cooled unit with cylinders set at an angle of 45 degrees, rated at 10 horsepower at 1500 revolutions a minute and 15 at 2500. The inlet valves are mechanically operated. Cooling is accomplished with fins cast close together on the cylinders and exhaust connections. The cylinders both face the front of the car and the hood is so constructed as to permit air to be deflected around back of them. The carburetor is of the standard float type with compensating air valve, and the magneto a high-tension instrument. A piston pump is used to circulate oil through the engine. No cut-out is fitted.

“The engine is started by turning a detachable crank inserted in the centre of the steering wheel. This crank connects with a shaft through the steering column, which communicates with a ratchet on the crankshaft by means of 3-1 bevel gears, spinning the motor three times faster than turned by hand. Compression in the motor is released automatically when the crank is inserted and applied as soon as the turning ceases, so that the operator does not turn the motor against compression.

“The transmission affords four, forward speeds and reverse. It is of the friction type. A special alloy disc is attached to the crankshaft, while the sliding member, or follower as it is termed, has a detachable paper friction ring clamped between two metal flanges. A lever fulcrumed about 1.25 inches above the centre line of the motor shaft operates against a trunnion housing which contains Radio thrust bearings. Two springs anchored on a flexible arm on the motor are attached to the upper end of this lever, which is controlled by pedal, and the spring tension is increased or diminished by a cam mounted on a shifting rod and pressing against a corresponding cam on the flexible arm, while the follower is moved across the motor disc. This action decreases the pressure between the friction wheels as the speed of the follower increases in an inverse proportion exactly, or vice versa, assuming that the motor is running at a fixed speed. Each speed is locked when set by the device connecting the shifting rod with the pedal.

“In operating this mechanism, it is necessary only to press down the pedal which is connected with the lever, releasing the friction surfaces, and set the speeds the same as in the sliding gear construction. A lever on the dash controls the cross movement of the friction follower and at the same time sets the springs for the proper tension. An arced plate on the dash registers the speed engaged.

“Final drive is by a 1.125-inch V belt to the rear wheels. No axles are fitted, except, of course, the stub axles on which the wheels turn. Instead two flat springs are set crosswise of the frame and fastened at the ends to yokes, between which the wheel spindle is fitted; in front, to a pivoted steering knuckle, and in the rear, to a rigid arm. It is pointed out that as a result of this construction the only unsprung weight is the wheel weight. A hard wood V block attached to a lever on the radius rods and controlled by a pedal, is pressed into the rear pulley grooves, to act as a brake.

“Steering is accomplished by a steering wheel in the centre of the car, the post running to the front and ending in a bobbin, around which run steel cables to the steering arms of the front knuckles, a spring keeping them taut as shown. A tie-rod across the front connects the arms.

“Wire wheels are used with the spokes strung tangent. The rear pulley is riveted direct to the rim. Hubs have adjustable self-contained ball bearings. The tires are 28 by 2.5-inch clincher members, front and rear. There is space at the rear for tools, etc., and luggage. The standard equipment includes the starter, lamps and horn.”

In January of 1914 Stout delivered a presentation to the Metropolitan section (New York City) of the SAE (Society of Automobile Engineers) entitled ‘The Possibilities of the Cyclecar’, which was published not only in the SAE Journal, but in edited form in many of the leading automobile trades of the day:

The Automobile, December 11, 1913: ‘The Possibilities of the Cyclecar’

SAE Transactions, Vol IX, Part1, pub. 1914: ‘The Possibilities Of the Cyclecar’

Automobile Topics, January 10, 1914: ‘The Possibilities Of the Cyclecar’

The Automobile, January 15, 1914: ‘The Possibilities of the Cyclecar’

Stout’s advertising campaign included such gems as, “The only car in the world that any Woman, Boy or Girl can Operate, Care for, and handles with ease,” and as the official cyclecar editor of Motor Age, Stout ‘hitched a ride’ in an Imp cyclecar en route to its debut at the 1914 New York Automobile Show, the January 1, 1914 issue of The Automobile reporting:

“Cyclecar Run Starts for New York

“Chicago Ill., Dec. 30 - Special Telegram - The cyclecar run from Chicago to New York started at noon today when the Imp driven by William B. Stout, of Motor Age, left for Toledo, O., where it will be joined by the second car from Chicago as well as by the Rocket and Mercury of Detroit. All will then go through to New York together. Road conditions are reported very bad as far as Buffalo but the narrow tread cars expect to get over the places which force the big cars to make detours.”

Further information on the run was included in the same publication:

“Blizzard Held Up Cyclecar Trip

“New York City, Jan. 5 - The overland trip of the Imp cycle car from Detroit to New York ended at Erie, Pa., yesterday on account of the worst blizzard northern Pennsylvania has had for several years, according to the report of W.B. Stout of Chicago who reached this city today. Fences were buried under 4 feet of snow, wires were down and, of course, the roads were impassable. Stout was making the Detroit-New York run in the Imp to determine whether the little narrow tread friction and belt drive vehicles could be depended on to navigate rough and muddy roads as well as their larger brothers of more power. The cyclecar left Detroit December 30 and arrived at Erie, 280 miles away, after 5 days in less than 36 hours running time. In spite of the fact that the car was shipped back before the completion of its scheduled trip, the car made an exceptional showing. It is in as good condition as at the start.”

Stout’s entire Imp adventure was documented in the February 1914 edition of the Automobile Journal:


“Imp Covers Practically 1000 Miles in Nine Days Despite Heavy Snow

“The New York automobile show was made the occasion of a number of cross country cycle car runs, each of which may be regarded as historic in a measure. By no means the least interesting of these was the 1,000-mile trip from Detroit to New York City made by W.H. Smith of Auburn Ind., in an Imp, produced by the Imp Cyclecar Company of Auburn.

“Smith left Detroit Dec. 30 and arrived in front of the Grand Central Palace on Jan. 8, despite heavy snow storms and badly drifted roads encountered. Aside from the breaking of one pulley carrying the belt drive, necessitating driving some 38 miles with one belt, and the freezing of the lubricating pipes, because of the intense cold, the Imp suffered no mechanical troubles.

“As originally planned the Imp was to have been one of a half dozen cyclecars to leave Detroit, Dec. 28. After waiting two whole days for the other contestants to arrive, the plans were changed and Smith finally left Detroit accompanied by W.B. Stout of Chicago to serve as the official observer. The 60 miles between Detroit and Toledo were covered in six hours. The roads were in very bad condition due to a heavy thaw which preceded a fall of snow. Several drifts were encountered between Toledo and Cleveland and the belt pulley cracked a short distance beyond Elyria. The remaining 38 miles was made on one belt through eight inches of snow.

“The party waited at Cleveland a day and a half for baggage to arrive, and the drive from that city to Erie was made in blizzard weather, intense cold, deep snow and steep hills forming a combination hills forming which made forward progress decidedly difficult at times. Stout retired as observer at this point and Smith continued, after some delay in Erie, utilizing railroad and trolley tracks where the drifts proved too deep in the road. His arrival in New York was one of the surprises of show week.

“Concerning that portion of the trip in which he was a participant, Stout is quoted as follows: ‘This trip has proved a number of things. It has proved that 36 inch tread is applicable to American roads. It has proved the reliability of friction and belt drive, and that the belts will run in wet, in snow, in mud, and, if long, on small pulleys. It has shown an advantage of many gear ratios with an air cooled motor, and has proved that the cyclecar is a real vehicle capable of great reliability. It has shown also the great advantage of tandem seating for touring work and comfort, for we carried a top and windshield and all directly against the driving blizzard in six to 11 inches of snow, and often on high gear at that. By letting the heat from the motor back into the car we were warm at all times.”

Soon after the debut of the Imp, the Scripps-Booth Motor Co. of Detroit, Mich., introduced their own cycle car, the Rocket.

The January 29, 1914 issue of The Automobile mentions the Stout Cycle Car Co. although I could locate no further references to it:

“Cyclecar Makers Form National Association: Organization Comprises Thirty Makers – W.H. Mclntyre President

“Chicago, Ill., Jan. 27 - America has a National organization of cyclecar makers, the same being formed here today by some thirty makers of these new vehicles and their accessories under the name Cyclecar Manufacturers National Association, C.M.N.A.

“Following the organization a definition of a cyclecar was arrived at, the movement being divided into three branches according to the report and suggestion of a committee, the divisions being as follows:

Vehicle Motor - Cu In Displ Weight lbs
Cyclecar to 70 under 750
Light car 70 to 100 under 750 to 950
Small car 100 to 125 950 to 1150

“After the definition was arrived at, to know who was eligible to the organization, officers were elected as follows: President, W.H. Mclntyre, Imp Cyclecar Co.; vice president, Harry Stoops, American Cyclecar Co.; treasurer, J.P. Lavigne, J.P.L. Cyclecar Co.; and secretary, William B. Stout, Stout Cyclecar Co.

“The definition of a cyclecar was arrived at after considerable discussion by all parties concerned. The committee deciding was made up of men representing all the types of cars and all were very well satisfied with the final recommendations. It is probable that these will be the official definitions of the cyclecar recognized for all America for the future.

“The officers of the organization were appointed as a committee together with Ross Phelps of the Zip Cyclecar Co., and C.A. Albertus of the Mercury Cyclecar Co., to draw up the constitution and by-laws for the consideration of the association at a later meeting. A committee consisting of Mr. Phelps, Mr. Mclntyre and Mr. Perry of the Comet Cyclecar Co., was appointed to look into the matter of freight rates and classification for cyclecars, makers having now to pay rates very much in excess of other merchandise of the same class, with a minimum weight of 2,000 pounds in many cases where the cars crated come well under 900.”

Stout continued writing for various publications and on May 15, 1914 was hired on as Chief Engineer of the Scripps-Booth Motor Co. of Detroit, who had recently introduced their own cycle car, the Rocket, the May 14, 1914 issue of The Automobile reporting on his appointment:

“Detroit, Mich., May 8 - Wm. B. Stout, cyclecar expert of the staff of Motor Age, has been appointed chief engineer of the Scripps-Booth Cyclecar Co., this city. Mr. Stout has been a leading exponent of the cyclecar movement since its inception. He takes up his new duties May 15.”

During his interim as Scripps-Booth's engineer Stout championed a larger companion to the 'Rocket' which would bridge the gap between the cycle car and light cars such as the Ford Model T.  The resultingScripps-Booth 4-cylinder featured shaft drive, electirc start, step-down frame, wire wheels, staggered seating, electric door locks,  built-in trunk and a steering-wheel mounted electric horn.

On August 1, 1915 Stout also took over Scripps-Booth’s advertising Department, the July 22, 1915 issue of The Automobile reporting:

“W. B. Stout, chief engineer, also receives the added title of Dealers' advertising manager of the Scripps-Booth concern, to take effect Aug. 1.”

In reality his position as chief engineer had been taken over by A.P. Brush, with Stout remaining in an advisory position, the July 1915 issue of The Horseless Age reporting:

“A. P. Brush has been appointed chief engineer of the Scripps-Booth Co., Detroit, Mich. W. B. Stout will continue in an advisory capacity and in addition the duties of advertising manager.”

Stout was at the height of his literary career at the time and in 1916 wrote and illustrated the ‘Boy’s Book of Mechanical Models,’ which was a best-seller for its publisher, Little, Brown and Company.

Stout’s publishing royalties helped fund his research into aeronautics and his model airplanes could be seen flying around his Detroit home in the early evenings and holidays. He also kept busy devising new toys for eagerly awaiting manufacturers who were eager to market anything associated with the infamous 'Jack Kneiff.' His life up to that time were detailed in the April 1916 issue of American Chauffeur:

“A Man of Many Talents by Len Shaw

“These are some of the lines in which William Bushnell Stout performs with all the skill of a professional, and which, if he saw fit to assert that claim, would make him a warm contender for distinction as a most versatile citizen.

“Mr. Stout came to Detroit from Chicago as chief engineer and designer for a well-known automobile company. He holds that post today, with other duties added in the meantime; but it is only one of many activities he finds time to pursue—out of office hours. For a little matter of designing automobiles, planning and executing advertising, and working out problems in connection with the manufacturing end of the business is not sufficient to satisfy the nimble intellect that manages to keep several laps ahead of a vigorous body which always works at high tension.

“For years he has been a recognized authority on engineering problems, and his writings in technical magazines, illustrated by the author, have invited the serious consideration of his contemporaries. His attention has been devoted especially to automobiles and to aeronautics, in both of which fields he has won distinction. It was because of his ability in this direction that he was induced to give up newspaper work and assume his present position.

“While he is content to let his fame rest on his achievements as the designer of an automobile that reflects his artistic instincts in every line, it is through what he does in other fields, which make a wider appeal to the public, that he has become best known.

“Is Man of Many Activities

“In a social way Mr. Stout is a prime favorite in the restricted circles in which he moves—for the gaiety of society life holds no allurements for him when pitted against a quiet evening at home with his wife and little daughter, working away with a jackknife on some new mechanical plaything, or with scissors and cardboard devising a cutout toy.

“When he does consent to join a group of friends there is no need of providing other entertainment.

“He is not a pianist of big ability, but he can play to entertain a crowd. He possesses a voice that has brought him money in solo and quartet work. As a whistler he performed in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, before 3,000 people. As a Swedish, Irish, German or Negro monologist he has appeared before thousands.

“He is a good raconteur, and his stories never need diagramming.

“He can discuss almost any subject interestingly and possesses an ample fund of information of an authoritative nature on matters aside from the lines to which he devotes the greater portion of his time.

“But it is in the realm of invention that Mr. Stout finds his chief delight, and the creations of his brain have not only helped to solve important manufacturing problems, but have brought joy to countless thousands of juveniles the world over.

“Stout inherits his inventive genius. His great grandfather, David Bushnell, designed and built the first American submarine, back in the Revolutionary days.

“The activities of this versatile man are far greater than the years into which they have been compressed would indicate. That is because he possesses the faculty of doing several things at one time. Besides, he started out to make his own way in the world at a very early age - and he has been working at it constantly ever since.

“Worked His Way Through College

“Stout was the son of a Methodist minister. He never was in danger of being pampered on the ground that he was the only child - for there were others. Which accounts, in part, for his busy boyhood.

“During his school days - spent in St. Paul - he developed a great aptitude with tools, and his spare time was given over to whittling toys or making models of mechanical contrivances, steam engines, water motors, talking machines, electric toys, magical tricks, elevators, writing telegraph lines, etc.

“Having finished the high school, he matriculated in the University of Minnesota, his entire capital consisting of $10 and a determination to work his way through the institution. His first job was tending furnace for his room. Saturdays he sold vegetables for a St. Paul retail grocery house, and his evenings, outside of study hours, found him illustrating and writing short stories.

“His first story to be accepted was published in Harper's Round Table, and brought him a check of $12. Immediately he resigned his position as furnace tender. The second story netted him $30 - and he felt in the class with Morgan and Rockefeller.

“Room rent was the least of the troubles confronting the young man who was working his way through school. He had to eat.

“Stout waited on tables, and it is related that he could take eight short orders at a time and deliver them without mixing the orders.

“He was a great football fan, and when the ‘Gophers’ journeyed afar to battle with the elevens of other state universities he managed to be among the rooters, selling pennants and in other ways earning money.

“Almost before he had received his sheepskin, for the completion of his engineering course at the University of Minnesota, Stout was on his way to Europe, with $85 which he had managed to save from his earnings representing his entire capital. He was gone five months touring Ireland, England, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and France, and returned with a little money, the trip having been self-sustaining through newspaper work, illustrating, lectures and whistling recitals.

“He came back to the United States on a cattle steamer. He left as a passage-worker and when the vessel docked at Boston he was carpenter's mate, assigned to the refrigerator pumps.

“Going back to St. Paul, he obtained a position as manual training instructor at Central High School, and also conducted a boys‘ page on the St. Paul Dispatch, writing under the suggestive nom de plume of ‘Jack Kneiff.’

“Then the Dispatch sent him to Europe to study Sloyd* methods and get new ideas. He traveled more than 5,000 miles on a motorcycle, covering Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as visiting France, Belgium, Holland and other continental countries and England and Scotland.

(*a system of handicraft-based education)

“With a fund of information, Stout returned to St. Paul, and plunged into engineering, designing in turn motorcycles and motor trucks.

“Interested In Aviation.

“Flying machines were beginning to attract attention, and Stout, who had been a deep student of the problems involved, produced his first model in 1898. It was propelled by rubber bands - and it flew.

“From that time on he was engrossed in experiments that bore fruit. He had boys building models, and test flights were held, at which some startling results developed.

“Octave Chanute, who was intimately associated with the Wright brothers in their early days, presented Stout with his collection of flying models, gathered all over the world.

“The position of technical and aviation expert on a Chicago newspaper was offered Stout and accepted, and for a long time the aviation series and his Sunday pages of home-made toys described in detail and illustrated by the author, were widely read features, as they had been in St. Paul.

“Stout organized the Model Aero club, of Illinois, the most famous organization of its kind in the world. It was made up of high school boys interested in aviation. Under his direction they built miniature machines, propelled by rubber bands, and practically all the world's records for flights of this nature were captured and are now held by Model members.

“Two of the boys have since built and are flying full-sized machines, while others are attracting attention as engineers.

“From newspaper work to writing for trade papers was a short step, just as designing model aeroplanes and motor cars led to the automobile field, with which Mr. Stout is now identified. He established the Aerial Age, and was connected with other papers before coming to Detroit.

“In addition to designing the car that has brought fresh fame, he plans the advertising, writes the copy, furnishes many of the illustrations, and attends to other details. He is just about as difficult to capture during the day as a flea, but you can depend upon it that wherever he is that brain is working out some problem.”

On April 28, 1916 Stout was appointed Scripps-Booth’s General Sales Manager, the May 4, 1916 issue of The Automobile announcing:

“Stout Is Scripps-Booth Sales Mgr.

“Detroit, Mich., April 28 - William B. Stout has been appointed general sales manager of the Scripps-Booth Co.”

Stout’s aviation career began as a result of his success in his automotive efforts. His Imp Cyclecar caught the attention of Alvan MacCauley who subsequently brought Stout to Packard Motors in Detroit. In late 1916, Stout became Chief Engineer of Packard’s Aircraft Division. Through J. G. Vincent, the Packard executive who had co-designed the Liberty engine, Packard was getting ready to manufacture both the engines themselves and the planes they would be installed in. To accomplish all this Packard was organizing an aircraft division, and Stout was offered the position of chief engineer.

On November 24, 1916 Packard announced that Stout would be serving as Chief Engineer of the Packard Motor Car Co.’s Aircraft Division, effective December 2, 1916, the December 1916 edition of The Horseless Age reporting:

“William B. Stout, general sales and advertising manager of the Scripps-Booth Corporation, has been appointed manager of the aircraft division of the Packard Motor Car Co., Detroit, Mich.”

On May 10, 1917 Stout delivered an address before the University of Illinois’ College of Engineering in Urbana entitled ‘Aircraft Motors.’

Hardly had he started when Packard sent him to Washington, D.C., to serve as technical adviser to the newly created Aircraft Board under the chairmanship of Howard E. Coffin, chief engineer and co-founder of the Hudson Motor Car Co., the August 16, 1917 edition of Motor Age reporting:

“Stout In Aviation Service

“Detroit, Aug. 10 - William B. Stout has given up his duties as manager of the air division of the Packard Motor Car Co., Detroit, to go into aircraft work for the Government in Washington, D.C.”

Stout spent a lot of time in Dayton, Ohio’s McCook Aviation Field during 1918, and at the SAE’s summer meeting which took place in Dayton on June 17th and 18th he delivered a paper and led a discussion on the subject of ‘Present Day Problems in Aeronautics’.

While working with sample airframe and engine combinations at McCook Aviation Field's wind tunnel, Stout discovered that when fitted with double the power (400 hp Liberty vs the old 200 hp Curtiss) an old Curtiss biplane flew only 5 mph faster.  Unseen forces that we now know as drag were the cause, and by analyzing the wind-tunnel data he discovered that 297 hp of the 400 hp Liberty engine was lost to drag, leaving a paltry 103 horsepower to get the plane off the ground. By reducing the drag, more of the horsepower would be available to help lift the plane at takeoff.

Experiments revealed that the wire supports and framework of the biplane vibrated in the wind, and that when they were replaced with solid wooden struts, drag was greatly reduced. Stout further reasoned that if he could build a self supporting wing with little or no external bracing (aka cantilever; a wing with no external support), he could further reduce the drag, allowing the plane to be powered by a smaller, lighter engine, which would further increase its efficiency.

He took further insparation from wildlife, who had gotten by for thousands of years using a single set of wings, a design which became known as the monoplane.  He came up with a novel monoplane design with a thickinternally braced wing with no exposed struts or wires, that looked like a giant bat.

The construction of a cantilever wing required a 'thick' wing in order to build a spar strong enough to support the entire weight of aircraft. To maintain its shape, the chord (aka its width or front to back dimension) of the wing had to be longer as the wing became thicker. In the Batwing, the chord was the entire length of the aircraft. Since the spar (the main structural part of a wing that carries the weight of the wings while on the ground) did not need to be as thick toward the tips to support the load, the chord decreased further out along the wing, forming a oval.

Maintaining the center of pressure on an oval shaped wing caused significant engineering challenges for Stout who also had to find a counterbalance the weight of the pilot with  the engine which was placed at the leading edge of the wing.

He calculated that such a plane would be able to fly at twice the speed of a biplane, using substantially less horspower. Although the Aircraft Board was initally flabberghasted by the design, they agreed to finance the construction of a scale model for windtunnel testing.

Essentially a blended-wing glider, the Batwing was designed so that all its esposed surfaces were available to provide lift, eliminating the added drag of a conventional fuselage. The batwing differed slightly with the addition of a set of horizontal stabilizers at the rear for stability.

When completed, Orville Wright came in to inspect its performance, declaring it ‘the next step in aircraft.’ The Aircraft Board authorized Stout to construct a full size 'Batwing' as it came to be known, and he commissioned a Detroit coachbuilder named J.C. Widman & Co. to construct the single-seat prototype in September of 1917. The Widman plant was located at the intersection of 15th St., Kirby St. and the Grand Trunk Railroad line in Detroit, Michigan, a few blocks west of the Wayne State University campus.

Instead of utilizing a fabric-covered sturcture for the wing and fuselage, Widman constructed the vehicle using standard automotive construction methods, substituting their own casein glue-infused wood veneer in place of the fabric.The internal structure of the Batwing was constructed using spruce timber and one-inch thick plywood. The 3-ply 1/16 inch veneer had a mahogany core covered with birch, held together by the casein glue after which it was cured under heat and pressure.

When completed the Batwing looked identical to the scale model, with the tip of its massive triangular-shaped wing extending back to aset of horizontal stabilizers and a single vertical stabilizer or tail . Powered by a 150-hp Hispano-Suiza engine, the completed plane was taken to Dayton's McCook Air Field for testing where it first flew on December 28, 1918.

Although the flight was successful, the test pilot Jimmie Johnson commented that the aircraft was too dangerous to fly because of the limited visibility cased by the placement of the open cockpit which sat on top of the aircraft near the leading edge of the wing.  Stout later recalled that the the visibility was 'abominable'.

Stout had also prepared plans for a scaled up version of the Batwing, with a 100 foot wingspan, however it never got past the planning stage. Unfortunately for all involved, the War had ended that October and the government lost all interest in the project and a dejected Stout put the Batwing into storage.

However Stout had designed and constructed the first successful internally braced cantilevered airplane built in the United States - the historical ancestor of today's Boeing B-2 bomber - and also held the distinction of being the first person to cover an airframe in wood veneer.

Stout recalled the Batwing project in a 1922 speech before the SAE, entitled ‘Requirements for Commercial Aircraft’:

“Our first structures in this country of the internally-trussed type were of the all-veneer type and we flew at Dayton, Dec. 28, 1918 in all veneer, internally-trussed monoplane for short experimental hops. The chief lessons learned from this plane were structural, except for the added knowledge gained that a long-chord wing could be controlled by closer-coupled tail units - that is with the tail brought up closer to the wing - than had been supposed heretofore. The recent report of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics denoting the feasibility of bringing the tail surfaces up closer to the wing, as a matter of improving stability, is in the line with this point. Later on another wooden monoplane was built, this being of the cabin type, and fitted with a 200 hp Packard engine. This machine was found to be thoroughly controllable on test flights, but its wing curve gave insufficient lift for the specified fuel supply. Due to financial circumstances in connection with the all-metal problem, work on this plane stopped for almost a year and only recently has it been in the air again with new wings in definite work, and giving exceptional performance.”

Although the military was no longer interested in the project, a group of Manhattan based financiers were, and in early 1919 Stout was provided with some capital to develop a similar aircraft for commercial use, the February 8, 1919 issue of Air Service Journal reporting:

“Big Business Entering Canadian Airplanes and Worth $10,000,000 Bought - Roy U. Conger’s Coin Won

“United Aircraft Engineering Corp to Develop Commercial Aviation on a Large Scale

“Included in the material purchased are 350 Curtiss JN4D airplanes (the type on which military flyers here and in the Dominion were trained), 1000 Curtiss engines of the 0X-90 hp. type, hundreds of propellers, wings and fuselages, and thousands of spare parts. It will require months, however, to compile a complete inventory. In conjunction with the Curtisses, it is intended to use a new monoplane, the Stout, an invention of William B. Stout, of Dayton, Ohio, which the United Aircraft Engineering Corporation is developing. This machine is being built in two types, a weight carrier and a single seater.

“Mr. Conger, who is connected with the Erie Specialty Co., of Erie, Pa., and is a nephew of Edwin H. Conger, United States Minister to China during the Boxer troubles, has been granted the use of Leaside Field, near Toronto, for six months to assemble the purchase.

“Wholly a Commercial Enterprise

“‘We bought this property for the purpose of going into commercial aeronautics,’ said Mr. Diffin to an Air Services Journal reporter. ‘We are convinced that there is money in the enterprise. The first thing we have to do—and are doing it now—is to assemble our property, which at present is scattered about six flying fields. We are having it all brought together at Leaside, a suburb of Toronto, where our headquarters will be. We have appointed a general manager, F. G. Ericson, who formerly was chief engineer for Canadian Airplanes, Ltd., which is owned by the Imperial Munitions Board of the British Government.’

“‘Next we shall establish and operate lines throughout Canada for the purpose of ascertaining exact costs of operation. We want to know precisely what it costs to transport in the air one person, one pound of goods or one small letter one mile. one hundred miles or one thousand miles. When we shall have finished our tests and analyzed our data we will be in a position to talk about service to individuals, firms or the Canadian Government—and we are going about it quickly.

“‘Meantime, one of the considerations which induced the British Government to sell the material to us was a moral understanding that all machines under our central shall be piloted by responsible flyers. There are no restrictions on flying in Canada, but probably the worst thing that could happen to commercial aviation at this juncture would be to place machines in the hands of unskilled or incompetent aviators.’

“‘Of course, now that the war is over, there will be no difficulty in securing the highest grade of both airplane pilots and mechanicians.’

“Machines at Low Prices

“In an interview at Toronto given by F. G. Ericson, who now becomes the Canadian representative of the United Aircraft Engineering Corp., he said he hopes to find a ready market for his wares. He says he will have the flying machines overhauled and will sell them in a few months at a price lower than is generally paid for an automobile; for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000. Mr. Ericson is an aeronautical engineer and is not only a flier himself, but has completed various inventions connected with flying machines.

“The announcement is made by Canadian officials that the deal will not accelerate demobilization of the Royal Air Forces in Canada, nor will it interfere with the plans of the Dominion Government for the establishment of a Canadian air service for naval and military purposes. Camps Mohawk and Rathbun, at Deseronto, and the Beamsville camp are to be dismantled as soon as their machines and parts and tools can be concentrated at Leaside, which, for aviation purposes, includes Armour Heights.

“Deal Turned on Flip of Coin

“The big deal has been pending for some time. As soon as the war ended the British Government let it be known that it was willing to dispose of the Canadian air equipment, as the property would deteriorate rapidly through nonuse. A Canadian syndicate offered $400,000 for the lot, but this offer was rejected when it was learned that the syndicate intended to offer the material at public auction, as it was feared that many of the machines would fall into the hands of incompetent and reckless persons and that injuries and deaths, out of which would grow innumerable damage suits and other distressing features would result.

“When Mr. Conger heard that the material was to be offered for sale he went to Toronto and had a talk with Mr. Morrow, acting for the British Ministry of Munitions. The offer that he made was not entirely satisfactory to the seller, but it is reported that with characteristic American daring it was agreed to hinge the deal on the flip of a coin, which fell heads up, and thus brought about the acceptance of Mr. Conger's offer.”

Stout's official title was 'sales and aircraft manager' according to the April 1919 edition of Automotive Engineering:

“W.B. Stout, formerly aircraft engineer of the Packard Motor Car Co., has been appointed sales and aircraft manager of the United Aircraft Engineering Co., New York.”

On April 1, 1919 Stout addressed the Detroit Section of the SAE, the May 1919 issue of Michigan Architect and Engineer reporting on his presentation:

“Commercial Future of Aircraft Outlined

“Engineering Bodies Hold Meeting to Hear Expert

“At a joint meeting of the Detroit Section of the American Society of Engineers and the Detroit Engineering Society, held April 1. last, in the auditorium of the Detroit Board of Commerce, the subject. ‘The Commercialization of Aircraft,’ was most interestingly handled by Wm. B. Stout, chief engineer of the United Aircraft Engineering Corporation.

“At the very beginning of his address, Mr. Stout gave due credit to the influence of the war in tremendously advancing the science of aviation, but maintained that the aircraft actually developed, as the result of war's necessities, is about as well adapted to peace time requirements as a modern battleship is for commercial purposes.

“He argued that at least two of the fundamental requirements of commercial aircraft are safety and low cost, and that the element of safety was indeed paramount. To attain the desired end certain vital factors must be considered in the future, among which he enumerated slower landing speed and ability of pilots to land on rough ground, as well as greater controllability in the air.

“Regarding the guiding of airplanes in fogs and at night, Mr. Stout stated that wonderful development had been made through the use of the wireless telephone. He described a personal experience in Madison Square Garden, New York City, at the recent aero show. While listening to an air pilot's voice, coming by wireless from some 2.000 feet above New York, the voice being more clearly audible than is usual over a city's telephone system, another voice came in on the receiver, clear and distinct.

“It was the voice of a submarine captain, whose vessel at that moment was submerged in 30 feet of water off Sandy Hook. The captain's offer to give them a concert if they switched on the loud sneaking phone, was accepted, and the people in Madison Square Garden, as well as the air pilot in the clouds above the city, actually listened to a phonograph played in the submarine lying under the waters of the Atlantic.

“‘The control of aircraft by wireless.’ said Mr. Stout, ‘will be comparatively simple, and even now, when flying in the clouds, they can listen and hear the motor of a plane that is many miles away, without hearing the noise of their own motor: can call up that plane and decide between them what level they are going to take to pass each other and be sure they are not going to hit.’

“When the airplane has reached mechanical perfection, according to Mr. Stout, it will allow a social radius of from three to six hundred miles, and Chicago will have the same time relation to Detroit that Pontiac or Toledo has now by automobile.

“The speaker pointed out that as Detroit is the center of the world's automobile industry, and as the aircraft is, in reality, an allied industry there is no sane reason why this city, if it chooses, cannot keep the same relation to commercial airplane production.

“Mr. Stout, in comparing aircraft with dirigible balloons, brought out the fact that the larger an airplane the less its efficiency, while the reverse is true of the dirigible.

“‘Already.’ he said, ‘a British corporation plans to put airships of the dirigible type into Trans-Atlantic service and two have been built and passed rigid acceptance tests. They have accommodations for 145 passengers and 15 tons of freight, and the Vickers Company, of London, state the passenger transportation rate across the Atlantic has been fixed at $250 and mail is to be carried for six cents an ounce.’

“The disadvantage of the airship is its slow speed of approximately 70 miles an hour, while in the near future. Mr. Stout predicted, we will see planes for long-distance work traveling in excess of three hundred miles per hour, and safe for transportation. ‘These planes will go up to super-altitudes with passengers in a sealed compartment,’ said the speaker, ‘and travel at a speed which would be impossible in the denser air below.’

“He illustrated that air resistance is very vital: that in an ordinary bi-plane, living at high speed, over two-thirds of the engine horse power is consumed in pushing the sticks and struts through the air. an action adding nothing to the lifting capacity of the machine.

“Mr. Stout proved that it is impossible to design an airplane mathematically for the reason that, while both the aero-dynamic part and the structural part can be designed mathematically perfect, the actual airplane is a combination of the two propositions, and mathematics will not work out compromises. Therefore, the best airplane engineer is one who can formulate the best compromise between the two vital relations.”

Although Stout was primarily interested in aircraft, the automobile remained on his radar, and at the SAE’s June 27, 1919 Summer Meeting at Ottawa Beach, Michigan, he took part in a lengthy discussion entitled: ‘Engineers Discuss Better and More Efficient Car’ which was published in its entirety in the July 3, 1919 issue of The Automobile / Automobile Industries (far too long to include here, but makes an interesting read).

Stout soon discovered that United Aircraft Engineering was far more interested in selling surplus parts than in developing airplanes and the two soon parted ways. UAE managed fine without him, and by 1925 had evolved into Ericson Aircraft Ltd., a Canadian-based firm that remarketed used Curtiss Jennies and OX-5 engines and manufactured small numbers of new Curtiss-based JN-4N Canucks.

By late 1919 Stout had already come up with his next project, the Batwing Limousine, a larger and much-improved version of the original Batwing, specifically designed for use in the private sector as a 3-place cargo carrying airplane.

All the new plane required was financing, and that appeared in the person of one Robert A. Stranahan, president of the Champion Spark Plug Company. Stranahan firmly supported Stout’s unorthodox aeronautical theories, investing $15,000 towards its construction.

Stout, Stranahan and Glenn H. Hoppin formed the Stout Engineering Laboratories and in early 1920 relocated from Stout's office in the General Motors building to a small workshop located at 1571 Wellington Ave., Detroit. Stout served as president, Stranahan, vice-president and Hoppin, secretary-treasurer. As plans were finalized, Stranahan came forward with more capital and the operation moved into a bigger facility located at 6282 Beaubien Street, right across the street from Ford Motor Co.'s Piquette St plant.

Stout staffed the plant with engineers who had no aviation experience, hoping they would be unencumbered with the designs of the past. George Prudden, a recent University of Minnesota graduate, served as chief engineer, Stanley Knauss, an automobile salesman, became sales manager, and Glenn H. Hoppin, plant engineer and manager.

To make the internally-trussed airframe even stronger, Stout constructed a framework using 1" thick birch plywood struts and spars.  When completed, its thirty-six-foot-long cantilevered wing supported the weight of 10 men standing across it as evidenced by a  publicity photo seen to the right. The visibility problems of the original Bat-Wing were rectified by the addition of side windows and a wing cut-out for forward visibility. The 200-hp Packard engine was connected to a pair of retractable wing-mounted radiators that kept the water-cooled engine cool at top speed.

Word got around that the successor to the Bat-Wing was under construction and numerous automobile manufacturing dignitaries such as Roy Chapin, Walter P. Chrysler and William B. Mayo, Ford's chief engineer stopped by to observe the progress. The plane was deemed air-worthy in late November and Stout hired test pilot Bert Acosta to sort it out at Detroit's Packard Field.

While returning from it first test flight one of the landing wheels fell off, although Acosta managed to land the plance safely, albeit upside down. No significant damage resulted  and details of the test appeared in the December 9, 1920 issue of Flight:

“The Stout ‘Bat-Wing’ Monoplane

“Test flights were recently carried out at Detroit with a commercial model Stout ‘Bat-Wing’ monoplane, and although this machine is designed on more or less unconventional lines, embodying new principles, it took off, with but a preliminary 50-ft. run, at once for a 20-minute cross-country flight on its first trial. It was piloted by the well-known American mail pilot, Bert Acosta, who claimed for this machine, after the trial flight, that it was a decided advance over anything he had ever before piloted. After the first lap around the field he found the 'bus was sufficiently stable to enable him to fly for minutes at a time with his hands and feet completely off the controls.

“This machine is the design of William B. Stout, and was built by the Stout Engineering Laboratories at Detroit, where experimental work on machines of this type has been carried on since the end of the War. It is a cantilever monoplane with thick tapering wings, mounted above the limousine body. The principal characteristic of the ‘Bat-Wing’ is that the chord of the wing increases considerably from tip to root—in fact, at the root the chord of the wing is very nearly equal to the length of the machine itself. Veneer, or ply-wood, construction is employed throughout the machine, including the wings, which are internally trussed and completely covered in veneer.

“The engine, one of the new 200-hp Packard, is mounted in the nose of the fuselage, driving a tractor screw, in the usual way. Immediately behind is the cabin, accommodating pilot and two passengers. The pilot is located in front, and the passengers behind. Large windows are provided in the sides of the cabin, whilst a large window of non-breakable glass, immediately above the pilot, gives the latter a clear view of the air above.

“The petrol tanks are located within the wings, well away from the engine, and the air intake for the carburetor is carried completely outside the body, thus reducing the risk of fire to a minimum. The radiator is fitted with shutters for high altitude work and operated from the pilot's seat. To minimize shocks, the landing gear has been fitted with oversized wheels and tires. The cabin itself is luxuriously furnished, having been laid out with the idea of maximum comfort for the pilot and passengers. With the engine running at high speed there is no more noise in the cabin than in an enclosed motor-car, and conversation may be carried on with ease. To the rear of the cabin is a special baggage compartment. All wing fittings and control rods are especially treated and absolutely rustproof.

“The Stout ‘Bat-Wing’ Limousine weighs 1,820 lbs., and its maximum speed is said to be well over 125 m.p.h., whilst the landing speed is but 45 m.p.h. We understand that the U.S. Navy has placed an order for six torpedo 'planes of the ‘Bat-Wing’ type of all-metal construction with this firm.”

Later that month the U.S. Navy requested that Stout make as series of flights with a test load of 1,170 pounds. The December 23, 1921, test went off without a hitch, and the Navy expressed an interest in having Stout design them a torpedo carrier using the Bat-Wing principle.

Although wood had proved satisfactory up to that point, Stout discovered that when used in an internally trussed airplane like the Batwing, too much strain developed on its wing tips, which often cracked under the pressure. The use of glue and screws introduced additional areas of weakness in the wooden support structure and in the event of an accident wood provided little protection to the pilot, especially if the wreck caught on fire. Additional problems included the inability of suppliers to furnish wood of the proper quality and grade. It's performance was also dependent on temperature and humidity and it was difficult to determine when and if the wood needed to be replaced as it required destroying sample timbers - an identical problem faced by the restorers of composite-bodied automobiles.

It became increasingly obvious to Stout that if metal were substituted for wood, the forementioned problems and weaknesses dissappeared, a conclusion that was also shared by Hugo Junkers, who was already constructing metal airplanes in Germany.

While building the Batwing cabin plane, he had heard of a new aluminum alloy called Duralumin, which the Aluminum Company of America had developed. Composed of copper and aluminum, Duralumin was nearly as light as ordinary aluminum, but it had almost twice the tensile strength (55,000 pounds per square inch compared to 33,000 pounds per square inch). After getting in touch with Dr. Earl Blough, the Aluminum Company's technical director, Stout became convinced that the new alloy was what he was looking for. His next plane would be a Duralumin plane.

After some initial opposition Stout convinced the Navy to take a chance on an all-metal airframe and on June 30, 1920 he signed a contract to construct 6 all-metal prototype airplanes for evaluation by the Navy, at a total cost of $278,000. The project was announced in the August 5, 1920 edition of American Machinist:

“W. B. Stout to Build Metal ’Planes for Navy

“William B. Stout, technical adviser to the aircraft board during the war and former chief engineer of the aircraft division of the Packard Motor Car Company, has been awarded a contract by the United States Navy Department for six all-metal airplanes of a type never before attempted in this country.

“The action of the government is said to have been hastened by the successful performances in America of the German Junkers model, similar to the one designed by Stout and which made a non-stop flight from Omaha to Philadelphia.

“The capacity of the ’planes ordered from the Stout Engineering Laboratories has not been announced. The German airplane carries six passengers. Like the German ’plane the Stout type will dispense with the external bracing.”

The Navy stipulated that the planes be all-Duralumin, carry a single torpedo and be powered by two engines. Before construction commenced, Stout's engineers had numerous design, engineering, and technical problems to solve, the most pressing matter being how to assemble and fabricate the Duralumin. Working closely with the Aluminum Company of America, Stout's staff set about constructing the bent forms on which the skins of the plane would be fashioned. Months were spent designing and constructing theDuralumin spars that made up the basic airframe upon which the formed Duralumin exterior panels would be affixed. Since so little was known about heat-treating Duralumin, Stout had to purchase the metal already heat-treated, rolling it by hand over chilled cast-iron rollers.

Stout continued to make speeches on the subject of aviation and on December 13, 1921, midway through the construction of the Navy prototype,  he delivered a presentation to the Cleveland Engineering Society entitled, Commercial Aviation, Past, Present and Future.

Stout was listed in the 1922 edition of Who’s Who in Aviation as follows:

“William Bushnell Stout, Aeronautical Engineer; born, Quincy, Ill., March 16, 1880: son of Rev. J. F. Stout and Mary L. (Bushnell) Stout; married, Alma E. Raymond, June 16, 1905. Educated: Public schools of St. Paul, Minn.; Hamlin University, St. Paul; University of Minnesota, Mechanical Engineering. Professional: Chief Engineer, Schumeier Motor Truck Co. of St, Paul: Features and Illustrating. Chicago Tribune; Technical Editor. "Motor Age"; Founder and first Editor, "Aerial Age" (Chicago). Aeronautical Activities: Chief Engineer, Aircraft Division, Packard Motor Car Co., 1916; Technical Adviser, Aircraft Board. 1917: Designer and builder of first internally-trussed plane flown in United States, Dec. 1918. War Service: Technical Adviser, Aircraft Board, reporting direct to Howard E. Coffin. Later assigned to Dayton, Ohio, Engineering Division of McCook Field, in building of internally-trussed experimental constructions. Member: Detroit Athletic Club: Aero Club Of America; Society of Automotive Engineers: Aviation Country Club. Present Occupation: President and General Manager, Stout Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Address: 6282 Beaubien St.; home, 109 Seward Ave., Detroit, Mich.”

The prototype was complete in May of 1922, at which time the aircraft, which was  designated the Stout ST All-Metal Torpedo Plane, underwent evaluation at Selfridge Field, which was located just outside of Detroit.

A full-sized Navy torpedo was installed under the fuselage and test pilot Edward A. (Eddie) Stinson embarked upon a number of successful test flights, one of which was witnessed by Rear Admiral William A. Moffett. The May 29, 1922 issue of Aviation mentioned that the plane was in the midst of flight trials:

“The Stout Engineering Laboratories, Inc., of Detroit, is also working with duralumin. This firm has a contract with the Navy Department for experimental torpedo carrying seaplanes to be built entirely of metal. A sample machine is now under flight trials.”

Shortly afterward came the Navy's official acceptance tests. A delegation of admirals and Navy Department officials journeyed to Selfridge Field. Stinson again took up the ST All-Metal Torpedo Plane, and again the tests were successful. But the Navy then insisted that one of its own pilots fly the plane. Obviously very nervous, the pilot climbed in and took the plane. Circling the field once, he then started down, but barely cleared some nearby trees. When he readied the landing field, the plane was so out of control that he pancaked it into the ground. The aircraft's landing gear gave way, and its wings folded in a cloud of dust. The Navy pilot climbed out unhurt, but two years’ work lay in a heap of ruins. Dejectedly, Stout returned to the plant. ‘It was the bluest day of my career,’ he said later.

Unfortunately the Navy cancelled the $278,000 contract on October 25, 1921, of which only a reported $65,000 was paid to Stout Engineering Laboratories for the crashed prototype. Congressional records list three separate contracts between Stout and the US Navy, two of which are noted as cancelled:

“Stout Engineering Co. contract No 51248, June 30, 1920, six metal planes $278,000 (Canceled October 25, 1921)

“Stout Engineering Co. contract No 53764, May 24, 1921, monoplane, $42,500

“Stout Engineering Co. contract No 55196, Dec. 13, 1921, ST-1 and ST-2 airplanes, $162,060 (Canceled January 8, 1923).”

Stout vowed to have nothing to do with government after his disastrous experience with the Navy's torpedo bomber, and he turned his attention to the field of commercial aviation, envisioning a upsized Bat-wing Limousine made entirely of Duralumin that could seat four and carry cargo too. While working on the Navy's torpedo bomber, he had the occasion to look over an all-metal Junkers-Larson JL-6 six-seat monoplane that Edward A. (Eddie) Stinson had recently acquired. 

The exterior of the Otto Reuter-designed plane - the world's first all-metal airliner - was constructed using corrugated Duralumin, the corrugations increasing the bending strength of the Duralumin in the direction perpendicular to the corrugations (but not parallel to them). Stout liked what he saw, and from that point on all of his airplanes would featured a corrugated Duralumin skin. However a more pressing problem developed, Stout Engineering Laboratories was out of cash and in order to develop the new Stout Air Sedan, as he referred to it, some outside investors would be required.

The first task would be to publicize the proposed aircraft, which was accomplished via an October 19, 1922 presentation before the Society of Automotive Engineers entitled, ‘The Modern Airplane and All-Metal Construction”, which was subsequently published in the December, 1922 issue of the SAE Journal. Condensed versions appeared in other publsications such as the following which appeared in the November 4, 1922 issue of Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record:

“Make First Metal ‘Plane Here, by Henry A.I. Andries associate editor

“An indication of this development is given ni the fact that a Detroit engineer and inventor, William B. Stout, announced before the Society of Automotive Engineers, last month, the successful application of duralumin, a secret metal developed for German aircraft during the war, to a Detroit-built, all-metal airplane, the first to fly in this country. It was constructed for the U. S. Navy and is capable of carrying a two-ton load at a speed of 113 miles an hour. This ‘bat-wing’ 'plane, as it is called, has a single wing shaped like that of a bat. Spruce wood used in practically all aircraft to date has been replaced by structural members of duralumin, instead of cloth wing coverings, the new machine has a duralumin skin, only a fiftieth part of an inch thick. Even the struts and cables used for bracing are now contained in this thick-wing.

“‘The eventual airplane,’ says Mr. Stout, ‘will be practically nothing but wings. In a comparatively few years, wooden airplanes in the air will be scarcer than wooden ships on the sea. All airplanes flying under insurance rulings will be of all-metal construction. Metal ‘planes mean greater safety to pilot and cargo; a possibility of considerably lighter weight; less production cost, particularly as the demand increases and easier repairs.’/p>

“‘Thick-wing airplanes are developing fast, both in monoplane and biplane types. Retractable chassis, wing-type radiators, and other features that the recent Pulitzer races have shown to be practicable, will appear shortly in commercial airplanes and increase their profit-paying possibilities.’

“Mr. Stout declares that mail 'planes will soon fly between New York and Chicago in three hours' time. Commenting on the new developments in aircraft Mr. Stout said:

“‘The new things we saw in Detroit at the air events mark a distinctly new step forward in aircraft making and as great an advance over previous planes as was the first four-cylinder car over the old one-lunger curved-dash automobiles. These races heralded a number of brand new things which showed such astonishing value that they may already be called permanent in future airplanes. At the same time showed up in unmistakable style the end of old established methods, now made obsolete.’”

The second step involved establishing a new firm, whose name would leave no doubt as to its specialization, so on November 6, 1922, he organized the Stout Metal Airplane Company. The third and final step was to get investors, and Stout targeted a wealthy group of Detroit automobile executives who could well afford to part with the $1,000 he would eventually ask them to contribute.

The inital solicitation came in the form of a hand-typed letter which announced the publication of a weekly newsletter which would be devoted to the fundementals of and the latest developments in aviation.The first letter read:

“If a man walked into your office with a design of a motor car with its engine upside down and under the rear seat; you would quickly be able to answer him as to its value and you would have the authority to make a decision. But suppose some man came to you with an airplane with its engine upside down and under the rear seat, what would be your reply - and more important - your authority for making a decision? On your decisions and those of other leading men of Detroit depends the future of Detroit in aviation… I am going to send out a weekly series of letters, purely educational, giving the fundamentals of aviation - what makes a plane fly, etc. - for the education of Detroit's management. Will you have your secretary call or drop me a line if you would like to receive the series?”

Stout receive positive responses from 65 of the 100 adressees. Positive responses were followed up by a personal visit from Stout and Stanley Knauss, where the two would pitch the proposed all-Duralumin Air Sedan, reminding the executive that Stout had been the first to construct a metal airplane, and he had chosen Detroit to do it in. They closed with the following statement:

“We want to build another metal plane. If you join us, it will cost you money. One thousand dollars. No more, no less. And for your one thousand dollars you will get one definite promise. You will never get your money back.”

Remarkably the scheme worked, and within a few months Stout had received checks, some in excess of the $1,000 requested, from the following Detroit industrialists; Albert Champion, Walter P. Chrysler, Horace E. Dodge, Frederick J. Fisher, Horace Dodge, Charles F. Kettering, William S. Knudsen, William B. Mayo, and Ransom E. Olds. As more funding was still required, Stout expanded his mailings to automobile executives located across the northeast, with positive responses coming from such well-known individuals as Edward G. Budd, Marshall Field, Harvey S. Firestone, Ralph L. Polk, Gar Wood and Philip K. Wrigley.

The letters and follow-up visits provided Stout with $128,000 in additional capital, and by late February 1923, construction of the all-metal, corrugated-skin, four-place, cantilevered wing Stout 1-AS monoplane (aka Air Sedan) was completed. Walter Lees put the plane through a number of well-publicized test flights which revealed the plane was significantly underpowered, so the original 90-hp Curtiss OX-5 engine was swapped out in favor of a 150-hp Hispano-Suiza.

Stout's next task was to upsize the airframe to carry twice the cargo, and by the end of the year plans had been finalized for the Stout 2-AT (aka Stout Air Pullman or Stout Air Transport), an all-metal, corrugated-skin, eight-place, cantilever-winged monoplane powered by a massive 400 hp Liberty engine. The Stout Air Pullman's (christened Maiden Detroit) first test flight took place in April 1924 where it performed admirably.

One of Stout's $1,000 angels was William B. Mayo, who at the time was chief engineer of the Ford Motor Company. A self-taught engineer, Mayo had originally worked as a contractor who was brought in to design Ford's Highland Park power plant, hewas subsequnetly offered a job by the boss and by 1915 had become its chief engineer.

Now that Stout had introduced an airframe (Stout 2-AT) that Mayo thought marketable, he arranged a meeting between his Ford Motor Co. bosses and the airplane designer. Soon after Fords commenced construction of a 600-acre airfield at their sprawling River Rouge facility where they provided the Stout Metal Airplane Co. the use of a factory site where series production of the Stout 2-AT commenced in early 1925. Ford's incolvement with Stout is mentioned in the March 20, 1925 edition of the New York Times:

“Aircraft Engines Planned by Fords; Edsel Says They Will Not Build Planes, but Are Interested in Aviation

“DETROIT, March 19. -- Henry and Edsel Ford are not engaged in the manufacture of airplanes, but they are both keenly interested in the development of aviation and the future of Detroit as the centre of the aircraft industry, Edsel said today in denying reports that the Ford millions are being used to advance the progress of aviation.

“This statement made in Dearborn was followed by a description of the work already done by the Fords in advancing airplane development, particularly with reference to the establishment of an airport, building of a factory, and erection of a $75,000 mooring mast which will permit the visit of an present day airship to Detroit and provide for its accommodation.

“‘While we are not actually engaged in the manufactured of airplanes,’ said Edsel Ford, ‘we are financially interested in the Stout Metal Airplane Company, manufacturing the Stout metal air transport, and the Aircraft Development Corporation, which will soon place the first metal-clad lighter-than-air ship in the air, with Detroit as its home.’

“Praises Stout Airplane

“‘We are willing that the Ford name be used in these companies because we believe that William B. Stout, designer and builder of air transport, has an exceptionally good plane, and Ralph Upson’s idea of a metal-clad airship is the best yet produced. Stout himself is building the plane and doing some work for the other company in the factory.’

“‘The five or six planes that will be finished this year will be sold easily, we believe, and we probably will use our organization of Ford representatives in the large cities in the sale of them. The Stout Company does not engage salesman; in fact no salesman will be necessary to dispose of the first planes. Later, doubtless a company for the manufacture of the planes will be formed.’

“‘Since the announcement of the planes the company has had thousands of inquiries, with many from the Pacific coast. It is probably that several planes can be sold in that section alone.’

“‘We built the factory in which the plane is being made, and laid out the field. The factory will be used by both companies.’”

Ford Motor Co. purchased a Stout 2-AT in April of 1925, the plane - now called the Stout Air Transport - forming the beginings of the Ford Air Transport Service which inaugurated daily flights between Dearborn and Chicago, carrying freight and company mail. Soon after Ford purchased two more Stout Air Transports expanding the service to Cleveland and Buffalo. In all Stout constructed eleven of the $22,500 Stout 2-AT Air Transports, six were purchased by Ford Air Transport, four to Florida Airways, and a single plane to Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker.

In August of 1928 a routine inspection of the cantilever wing assembly of a Stout 2-AT revelead a number of stress cracks, at which time the US Dept. of Commerce ordered all remaining Stout 2-AT's grounded and subsequently scrapped.

In July of 1925 Ford officially purchased the Stout Metal Airplane Co. Edsel Ford was president, William B. Stout and William B. Mayo as vice presidents, and B.J. Craig as secretary and treasurer.

An article in the June 22, 1925 New York Times confirms that Ford had recently taken over Stout Metal Airplane:

“TO TEST PLANE INVENTION.; Builder Says It Will Enable Aircraft to Fly Straight Up. (Special to The New York Times)

“Detroit, June 21 – An invention, consisting of a self-feathering aircraft paddle wheel propellers which, it is said, may revolutionize aircraft building and at the same time solve the problem of the helicopter, will probably be tested under the supervision of Detroit engineers within a few weeks.

“William B. Stout, President of the Stout All Metal Airplane Company at the Ford Airport, the entire output of whose factory has been taken over by the Ford interests, is interested in the invention as is Ralph H. Upson, chief engineer of the Aircraft Development Corporation, who examined the model here tonight.

“The inventor, James A. Horne of Estes Park, Col., brought the model here at the suggestion of Judge Ben B. Lindsey of Denver. The propellers are capable, he says of four variable thrusts, which would enable an airship equipped with them to move practically straight upward or straight downward in addition to moving forward, or backward.

“The model, which is electrically operated, was recently demonstrated before General Patrick, Chief of the Air Service, and Admiral Moffatt, Chief of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics.

“None of the experts who have looked the model over has expressed more than the belief that it should be tested.”

During 1925 Stout had one of the 2-AT Air Transports modified to accept three Wright J-4 radial engines in the interests of safety, producing an awkward-looking prototype - the Stout 3-AT Tri-Motor - that first flew in November of 1925 piloted by Ford's Rudolph Schroeder.

Schroeder found it so unstable that he refused to take it up a second time. The poor handling was confirmed by Larry Fritz in a second test flight and the plane was  relegated to the Ford hanger for the rest of its life, which turned out to be not very long. A January 16, 1926 fire destroyed the Ford Air Transport hanger housing the prototype 3-AT Tri-Motor as well as several other 2-ATs.

However, all agreed that the Tri-Motor concept was a good one, and, unbeknownst to William B. Stout who was away on a lecture tour, a group of Ford Motor Co. engineers began planning its replacement.

Headquartered in the Ford Laboratory Building, Ford's aircraft design group - headed by Harold Hicks and aeronautical engineers Thomas Towle and Otto Koppen - began designing a new Tri-Motor just days after the fire, and by June 11, 1926 the Ford 4-AT-1 Tri-Motor was ready for testing by Rudolph Schroeder, who pronounced it a great success. During the short five months in which the Ford Tri-Motor was designed, a new larger factory was constructed for the eventual series production of the new plane.

Although the Ford Tri-Motor was based Stout's earlier designs, it's ironic that he had no input into the final design of the plane with which he remains most-associated with. However, he remained the figurehead of Ford's Airplane division into 1930 when he 'resigned' to concentrate on the Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc., which was formally organized on January 12, 1929 and located at 2124 South Telegraph Rd., Dearborn.

The Aircraft Division, eventually with 1,600 employees under Mayo, developed, built, and sold the famous Ford trimotor planes. The Aircraft Division flourished from 1926 until 1932; 1929 was the best year, with eighty-six planes manufactured and sold.

The first Ford 4-AT Tri-Motors were reserved for use by the Ford Motor Co. and associated Stout Air Service, but by mid-1928 delivery to third parties commenced, the September 1, 1928 New York Times reporting:

“Ford Company Delivers Plane (Special to The New York Times)

“Detroit, Mich., Aug. 31 – The Ford Motor Company delivered today to the Northwest Airways, a subsidiary of the Transcontinental Air Transport, in St. Paul, Minn., the first deluxe trim-motored Ford transport plane. The plane is a twelve-passenger machine, having a potential speed of 140 miles an hour. It will cut eight hours from the trial trip between New York and Northwest points. The plane will take passengers from trains at Chicago and carry them to St. Paul, where they will board fast trains for the Pacific Northwest.

“Northwest Airways was organized in Detroit about two years ago and began shortly afterward to carry the mail between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

“The line has been carrying passengers in its mail planes for the last six months, according to Harold H. Emmons, its president.

“The Northwest service will make connections with the Pennsylvania Railroad from Chicago east and the Milwaukee, Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads from Minneapolis west.

“The new planes are powered by three Pratt & Whitney ‘Wasp’ engines of 400 horsepower.

“Detroit directors of the Northwest Company include Frank W. Blair, President of the Union Trust Company; Eugene W. Lewis, President of the Industrial Bank of Detroit; William B. Mayo, chief engineer of the Ford Motor Company; William B. Stout, President of Stout Air Services, Inc. and Edward S. Evans, President of the E.S. Evans Company.”

With the financial support of the Fords, Stout inaugurated Stout Air Services, Inc., in August of 1925 and on July 28, 1926, it commenced the first scheduled passenger air service in the Continental United States, the United Press newswire reporting:

“Airplane Service Between Detroit and Grand Rapids (by United Press)

“Grand Rapids, Mich. July 28. - Michigan's first public passenger and air freight air line is scheduled to open here Saturday when Stout Air Service. Inc., inaugurates tri-weekly flights between Grand Rapids and Detroit.

“Officials of the new line are William H. Stout, head of the airplane division of the Ford Motor company, president; Stanley E. Knauss, formerly of the Ford Motor company, general manager; B. Russell Shaw, manager of the Grand Rapids airport and D. F. Kenyon, traffic manager.

“Planes to be used are Stout-Ford all-metal air transports, eventually to be replaced by triple motored planes of the same design which are now under construction.

“A schedule of rates for passenger fare contemplates a charge of $25 per one way trip or $40 for the round trip. The distance is approximately 150 miles, terminals are the new Grand Rapids airport and the Ford air port at Dearborn. The company has bid for the air mail service between the two cities.

“Inauguration of the service will be marked by a Grand Rapids to Detroit flight Saturday following dedicatory services at the airport here.”

In July of 1927 the Grand Rapids service was discontinued in favor of a new Detroit to Cleveland operation, the Associated Press reporting:

“Detroit, Mich., July 27.—(AP)— Airplane service between Detroit and Grand Rapids has been suspended by the Stout Air Service Inc., Stanley E. Kraus, manager of the company announced today. In place of this line the company plans to operate three-motored planes to Cleveland figuring the hop at two and a half hours plane time.

“‘We have concluded our experiments and have tested equipment, rates and schedules on this line,’ Kraus said, ‘and we are now able to base operation on facts and experiences rather than on opinion. In addition we have convinced our patrons that regular schedule can and are maintained on airlines.’

“‘Our revenues did not pay operating expenses, but they did pay more than we expected and we consider the experience gained more valuable than as if we had made a profit to start with.’

“The company carried over 2,000 passengers on the Grand Rapids line without injury to passengers or operating personnel, maintaining a schedule 94 per cent perfect.

“The Stout Air Services originally planned to extend their line across Lake Michigan to connect Minneapolis and Milwaukee and St. Paul with Detroit. They planned to fly directly across the lake and thus save about 20 hours between the Twin Cities and the east.”

A Detroit to Chicago service was finally inaugurated in November of 1928, the Associated Press reporting:

“DETROIT, Mich., Nov. 1.—(AP)— With a full complement of passengers the first plane of the Stout Air Service’s new Detroit-Chicago line was to leave here at 2 p.m. today for the Windy City. Mayor Thompson will greet the passengers on arrival at Chicago, where a brief informal ceremony has been arranged, according to the program. After today, planes will leave Detroit and Chicago simultaneously at 2 p.m.”

In September of 1929 Stout sold a controlling interest in Stout Air Service, Inc., to United Air Craft and Transport Corporation, the predecessor of United Airlines, the January 21, 1930 issue of the New York Times reporting on the election of F.B. Rentschler as chairman of Stout Air Services, Inc., the holding company that controlled Stout Air Service Inc.:

“RENTSCHLER IS ELECTED; Head of United Aircraft Made Chairman of Stout Air Service.

“DETROIT, Jan. 20.--F. B. Rentschler of New York was chosen chairman of the board at a meeting in Dearborn today of Stout Air Services, Inc., operator of the Stout Air Service Inc., operator of the Stout air lines between Cleveland and Detroit and Chicago. Mr. Rentschler is president of the United Air Craft and Transport Corporation, of which the Stout company is a subsidiary.

“Officers elected included William B. Stout, president; William B. Mayo, vice president; Stanley E. Knauss, vice president and general manager, and Donald J. Rogers, secretary. The new board includes Charles T. Bush of Detroit, Mr. Stout, Mr. Mayo and Mr. Knauss.”

Surprisingly Stout had never piloted one of his own creations and in April of 1930 the United Press newswire reported he had finally gotten his pilot's license:

“W.B. Stout Now Pilot: Air Line Head Finally Gets His License

“Detroit – April 25 (UP) – William B. Stout, president of the Stout Air Lines, constantly referred to as ‘one of the country’s leading flyers,’ finally go to interest in flying that he became a pilot recently. Stout’s close association with things aeronautical for many years, coupled with the fact that he is widely-known as the builder of the Ford all-metal plane, has led to the mistaken belief that he is, among others things, an expert pilot. However, the other day a Department of Commerce inspector examined him and gave him a license to pilot a plane.”

On January 12, 1929, Stout formed a second iteration of the Stout Engineering Laboratories, Inc., commencing operations in a small plant located at 2124 South Telegraph Rd., Dearborn, Mich. Initially Stout Laboratories was devoted to aeronautics work, his latest creation, the Stout Sky Car, debuted at the 1931 National Air Show In Detroit, the April 17, 1931 issue of Flight reporting:

“The Stout ‘Sky Car’

“Mr. Bill Stout, who created the Ford tri-motored monoplanes now so well known all over the world, has now produced another ‘Tin Lizzie,’ which is shown for the first time at the Detroit Show. The new machine is a ‘pusher’ monoplane, in which the occupants sit in tandem ahead of the wing. The new machine has been named the ‘Sky Car,’ but doubtless it will very soon be given some nickname appropriate to its somewhat unusual appearance.

“There is no doubt that the ‘pusher’ type of airplane is being revived after having been moribund for many years. In almost every country one sees attempts made to resurrect the ‘pusher,’ and when one remembers the comfort of flying in machines of the old Maurice and Henry Farman types, this is not surprising. The engine noise which reaches the occupants seems to be much smaller; there is no buffeting due to slipstream in windscreens or cabin, and oil and fumes from the engine do not reach the occupants. The old ‘box kites’ were not very efficient aerodynamically, and so when. During the war, speed had to be obtained at all costs, the tractor won the day, and has kept the lead until now. But, aw se have said, there are obvious signs of a revival, and the Stout ‘Sky Car’ is one American attempt to provide car comfort in the air.

“The ‘Sky Car’ is of all-metal construction, and its general design is, if unorthodox, not unpleasing. The first thing to decide in the design of a single-engined ‘pusher’ is whether the tail is to be carried on an extension of the fuselage or on a separated structure. The latter is likely to lighter and stronger, but the former probably will have a rather lower drag. In the Stout ‘ Sky Car’ the open tail girder method of carrying the tail has been adopted, and consists of three booms braced together, two at the top (to the wing) and one at the bottom (to the heel of the fuselage). As a result of this arrangement, the swiveling tail wheel is placed under the tail, so that landing shocks do not have to be taken by the tail booms.

“The pilot and passenger sit tandem fashion in a well-lighted cabin, ahead of the wing, and the view should be good. Two bulkheads separate the cabin from the engine, so that but little noise should be heard in the cabin. The inverted Rover engine is nicely faired-in, and there is an adjustable scoop which admits more or less cooling air to the engine during flight.

“The ailerons found in orthodox aircraft have been replaced by pivoted wing tips similar to the ‘controllers’ used by Capt. Hill in the ‘Pterodactyl,’ but they serve, of course, for lateral control only.

“Petrol is carried in two tanks in the leading edge portions of the central section of the engine, from which position the fuel is fed by gravity to the engine.

“No performance figures are available, but the Stout ‘Sky Car’ has a span of 43 ft. and a length of 23 ft. 6 in. The wheels are fitted with brakes, and the nose is strengthened so that the wheels may be locked and the fuselage touch the ground without doing any damage.

“Exhibited for the first time at the National Aircraft Show at Detroit, this machine is a ‘pusher’ cabin monoplane of all-metal construction, fitted with an inverted four-cylinder Rover engine of 75 hp. The occupants are seated in tandem, one of the least attractive features of the machine.”

The May 1931 issue of Airway Age included the following Sky Car description:

“The Sky Car

“The Stout Engineering Laboratories of Dearborn, Mich., exhibited a light cabin monoplane at the National Aircraft Show in Detroit. This ship, which is known as the Sky Car, is powered with a 75 hp, Rover engine. It is a full cantilever, high wing monoplane of all-metal construction with a span of 43 ft. The overall length is 23 ½ ft. It is equipped with balanced wing tip ailerons. The main struts of the landing gear extend down from the front wing spar, terminating in a wheel with low-pressure tires and brakes. There is a caster-like tail-skid wheel directly beneath the propeller and a skid under the forward end of the cabin. After landing, the machine comes to rest in horizontal position with the wings at a neutral angle of incidence. With the cabin empty the plane becomes tail-heavy and would settle back but for the tension on a shock absorber cord in the tail group, which continues to hold the wings in a ‘no lift’ position.

“The normal landing speed of the machine is 35 mph. The Sky Car has an overall height of not quiet six ft. The gasoline is carried in two tanks located in the forward section of the wing stubs. This two place cabin plane has many of the attributes of a closed automobile, the tandem seats being reached through a door similar to that found on a two-door sedan. The arrangement of the instrument board and controls is similar to that found on a Ford automobile. There is a brake lever which permits one handed application of the brakes to either wheel for the purpose of turning around.

“The motor which drives a pusher type propeller is entirely enclosed within an after extension of the cabin. This engine room is separated from the passenger compartment not only by the conventional metal fire wall immediately in front of the motor, but by an air space housing the starter and battery and by a double covered sound-proof wall extending from roof to floor between this space and cabin. The propeller is mounted between the steel members of an outrigger tail.

“It is claimed by the designer that this construction of the position of the propeller tends to eliminate noises.”

The June 1931 issue of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science provided the Sky Car with its 'Air Flivver' moniker, with Popular Mechanics stating:

“Air Flivver Built Like Auto Land On Tennis Court

“Weighing less than 1,000 pounds and capable of landing on the space of a tennis court, an airplane counterpart of the small automobile is now in production. The tiny plane, called a ‘sky car,’ consists of a two-seater cabin suspended beneath a twenty-three-foot wing of full cantilever construction. The ship is built of corrugated metal, and many of the instruments and fittings resemble those usually found on automobiles. There is a Ford ignition switch and safety key on the dash, a self-starter button on the floor and a brake lever, reminiscent of the model-T emergency, that permits application of the brake to either wheel in turning. The rudder for lateral control is operated by floor pedals similar to those with which drivers of the first Fords learned to operate their machines. The monoplane is powered from the rear with a pusher-type four-cylinder air-cooled motor of the inverted design, developing seventy-five horsepower. The ship is expected to sell in the price range of a moderate-priced automobile.”

And Popular Science:

“Air Flivver Ready to Fly Weighs Only 1,000 Pounds

“Reports have long had it that Henry Ford, the man who made cheap automobiles popular, was about to produce a light plane that any man could afford to own and fly. Now Ford’s chief aircraft designer, William B. Stout, announces what he calls ‘an aerial counterpart of the famous Tin Lizzie.’ This little two-seater plane was recently exhibited in Detroit,. It was expected to be placed on the market soon, probably to sell at less than $2,000, and plans for quantity production have been made.

“Within one of these novel all-metal planes, the driver of one of the first flivvers would feel right at home. A brake lever at the pilot’s left, suggesting the emergency brake of early Ford cars, locks the plane’s wheels while the motor warms up. Foot pedals like those on the old cars control the planes lateral rudder. Even the ignition switch and the self-starter button are familiar to Ford drivers, but the dashboard has many dials not found in cars.

“The plane weighs less than 1,000 pounds, and is said to be able to land in the space of a tennis court if necessary. It has a forty-three- foot wing spread. The seventy-five-horsepower motor drives a pusher propeller, carefully shielded by framework so that no one can blunder against it while the plane is on the ground.

“‘For the present,’ says the designer, ‘the plane is called the Sky Car, though the public, in its usual fashion, is likely to dub it something much less formal.’”

As early as 1931 Stout had started sketching proposed layouts for an all-metal automobile, the first depicting a rear-engined four-cylinder 5-place automobile with aircraft-style 26" x 10" balloon tires fitted at the four corners. A second version, dated June, 1932, shows a profile of a very similar vehicle which at that time had a prominent snout, although the rear wheels were moved from the very rear of the aerodynamic fuselage to a more traditional position, approximately two-thirds of the way back from the front end. A drastic redesign followed in July of 1932 which saw the nose eliminated and the rear wheels moved back to their original postion at the very rear of the vehicle. The interior was also more defined with the passengers riding in plush rotating seats that would have been more at home in an executive's office.

Stout dropped quite a few hints of what to expect from the 'ideal motor car' in the September 1932  issue of Popular Mechanics:

“The Motor Car of the Future; Famous Aeronautical Designer Visualizes an ‘Ideal’ Automobile by William B. Stout

“When the ‘ideal motor car,’ the fabled automobile of the future, becomes a reality – if ever – it will come literally from the sky.

“That does not mean, however, that tomorrow’s motor car will be merely an airplane minus wings, mounted on four wheels and equipped with steering gear. Rather, it will be a new interpretation of highway transportation, designed and built to aeronautical standards of structure and performance efficiency. Tomorrow’s car will be new and radically different, but it will be sane – saner than today’s, and safer.

“To meet it, you present-day motorists must first revise all your conceptions of motoring; lay away your assumptions of what motor cars would look like along with your old-fashioned goggles and duster. This is a NEW automobile.

“Briefly, here is what you may expect for your motor money tomorrow – or, at least, some day:

“Acceleration from standing start to sixty miles per hour in eight seconds or less; higher usable top speed than any present car.

“Twice the usable inside space for the wheelbase and tread of present cars.

“Twice as much mileage per gallon of gasoline.

“Engine weighing not more than five pounds per horsepower; rear-mounted so that sound, odors and vibration can be effectively insulated from the body.

“Streamlined bodies with forced ventilation for summer driving, forced heating in winter; non-glare windshield and windows.

“Total weight of less than 1,000 pounds.

“Simplified control; no gear shift, no clutch pedal, effortless steering at all speeds.

“Cost: about half of the present-day car of comparable quality.

“Tomorrow’s car will be streamlined, of course, but not after the pattern of airplanes, birds or fish. To follow their example would be highly disastrous. Birds, airplanes, fish float in their respective mediums of travel; with them, pressure always comes directly from in front, no matter whether they are going with, against or across the current. The automobile, however is fixed to the road, and air pressure may come from any quarter. Designed like a fish or an airplane, and automobile might fare well enough in a direct headwind, but an unexpected air current on the quarter would probably blow the ‘fishy’ car right off the road.

“So, for a streamline model, engineers must seek in nature some shape streamlined in all directions: for example, the turtle or the crab. They have been designed by nature to walk along the bottom of a river undisturbed by the current no matter which way it flows. Theirs is an efficient dual-medium streamlining – highly practical for application to automobiles.

“At speeds below fifty miles an hour, however, shape is of relatively little importance except in beauty of line. At speeds below fifty – representing ninety per cent of normal driving – the greatest contributing factor to efficiency is low weight per horsepower. And, in holding down weight without sacrificing strength, the aeronaut makes his greatest contribution to the future of motoring.

“The public is accustomed to thinking of airplanes as flimsy, simply because they are light. On the contrary, airplane structures are the strongest known, pound for pound. My own little ‘sky car’, weighing approximately 1,200 pounds, will support a load of 12,000 pounds of sand in its wings – in fact, it must pass this test before it is given government license. Show me any structure – automobile, bridge, skyscraper, or what-have-you – that will support a burden of ten times its own weight without injury.

“In promoting structural strength, the turtle-back shape will be just as important as in its contribution to streamlining. It affords an ideal opportunity for a simple truss construction of the body, conserving weight and permitting a high degree of rigidity without resorting to the frame of the present car. To the uninformed, the idea of building a motor car without a frame may seem like building a house without a foundation. To the aeronautical engineer, however, the automobile frame appears as evidence of faulty structural design.

“Imagine a bridge which for three-quarters of its length across a river is built of conventional truss construction and the rest of the way is supported merely by a group of horizontal girders. How would you like to drive across it? Yet, in effect, that is the design of your present sedan.

“Another essential of the present car, which will be conspicuous by its absence (some time) in the future, is the spring. Springing now is fundamentally wrong in theory. By adding shock absorbers you modify the basic fault, but you do not correct it. Stiffen the shock absorbers so that they restrict spring rebound and, to a degree, you tie up wheels body into one unit – the passenger becomes, in a sense, the only item of sprung weight.

“Watch a modern transport plane land on the rough outfield of an airport; watch it taxi across the apron. The wheels may be going through a veritable dance – but the fuselage rides evenly. Drive your car over the same route and note how differently it behaves.

“So you’ll find tomorrow’s car equipped with modified airplane tires of large air capacity at low pressure – from four to ten pounds. Instead of springs, it will have an adaption of airplane shock absorbers, each wheel acting independently.

“Believe it or not, the lighter the car, the greater the potential factor of comfort. And, most important of all is the matter of unsprung weight. Low center of gravity is not necessarily an indication of roadability. Indeed, some of the present cars actually are swung so close to the road that skidding tendencies are vastly increased. The center of mass must be so disposed that the side thrust created in turning corners, presses downward on the outside wheels, this increasing traction and preventing skidding.

“When will this ideal ‘dream car’ become a reality? Frankly I don’t know – nor does anyone else.

“Probably the greatest single obstacle will be the direct beneficiaries – the public. Because the automobile always has looked just about the same, they assume that I must continue to do so.

“Unquestionably, one of the principal reasons for the progress made in aviation is the fact that ‘John Public’ has had no preconceived ideas of what any airplane should look like. If Mr. Public were to judge automobiles by what they do and how well they do it rather than by exterior things, the engineer’s ‘dream car’ would become a reality overnight.

“I am reminded of a young man who once evolved a radically different windmill, on sound aerodynamic lines. He showed his plans to a manufacturer who carefully examined them, then said:

“‘Young man, farmers have used windmills all their lives. They have become self-acknowledged authorities on windmills. When you design a new and better windmill, bear this in mind: It matters little how much more water it pumps or how much cost you save, but it must look like a windmill.’”

At a summer 1933 SAE conference Stout chaired a discussion entitled ‘Our Future Traveling Public and What They Want’ which was highlighted in the September 3, 1933 New York Times:

“Tomorrow's Automobile; Designers Vision a Lighter, Faster, Roomier Vehicle Embodying Radical Changes - A British View

“The automobile of tomorrow will surpass the car of today in performance, economy, comfort and safety. It will be easier to control and give less trouble on the road. Lighter in weight, probably supercharged equipped with an automatic transmission that eliminates gear shifting, and with wheels independently suspended instead of attached to the conventional axle, the car of the future will be faster, more reliable, roomier and cheaper than any machine of today.

“Such is the picture of the future sketched by men of motors at the international automotive engineering congress of the Society of Automotive Engineers in Chicago, which began last Monday and will continued through tomorrow.

“The passenger car came up for special attention. In the session devoted to it William B. Stout, president of the Stout Engineering Laboratories, Inc., discussed ‘Our Future Traveling Public and What They Want.’

“Mr. Stout in his paper maintains that the time has come for a reshuffling of motor-car ideas to fit the new psychology of driving, the better roads now available and the higher speeds which have become customary.

“Lighter Motor Cars

“Light weight, in Mr. Stout’s opinion, will be a fundamental in future automobiles. ‘The lighter the car, the easier it can be made to ride; the less the weight, the greater the comfort,’ he holds. Light weight will bring better tires, easier steering and new types of power plants and transmissions. It will also make for less fatigue in driving. In five years, this engineer predicts, cars without gearshifts will be manufactured that will be able to climb the steepest grade on high without effort.

“Mr. Stout believes that the day is not far off when automobiles will have their wheels independently sprung in the manner of present airplane wheels. Only by the individual springing of every wheel without cross axles will tramping and shimmy of the front wheels be eliminated and smooth riding provided over the roughest roads.

“Better vision will be another feature of tomorrow’s automobile, if Mr. Stout’s ideas are followed. While there is fairly good vision in driving forward on a straight road, it is often difficult to see far enough ahead at intersections to avoid accidents. Long hoods and wide rear corner posts are two items of car design which, Mr. Stout believes, need improvement. The future car will provide clear vision at front as well as rear.

“Along with easier steering, better brakes and greater comfort of operation, the advanced automobile will carry more durable, softer and safer tires. Referring to the superballoon type of tires, Mr. Stout said:

“‘In spite of all the talk that these big tires do not do this and do not do that, it is only a question of intelligence and study to make them do everything they should and still retain the easier luxury of low pressure which we all admit.

“Easier Control

“‘The lighter the total weight of the car and its load, the easier it is to provide non-sway, easy-rolling, really air-cushion tires with a pressure of not over eight pounds per square inch per wheel. This can be done with easy steering even when standing still and without any of the difficulties which this type of tire gives on heavier cars; and by heavy cars I mean any car over 2,500 pounds total weight when loaded.’

“Mr. Stout believes the car of the future will have more ample accommodations that at present for long-distance touring. He sees ‘in the very near future’ the development of a vehicle ‘complete in itself and somewhere half-way between the present touring car and a luxurious trailer.’ It is possible, he says, using the same wheelbase, width and height of the present automobile, to provide more passenger and baggage room, better equipment and considerably greater comfort.

“Visioning the time when a drive of from 400 to 600 miles will be an easy day’s journey, Mr. Stout predicts that ‘roads will be better, allowable speed will be higher, traffic will be better regulated, and safety much increased.’”

Stout adapted his triangulated space-frame aircraft construction to the railroad car and in 1933 designed a 'Railplane' for the Pullman Car & Mfg. Co. The 60-ft. long, chrome-molybdenum steel and Duraluminum-constructed, self-propelled railcar was pictured on the cover of the February 1934 issue of Popular Mechanics, which included a Stout-penned description of the vehicle inside:

“Air-Minded Railroading by William Stout (as told to Julian Leggett)

“Wingless airplanes on tracks, carrying passengers, mail and express across the country every hour at ninety to 110 miles per hour, followed by similar self-powered units transporting freight at the same high speeds, all at one-third the present cost – this is the immediate future of American railways as I see it.

“These new trains will be shaped like the fuselage of an airplane, streamlined at front, rear, both sides and the bottom. Tubing construction, like that of the air transport, will make them sufficiently strong to with stand severe impacts, yet light enough for economical operation and easy control. Driven by gasoline, oil or distillate engines, the planes on rails will carry passengers profitably in competition with bus tariffs. Even no, a new kind of engine is being developed which may reduce operating costs still lower without sacrificing other desirable features.

“The passenger trains of this type already has been built and tested. Soon will come the freight car driven by its own engine, probably pulling several trailers, yet short enough to maintain fast schedules.

“Years of declining revenues, due to competition with the automobile, the bus and the airplane, have been climaxed by an appeal from the railroads for a new vehicle, one that might have the more desirable features of each form of transportation. Under contract and in cooperation with the Pullman Car Manufacturing company, a rail car has been constructed in our laboratories at Dearborn, Mich. It is the product of aeronautical designers, engineers and mechanics and, since it closely resembles an airplane without wings, propeller and tail assembly, it is called the ‘railplane.’

“Chrome-molybdenum steel and Duraluminum were used in the car’s construction, giving it unusual strength and resistance to corrosion, as well as light weight. Not a bolt or a nut was used in building the body, all tubing being welded by acetylene torch.

“Complete streamlining is a feature, not a break appearing in the smooth outer surface of the car. The steps fold to conform to the contours of the body and even the bottom is smooth, save for the protruding eight wheels.

“Two 160-horsepower gasoline engines, taken from the production lines of a bus motor factory, propel the car six miles to the gallon of fuel. An automatic monodrive transmission carries the power from engines to axles by means of direct gearing. So well has this drive been arranged that the railplane starts smoothly, moving away in low gear, then changing to second without attention and finally into high. The driver simply opens the throttle as the car gains speeds. Acceleration is rapid.

“One motor is mounted between the wheels on either side of the front trucks. The single throttle controls both power plants, either of which may be removed quickly and a substitute installed in emergencies. One motor is powerful enough to drive the car forward or backward. A separated set of indicators is mounted on the instrument panel to show the driver how each engine is performing. Other dials, switches and signals on the panel aid in the control and operation of engine starters, all lights, brakes and the like.

“Special air brakes, two to each set of trucks, stop the car without a jar in ten seconds from a speed of fifty miles per hour. The rapidity with which these brakes operate was demonstrated recently on one of our test runs when a child fell as she crossed the tracks. The railplane was backing along the main line. With only a few feet to spare, the driver applied the brakes upon signal from the flagman standing in the rear of the car. In the parlance of the auto repairman, we stopped ‘on a dime,’ yet without sever jerk common to the heavy train of today. The railplane’s light weight contributes considerably to its stopping power.

“Twenty-three thousand pounds is the weight of the car, or about 490 pounds to the passenger, an amazing figure when compared to the 5,000 pounds per passenger of the steam train. Fifty persons may be carried comfortably in the single unit which we have constructed. Riding qualities are excellent, due to the mounting of special springs in rubber and to the ring of rubber inserted between the steel wheel and the axle. Vibration from the track is reduced to a minimum, while the tubing construction does not transmit a trace of engine shock, even at high speeds.

“The car windows are sealed to exclude dirt, dust and noise. Complete air conditioning supplies warm air in winter and cool air in summer. Two doors on each side permit entrance to the railplane, one opening into the driver’s compartment and the other into the passenger section. Interior insulation increases the freedom from vibration and outside noise, while modern, luxuriously cushioned chairs add to the riding properties.

“Even the first tests showed us that the railplane would meet our expectations on speed. During one run on a rough freight track, the car exceeded eighty miles per hour with engines turning over at 1,650 revolutions, leaving a reserve of 600 revolutions and indicating that the car could easily attain 100 to 110 miles per hour. This speed, of course, is not intended for regular operation. The vehicle has a ‘cruising’ speed of ninety miles.

“This rapid pace with low power is the result of direct gearing, since experimental work has shown that about twenty-five per cent of the engine’s output is lost when the engines turn a generator to produce current for an electric drive instead of driving the wheels direct.

“The Pullman Car and Manufacturing company also is building a three-car unit for the Union Pacific system, a distillate-powered train in which our laboratories had a part in the designing. Another three-car unit is under construction elsewhere for the Burlington railroad, while the Texas and Pacific already has placed a two-car train of this type in operation. Both of the three-car trains will be streamlined to the greatest degree thought possible at the time they were designed, and both will attain high speed.

“Depending on the traffic, the railplane may be produced in one, two, or three-car units. The engines used will propel a two-car train at ninety miles per hour, while the installation of more powerful motors would give a three-car train the same speed. We visualize sleeping compartment trains of the railplane type, so economical to operate that costs will be a fraction of what they are now.

“To the railroads, floundering in the midst of too-heavy and too-expensive equipment, the railplane and similar streamlined motor trains bring new hope. I am convinced that we stand on the threshold of an ear of fast, safe, comfortable and convenient transportation that might well be described as air-minded railroading.”

The Railplane was finished in time for its exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair in 1934, after which  it was leased to the Gulf, Mobile & Northern railroad for service between Tylertown and Jackson, Mississippi. Unfortunately Pullman found no interested buyers for the railplane, the experimented yeilding only the single prototype  which was scrapped in the late '30s.

Also exhibited at the 1934 Chicago’s World’s Fair was a second Stout rail project, the Pullman-Standard* M-10000, a 3-car articulated streamliner designed to compete against the Budd-built Burlington Zephyr.

(*Although Pullman had acquired the Standard Steel Car Co in 1929, it wasn't formally reorganized as the Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co. until December 26, 1934. However the firm was often referred to as Pullman-Standard prior to the official reorganization.)

The project was promoted by Union Pacific president W. Averill Harriman and the sole M-10000 manufactured wore the colors of the UP – yellow and brown with a red band. Its design was a true collaboration between the customer, the manufacturer and the designer and Harriman’s wife Marie is credited with the design of its interior which was various shades of blue highlighted by polished aluminum bands. 

The painted Duralumin-skinned train appeared alongside the stainless steel Zephyr at the 1934 Century of Progress, offering a very different take on a similar design. Like the Rail Plane, only one M-10000 was constructed and it served Union Pacific on its Chicago to the Pacific Coast run as the 'City of Salina', where it was joined by the similarly-styled ‘Overland Trail’ sleeper car, which was deleted for the trains’ debut at the Fair.

The debut of the Ford V-8 in 1932 dramatically altered Stout's plans, and his 4-cylinder drivetrain was discarded in favor of the new Ford powerplant, which was mounted ahead of the differential. To speed up the construction and further reduce costs, he incorporated numerous Ford components in the prototype Stout automobile which commenced construction during the winter of 1933-1934. He continued to champion the rear-engined automobile in the press, one example being the following article that appeared in the April 8, 1934 issue of the New York Times:

“For Moving Motor Back; Stout Favors Mounting Power Plant at Rear

“Continuing the discussion in this column last Sunday regarding the placing of an automobile's motor at the rear instead of at the front, William B. Stout, well-known motor-car and aircraft engineer, favors moving the power plant back and gives reasons for his contention.

“As reported by the North American Newspaper Alliance, Mr. Stout maintains that the rear-engined car would afford about 20 per cent more room for passengers, give better traction on the road, make for less tendency to skid and allow the use of softer tires while retaining ease of steering.

“The engine at the rear would receive better cooling and would be more accessible, Mr. Stout holds. Besides, it would provide the greater weight at the rear, where it is needed so the car may hold the road better. This would result in smoother and safer riding.

“In addition, better ventilation and sound-proofing could be given the car, since the engine fumes, squeaks and vibration would be carried away from, rather than toward, the passenger compartment, Mr. Stout said.”

On October 5, 1934 John A.C. Warner, secretary of the Society of Automotive Engineers, announced the nomination of Stout as President of the SAE commencing January 1, 1935. At the annual meeting of the Society's Metropolitan section, the new president gave the following  address, the January 6, 1935 issue of the New York Times reporting:

“Ingenuity Will Produce New Automobiles of the Future; Engineer Predicts Radically Better Cars With Engines in Rear -- Lighter, Safer, Roomier, Easier to Handle

“By William B. Stout, President, Society of Automotive Engineers.

“The next problem of the automobile manufacturer is ingenuity. This ingenuity must be more than just foresight. In the early days, when it took twenty years for anything to happen, foresight in industry was plenty.

“As the days of the Model A and finally the V-8, the Terraplane and floating power came into being, there was a sudden demand for vision in management, coupled with the courage that would step out with now gadgets, new body lines and a new scale of die cost in order that the product might net only be better but that the attention value of the company itself might not be lost. Today those firms which stayed back in the mere "foresight stage" are casting about for something new.

“The standardized can became so alike in all Interpretations that a price war has started, which eventually must ruin the Industry If economic history is right.

“What is needed, therefore, for the next step is a new vehicle. Engineering is available to create that vehicle.

“What is waited for is a group with knowledge enough of the problem do detail, and with authority centralized enough, so that one, oh, very email, committee can think and act fast on its own courage.

“What is needed at this stage is not so much Intellectualism that can design the car, or intelligence that can run the firm, but somebody who is ‘smart’ enough to make this next move on the basis of a knowledge of the industry and not just as a gamble.

“Too many radical moves have been made in the past that were committee judged or as a straight gamble in belief in the firm's sales ability. If the new product requires a lot of new sales cost and must have a man at the wheel of every car explaining why a thing was done, then it had better not be started. The design moat be obvious in appearance, as that the dumbest prospects by looking at the car can see why it was made as it was made. This means art work will be one of the large problems of this design.

“By art work I do not mean personal opinion as to line, area, form or color. Art is a technical thing, just as technical as engineering. An artist, like an engineer who can do automobile work, is born, not made: but a technical artist is the typo needed in this problem.

“The car must look right above all things. The machinery part is easy end does not even need to be worried about. The best machinery will always be made by the quantity-production groups.

“Technical Art.

“Present-day cars have a lot of efficiencies that have been overlooked by engineers. In the first place, because of their heavy weight, heavy tire pressures must be used, and hence smaller diameter tires. As weights get lighter and tire pressures go down and tire diameters go up, less and less road shocks will be felt. The lighter the car the easier riding it can be made. Running boards have also been, for a year or two, useless things. When cars were high, we needed a step to get into the body. Now that they are low, the running board even requires an extra step and a higher door for comfort. On the road however, the running board space, cost and weight are absolutely useless.

“Now that floors are down to running-board level, the running board should be part of the inside of the car where space can be used.

“Now that we know how to make small engines with high horsepower, we do not need to give up half of the car length to power plant.

“Our steering is hard today because of the weight of the engine up front. Every time a driver turns the wheel he has to lift the weight of the engine. If we could eliminate this weight on the front we would have equal steering traction and but a fraction of the work to do in steering the car.

“Rear-End Weight.

“The best way to make the present-day car ride easy is to put a lot of weight in the back end. Road shocks on the rear wheels are almost vertical and so a lot of weight is needed in the rear to absorb the kick of the heavy axle bobbing up and down.

“Four hundred pounds of cement in the back seat helps a lot, but if we can put the engine bank there and save the weight of the cement we get a better ride, better traction and much more room available in the body of the vehicle.

“The engine takes only the space of the trunk and spare tire in the back while the hood space is available for passengers.

“This gives a much better art possibility for appearance than the old-type car, as sweeping lines can run clear from the front to the rear—no projections, no bumps, smooth contour, and the sleekness of line of a purring kitten.

“The design of these contours to fit window requirements, bumper height, wheel size, door openings, and all of those standards which must be followed is undoubtedly a problem, but the one who creates the best compromise will have the initial market regardless of machinery, provided the performance equals the promise of the appearance.

“The appearance of a motor car represents only to the eye its claim of excellence. Its ease of ride and of driving, its luxury, economy and low cost of maintenance must live up to that promise or the appearance is wasted. The car must be beautiful but it cannot be ‘dumb.’

“Airplanes and Cars.

“Power plants are getting better almost daily. The adoption of airplane principles of aluminum heads, overlapping valve, timing, special manifolding and altitude carburetion have all done their part in carrying automobile design forward.

“Steering is becoming easier and easier as weights are lighter. Later on it is even probable that we will do away with the steering wheel and use at simpler method that is less dangerous in case of a crash - possibly even an adaptation of the old tiller method - who can tell? Or it might be a joy stick from an airplane.

“In the future, more attention is going to be paid to the crash padding of the interior. With all; of the hospital cases that result from even minor crashes, perhaps half of these cases could be saved from injury, or from serious hurts at least by elimination of projecting parts inside the automobile, by doing away with sharp corners, exposed windshields wipers, &c. Crashes are going to be a part of automobile ownership and the time has come when they must be taken into consideration in design.

“Future cars that will be on the rood before long, sponsored by smart groups, will weigh complete not over 1,500 pounds. Horsepower, performance in speed, acceleration, brakes, &c., need not be any better than on present-day cars. Economy can be at least 30 per cent better; handling at least 50 per cent easier than in the present-day car.

“The price of such a car will depend entirely on the volume. Starting with small production, a number of these radically better cars— not just radical cars—will make a progress with the public during the next few years that will make serious inroads upon the business of those companies dealing only in so-called standardized cars.”

As the prototype Stout automobile was getting prepared for its debut, the president-elect of the SAE continued to promote his vision of the future of transportation, the January 8, 1935 issue of the New York Times reporting on a speech he made at the Society's 30th anniversary dinner:

“SEES WORLD OUT OF DATE; W.B. Stout Urges Engineers to Carry Torch of Progress.

“The world is ‘totally out of date’ and must be changed in many particulars, William B. Stout, president-elect of the Society of Automotive Engineers, told several hundred members who gathered in the Hotel Commodore last night for the thirtieth anniversary dinner of the organization.

“Automobile leaders and engineers in the motor car and allied fields were present. Colonel Roscoe Turner gave an illustrated talk on his England-to-Australia flight for the Melbourne Centenary Prizes and D.G. Roos, chief engineer of the Studebaker Corporation and retiring president of the Society of automotive Engineers presided.

“‘We face a world totally out of dated and which must be revised consecutively.’ Mr. Stout said.

“‘The automotive engineer has in the largest measure contributed toward creating this new world of greater opportunity. Therefore if is both his opportunity and his privilege to continue to carry the torch of progress forward and upward, in spite of the hindrances of ignorance and the warnings of pessimism.

“Declaring that ‘the world changes today more in five years that it did in 500 years,’ he continued:

“‘Most railroad equipment of today is totally obsolete and must go automotive in order to live, whether the railroad man believes it or not. Other machines, whether dishwasher, heating and lighting equipment, kitchen paraphernalia, or methods of travel, all will be different within three years, if they are not totally obsolete now.’

“In addition, he asserted, most of the laws on investments, banking, stocks and bonds and even criminal procedure ‘are sorely in need of revision to meet the modern facts.’

“The society’s annual meeting will be held in Detroit Jan. 14-18.”

Stout was officially elected President of the SAE at the Detroit meeting, at which time he introduced his rear-engined car to Society members. It was introduced to the trade via a January, 1935 issue of  Automotive Industries / The Automobile:

“The Stout Scarab-

“A car that represents a sharp departure from current practice in automobile design has been introduced on the market by the Stout Engineering Laboratories of Dearborn, Mich.

“The Scarab, as the new car is called, is exceptionally smooth in exterior form, being without running boards, separate headlamps and other excrescences, and its over-all length is no greater than that of the conventional low-priced cars of today. It is not streamlined in the usual sense of the word; that is, it was not shaped to give the absolute minimum of air resistance in the direction of travel; what was aimed at, rather, was positive steering and maximum stability regardless of the direction and force of the wind.

“The body of the car is a beetle- shaped structure built up on a frame made of alloy-steel tubing.

“The usual engine compartment at the front is missing and the windshield is located directly over the front axle. Front seats are independent; the driver’s seat, although fastened to the floor, is adjustable in all directions; the passenger seat adjacent to it is not even fastened to the floor, hence can be turned in any direction the passenger may desire. Opposite the rear door and just ahead of the rear wheels is a transverse wide seat, behind the high back of which there is a shelf for coats, hats, etc. In the space between the wide rear seat and the two front seats there are two more loose, upholstered chairs which can be turned in any direction. Forward of the rear seat is a folding table fitting into the wall. All of the side windows slope considerably, which has the advantage that at night there is no annoyance from reflected lights.

“Another feature of the interior arrangements is that the wide rear seat may be moved from its regular position parallel with one of the side walls, where, combination with an extension folding out of the wall, it forms a comfortable coach.

“The controls on the car are arranged in the usual way. Power brakes are fitted. The suspension is by coiled springs with oil-type shock absorbers – an arrangement similar to that employed on the landing gear of airplanes.”

In an article published in the February 1935 issue of Popular Mechanics, Stout continued to promote the advantages of rear-mounted air-cooled engines:

“William B. Stout, well known automotive and aeronautical engineer, maintains that lighter weight and small engines as a result of experience with aluminum cylinder heads will bring the air-cooled engine into use for automobiles. 'Rear engine drive really should have come into the automobile industry long beore now.' says Mr. Stout, 'but it has been given serious study only since the importance of streamlining began to be appreciated.'”

During the next month, Stout kept busy providing interviews and test-rides to the press. The New York Times included a picture of the prototype  and the following description in its February 3, 1935 issue:

“Novel Car From Stout; Rear-Engine Automobile Has Unusual Features -- Interior Space Materially Increased

“The automobile that has been expected for some time from William B. Stout's engineering laboratories at Dearborn, Mich., was announced to the public last week. This is the car about which there has been considerable speculation because of the unusual features it promised to reveal. It is an unusual car.

“First, in appearance. As may be seen from the upper picture at the right. The car is called the Stout Scarab, because, says the announcement, ‘of its resemblance in form to the classic Egyptian beetle.’

“It will be noticed, among other things, that there are no running boards. The usual running board space is part of the floor inside. And there is no dividing line between chassis and body.

“Such streamlining as the car has, according to the announcement, is not designed ‘to reduce drag at high speeds,’ but ‘to facilitate easier steering in all directions of wind.’ It has been found, the announcement continues, ‘that this is a far more important factor in readability than generally realized, while gems In speed or fuel mileage as a result of streamlining * * * are negligible at usual road speeds.’

“An outstanding mechanical innovation In the car is the mounting of the engine at the rear. It is placed where the customary trunk rack goes. Among the advantages claimed for this location of the engine are better weight distribution, easier steering and greater fraction for the rear wheels, all resulting from moving the weight of the engine from front to rear. The rear engine mounting is also said to increase safety, giving better braking and a reduced tendency to skid. ‘Furthermore,’ says the announcement, ‘In case of accident due to collision, a cushioned shock results instead of a direct impact as occurs with front engine cars.’

“Engine noise and odor are also said to be eliminated by the placing of the engine behind the passenger compartment.

“The construction of the car, with the running board space added to the floor inside, and the removal of the engine from the front, makes the interior exceedingly roomy. The Scarab has no greater over-all length than the average popular-priced car, and its roof is at the usual height, yet there is a gain of five inches in headroom inside and much added breadth and length for passengers and luggage.

“The windshield is at the extreme front, almost directly over the front wheels. The capacious driver's seat is in the usual place, and fastened to the floor. This is mentioned because all the other seats are chairs and may be moved around at will. There is a chair beside the driver's seat, but It may be turned around or moved back in the car. There are two upholstered chairs behind the front seats which may also be moved, and at the back of the interior is a wide cross-seat, or sofa, which may, be moved to the side of the car and placed next to an extension which folds out of the wall to make a full-length sleeping couch. This arrangement is illustrated in the lower picture at the right. Luggage space is also provided.

“As may be seen in the picture, there is a folding table in the car on which passengers may read, write, eat or play cards.

“The announcement stresses the Scarab's riding ease. This results, it is said, not only from the new weight distribution, but also from the suspension of the body itself, in such a way that its points of support are materially above its centre of gravity. It is supported, the announcement explains, somewhat like a hammock, and the body tends to bank smoothly on turns. The engine is a standard V-8 of 100 horsepower, driving to the rear axle, and the controls are conventional as to gear shift, pedal location, steering gear, &c. Power brakes are standard equipment. Mr. Stout does not plan to put the car into quantity production at present, it is said, but will build 100 units during the coming season and place them ‘in the hands of selected representative owners in various parts of the country.’ No price is mentioned in the announcement.”

On the initial (1934) Scarab prototype, the Ford V-8 engine was mounted just ahead of the three speed transaxle. It was an all-aluminum tubular airframe covered with aluminum skin, with the engine compartment at the rear, a sealed storage compartment in front of a passenger compartment with reclining aircraft-type seats. The front or nose of the vehicle contained the spare tire. The doors, instrument panel and seat frames were all constructed from cast magnesium.

In an article published in the February 1935 issue of Popular Mechanics, Stout continued to promote the advantages of rear-mounted air-cooled engines:

“William B. Stout, well known automotive and aeronautical engineer, maintains that lighter weight and small engines as a result of experience with aluminum cylinder heads will bring the air-cooled engine into use for automobiles. 'Rear engine drive really should have come into the automobile industry long beore now.' says Mr. Stout, 'but it has been given serious study only since the importance of streamlining began to be appreciated.'”

Stout took the Scarab prototype on a cross country tour that spring, his arrival on the west coast being accompanied by a small article in the April 21,1935 Oakland Tribune:

“Rear Engine Car Latest

“The newest sensation in automobiles, the first American rear-engine car, is now being shown on the Pacific Coast by its inventor, William B. Stout, who is national president of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

“Stout, who also designed the first all-metal transport plane which was later developed by Ford, is speaking before local chapters of the S.A.E. in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland.

“He is accompanied by John A. C. Warner, general manager of the society, which is one of the major organizations of the automobile industry.

“Principles of airplane construction have been applied by Stout in his car, which he calls the ‘Stout Scarab.’ While the overall dimensions and weight compare with the smallest of popular cars, the interior of the car looks like a living room, with chairs instead of fixed seats, with a folding table. The car is capable of making 90 to 100 miles an hour.

“Ease in riding and control are some of the advantages claimed by Stout for his car. As a practical demonstration, Stout serves coffee in his car while traveling at a speed of 60 miles an hour. The cars are not being produced commercially at this time.”

The April 28, 1935 issue of the New York Times included an edited transcript of a recent meeting of the Detroit section of the SAE where Stout promoted his lightweight car theories:

“Car Design Criticized; Construction of Land Vehicles Discussed by Aviation Engineers by E.Y. Watson, Detroit

“From aircraft engineers have come new criticisms of current automobile structure. At a meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers held here last week, William B. Stout, national president of the S.A.E., and designer of the rear-engined Scarab car, came forward with pointed comment.

“Mr. Stout has long experience in both the airplane and motor car fields, while Captain Greene’s research in the wing structure of airplanes is said to have left a permanent mark on aviation construction.

“‘People today,’ said Mr. Stout, ‘are buying light cars, riding in them and enjoying the riding and the driving because the light cars are better than the heavy cars at any price.

“Engineering and Sales.

“‘The automobile executives today are not well grounded in their subject. Few of them are competent to discuss anything except banking. Few of them can talk with an engineer and know whether that engineer is a yes-man agreeing with the boss’s ideas so he won’t lose his job, or a scatter-brain inventor trying to sell an impossible idea to a sucker manager.

“‘The same is true in the matter of sales and carries on through advertising, financing and public relations. Today, we have too few executives who know more than one thing. They rely on committees for decisions. As a matter of fact, committees rarely make decisions at all but really compromises. The time element of Committee vs. Individual is to the great detriment of committee management.

“‘The automobile industry today should be in a mood to admit that individual control certainly is showing certain advantages over committee control even though they may not always agree with the individual.

“‘The obvious left-over features of the present automobile, which are capable of immediate revision, are running boards, fenders, engine space and location, car shape and dimension, wheel base as related to car length, so-called streamlining and particularly stress analysis of structures.

“‘With the advent of real lightweight cars, tire and spring problems change entirely into a new fundamental.’

“Light, Roomy Cars.

“As proof of his argument, Stout cited figures of a recent trip he made in his rear-engined Scarab. Pointing out that it weighs less than other light cars and yet has more interior space than big cars, he said the Scarab averaged 55 to 60 miles an hour, gave 17 1/2 miles to the gallon of fuel and used only one quart of water for cooling over a distance of 7,000 miles. The run was over all conditions of highway and included Kansas City, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle.

“‘The significant thing,’ Mr. Stout added, ‘was that we were riding in individual chairs not fastened to the floor and a table was in place with either ash trays or magazines on it at all speeds.

“‘In other words, with a car at airplane structure, individual landing gear on each of the four wheels and a V-8 engine for power, we enjoyed road travel that actually lived up to the usual advertisements we read of almost any new car that is being sold now.’”

After the west coast trip Stout returned to Detroit where he discussed the journey with the United Press:

“DETROIT, May 1.—(UP)—The Scarab, rear-engined ‘automobile of the future’ introduced to the automotive industry three months ago by William B. Stout, is a ‘whopping success,’ Stout said tonight in a review of the machine's performance.

“Since its introduction in February the Scarab has travelled 22,000 miles over all conditions of highway at 55 to 60 miles an hour and at an average of 500 miles a day, the designer of the revolutionary motor car said.

“During the tests, Stout said; the Scarab used but 20 quarts of oil and averaged 18 miles to the gallon of gasoline. One hundred such Scarabs are scheduled for production this year. The second of the cars will be completed and ready for road tests next week. Hydraulic brakes will be incorporated in it.

“‘We drove the Scarab from Detroit to Florida and back on the first trip,’ Stout said, ‘and the machine required only one quart of water for cooling.

“‘On the second run—from Detroit to Los Angeles, Seattle and return— we used the removable rear seat to sleep on. We ate meals in the car, served coffee and drank it while doing 60 miles an hour. We didn't spill a drop, either,’ he continued.

“High winds encountered in western states had comparatively no effect on the Scarab because of its advanced streamlining, according to Stout.

“‘We struck dust storms in Kansas City which gave the Scarab a real chance to perform. We were not allowed to leave the hotel until the storm subsided, but when we could see about three blocks ahead we changed oil, sealed windows and ventilators and set out. We had less dust in the car than in in the hotel,’ Stout said.

“Mountain climbing was made easy by having motor power in the rear, the designer explained. Seeing around curves was made easier by the machine's radical design. Absence of exhaust fumes and engine heat was especially noticeable during the trip, which Stout credited to the rear engine mounting.

“Scotching rumors that Henry Ford was interested in the Scarab, Stout said, ‘there's no connection, although I sometimes wish there were.’

“Shaped like a beetle, the Scarab’s body is of welded steel tubing, stronger, Stout claimed, than the steel in a Pullman coach. Ventilation is straight through the car, from front to rear and the machine Is heat insulated throughout. Even the windows are of special heat insulated glass.

“Within the next three years, Stout predicted, all manufacturers will be building rear-engined motor cars.”

And with Science and Mechanics, whose June 1935 issue incldued the following article:

“New Car Streamlined Sidewise

“To do something new was the idea of William B. Stout, designer of cars and aircraft. Since a car follows the road, regardless of the direction of the wind, it is not necessary merely to consider the resistnace dead ahead. In this machine, easier steering against cross winds have been attained by the peculiar shape; as well as a much greater amount of space for the convenience ofthe occupants. The width usually taken up by the running boards is devoted to the interior, giving a room, rather than mere 'seats.' The engine, placed where a luggage rack is usually stowed, gives the use of the length taken by the hood in former cars. As in a ship’s cabin, movable chairs are used; so that a bridge game, for instance, can be carried on in comfort; one may write at a table, or eat; or even sleep on a couch. So low, and well, is the car sprung that an ash tray may rest on the table, throughout a trip, without moving. The peculiar slope of the windows, too, overcomes glare, and gives clearer view, particularly at night. The conventional controls include power braking.”

Soon after construction of the prototype rear-engined automobile was completed Stout came up with a lightweight bus built along the same lines. Financing was secured to construct a prototype and Gar Wood Industries' Detroit shops were selected to construct it under the direction of Stanley E. Knauss. Stout applied for a domestic patent on the bus body's construction on August 19, 1936, and on June 7, 1938 was awarded US Patent No. 2119655 which he assigned to Gar Wood Industries Inc.

The unusual-looking streamliner consisted of a steel-paneled integral steel-tube monocoque chassis equipped with a rear-mounted flathead Ford V-8 that supplied motive power to the rear axle from the rear. A hatch at the front of the body held the spare tire and many of the suspension components were sourced from Ford. The unusual snout was said to improve airflow at highway speeds, and when combined with the lightweight coachwork the Stout-based coaches required significantly less fuel than their competition. After extensive testing by the Dearborn Coach Co., the firm ordered 24 examples to replace their aging fleet of Safeway Six Wheel and Fifth Avenue coaches. While the prototype Model C's headlights were placed abnormally low, production coaches featured a more conventional location, approximately 12 below the windshield. Dearborn Coach placed the first fleet of Gar Wood Coaches into service on the Dearborn to Detroit run on October 10, 1935.

A reported 75 of the original Gar Wood Type C coaches were constructed into 1937 when they were replaced with the more conventional-looking Model D coaches of which a reported 100 examples were constructed into early 1939. The Stout-designed Gar Wood bus was announced to the trade in the May 11, 1935 issue of The Automobile / Automotive Industries and to the public via the October 6, 1935 New York Times:

“Buses Have New Design; Streamlined Coaches to Be Built by Wood by E.Y. Watson, Detroit

“Gar Wood, internationally known builder of speed boats, has embarked in the motor bus production field. His company will produce modernized buses and coaches from designs developed by William B. Stout, president of the Society of Automotive Engineers, who has started production of a rear-engined, streamlined passenger car.

“Although there will be no manufacturing connection between the two, the vehicles that Wood will produced are to embody the new type of structure for aircraft which Stout originated. The streamlined bodies will be unit-built in a framework of welded steel tubing. By this method, weight for one 24-passenger vehicle will be cut down to 6,000 pounds. With the engine installation behind instead of in front, the drive will be through the rear axles.

“The lay-out will be such as to allow the use of engines built by various motor car companies.

“Wood previously confined manufacturing to hydraulic hoists and dump bodies for trucks and kindred products.”

Leslie Avery's United Press Newsire column dated October 12, 1935 also described the vehicle:

“Introduction of 1936 Automobiles Is Two Months Earlier This Year

“By Leslie Avery

“William B. Stout, noted airplane designer, finally has marketed his idea for a rear-engined car, and to none other than the famous boat builder and racer, Gar Wood. Gar Wood Industries Inc., have taken Stout's Scarab passenger automobile as a model for a bus and produced a 24-passenger vehicle that weighs only 6,000 pounds. Its extreme lightness is possible because of close adherence to all-metal airplane construction, in which field Stout was a pioneer.

“With a smooth, streamlined exterior the body is built on a framework of steel tubing. All connections and joints are welded, with no screws, bolts or rivets used. This makes any kind of motor adaptable to the bus, since it has no chassis. The light sheet steel covering welded over the metal tubing is said to make a chassis superfluous.

“Advantages claimed for the vehicle are decreased wind resistance decreased weight per passenger necessitating less horse power quick acceleration cutting- the time between passenger stops, rear mounted engine leaving gasoline and oil fumes behind and cutting vibration to a minimum and elimination of the step at the door. The passenger steps directly from the curb to the interior.”

The bus was also described in a July 4, 1936 UP Newswire article:

“Advanced Designs Given Industry By Bus Builders


“United Press Staff Correspondent DETROIT, July 4.—(UP) — Aviation, in its infancy a -heavy borrower from the automobile industry, is partially repaying its debts today by donating advanced design to motor bus body construction.

“Heavily indebted to aviation engineering is the streamlined vehicle recently developed in the William B. Stout institute's Dearborn laboratories which also developed lightweight Pullman cars, the Ford Tri-Motor airplane and the Scarab motor car.

“The new bus is an aviation engineer's conception of how such a vehicle should be constructed. It is light, revolutionary in appearance and body and engineering design.

“It is now in construction at one of the larger industrial plants of Detroit. A few already are on the highway; more are certain to be because of the low cost, operation economy and riding comfort.

“Today I visited; the Gar Wood industries plant where the bus is being manufactured. Stanley E. Knauss, engineer and plant manager, took me through.

“On a busy production floor, the skeleton bodies of the buses look more like .air-plane fuselages. A closer examination reveals they are built the same way. Light, tubular steel is shaped into the rigid frame. All, joints, are welded. There are no bolts, rivets, screws or wood. It looked like the framework of a small dirigible.

“Instead of the customary method of construction where a body is mounted on a heavy chassis that carries the motor, axles, transmission, wheels and other mechanical parts, in the new bus the various parts were mounted directly to the body and chassis frame.

“‘You see,’ said Stanley proudly, ‘it's like a bridge. Each, part supports another and each stress and strain has been figure mathematically. The same principle is being used in the manufacture of Lincoln Zephyrs. Other automobile manufacturers are experimenting with the idea.’

“The engine is in the rear of the coach, this idea was developed by Stout in his Scarab automobile, but no automobile employing it is in actual production. Rear location of the motor permits a short drive shaft to the rear wheels and eliminates the long torque tube, which ordinarily takes up room in the regulation passenger car.

“‘The same thing,’ Stanley told me, ‘could, have been achieved through employment of a front wheel drive, but that would have been more expensive. By placing the motor to the rear we can use a standard engine. In fact, in this job you will find a Ford V-8, but a Chevrolet or Plymouth engine could be used just as well.’

“The skeleton frame, in a completed bus, is sheathed in aluminum on the inside and steel on the outside. The entire weight of each coach is only 7,300 pounds as compared with 15,000 pounds weight of the average transcontinental bus.

“We stepped into the completed job. The first thing I noticed was the space. A tall man - a 6-footer wearing a hat - could have walked the length of the vehicle without stooping.

“‘That,’ Stanley pointed out, ‘is because the body can be lowered because of elimination of the drive shaft.’

“The inside, looked like a cabin plane, except there were 24 seats, two abreast. The seats are the same as in a modern transport plane—the reclining type. The windows, as well, were sliding planes, of glass instead of the old street car type, which nobody ever has discovered how to open.

“Stanley sent for ‘Steve,’ a driver, who took me for a ride. That was a revelation.

“‘Here,’ Steve said to me, ‘you take the wheel.’

“‘But,’ I answered doubtfully, ‘I’ve never driven a bus.’

“‘Hell, take the wheel.’

“I mind bus drivers. I took the wheel, but nothing happened. It was like driving a kid’s velocipede. I could have turned it with my little finger. I did. Then too, I didn’t have to look over a long hood. I’m not a six-footer.

“‘You see,’ Steve said, ‘the weight of the motor in the rear takes the weight off the front wheels. You don’t tire driving one of these.’

“Then I noticed something else. Usually riders who sit in the front of a motor bus can't hear a word of conversation, but here we were talking in ordinary tones. I remarked about it.

“‘Yeah,’ Steve said, ‘I drove one of these for a week on the Dearborn run, and I knew when every baby was going to be born and who was stepping out with who by the time I quit.’

“Another thing I noticed was there was no smell of burned gasoline.

“I gave the wheel back to the driver and walked to the rear. We were crossing railroad tracks but I hardly noticed the bounce. I was almost as quiet in the back of the bus as in the front. But it was there I got my biggest surprise.

“Usually for the fellow that has to sit over the rear wheels with my feet jack-knifed against my stomach. But it wasn’t like that today. The seats are built over the axles and are raised in a normal position. There’s even a foot rest.”

Stanley E. Knauss was a longtime associate of Stout’s, and helped found the Stout Metal Airplane Company which was organized in late 1922 by Knauss, Stout and Glenn H. Hoppin. He also served as vice-president of Stout Airlines and a director of Stout Engineering. From 1935 to 1937 Knauss oversaw production of the Gar Wood bus as Manager of the Motor Coach Division of Gar Wood Industries Inc., being replaced by H. Sydney Snodgrass upon his resignation in 1937.

The bus was also visited in a January 13, 1937 article carried by the Science Service Newswire:

“Aircraft Builders Design New Bus With Low Operating Costs

“Detroit, Jan. 13. – A new light weight motor bus, designed, engineered and built by aviation personnel, seized the spotlight of discussion here this morning at the meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The economies achieved with these novel motor coaches in experimental operation, promise to turn borderline profits with heavy, present day equipment into real black ink on the accountant’s books of the operating companies.

“Here are the achievements of the new coaches after several hundred thousand miles of operation:

“1 – Gasoline mileage cut in half for an ordinary coach of similar seating capacity
“2 – Tire mileage of 60,000 miles a seat.
“3 – Brake lining lasting 40,000 miles.

“The new buses which bring a clean break with automotive conception of engineering and apply the lessons learned in aviation were conceived by William B. Stout, well known in aeronautical circles. These were described at the technical sessions of the SAE by Stanley E. Knauss, of the Gar Wood Industries, Inc., of Detroit.

“Double Problem

“Besieged on one side by lower fares and improved coach accommodations on railroads and on the other by rising fuel costs, the only hope of the motor bus operator is to find a coach with lower operating cost and more passenger appeal, said Knauss.

“To get rid of vibration, noise, heat and odors for the passengers the new coach has its engine in the rear. And it has special springs instead of truck springs now in use which Knauss pointed out, tend to give a truck ride. A 24-passenger bus weighs only 6,500 pounds because its framework is of metal tubing, welded throughout.

“The light weight permits smaller power plants to be used and the auxiliary transmissions and clutches which are readily available by present mass-production techniques. Repair shops for such motors are plentiful and the bug-a-boo department of most bus operators – the stock room – can virtually be eliminated.”

The Abstract of Knauss’ SAE technical paper ‘The Chassisless or Unit-Car Question,’ first published in the January 1937 issue of the SAE Journal, follows:

“The experience gained over a period of many years in the development of light-weight, high-strength structures is now finding its way into the bus industry.

“Investigation of present-day bus operations showed the need for a road vehicle that would carry the greatest possible payload of passengers with a smaller horsepower engine without dragging along a load of dead weight and useless structure that would eat up gasoline instead of miles.

“A motor coach is now available in which are incorporated aircraft materials, design, and construction features resulting in a vehicle that is approximately 1000 lb. lighter than the lightest conventional design with the same engine horsepower and seating accommodations.

“Motor-bus operators today can reduce costs by the use of light-weight equipment provided there is no sacrifice of strength and reliability. They must also meet the ever-increasing demands of the public for quietness, comfort, absence of vibration and engine odors - all of which can be accomplished by placing the engine in the rear which automatically gives a better distribution of weight than has heretofore been possible with the front-engine design.”

A circa-1938 brochure from the Dutch Diamond T distributor, N.V. Beers, shows a Diamond T Type ET Coach, which looks identical to the Gar Wood Model D, so it's possible a few Gar Wood buses ended up in the Netherlands at the start of the Second World War. The very same design was also licensed by the French bus manufacturer Isobloc who produced small numbers of the vehicles before and after the War, albeit with a facelifted front end.

Manufacture of the coaches was eventually transferred to Gar Wood's Marysville Boat plant as the Detroit facility changed over to war-time production. In August, 1939 Gar Wood Industries sold off their bus manufacturing operation to the General American Transportation Co. of Chicago, the August 12, 1939 issue of the New York Times reporting:

“Buys Gar Wood Division

“Chicago, Aug 11 – General American Transportation Corporation today announced acquisition of the motor coach division of Gar Wood Industries, Inc. This is the second step taken by General American within six months toward diversification of its activities. Last March the corporation, which is engaged in the construction and leasing of railroad freight equipment, with headquarters in Chicago, acquired the controlling interest in Barkley-Grow Aircraft Company, Detroit. Max Epstein, chairman, said the new unit will be transferred to Hegewisch, Ill., adjoining the company’s present car-building plant. Executives of the bus division of Gar Wood Company will be retained by General American.”

This corporation then organized General American Aerocoach Corporation which commenced building Gar Wood coaches under the Aerocoach brand name. The former Model D Gar Wood Coaches were renamed the Aerocoach Type EFI (33-passenger) and Type EFS (37-passenger).

During the 1930s Stout also designed and manufactured custom-built automotive accessories, one of which was a line of protective steel windshields for fire trucks.

A totally redesigned Scarab, with an exterior styled by industrial designer Lester Johnson debuted in November of 1935. Initially engaged to design the car’s interior, Johnson also drew up a rendering of what he thought the car should look like. He was on his way to drop off the proposal to Stout, however Stout was in a meeting with Willard Dow, going over other exterior design proposal. Johnson left the sketch on Stouts desk and Dow just happened to see it and liked it. He said, well why didn’t you show me this? I’d buy that. This was also the first time Stout had seen this design.

Some confusion remains as to who designed the second Scarab. In Hemmings Special Interest Autos, No. 32, Rich Taylor states:

“A designer named Gaston was unfortunately employed in September 1934 to restyle the Scarab with ill-chosen encrustations including a front ‘moustache’ and grilles over the headlights.”

A photo of the original concept sketches signed by Gaston is included in the article. Taylor continues:

“Scarab II was ‘styled’ by Gaston in 1934, came out like a cross between Chrysler’s Airflow and Electrolux vacuum. Most frills were deleted by Stout.”

Lester Johnson’s sketch appears in the Fortune magazine advertisement. Johnson incorporated Gaston’s front ‘moustache’ which served as an intake for the flow thru ventilation system. There is a register on top of the dash when open allows fresh air to enter the cabin thru the “moustache” or wings directing it towards the ceiling and out the rear window.

Ironically, the Scarab's air intakes and headlight covers are considered to be amongst its most endearing features today.

Despite its 195.5-inch length and 72.25 inch height, the Scarab weighed just 3,300 pounds, although it could have been much lighter. In the interests of reducing costs the Duraluminum tube frame, body and magnesium compenents of the prototype were abandoned in favor of an all- steel space frame and coachwork.

The mechanics of the Scarab II were also substantially redesigned.

A 95- hp Ford V-8 was mounted flywheel-forward atop the rear wheels for enhanced traction - on the 1934 Scarab prototype, the engine was mounted just ahead of the differential.  Stout tried using a double-row chain to transmit power from the three-speed gearbox to the shortenend Ford torque tube and stock Ford differential, but it was snapped after 3,000 miles and was replaced by a six-row chain.

Underneath, the Scarab II used independent lower control arms, coil springs and oleo struts* up front, accompanied by independent swing axles, unequal-length upper and lower control arms, transverse leaf springs, “oleo” struts and upper and lower trailing arms in the rear. Prototype Firestone airsprings were fitted on all four corners as were cast-iron hydrualic brakes.

(*An oleopneumatic strut is an air-oil hydraulic shock absorber used on aircraft landing gear. The Firestone airsprings were fitted above the struts, which resemble today's McPherson combination spring/struts.)

The 'production Scarab' (aka Scarab II) was introduced in the November 2, 1935 issue of the Automobile / Automotive Industries:

“Stout Announces A New Scarab”

And the November, 1935 issue of the Automotive Trade Journal:

“The Car That Isn’t Streamlined

“The new Scarab, designed by William B. Stout, president of the Stout Engineering Laboratories and of the S.A.E. Discussing the car recently, Mr. Stout said that it was not streamlined and that a land vehicle could not be streamlined. Moreover, he declared that at automobile speeds, power required to overcome head resistance was not important. Consequently, he stated that the only consideration that had been given to aerodynamics in the design of the Scarab was to provide for stability in cross winds.

“The car has no running board, the engine is in the rear and the front compartment carries a spare tire and baggage. Doors are opened by electric push-button and, it is said, because of this arrangement a greater amount of interior room is secured with a wheelbase no longer than one of the conventional cars.”

Willard Dow (Dow Chemical) was the first Stout Engineering investor to purchase a production Scarab (serial no.2). Other original owners included Philip K. Wrigley; Harvey S. Firestone; Robert A. Stranahan; and industrial designer Ray Russell. After his passing in 1938 Harvey S. Firestone's car was acquired by radio star  Al Pearce. Edward (Major) Bowes, another radio star of the day is also thought to have owned a Scarab.

The door configuration varied from car to car – all had a driver’s door. The passenger door location on some was only in the rear. On one it is in the front where the passenger door normally would be. Another had the door moved to the center section. And one vehicle had three doors, a driver’s door, and on the passenger side, one in the rear and one in front.

Ray Russell was so inspired by the design that he built several similar cars during World War II with plywood bodies (since metal was reserved for the war effort). Russell’s Scarab was recently restored and is now often incorrectly identified as having been owned by a Frenchman overseas. Russell’s car was different from the others in the ventilation treatment behind the rear quarter windows…it was fitted with three ventilation “pods” on each side.

The May 11, 1935 issue of Automotive Industries reported on a test drive that appeared in the current issue of the Phillips' Shield, a publication of the Phillips Petroleum Co.:

“The interior of the car is extremely comfortable and roomy, with a table and movable chairs,” reported The Phillips Shield, a publication of the Phillips 66 petroleum company. “It gives the passenger the feeling of traveling in a hotel room.”

On a rainy day in 1936, Mr. Stout and his Scarab visited one of the new cottage-style Phillips gas stations, at Third Street and Keeler Avenue in Bartlesville, Okla., in the heart of the oil patch. A Phillips executive greeted him; in the background of a photo from that day, bystanders look skeptically at the vehicle shaped like a loaf of home-baked bread. The tall, mustachioed Mr. Stout is wearing an overcoat in the photo, and looks like a scientist from one of the “Thin Man” films of the era.

“Unsurpassed for easy riding qualities, the Scarab seems destined to mark a new milepost in motor design,” The Phillips Shield predicted.

The March 1936 issue of Popular Mechanics declared the Scarab was built like  a hammock:

“Auto Built Like Hammock Rides With Better Safety

“Unusual riding qualities and more safety are claimed for the Stout Scarab automobile, the body of which has a penduleum support. The center of gravity of the body is below its supporting points, like a hammock. William B. Stout, the builder, explains the principles involved: 'This method of suspending the body gives us something that engineers have sought for years, exact control of the location of the center of gracity. With this pendulum type of suspension, there is an actual banking movement of the body as the car rounds a corner. The car is supported between the two suspension members at the front and rear of the body, or fuselage. These supporting units are cushioned against toad shock by a suspension system novel in the automotive field.' The suspension system is akin toto that employed in the landing gear of airplanes, consisting of long oil shock absorbers. In tests an ash tray held its place on a table while the car rounded curves at sixty miles per hour.”

In 1935 Stout introduced his ‘mobile house’ essentially a trailer whose sides unbolt and unfold into a temporary structure comprised of a living room, two bedrooms, a dressing room and a kitchen. He licensed the Palace Coach and Trailer Co. of Flint, Michigan to manufactured the Stout House Trailer, which was anoocuned to teh public in the following Associated Press newsire dated February 16, 1936:

“Trailer House Announced by Stout

“A movable house of new design, to be drawn behind a car, was announced last week by William B. Stout, the Detroit engineer. The Mobile Home, as the unit is said to be different from the usual camp trailer, in which passengers generally ride.

“The Stout design may be moved from place to pace, but passengers do not occupy it while it is in motion. When the car is stopped, the unit, 16 feet long and 6 1/2 feet wide when on the road, folds out into a living room 20 feet across and 14 feet long, supplemented by a kitchen; it may be divided into a smaller living room and two bedrooms. Two armchairs and four other chairs, four wide single beds, Electrolux refrigerator, gas stove with oven, broiler, thermostatic control, hot and cold water tanks with automatic water heater, are part of the equipment, which also includes closets, pantry, buffet, bar and dining table It takes about half an hour for two persons to extend the unit ready for occupancy, according to Mr. Stout. If a short stop is to be made, one side only of the house may be folded down, providing room for sleeping and giving access to the kitchen.”

Text from the House Trailer brochure follows:

“Stout Mobile Home

“The Stout Mobile Home is a glorified trailers providing a commfortable  year-round home for a small family. It is so well insulated that in sub-zero weather it is easily heated with the little stove shown on plate 8.

“Two people can easily convert thje trailer from road dimesions into a bungalo in 30 minutes and can fold it up for travel in 20 minutes.

“The Mobile Home is 6 feet 6 inches wide by 16 feet long on the road and has 6 feet 3 inches headroom. With the hinged top, sides and floor unfolded, the inside dimensions are 14 feet by 20 feet.

“The body is welded aircraft tubing covered with metal and fully insulated atainst sound, heat and cold. All the drawers, lockers and doors are metal. The floors are of 3-ply Birch with linoleum covering, the outer skin being  of metal with a heavy insulation between it  and the floor covering. The ends and sides are equipped with sliding screend windows, one side having removable shutters allowing for a scvreened window 12 feet long by 2 feet wide. Doors are provided both front and rear.

“The Home is equipped with an under-slung axle with standard 6.50 x 16 tires and a vacuum servo brake system, a Philgas system with a 60-pound gas bottle supplying gas for an Electrolux refrigerator, 4-burner stove with a large oven, and a Rudd hot water heater. It has two built-in water tanks supplying 30 gallons of cold and 20 gallons of hot water. There are two fair-sized clothes lockers and 62 cubic feet of drawer and locker space. The Home is wired for both 110-volt and 12-volt lighting systems with recessed lu,iline lights on the 110-volt system and recessed dome lights on the 12-volt system. Base plugs are installed for floot lamps or other electric equipment. It has a built-in buffet with a plate glass mirror and drawers,  locker and shelves underneath. The kitchen has a wash bowl supplied with hot and cold water, a mirror and toilet cabinet above and a storage locker beneath. There is a metal sink and drainboard, the sink being supplied with both hot and cold water.

“The portable furniture consists of 2 double folding beds which fold into settees for daytime use,  6 upholstered chairs, a dining  table and a small stove for use in cold weather.

“Adjustable corner jacks are furnished for setting up the house on any location.

“House fully furnished and equipped as outlined above - $2,500.00

“House with all equipment, except refrigerator, gas stove and water heater - $1,800.00

“House without furniture and equipment, other than sink, lavatory and table - $1,200.00

“Stout Engineering Laboratires, Inc., 2124 So. Telegraph Road, Dearborn, Michigan.”

Very few were produced and the only Stout Mobile Home known to exist is in the collection of Scarab historian and collector Ronald N. Schneider.

Stout continued to provide articles for the nation's newspapers and magazines. He also remained interested in promoting science and engineering to young boys, contributing the following article on how to win a Soapbox Derby to the March 1936 issue of Popular Mechanics:

“How To Win the Soapbox Derby by William B. Stout (1935 President of the Society of Automotive Engineers)

“Building a fast car for the All-American Soapbox Derby, annual racing event for boy drivers, involves many problems. How would an engineer solve them? Three authorities on automobile and racing tires discuss what they consider important in constructing a speedy motorless vehicle for the race.

“With the speeds that are obtained in the Soapbox Derby, streamlining is of absolutely no value, particularly if there happens to be a side wind, when it might be an actual disadvantage.

“The chief requirement is the lowest possible rolling friction for the load carried. The least rolling friction, all things considered, will come from the lightest-weight car. Light weight is of extreme value, unless on the particular course you are to run momentum is of ay value for carrying you a certain distance after the bottom of the hill is reached.

“If the entire course is downhill then light weight is an advantage; if not, the weight should be designed for the particular hill and length of run that you have after you get to the bottom of the hill so that your momentum may carry you to the end of the run with the least possible slowing up. This will mean a little arithmetic on your part when you know the actual grades of the hill where you are going to race.

“For the maximum reduction of rolling friction, individual springing with all wheels separate would be of considerable advantage, and with tires well pumped up, so as little motion as possible comes from the work required to develop heat in the rubber. The tire pressure, again, will depend on the surfacing of the particular hill on which you are racing.

“As to weights, a fifty-fifty load on all four wheels on the steepest gradient that you are to run the race ion will give you the least rolling friction, and then you can perhaps shift your rear weight forward to keep this still fifty-fifty when you get on the level. This should not be of very great importance on a smooth concrete, but might be of considerable importance on a rough course.

“Certainly the least possible unsprung weight is of advantage in reducing the rolling friction.

“Streamlining for any speeds below fifty miles per hour will be of absolutely no value in a Soapbox Derby except where the beauty of the entry has something to do with the opinions of the crowd.”

May 1936 Popular Mechanics:

“Mobile Home Expands to Form Three Rooms

“Light and compact enough to be drawn behind a motor car like a trailer, a movable type of house can be expanded to form three rooms at its destination. On the road it is supported on two wheels with drop axle and is sixteen feet long and six and one-half feet wide. When expanded, it forms a living room twenty feet by fourteen feet, supplemented by a fully equipped kitchen. When the house is fully extended, it can be divided into twin bedrooms and a living room. The kitchen is equipped with many modern conveniences, including a refrigerator, and a gasoline tank supplies fuel for both refrigeration and cooking. The mobile home was developed by William B. Stout, automotive and aeronautical engineer.”

On July 20, 1936 Stout's daughter Wilma F. (Stout) married John Franklin Fisher (b. June 3, 1914) one of Stouts’ investors, and she passed away on September 21, 1970. Fisher would go on to partner with his father in law in a number of business ventures, one of which was the Stout Homes Corporation, a firm that manufactured pre-fabricated panels that could be used to construct temporary housing for the military.

Stout modified his personal Scarab (II) by replacing the rear leaf springs with rubber air bellows developed in collaboration with Firestone, making the Scarab (II) the first car ever fitted with a practical air suspension system. The Firestone Airsprings were eventually fitted to all four corners, each one equipped with its own miniature air compressor, essentially provided the car with a McPherson strut suspension wher eht spring is replaced by an air bellows.The system was first described in the March 24, 1936 issue of MoTor:

“As fitted to a car, the suspension unit for each wheel comprises a small bellows and a small reservoir which are interconnected by piping and a special valve. Air is pumped into the system until the pressure suffice to carry the load. Inflation would presumably be required at intervals, just as in the case of a tyre. The valve is arranged to permit a relatively free flow of air from the bellows to the reservoir when a wheel is lifted by an obstruction. The reversla of this motion, which follows, is damped because the valve restircts the return of air from the reservoir to the bellows.

“Each valve also embodies a heavy pendulum which comes into action on corners. When a car is driven 'round a curve centrifugal force causes the pendulums to swing outwards, as a result of which the passages to the reservoirs are closed. Consequently the load is taken solely by the air in the bellows, and this provides an augmented resistance against swaying and rolling.”

An August 26, 1937 article by the Scripps-Booth Newspaper Syndicate’s Charles Miller mentioned that Firestone’s experimental airspring had been standard equipment on the Scarab II:

“New Rubber ‘Airspring’ Hailed As Revolutionary

“By Charles Miller, Scripps-Howard Staff Writer

“AKRON, Aug. 26. — Rubber chemists dipped into their bag of experimental magic this season and came up with a new thrill for the motor public: riding on air.

“They carried the idea of floating power into the realm of automobile suspension. And their results threaten to revolutionize the auto spring industry.

“The Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.’s new airspring actually cushions an automobile on air instead of conventional steel springs.

“Backed by field tests and laboratory experiments, the airspring was presented recently to the Society of Automotive Engineers by Roy Brown, chief research engineer at Firestone.

“As majordomo of the experimental laboratory -where the airspring was born, Mr. Brown sees a potential market so vast that the limits are obscured by the hazy future. For the airspring is already adapted for not only every type of standard automobile, but also for the landing gear of airplanes and virtually every other type of conveyance that has wheels.

“Put Through Test

“Inventors say the new device can iron the jolts out of a washboard highway of the worst type, and rides in test cars over the roughest terrain that ever punished an automobile bear out their claim.

“Standing in the midst of costly precision machinery that fills the laboratory, a huge spring-testing machine has been battering away at the airspring for nearly two years.

“These machines reproduce ‘road conditions’ of the most violent type.

“They give springs tests under conditions far more rigorous than any ever confronted on a modern highway.

“Conventional springs have been hailed as extraordinary, Mr. Brown says, when they have stood up under the equivalent of 300,000 miles of such pounding.

“Survive Punishment

“As buoyant and resilient as when they were placed in the test machines two years ago, the airsprings have survived 1,700,000 miles of that punishment.

“The airspring consists of a pair of rubberized fabric bellows. Mounted, they resemble two inflated toy balloons pressed together.

“In appearance and operation, they are as far removed from the conventional metal spring as a streamlined balloon tire is from the old-fashioned hard-rubber buggy tire.

“The bellows are inflated to carry any desired load up to and exceeding the weight of all standard automobiles.

“The independent suspension principle of the knee-action wheel is embodied insofar as four sets of springs are installed on each machine, one near each wheel.

“Reduce Fatigue

“The bellows connect with an air reservoir by means of a pendulum shock-absorbing valve. The pendulum swings outward when the car rounds a turn, increasing air resistance in the airsprings as the load increases on the turn. By the same token, it prevents cars from leaning to the outside in making the turn and reduces ‘nosing down’ when heavy brake applications are made.

“Tests show, Mr. Brown asserts, that the airspring goes far in reducing passenger fatigue, in eliminating body roll, in erasing road roughness, and in producing quieter operation 'n the principle of air cushioning.

“The airsprings are not in production. But the success of experimental work and of their use as standard equipment on the Stout Scarab, an experimental car of revolutionary design, gives a hint of the impending changes in transportation that may be involved in this one development.

“The airspring makes two pounds rubber do the job of 50 pounds of spring steel.”

It is likely that Firestone Airsprings were fitted to Harvey S. Firestone's personal Scarab (II) as well, however it's whereabouts are unknown. Various components from Stout's personal Scarab (II) - including the Firestone Airsprings - were transplanted into his 1946 Project Y (Scarab III), and the remains relegated for use as a fishing shanty.

About 1941, with his new son-in-law, John J. Fisher, Stout formed the Stout Homes Corp. which manufactured and sold prefabricated panels made of aircraft materials to provide temporary housing for both civilian and military use. These panels could be shipped in Consolidated B-24 airplanes and erected at mobile bases within a matter of hours.

The 1941 Dearborn Directory lists Stout Engineering Service's officers as William B. Stout, president; Frank. M. Smith, vice-president and Louis M. Marks, secretary treasurer. Also lsited at the same address (2124 S. Telegraph Rd.) is the Skycraft Corp.; manufacturer of airplane parts. Incorporated on June 25, 1940, Skycraft was capitalized at $30,000, its officers being: Willliam B. Stout, president, Horace S. Maynard, vice-president; Louis M. Marks, secretary; and John C. Moon, treasurer.

Stout embarked upon the design of a second Sky Car in 1940. The proposed aircraft was described in a United Press Newswire article dated May 31, 1940:

“Detroit, Mich. – (UP) – One of the most amazing steps in the evolution of the motor car and airplane will be taken soon when the Stout Engineering Laboratories start production of the ‘sky car,’ a contraption eventually intended to merge land and air transportation.

“The sky car, 1940 model, is being given the finishing touches in a barnlike building in Dearborn where William B. Stout, the nation’s foremost aero and motor engineer, has hatched many startling inventions. Mass production is expected to start in six months.

“The present model will not be able to travel on land like an automobile, but Stout believes it is the proper approach to land-air travel. He believes that in the near future models will have a tail and wing which fold back or are detachable, enabling the driver to continue on a street after making a landing.

“Although details of the sky car have not been announced, Stout said the engine would be mounted between the wings on the upper end of the cabin. The body will be of stainless metal. The 75 horsepower engine will give a touring speed of 130 miles per hour. The model for two passengers and pilot will sell for slightly more than $1,000. It will be able to take off in 300 feet of space and land in less than 200.

“Stout, former president of the Society of Automotive Engineers, built a sky car for his personal use in 1930 but never went into production with it because it had certain disadvantages. Developments in the automotive world since then, however, have cleared most of the obstacles. Better motors with good fuel economy are available and the new body metal saves at least 300 pounds total weight.

“Stout’s dream for the future is a family car which will travel either by land or air, and sell for less than $1,000.”

Shortly thereafter Stout contributed a pair of color renderings to the January 1941 issue of Forbes, which depicted his first Air Car and a proposed 8-passenger airplane also dating from 1931:

“Stout Paints Stout’s Achievements

“Bill Stout, the artist, records the output of Stout, the engineer, as he visualizes it in use: pretty women riding above the clouds in his all-metal streamlined planes. Behind every one of his engineering improvements is the answer not only to a mechanical need but to a human one as well. In all his transport ideas he has combined maximum efficiency with maximum comfort. The eight-passenger transport plane was never built, but in concept it was the forerunner of those in used today. It had retractable landing gear and twin engines. In it Stout achieved his objective of complete streamlined smoothness. And remembering ‘the perfect invisibility’ of his early Batwing planes, he put the cabin forward and the pilot’s high up in the nose, so that he could see over and below the wings. But even today, says Stout, transport planes have not quite caught up with its innovations: they have yet to place the propellers in the rear, where they belong for safety. Because of its toilet facilities, the first to appear in an airplane design, a facetious fraternity founded in honor of Chic Sale (The Specialist) made Stout a Master Privy Builder in the I.P.B.U., an honor accorded so far to only five worthy citizens.

“The enclosed rear pusher propeller allows a girl to say goodbye to a boy without disaster.”

Stout continued to champion the moncoque-framed rear-engined automobile long after production of the Scarab II had ceased, penning the following article for the January 1942 issue of Popular Mechanics:

“Out of The Air, Tomorrow’s Car by William Stout

“It is possible to build an automobile bigger than a Buick, more powerful than a Cadillac, better riding that any previous car, yet 50 percent more economical. 50 percent lighter in weight and 50 percent more spacious inside than any present vehicle.

“Since this automobile is not being built, even though it is possible, we must regard it as the car of the future. And I believe that it will come at a time not very distant.

“But from whence will it come? My answer, based upon actual experience in building both automobiles and airplanes, is that it must be the brain child of the aviation industry. The reason why it cannot come from the automobile industry is that too many tools have frozen that industry into one position. The idea of 1,000 cars per day has obsessed the manufacturers with a tradition of dies and production machinery they cannot overcome long enough to do a new car on any other basis.

“A large percentage of the space in today’s automobile is allotted to machinery, but in tomorrow’s ‘wingless plane-car’ the machinery will be hidden so that you will have to look for it. The motor will be concealed under the rear seat, or just behind it, probably beneath a luggage compartment. Naturally this means that I expect the car to be powered with an engine at the rear, instead of the front. This engine will be air-cooled, most likely developed from the small airplane types now being built for flying use, and will gain 20 percent economy merely from the fact that it is air-cooled and runs at higher temperature. Being the pancake-type horizontal construction with the cylinders arranged on their sides instead of standing on end – the engine will fit low down in the back of the vehicle and leave plenty of room for luggage.

“One feature I am confident will be incorporated into this car will be a rear seat at least six feet wide, perhaps three or four inches more, giving space for a full-length couch or bed to be used on long tours or by the drowsy passenger. This means that the overall width of the automobile will be about six feet, six inches – not a great deal more than the present car, but the difference is that tomorrow’s car will be arranged so that the width will be employed for the comfort of the passenger rather than for a place on which to hang fenders.

“Today’s auto – even the largest – has a front seat approximately five feet wide and a rear seat several inches smaller, while the outside road width at the fenders is six feet, four inches.

“Fenders on today’s car will be omitted from our auto of tomorrow. Running boards are fast disappearing and when they finally vanish, fenders as such will disappear also, first on the rear wheels and then on the front. Eventually all wheels will be enclosed.

“Wheels will be placed at the ends of the future car, eliminating the overhang found in today’s automobile. This will mean placing the engine directly over the rear wheels, gaining another advantage – hooking the engine directly to the transmission system and thus reducing a loss in power that always results from use of a long drive shaft. With the weight in the back, the rear seat ride will be the best ride in the car. At the same time, the weight on the front end will be light enough so that if you run off the slab onto soft spots beside the highway, there will be no tendency for the front wheels to bury themselves in the mud and put the car out of control.

“From actual operation of an automobile of this general construction, I know that the rear-engine car is safer, having less tendency to skid because the addition al weight gives the rear tires a better grip on the road, than today’s front-engine car. Even on ice, I find it easy to maintain traction in this car – the Scarab, a vehicle I designed and produced and which I have driven 125,000 miles. This car is still able to take the road for a long, high-speed run. A few others that we manufactured for friends are giving similar service.

“Probably the main reason why the rear engine has not come sooner is that manufacturers have had difficulties keeping the engine cool. I believe that is because they have tried to install the engine sidewise, instead of lengthwise as we have it in the Scarab. None of our ears ever has given trouble on this count. A pancake engine would give no more trouble; in fact, air- cooling would be practical. In the Scarab we used a Ford V-8 with the cooling solution sealed in, and ventilation vanes built into the engine housing.

“Tires on our ‘dream car’ will be larger on lower air pressures and of a type that will not bounce. The trouble with the old low-pressure tire was its lack of shock- absorbing qualities. Springs will be of rubber, giving absolutely quiet operation and eliminating the need for shock absorbers and expensive maintenance, and should outlast other parts of the car.

“And what of plastics? In spite of the talk about plastic bodies, I do not see why plastics should be employed for exterior panels. Plastics are difficult to mold end would be as expensive as metals, even when produced in volume, and would be hard to repair. We still haven't found a way to weld plastics. But I do believe that plastics will be used more extensively in the interior of tomorrow's car—and in numerous colors. Windows will be of plastic in curved sections, similar to the practice in the airplane field. The top of the windshield edge wilt come lower in front to keep out glare.

“So-called streamline shapes will change, leading to a more pointed nose, with the thickest part of the car’s body about two- thirds back. Visibility for the driver will be exceptionally good, because he will be sitting far forward with perhaps only 25 percent of the total length of the car in front of his line of vision. This would allow him to see approaching traffic before entering or crossing a street. In comparison, present cars place the driver so that 50 percent or more of the total length is projected into the line of traffic before the driver can see approaching danger.

“All glass will be slanted inward toward the top, much as it is in the Scarab, producing greater safety in night driving due to complete elimination of reflections in the glass and resulting in more privacy because the outside of the glass reflects the sky, making it difficult to see into the car.

“I look as well, for a new type of steering, much simplified, and a complete revision of all controls. An automatic transmission that really will be automatic is just ahead. And I am sure that the car will be soundproofed, heat-proofed and properly cooled in summer, as well as heated in winter - real air conditioning for the automobile. This will be made easier through installation of the engine at the rear, eliminating the heat and noise that come back in the faces of front seat occupants in today's car.

“Airplane engineering, as such, has brought a tremendous refinement of design technique in engine, body structures, brakes, wheels, tires, etc. Today the old engineering figures of the motor car are as obsolete as railway design would be for autos. That is one reason I see the future car corning from the aviation industry.

“Another is inexpensive dies—lead, zinc and rubber—used in airplane manufacture today, enabling engineers to make small changes without calling for expensive new dies. The airplane factory employs dies from which 1,000 parts may be stamped, as compared with 100,000 demanded in the automobile industry. By using cheaper dies, the aviation industry enjoys far more flexible operation.

“The airplane business (where a pound is worth $80 a year) has fought a war to better engineering with-production secondary. It has achieved light weight with great structural strength and has created engines with surprisingly high power and low weight. Today the airplane industry is ready to reap the reward of its basic studies and I predict, therefore, that the next great phase of motor car development will come out of the sky.”

Shortly thereafter Stout was appointed to the board of consultants for the smaller war plants division of War Production Board (WPB).  During 1942 Stout Engineering Laboratories became associated with San Diego's *Consolidated Aircraft Corp., with Stout serving as a director of its Detroit-based 'Stout Research Division' for the duration of the War. Stout's 'Aerocar' and a 'Helibus' concepts were designed for Consolidated-Vultee.

(*Consolidated Aircraft Corp. merged with Vultee Aircraft Corp. in January 1943, forming Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp.)

Development on the all-new Stout Air Car commenced using his one pilot, one passenger 1931 Sky Car as a starting point. He equipped the new version with twin booms for increased stability in the air and four-wheel landing gear for better roadability during take-off and landing. Powered by a 90-hp Franklin 4AC O-199 4-cylinder air-cooled engine driving a two-bladed, fixed-pitch wooden propeller, the Sky Car II weighed a mere 900 lbs empty, 1,550 lbs loaded and had a maximum speed 110 mph.

Although their name are rarely mentioned, both Waldo Waterman and Charles R. Beltz, Stout Engineering engineers, should also be credited with engineering of the Sky Car II & III. The stainless-steel prototype was constructed by the Fisher Body division of General Motors Corp. and underwent evaluation by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) as the XC-65 light transport during which time it was destroyed in a hangar fire.

Funding was provided for the construction of a replacement, the Stout Air Car III (XC-107), which differed from the earlier Sky Car II (XC-65) only in its engine, a more powerful 125-hp Lycoming O-290. With its military designation of XC-107, the Stout Air Car III underwent evaluation by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during 1943.

Stout's listing in the 1943 Dearborn Directory were noticeably different than in 1941.  He's listed as director of the Research Division of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp., 22148 Michigan Ave, 4th floor; John F. Fisher, division manager and Louis M. Marks, office manager. The directory also lists Stout Engineering Laboratories, Inc., with offices at 22148 Michigan Ave, 4th floor (same as Consolidated-Vultee) and a  factory at 2104 S. Telegraph Rd. - it's officers being William B. Stout, president: Wilma P. Fisher (Stout's daughter), vice-president, and John F. Fisher (Stouts son-in-law) as secretary-treasurer.

The October 24, 1943 issue of the New York Times presented another version of Stout's 'car of the future':

“That Automobile of the Future - What will it be like? A designer presents his own picture of the car and its power plant. By William B. Stout Automotive and Aircraft Designer

“Since the day old Dobbin was unhitched from the buggy and a raucous, stuttering internal combustion engine took his place, Americans have been interested in the ‘Automobile of the Future.’ But for the average car owner ‘automobile of the future’ meant only next year's model. Beyond that his vision blurred.

“From the close of World War I to the debut of the 1942 models Americans had a succession of ‘automobiles of the fixture.’ Every fall the manufacturers brought out new versions of their products, and every year thousands of Americans flocked to admire and buy the new cars. By a process of modification the automobile that as late as 1919 still bore strong and unmistakable marks of resemblance to the old buggy gradually came to look something like a streamlined turtle in the early Nineteen Forties. Even so, there remained characteristics that indicated the automobile's parentage.

“The use of motor vehicles in World War I stimulated interest in automobiles and trucks, and the wartime experience gained in manufacturing them advanced the speed of evolution almost beyond the limits of the car owner's imagination. The car after this war will also profit by the experience gained in manufacturing for combat purposes.

“Just what will the car of the future look like? What fundamental changes are likely to be made? Let's not look into a crystal ball to learn the answers, but rather examine the known facts at hand. In overall dimensions the car of the future is apt to be about the size of our present medium-priced automobiles, but it will be larger inside and have a longer wheelbase. The wheelbase will be longer because the wheels will be mounted in the four corners of the body, not half inboard with both nose and tail hanging over the wheels. This will make a much more comfortable vehicle.

“The body will not be streamlined in the old sense of the term. Rather it will be smoothly contoured to give the greatest possible amount of interior room. It is not at all impossible that it will more nearly resemble the well-designed bus than the airplane. (At this point I might say that the airplane and its aerodynamics have no place in the motor car—unless, perhaps, the bottom of the car would be covered by one flat sheet without obstructions. That bottom sheet would do more to cut down air drag than any shaping of the rest of the body.)

“The weight of the new car will be only about half that of today's models. Lightness will be made possible by the use of new materials and the handling of old materials in new ways. It will mean much in economy of operation: it may also mean that the new car will last longer and stand up better.

“Transparent plastics may be used for some special purposes, but as yet they are too soft for windshields and windows, and they scratch too easily and badly. Transparent roofs, which some designers have advanced, will probably not be on the car of the future. It is possible, however, that roofs will have a lower window line to keep the glare of the sky out of the driver's eyes. Undoubtedly the new car will have a thermal body—a body that will be insulated more particularly against outside heat than cold.

“It will be at the interior of the new car that the American will be most amazed, for this will be much larger in a car of the medium-priced range than in our big models of today. The body will extend the full width and length of the car, giving more room than has ever been enjoyed in any car built to date.

“The space now taken up by a long, sleek hood will be inside the car and will be used to early passengers. The engine will be mounted in the rear, where it should be for best performance. The general arrangement of the interior will also change. Instead of being a further development of the buggy or the stage coach, the interior will take on some of the aspects of a club car or lounge, with various comfort additions built in but with a minimum of projections to cause injury to passengers in the event of a sudden stop or crash.

“One of the most important changes will be in the power plant. While the automobile body may not draw very heavily on the aerodynamics of the airplane, the motor undoubtedly will borrow from the aircraft engine a great deal in power-plant economy and structure.

“It is not too much to say that air-cooled airplane engines now surpass any liquid-cooled engines ever built in respect of weight, power, economy and size. Aircraft engines now weigh only about one pound per horsepower of output. The average automobile engine weighs about six pounds per horsepower. No change has been made in its weight-per-horsepower ratio in twenty years.

“In the early days of automobiles, Franklin, Holmes and others tried air-cooled engines, which were crude in comparison with those of today. They were mounted-at the front of the car (Wasn't that where they hitched the horse?) and they ran hot. The air-cooled engine always runs hotter than the liquid-cooled, which is a reason for its greater operating economy. But on a hot summer day all that engine heat under the hood made the driver's corns ache. And that, as much as any other single reason, was why the air-cooled automobile engine was dropped.

“With the new engineering, however, much study has been given to the rear-mounted engine, which gives better traction and balance on turns and a more economical and comfortable arrangement of passengers. (Once tried on buses it was adopted without exception.)

“The rear-mounted engine will probably be the greatest single trend in the new motor car. It will weigh less than three pounds per horsepower, it will be quiet, free of vibration and will give twenty-five to forty-five miles to the gallon of gasoline, depending upon the top speed for which it is designed.

“It is probable that in the engine roller bearings will be used instead or plain bearings and that the fuel, instead of coming through a carburetor will be injected into the manifold for greater economy and more power.

“With the knowledge gained in air-conditioning during the war, it ought to be possible for us in time to build in, as part of the motor, an air compressor for an air-cooling system that would keep the car at a comfortable temperature on the hottest day—and without dust. Heating for winter is already well under way and undoubtedly will be improved.

“Since the car of the future will be lighter than our present models, tires will be thinner, thus making for easier, more comfortable riding, while using even less rubber than now. Many new tire ideas are in various stages of gestation now, and lower-pressure, bounce-less tires are a real possibility.

“The greatest single problem that this new car involves from the engineering standpoint is that of the used car. If we could design a car so that parts could be replaced in such a manner that it was continually kept new and up-to-date the used-car load would gradually disappear. Such a result seems possible from building the cars of assemblies removable and replaceable, even to the body itself, the assemblies being kept abreast of new developments.

“If a new engine came along, a new rear-end assembly could be used. If a new servo-steering mechanism appeared, a new front end could be purchased. If a body was seriously damaged in a crash, a new body could be placed on the old mechanism. New upholstery could be fitted to the interior in half an hour when the old showed signs of wear. Separate seats could be used for summer and winter.

“If the car appears radical there must be a reason for its being so. If it is just strange-looking—if its radical design gives no advantages over conventional design—then you are not interested. But if you find a bigger interior, or a new seating arrangement that allows more room and luxury, or anything else which is obviously better, then you are impressed.

“The average car owner does not care any more about the number of cylinders or other engineering details of the car than he cares about the gadgets that make his radio or television set work. Be does care about what the car will do for him; he is interested in the cost of upkeep and in the comfort of the ride. And, after all, it is the average citizen who buys the automobile.”

The November 1943 edition of Modern Mechanix introduced Stout's latest creations, all of which were designed for Consolidated-Vultee:

“William B. Stout and his Wonderful ‘SKYCAR’ by J.A. Greenberg

“BILL STOUT, the genius of Dearborn, Michigan, has been responsible for more revolutionary innovations in the design and construction of automobiles and airplanes than has any other man, living or dead. Yet he has found time to create such minor novelties as the first gasoline-driven railroad car, the first Diesel-electric streamlined train, a streamlined motorbus lighter and faster than any then manufactured, a brick conveyor which saved thousands of dollars in building construction, an improved theater seat, an air-conditioned bed, and, among other things, a staggering number of mechanical toys. He has been credited with more technical inventions than any man since Edison.

“Now Bill Stout is in the news again, making the “experts” sneer and popping the eyes of the public. This time he has designed an “Aerocar” and a “Helibus” for Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corp. (see illustrations on next page). The Aerocar is an automobile with detachable wings which can be ‘parked’; in the garage or at the airport when the Aerocar is being used on the road. Many technical noses will be lifted at Stout’s design, but in the end, you can bet, we will all be riding in some contraption very similar to it. For all of Bill Stout’s inventions follow the same routine: 1. Derision by the ‘experts,’ and, 2. Final adoption for general use a few years later.

“A character and a legend in the automotive and airplane industries, he has been conducting a crusade against adherence to tradition and the formulae of the past since he graduated from the University of Minnesota thirty-five years ago. From all of which it may be gathered that Bill Stout has no overweening fondness for professorial conclusions. ‘Never resort to mathematics,’ he once said, ‘until you have exhausted the possibilities of two toothpicks and a piece of string.’ The key to his technique is disclosed by a motto prominently displayed on the wall of his drafting room: ‘SIMPLICATE AND ADD MORE LIGHTNESS.’

“Called ‘industry’s most whimsical and unpredictable inventor’ (an appellation he does not like), he is amiable, informal and easygoing, always smiling and completely free from affectation. His figure is sparse and not too strong-looking, his features lean and bony, with a thin mustache and a wild thatch of hair through which he is continually running nervous fingers. He bears a striking resemblance to Fritz Kreisler, the eminent violinist, though there is a whimsical reminder of Groucho Marx in his mouth and eyes. Characteristically midwestern and homespun, he is voluble and restless, never in a hurry and ready at any time to indulge a cracker-barrel fondness for conversation. He will talk for hours, to tycoon or laborer, on every conceivable subject, throwing off ideas with prodigal abandon.

“William Bushnell Stout, to use his full handle, was born in Quincy, Ill., on March 16, 1880, where his father, a semi-itinerant Methodist preacher, was temporarily anchored in the service of God. He was a frail, scrawny child, whose frequent illnesses caused despair for his survival to manhood. Still, when a critical childhood ailment laid low both Bill and his twin sister, it was the plump, husky little girl who died.

“The sickly boy could not take part in the strenuous games of other children. Of all things, he wanted most to play ball with the boys, but his eyes were so bad that, as he tells it, he 'couldn’t catch a balloon with handles on it.'

“This early frustration drove him to making things with his hands. Wherever, in their frequent wandering, his father occupied a pulpit, Bill set up a crude workshop and embarked upon multitudinous projects, most of which remained unfinished. Thus began his experimentation with two toothpicks and a piece of string.

“At high school Bill found his studies hard and the discipline irksome, but this trouble was happily solved by his transfer to the Mechanical Arts High School in St. Louis, where 'Jack Knife' could pursue his already developed talent for tinkering.

“Unhappy at Hamline University, where he first matriculated, Bill moved on to the University of Minnesota. With parental assistance difficult and unlikely, he was forced to support himself by running a laundry (an unsuccessful venture), by waiting on table, by teaching manual training, and by whatever other opportunities presented themselves. Once, when tending furnace for his board, he found it so unpleasant to run down five flights before dawn in the Minnesota winter that he rigged up a contraption of cords and pulley attached to the key of his alarm clock. Thus his laziness mothered the invention of one of the earliest heat-regulating devices.

“About this time he began to write about the mechanical toys which he had been making since early boyhood. His first article, sent to Harper’s Young People, brought a prompt reply, a check for $12 and a request for more of the same. Spurred by this munificent sum, which paid for more than two weeks’ sustenance, he cudgeled his brain for creations to write about. Eventually, it brought in enough money to put him through college comfortably.

“By 1906, when he married Alma E. Raymond, he was writing a syndicated column for the St. Paul Dispatch. The advertising department got him a motorcycle on a due bill, but this machine was so bad that Stout designed his own with many improvements, not the least of which was a better engine. He probably had the first engine with two-speed gear on a motorcycle. Eventually he became an authority on the internal combustion engine.

“His articles on aviation brought an offer from the Chicago Tribune to become aviation editor. He started a magazine called Aerial Age, organized a model-plane club for boys, and contributed to two magazines concerned with automobiles, until Dave Becroft, editor of Motor Age, induced him to join the staff on a full-time basis.

“Aviation was pulling Stout like a magnet. Two years later he became chief engineer of the newly formed aircraft division of the Packard Motor Car Company and worked on a plane to be powered by the new Liberty engine. After the United States entered World War I, he was called to Washington as technical adviser to the Aircraft Production Board.

“Stout’s unorthodox ideas on airplane construction gave the Army big-wigs technological colic. He insisted that the exposure of struts, wires, radiators and landing gear increased wind resistance. He cited the DeHavilland 4, in which, he maintained, 237 of its 400 horsepower were wasted. If, he argued, the wing of a plane is the only part that lifts, then build thick wings with all the bracing structure inside.

“The Army engineers sputtered and fumed, but, after many delays, Stout was given a contract to build the plane on a cost-plus basis. When the plane was built they threw up their hands in horror. Orville Wright, called in to check it, declared, “This is the next step in aviation.”

“But the Navy was interested enough to give Stout an order for the construction of the first all-metal torpedo plane. It was completed with the financial backing of Robert Stranahan, who had already sunk money in the Batwing experiment, and Eddie Stinson made twelve successful test flights at Selfridge Field, but a Navy pilot, unfamiliar with the landing mechanism, crashed it.

“That crash broke Stout financially, but it did not dim his courage. He still had his typewriter. He banged out a letter which he sent to 100 leading businessmen, explaining it was the first of a series demonstrating the principles of flight. Enclosed was a post-card with the suggestion that the reader attach a paper clip to one edge to show that the center of gravity is at the center of air pressure. ‘Do this experiment personally,’ the letter suggested, ‘and it will teach you more in half an hour than a month’s, book reading. If you have any trouble getting true flight, call me up and I will bring over my trained card and clip and show you how it is done.’

“Stout asked the recipients of the letters to contribute $1,000 each for the construction of a commercial all-metal plane. ‘You may never get a cent of your money back,’ he warned, ‘but you will have one thousand dollars worth of fun. It’s a gamble, but you can afford it.’

“More than sixty of these men responded favorably and gave Stout $118,000, with which he founded the Stout Metal Airplane Company. The result was an all-metal eight-passenger transport plane powered with a Liberty engine. He had built fifteen of these planes when Henry Ford, one of the original backers, offered to buy the company on a basis of two for one. The stock-holders demurred, but finally agreed to go along with Stout in the development of the Stout Air Services, which in four years carried 200,000 passengers between Detroit, Grand Rapids, Cleveland and Chicago without a single fatal accident, until it was bought by United Air Lines.

“In 1935 Stout rocked the automobile industry with the sensation caused by his Scarab car, which had a streamlined body that looked like a giant beetle, with the engine in the rear and wheels independently sprung. It had no running board, rode on special cushions, and the interior suggested a living room. Its appearance was so startling that people would ask, 'Which way is it going?'

“The Scarab was not a financial success (Stout made only nine of them), but almost every one of its features has been incorporated in today’s cars.

“Forced into other fields to make money, Stout built the first streamlined, lightweight, high speed, gasoline-driven fifty-passenger Railplane for the Pullman Company, which the railroad men then shelved. He designed the exterior of the Union Pacific’s famous streamlined M10001, which runs between Chicago and Denver. He built a streamlined rear-engine bus which he sold to the Gar Wood Company. He built a theater seat which slid back to let-a person pass. He constructed a brick-loading machine and an air-conditioned bed.

“It has just been announced he has joined Consolidated-Vultee to work on research for light planes to be built when this war has ended. Stout sees a future of flying autos and trucks, planes which fold their wings on alighting and run along highways on their four-wheeled landing gear. He sees helicopters of new design which will fly straight up, forward, backward, and sideways, landing on rooftops, lawns, tennis courts and parking spaces.

“Consolidated-Vultee has already presented for public consideration three models: the Aerocar, or flying automobile for family tours and trips; the Roadable airplane, for distance flights coupled with short trips on the ground; and the Helibus a new type of helicopter, so versatile that in addition to moving in any wanted direction it will stand still in the air and land on a tennis court.

“Stout believes that the greatest progress in automotive and plane construction will come, postwar, from the aviation industry, which is not, like the automobile industry, bound down and hampered by a tremendous investment.”

Stout’s fourth and final flying car, the Stout Sky Car IV (aka Convair 103, aka Spratt-Stout Model 8 Sky Car) was constructed during 1944-1945 by the Stout Research Division of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. Once again Stout elected to equip the prototype with an air-cooled Franklin engine, this time a 90-hp (67 kW) air-cooled Franklin Model 4ACG. Unlike earlier Sky Cars, which were all fitted with a fixed thick-wing cantilever wing, the Sky Car IV was fitted with a pivoting parasol wing developed by Consolidated Vultee engineer George Spratt. The unusual wing allowed the pilot to vary its angle of attack, a concept that originated with Spratt’s father, Dr. George A. Spratt. Consolidated Vultee subsequently equipped the airplane, known internally as the Convair 103, with a more powerful 125-hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290C engine which was replaced in 1945 by a 180-hp Lycoming O-435 engine. The novel vehicle was detailed in the June 1945 issue of Popular Mechanics:

“Steerable Wing Plane

“Since the Wright Brothers skimmed over the Kitty Hawk dunes, men have guided their flying machines with ailerons, elevators and rudders. A break from these traditional controls is introduced by George Spratt, whose unconventional plane is steered through its three-dimensional sphere by a control wheel that tilts, pivots and banks its wing.

“Mr. Spratt is an engineer in the Stout research division of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation. His unique craft may be the father of the roadable plane of tomorrow. Like the automobile, it has four wheels. Like the helicopter, its fuselage is suspended beneath its wing – which turns, but does not rotate.

“Maneuvering is simple. Pull back on the control wheel to lower the trialing edge of the 26 ½-foot wing and the plane climbs; a turn of the wheel to the right or left drops or lifts a wing tip and pivots the wing, turning the ship. The air-cooled engine is at the rear. A shaft extending through the stabilizer assembly juts the propeller from the abbreviated tail.

“The revolutionary method of control is expected to make small planes safer and easier to handle. Since the pilot must move the wing by manual strength, there are no present plans to adapt it to larger planes. The front wheels steer with the wing and eventually the plane may be adapted for highway travel. But Consolidated Vultee does not contemplate building the plane commercially until it has had exhaustive tests. It has been flight-tested at 6,000 feet.

“Spratt designed the plane to prove that his father, Dr. George A. Spratt, was right when he told the Wright brothers that aircraft could be steered with a controllable wing. Spratt cannot fly a conventional airplane, but has flown 100 hours in his own craft.”

World War II interrupted any further development or marketing of the original Scarab, but Stout returned with a new version, called the Stout Scarab Experimental (or Stout Project Y, or Y-46), at the end of the War. Designed in collaboration with stylist Dutch Darrin, for Graham-Paige's Joseph W. Frazer (prior to the formation of Kaiser-Frazer), Stout's Project Y was the first automobile constructed using a Fiberglas reinforced plastic (aka FRP) body which was constructed by Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. engineers R. Games Slayter and Walter Krause in the Newark, Ohio factory of the Heiser Glass Co. Its rear-engine configuration echoed the Scarab, and the car featured the same McPherson-style struts and Firestone pneumatic springs first introduced on the Scarab II.

In August of 1944 Joseph W. Frazer, the former chief executive of Willys-Overland acquired a controlling interest in the Graham Paige Corp. from Joseph B. Graham, one of its founders. Frazer hoped to enter the post-war automotive field with his own car, at which time he enlisted the financial services of California industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, who was flush with profits received from his numerous war-time military contracts. The resulting firm, Kaiser-Frazer Corp., was organized on July 25, 1945.

On June 19, 1945 Frazer paid Consildated-Vultee $25,000 to obtain the services of Stout to come up with a low-cost lightweight car that would take advantage of a new glass-reinforced plastic recently introduced by the Owens-Corning Corp., better known today as Fiberglas.  He also hired well-known automobile stylist Howard 'Dutch' Darrin to come up with proposal for a more conventionally designed, front-engined, rear-wheel drive steel-bodied car.

As early as 1942, engineers working for Henry J. Kaiser had come up with a front-engined, front-wheel-drive car based upon a FWD package developed by ex-Simca engineer Jean Gregoire. Within six months of the merger, prototypes of the Darrin-designed conventional concept and the Gregoire-engineered front-wheel-drive car were readied for an unveiling at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel during the 1946 New York Automobile Show.

By that time Frazer had already deemed Stout's car too complex for mass production electing to build Darrin's similar-looking, yet conventionally-constructed steel-bodied automobile that debuted as the nearly identical 1947 Frazer and 1947 Kaiser. Stout had  the finished car trucked back to Detroit, where he used it as his daily driver an dshowed it off to anyone that was interested.  The Project Y made it's first public debut in the May 3, 1946 issue of the New York Times:

“The Newest In Car Building: It's Made Of Fiberglas; Plastic Auto Is Called 'Car of the Future'; New Design by Stout Would Cost $10,000

“DETROIT, May 2--William B. Stout, aircraft and automobile designer, disclosed today what he called "the car of the future," a craft with a body of fiberglas plastic material with engine in the rear and no chassis or axles.

“Other departures from the conventional design as stated by Mr. Stout were ‘literal cushions of air for springs,’ a long wheel base and more room than any car of comparable dimensions.

“To a car-hungry public, however, he admitted that no manufacturer had agreed to build the car, that perhaps a dozen would be built and sold at a cost of about $10,000, and that the basic principles could be obtained, for a price, by any car, maker who was interested.

“Mr. Stout said that the model, known as the "Stout Y-6," was the first car to be built of Fiberglas plastic, a material developed by the Owens Corning Fiberglas Corporation. The material had ten times the impact strength of steel in a crash, he asserted.

“Reporters who attended the preview took turns attempting to disprove his statements. Each time, however, that even the heftiest crashed into a plate of the material with a sledgehammer, not even a dent was made in the surface.

“Except for the doors, the entire body, including floor, roof, sides and ends, is one piece of Fiberglas. While the car is of the small overall length resembling that of the Ford, Plymouth and Chevrolet, it has a wheel base as long as that of cars in the ‘luxury’ class, 137 inches. This is made possible, said Mr. Stout, by putting the wheels, each individually sprung on air cushions, at the ends of the car without the familiar overhang of standard automobiles.

“Mr. Stout, who designed the tri-motored airplane made years ago by the Ford Motor Company, is working currently with the Graham-Paige Motor Car Company.”

Popular Science featured the Project Y in its July 1946 issue:

“Glass Car Needs No Frame

“The plastic car, once the favorite drawing-board dream of wartime designers, is here – but there is only one.  William B. Stout, veteran airplane and automobile designer, owns it.  Built according to his blueprints, the 'Stout Forty-Six' has a body made of fiberglass plastic, and a string of other unconventional features – no frame, engine in the rear, air-cushion springs, and doors that are opened with electric push buttons.

“Laminated fiberglass used in the body has been estimated to have, pound for pound, five times the strength of structural steel and three to four times the impact strength.  You can smash the rear deck with a sledge and not make a dent.  This strength allows the body to be used as a structural part, like some airplane fuselages.  Springs and engine are hung from thickened portions of the body.

“Floor, roof, sides and ends are all molded in one piece from layers of glass-fiber cloth, soaked with plastic, then heated.  Varying thicknesses of the glass cloth are used, from 1/16 inch (three plies) to ½ inch (20 plies) to the two-inch floor formed by sandwiching honeycombed sections between two sheets of fiberglass plastic.

“Stout kept one eye on the scale when he designed the “Forty-Six.”  The fiberglass plastic that was used in the body is lighter than steel.  Air springs, made of fiberglass and rubber cushions, are lighter than standard steel springs and shock absorbers.  A specially thin sidewall design slices three pounds from each tire.  Future plans to install an aluminum air-cooled engine will cut off another 300 pounds.

“For all its lightness, the car rides smoother than many standard makes because of a suspension that hangs the body between the springs.  A low center of gravity leans the car into the turns.  Steering is quick and easy.  There are no plans for putting the “Stout Forty-Six’ on a production line.  Designer Stout calls his car just a $10,000 experiment to show what can be done with fiberglass as a structural material.


“The body of this car, designed by William B. Stout, together with the bumper and a few structural parts is made of fiberglass bonded with synthetic resin. News writers, invited to hit the body with hammers, found they could not dent it. Shown right are cross sections of the bumper and a hollow strut that attaches the engine to the body; also a cut-away piece of the fiberglass honeycomb material that is used to make the interior of the strut.”

Although they did no further business with Stout, Kaiser-Frazer remained interested in producing a Darrin-designed Fiberglas-bodied car and in 1952 introduced the Kaiser-Darrin 161 sliding-door sports car. Stout spent the summer showing off the car to interested parties, but found nobody interest in producing a vehicle that was so complex (and expensive).

1946 marked Stout's 40th anniversary as a transportation engineer and his mind returned to the field of aviation. He left Detroit, moving to Phoenix, Arizona where he and his wife Alma moved in with their daughter Wilma. He re-established Stout Engineering Laboratories, albeit on a much smaller scale in a back yard workshop. He kept busy by writing an autobiography - which debuted in 1951 under the title 'So Away I Went!' - and designed a novel aircraft with flapping wings which was covered in-depth in the October 1952 issue of Boy's Life:

“Next: Flapping Wing Flight, by Joseph Stocker

“A famous inventor says that with the help of boy model makers aviation is getting ready to take off for new heights

“It was a crisp, bracing spring day. The sun sent long shafts of dazzling light across the waters of Green Lake, just outside of Pontiac, Michigan. The time was shortly after the end of World War II.

“In a tiny laboratory located in a boathouse down near the lake shore, a man was puttering idly with his tools and gadgets. He was a tall, intense sort of person, with a wild mop of gray hair and spectacles.

Suddenly his attention was diverted. A dragonfly had crawled up on his workbench close by him. It was obviously fresh from its cocoon. The gray-haired man could see tiny, glistening beads of moisture on its body and wings. For fully 20 minutes the dragonfly crouched there on the work bench, drying out. Then, as the man watched, it rose vertically into the air, snared a mosquito on the wing and darted off into space faster than the eye could follow.

“When a history of aviation is written sometime in the indefinite future, this commonplace incident of the dragonfly may well assume a striking and singular importance. Very possibly it will prove to have marked the beginning of a new epoch of aviation. For the gray-haired man puttering in his laboratory that day was America’s most distinguished aviation scientist and engineer – William Bushnell Stout. Today Bill Stout is hard at work developing the idea which came to him as he watched the dragonfly in flight.

“The idea: An airplane which flies with flapping wings

“You might write this off as simply the aberration of a crackpot, and if it were anybody else, you probably would. But you can’t write Bill Stout off as a crackpot. No man in America has contributed more to the progress of aviation in particular and transportation in general than wiry, dynamic, far-seeing Bill Stout.

“The Dream Of Everyman’s Plane

“He built the first American all-metal airplane. He designed and built the famous Ford Tri-Motor, forerunner of the modern-day airliner which spans seas and continents at a 350-mph clip. He invented the strut-less wing – the so-called ‘thick wing’ which changed the whole complexion of aviation. He laid out the first commercial airline. He designed the Sky Car, a family-type plane with tricycle landing gear; built the first lightweight streamlined railroad car; developed the Scarab, a streamlined rear-engine automobile so far ahead of its time in 1932 that today’s 1952 models still haven’t caught up with it.

“This, then, is the man who is working on the development of flapping wing flight. Bill Stout visualizes it as the private plane of the future – a ‘universal vehicle’ landing and taking off vertically and capable of better-than-airplane forward speed. It would be mass-produced by the millions as cheaply as the automobile and could revolutionize civilization as did the automobile. In short, it would be the realization of a dream we have dreamed for the past half-century: Everyman’s airplane.

“But why flapping wings?

“Bill Stout explains it this way:

“Private aviation, as we know it, has just about reached its saturation point. We thought that when World War II ended, we would embark upon the age of universal flight, with private airplanes as numerous as cars. But that didn’t happen. Small plan sales edged up slightly when the war stopped, then declined and have been declining steadily ever since. A few people, bolder and better heeled that the rest, bought small planes. But Mr. Average American did not. He stuck to his automobile.

“Why? Because, says Stout, the conventional airplane, with its propeller and fixed wing, has one inescapable handicap: It needs an airport for taking off and landing. And, in order to use your plane, you first must drive from the city to the airport for taking off and landing. And, in order to use your plane, you must drive from the airport to your final destination. In other words, you can’t fly your airplane from where you are to where you want to go. Or, as Bill Stout puts it, ‘You can’t land out in front of my office here, transact your business, then get in and take off again.’

“‘The great fundamental of the airplane, he explains, ‘is that it needs no highway. But we’ve so built it that it needs airports.’

“Well, what about the ‘roadable’ plane – the craft which folds it wings and drives away like an automobile? Bill Stout designed a ‘roadable’ plane himself some years ago, but he says it isn’t the solution. However, ‘roadable’ it may be, it still needs an airport for taking off and landing.

“A Helicopter Is a Boomerang

“Then how about the helicopter? It takes off vertically, lands vertically and hovers in flight, and it has been a mighty handy thing to have around in the Korean War and in air-sea rescue work.

“Quite true, says Bill Stout. But the helicopter also has insurmountable limitations. To achieve vertical lift, it has had to sacrifice forward speed and economy. Basically the helicopter is nothing but a boomerang, of course, flies in circles, and to keep the helicopter from flying in circles, it has been loaded down with all manner of mechanisms and contraptions.

“Says Stout: ‘It’s like inventing a rubber glove for a leaky fountain pen.’ The net effect of these mechanisms and contraptions is to increase the weight of the ‘copter, slow it down and make it prohibitively expensive for Mr. Average American.

“The problem, then, is to devise some wholly new and radical mode of aerial locomotion which will combine all the elements necessary to produce Everyman’s airplane: vertical as well as forward flight, simplicity and economy. Bill Stout believes this new mode of flight is to be found – and perhaps very soon – in the flapping wing. And he has been toiling away at it ever since that day at Green Lake when he watched the dragon fly take off straight up into the air.

“Stout calls the flapping wing both ‘the newest and the oldest approach to the problem of flight.’ Nature has been using it for a long, long time to propel her flying creatures through the air. ‘It’s the obvious solution,’ says Stout, ‘and it has 50,000,000 years of precedent behind it.’

“Why, then, has nobody come up with a flapping wing airplane before this? Well it’s not for lack of trying. Before the Wright brothers took off at Kitty Hawk, various inventors attempted to produce a flapping wing plane. Stout says ‘their opinionated beliefs resulted in contraptions which would make even Darius Green blush today.’

“Since Kitty Hawk, we have been content with perfecting the rigid wing idea which the Wrights developed. ‘We put a propeller on the airplane simply because it was the only way the Wright brothers knew,’ says Stout. ‘And no one has bothered to change it since, except for the jet. We stick engines and nose spinners out on the wings in places where they create drag and slow down progress, while nature uses only the body and the wings.’

“Insects Are the Best Flyers

“Stout explains in this manner how the flapping wing plane would succeed where the fixed wing ship fails: the conventional plane must roll across the ground until it develops a wind of sufficient velocity to provide it with lift and send it into the air. The flapping wing plane would stand stationary, flapping its wings to develop its own wind to the point where it would have sufficient lift. Moreover, where the conventional plane only can use its power for takeoff and flight but not for landing, the flapping wing plane could use its power for all three.

“‘It’s obviously silly,’ says Stout, ‘to carry along a 100-horsepower engine to fly a ship and then be totally unable to use that power in let-down to cut our landing space and speed.’

“One of the first things that Stout did, after watching the dragonfly, was to study the wings of insects. He decided that it would be more practical, to emulate the insect than the bird in developing man-made flapping wings. In the first place, the structure of a bird’s wings is infinitely more complex. The too, says Stout, ‘birds aren’t very good flyers. You never saw one land upside down on a ceiling! But insects fly successfully – and carry payloads – with wings of very much smaller proportion than birds, and they make higher speeds proportionately. You watch an insect fly and you’ll get inspired with what can be done with flapping wings.’

“Stout made photographs of dragonfly wings. He checked their structure and studied the intricate nature of their joints and angles at various stages of flight. He measured the wing flap of insects with what he calls a ’10-mouse power motor.’

“Then he began to build models of flapping wings out of balsa wood, tissue paper and piano wire – the same materials a Scout would use in making the wings fir his own conventional model plane, Stout imitated not only the dragonfly but various other kinds of insects. He fashioned wing after wing – made one and then discarded it and made another.

“In Bill Stout’s Lab

“One day recently I called on the famous engineer at his main office and laboratory, now located in Phoenix, Arizona, to find out how far he has progressed with flapping wing flight. His office walls were lined with autographed pictures of great men of aviation and national affairs whom Stout has known intimately and with whom he has worked. Interspersed with the pictures were framed certificates attesting to distinguished awards which Bill Stout had won for his contributions to aeronautical science.

“We talked for a few minutes, and then he said, ‘Let’s go down to the lab, I’ll show you something.’

“The lab was a clutter of tools, electric motors, jars of nails and screws and scraps of material. It was scarcely more prepossessing than the workshop which an average Scout might rig up in his garage or barn. On one wall was an array of model flapping wings which Stout had put together. Near the center was a weird-looking rig.

“The base of the rig was a simple music stand – the kinds you use in band practice. The thin tripod legs were there so was the vertical shaft, but the music rack itself had been removed. In place of the rack Stout had attached a long metal arm – a ‘rotating arm,’ as he called it. At one end was a tiny electric motor. At the other end was a set of flapping wings, each wing about a foot and a half long. There were four of them all together, for Stout was using the dragonfly for inspiration, and the dragonfly has two pairs of wings in tandem.

“‘Watch this,’ he said, and plugged an electric cord into a wall socket.

“I heard a whit and at the same time a fluttering sound. The flapping wings had begun to flap. And as they did, the rotating arm began to rotate, propelled around its tight little circle by the flapping of the wings.

“Stout stepped up his rheostat. Faster and faster the wings flapped, and faster and faster the arm rotated until the movement of the wings and arm became nothing but a blur. The whirring-fluttering noise rose to a screaming pitch.

“‘This is fantastic!’ I shouted over the racket.

“Stout pulled the electric cord out of its socket. The flapping wings stopped flapping and rotating arm slowed to a stop. Stout grinned.

“‘But people have said it can’t be done, you know,’ he replied with gentle sarcasm.

“Then he showed me a model fuselage which he had fashioned out of balsa. It had a cabin and the cabin even had a tiny man inside. Stout hooked the fuselage to the end of the rotating arm, under the flapping wings. It was a complete flapping wing airplane in miniature. There, I thought, I was seeing the shape of the future in aviation. (Stout says, incidentally, that the rotating arm rotates just as fast with the fuselage attached as without it.)

“Now he is ready to launch an engineering program to produce a full-scale, man-carrying flapping wing airplane. The program will involve a wind-tunnel set-up and a great deal of research to work out the countless problems of thrust, aerodynamics, vibration and the like.

“But, even so, Bill Stout says he doesn’t expect to be the one who comes up with the final solution to flapping wing flight. He is 71 now and he insists that his work is primarily in the field of ‘imagineering.’ The detailed engineering will be up to another and younger generation.

“Bill Stout looks to the boys of America to help furnish the answer to the problem of flapping wing flight. There are thousands of them all across the land – model plane builders puttering and experimenting in attics and garages, flying their models in vacant lots and green, level clearings.

“Idea For Model Makers

“‘It’s an experiment that the youth of America should be interested in,’ says Stout. ‘IT’s an idea every model maker can work on. We could take our high school people and organize them into research for flapping wings. A young person has more originality and fewer inhibitions than anybody. The most original person in the world is a young person under 20. And the most important thing going on in the United States today is two young fellows working in a barn somewhere. We don’t know what they’re doing, but if it’s an individual experiment conducted with vision and sound judgment, it may have more influence on the world’s future than three Korean wars.’

“To illustrate his point, Stout likes to tell of an incident that occurred when he made a speech not long ago before a banquet attended by highly skilled and prominent aviation engineers.

“‘If anyone of you in this room,’ he told the eminent gathering, ‘can make a model airplane wing which weighs less than a quarter ounce and can stay up for 20 minutes, raise your hand.’

“Not a hand was raised.

“‘Well,’ said Stout, with a gleeful chuckle, ‘a boy 15 years old has just done that in Detroit and he set a world’s record at a mode airplane meet with it.’

“When will flapping wing flight become a practical reality? Stout isn’t forecasting the date. But he says it will come within three to five years after the aviation industry finally veers from the beaten path of present-day conventional aircraft and commences serious engineering work on flapping wings. Already, says Stout, the materials and knowledge are at hand where they weren’t 10 years ago.

“When the age of universal flapping wing flight finally dawns, Stout predicts that civilization will change to its surface pattern to conform, with ground and rooftop landing spots and aerial traffic control. We will still keep our jets and multi-engine prop-driven airplanes for speed, distance and mass transport. But the flapping wing plane will be the average man’s aerial automobile.

“All of this very possibly will take place during our time, and we will fly our own flapping wing planes through skies teeming with them, just as the boulevards teem today with automobiles. And as we do so, we shall be greatly beholden to a tall, thin man with a shaggy gray mane who, one day beside a Michigan lake, let his attention stray to a common dragonfly.”

Stout recalled his numerous accomplishments in the June 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics:

“There is something warmly symbolic in the fact that the man who designed the Tri-Motor and supervised the construction for Henry Ford is still alive and working, just like the intrepid old airplane itself. He’s William B. Stout, one of the greatest of aviation’s pioneers.

“Stout developed the first strutless wing and built the first all-metal airplane, a single-engine ship which predated the Ford. That was at a time when nobody that thought that anything would ever take the place of fabric and plywood. Stout also built one of the first ‘roadable’ planes with folding wings for air or travel, an designed one of the first family-type airplanes, a ship with tricycle landing gear which he called the Sky Car. Branching out into other fields, he conceived a prototype of our modern streamlined trains and constructed a streamlined, rear-engined bus.

“Today, at 73, Bill Stout continues to search for new answers to the problems of flight. At his laboratories in Phoenix, he is working on a brand-new and revolutionary concept – an airplane with flapping wings that can land and take off without airports.

“Even as he keeps one eye on the future, Stout a nostalgic satisfaction from knowing that the airplane he built 25 years ago is still serving mankind all over the world.

“‘It was the leviathan of its day,’ he says proudly, ‘and a real engineering achievement with what we had to go on. I don’t think there’s a safer airplane in the world. The Civil Aeronautics Administration tells me there has never been a record of a structural failure in the Ford. Its controllability and flight characteristics are better than any present-day transport ship. In an emergency you could land it in front of my office here. I could sell 100 of them a month right now if I could make them.’

“The story of Bill Stout and the Ford Trimotor is an epoch of success salvaged out of failure. In the middle 1920s he had built a torpedo plane for the Navy. It craked up on a test flight. Broke and neck-deep in debt, Stout decided to do something brash. He wrote a letter to 100 Detroit business leaders, asking them for $1,000 each as an investment in aviation and promising only one thing: they would never get it back!

“His candor carried the day. Enough money came into launch the Stout Metal Airplane Company. The firm turned out an all-metal plane the maiden Dearborn I, with a single Ford-built Liberty engine. Henry Ford was so impressed that he bought out Stout and made him head of the airplane division of his company.

“Stout’s original stockholders got their money back after all - $2,000 for every $1,000 invested. Many years later he expressed his conviction that the ‘greatest single thing I ever accomplished for aviation was getting Mr. Ford interested in it... From that moment on, Wall Street took aviation seriously and it became a business, not a state-fair exhibition.’

“Under Ford’s banner, Stout produced the famous and incredibly durable Ford Tri0Motor. Only one other ship bore any resemblance to it. That was the three-engine, fabric-covered Fokker. But where the Ford still flies, the Fokker long since has become a memory.

“The first Ford had an open cockpit and its outboard engines planted in the wing. The open cockpit was a concession to the pilots – they wouldn’t fly unless they could feel the wind on their cheeks so they could tell if they were side-slipping. They also thought the Ford was landing too fast – nearly 60 miles per hour! So they persuaded Stout to give the ship more drag by bringing the outboard engines down below the wing, suspended from struts.

“Stout won out on that point, however. After a mid-winter flight to Houston in which pilot and mechanic almost froze to death, he set to work enclosing the cockpit. This time not a single murmur of objection came from the men who flew the Ford.

“The tough, phlegmatic Tri-Motor proved itself time and time again. Stout used it to launch America’s first regularly scheduled commercial airline – the Stout Air Service, serving Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Grand Rapids. In its initial year of operation, the Fords traveled 200,000 miles without an accident. Several pilots of the old Stout Air Service are now top executives of great American airlines.

“Even under adverse conditions, when everything else was grounded, the Ford flew. Stout remembers when an aerial cavalcade was staged into northern Michigan. One day, at a small landing field, the wind died suddenly and nothing could get off the ground – nothing, that is, except the Ford. Stout asked the pilot later how he did it.

“The pilot was a man of few and picturesque words. He explained it thus:

“‘I says to my mechanic. 'Hold the brakes,' and he held the brakes. I opened the throttle and I says, 'Let ‘er go. Either she does or she doesn’t.'

“‘She did.’

“The Ford even altered the Army’s ideas about airplanes. In those days the Army insisted that cockpits be placed back toward the tail, to give the pilot a chance of survival in case of a crash. All its pursuit planes were built that way. Then something happened to change the Army’s mind.

“A squadron took off from Detroit for Seattle. A Ford went along with mechanics and tools. The pursuit pilots presumed that the big, sluggish Tri-Motor would trail far behind. Instead, the Ford reached Seattle three days ahead of them. Snowstorms had grounded the pursuits because the pilots, perched far aft along the fuselage, had no visibility. The Ford, with its cockpit up front, plowed on through.

“Shortly afterward the Army began shoving its cockpits forward.

“The Ford rang up another ‘first’ by carrying Admiral Byrd to the South Pole, with Bernt Balchen at the controls. Only by tossing out 250 pounds of precious provisions were Balchen and Byrd able to squeak the indomitable Tri-Motor over one towering mountain barrier. That famous ship is now on exhibition in the Ford Museum in Dearborn.

“Recently two incidents have given Stout renewed pride in his rugged offspring.

“One involved a package received in the mail, containing a piece of corrugated metal. With it came a letter from an Air Force General.

“He said that the piece of corrugated metal was cut from the tail of a Ford Tri-Motor. The plane – then 15 years old and long obsolete – was used to evacuate civilians off Bataan peninsula in the Philippines in that fateful year of 1942. Designer originally for 14 people and a 250-mile range, the plucky old crate was lurching off the ground with 24 people aboard and flying 500 miles over water twice a day. The Japanese finally strafed it and left it in a heap of rubble and the Air Force general salvaged a piece of it from the tail.

“‘Those Fords will fly as long as anyone wants to fly them,’ said Stout.

“Today, in the United States and in obscure place all around the world, people are taking Bill Stout at his word. Come war or peace, jets, rockets or guided missiles, the unconquerable old Ford Tri-Motor flies on – an airplane that is too tough to die.”

In 1953 Stout revisited his Tri-Motor concept. After testing a survivor he acquired the rights to manufacture the Ford 15-AT-D from the Ford Motor Co., albeit without the rights to the Tri-Motor trademark, which Ford was unwilling to relinquish.

On January 15, 1955, Stout and Robert Hayden, president of the Hayden Aircraft Corp. announced they were planning to build 1,000 new Tri-Motors which would be sold as the Bushmaster 2000. Stout passed away before Hayden commenced construction of the prototype and the project languished for the next decade, at which time theAircraft Hydro-forming Co. of California produced two examples of the Bushmaster, one in 1966, and the second in 1985.

Stout was at his home, 2211 19th Ave, Phoenix, Arizona, when he died of a sudden heart attack on March 20, 1956, his obituary appearing in the following day’s New York Times:

“W.B. Stout Dead; Aviation Pioneer; Designed the First All-Metal Passenger and Military Planes in America Dealt With 'Screwball' Ideas First Passenger Airline

“Phoenix, Ariz., March 20 (AP)--William Bushnell Stout, designer of the old Ford Tri-Motor plane, died of a heart attack at his home here today. His age was 76.

“Mr. Stout was technical and aviation editor of The Chicago Tribune in 1912.

“Dealt With ‘Screwball’ Ideas

“Tall, skinny tousled-haired, near-sighted Bill Stout dealt all his life, in a practical way, with what he called ‘screwball’ ideas. It was by screwball ideas, however, that the world progressed, he said in a characteristic, whimsical way; anyway, the world was always far out of date.

“Among his ‘screwball’ inventions was the Batwing, the first airplane with all the structure inside the thick wing, instead of the Wright Brothers’ type of biplane with outside struts. The Batwing was pronounced by Wilbur Wright himself as the plane of the future.

“Mr. Stout designed in 1925 the Ford Tri-Motor plane, the first American all-metal passenger plane and the kind of ship in which Admiral Richard E. Byrd later flew over the South Pole. He also built the first all-metal military plane, a torpedo plane for the Navy in 1922. He constructed the first gasoline-driven, high-speed, passenger rail car for the Pullman Company in 1933.

“Mr. Stout was born in Quincy, Ill. On March 16, 1880, the son of an itinerant Methodist preacher. His family, on both sides, had been settled in the United States since before the Revolution. Mr. Stout graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1904 as a mechanical engineer.

“He made a bare living at first, building toys and writing on do-it-yourself mechanics for newspapers and magazines. He became an editor of automotive trade magazines in Detroit, and then an associate of the Packard Motor Company, then tinkering with airplanes.

“In 1925 Mr. Stout sold his idea for an all-metal airplane to Henry Ford and became head of the Stout Metal Airplane Division of the Ford Motor Company.

“First Passenger Airline

“In 1926, he started the first all-passenger airline in this country with service between Detroit and Grand Rapids, Mich. A few years later he sold out to a predecessor of United Air Lines. He was also a founder of Northwest Air Lines.

“Of course, Mr. Stout was often ahead of his time. In 1931, he designed for Ford a ‘flivver’ of the air, a two-seater plane for every man costing under $2,000. The public did not buy them, however.

“In 1934, he designed the ‘scarab,’ a beetle-shaped automobile with the engine in the rear. In 1946, he developed this with a model featuring a light, Fiberglas body, no chassis and no axles. But the world’s motorists still insist upon conventional designs. In 1943, Mr. Stout designed a ‘helicar,’ a combination helicopter and automobile that was to carry the vacationing family far and fast, hopping over traffic, bodies of water and roadless forests. None was realized.

“In recent years he operated the Stout Research Laboratories in Phoenix.

“He is survived by his widow, Alma Raymond Stout, and a daughter.”

Stout donated his 1931 Sky Car prototype the the Smithsonian Institution, and it's currently part of the collection of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., although it's not currently on display.

The original Scarab (I) prototype, constructed in 1933-34, and driven by Stout on a cross-country propmotional tour during 1935, was relegated to sitting in a field behind Stout Engineering Laboratories into the mid-1940s when it was scrapped.

The fate of six of the nine Scarab (II)'s constructed in 1935-36 are known, and thankfully five survive.

According to Scarab owner and historian Ronald N. Schneider, after driving it for a reported 89,000 miles, Stout's personal Scarab (II) was parted out in order to make the 1946 Stout Project Y (aka Scarab III or Stout Y-46). The shell was transported to his Northern Michigan vacation home on Green Lake, Oakland County, and converted for use as a fishing shanty, which, after an unexpected  late-winter thaw, sank to the bottom of the lake.

Apparently two Scarabs were in the collection of Reno, Nevada hotelier William Harrah (b.1911-d.1978), as two current Scarab owners (Rich Taylor & Ronald N. Schneider) trace their cars back to the Harrah Collection auctions that followed his passing.

According to French industrial designer Philippe Charbonneaux (b.1917-d.1998) another surviving Scarab (II) was originally purchased by the editor of the Parisian based 'le Temps' newspaper (became 'le Monde' after War War II). He claimed it was used by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in North Africa after which it was presented to Gen. Charles de Gaulle. It was later sold to a travelling circus for use as a monkey-house, then acquired by Charbonneaux who put it on display in his museum, the Musee de l' Automobile Francaise in St. Dizier, France. In 1997 it was acquired and subsequently restored by Larry Smith, one-time chairman of the Meadow Brook Concours d’Élégance in Michigan.

The history of the plain-looking yellow Scarab pictured at the top of its Wikipedia entry (picture taken at a Geneoa, Italy auto exhibition in June of 1984) are unknown, however it's most likely Larry Smith's car, prior to its restoration.

Another Scarab (II), originally purchased by industrial designer Ray Russell, is currently owned by Lumberton, North Carolina's Richard F. Taylor, the author of the Scarab article in Special Interest Autos #32, (January-February 1976 issue), who purchased it at one of the Harrah Collection auctions in the early 1980's. Distinguished from the other Scarabs by its triple ventilation scoops in the rear quarters, it was recently restored and painted silver.

Two Scarab (II)'s - No. 3 and No.4 - are owned by Ronald N. Schneider of Franklin, Wisconsin; No. 3 was restored during the early 2000's and No. 4 was restored in 1989 - both are painted medium blue. The restored No. 4 car was acquired from H. Richard Stamm of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, who acquired it at one of the Harrah Collection auctions. It was Schneider's car that was featured in Vol. 29, No. 4, of Automobile Quarterly and in the November 1998 issue of Cars & Parts. Schneider's collection was featured in the January 2, 2005 airing of Dennis Gage's My Classic Car television program (season 9, episode 18) which aired on the now-defunct Speed Channel. Schneider entered Scarab No.4 in the 1989 Great American Race and unsurpisingly owns the sole surviving Stout travel trailer - he's pictured to the right with all three vehicles. Schneider owns Leon's Frozen Custard, a Milwaukee landmark located at 3131 S. 27th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin that was founded by his father in 1942.

Scarab (II) No.6, originally constructed for display at the 1936 Chicago Auto Show, was subsequently acquired by Philip K. Wrigley. The graphite-colored car was donated by the Wrigley family to the Detroit Historical Museum in 1964, and is currently on long-term loan to the Owl's Head Transportation Museum in Rockland, Maine. The Detroit Historical Museum also owns the Fiberglass-bodied 1946 Stout Y-46 prototype which is currently on loan to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

The Fiberglas bodied 1946 Stout Project-Y (aka Scarab II or Stout Y-46) prototype was donated to the Detroit Historical Museum in 1951 and is currently on display at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan.

There's a middle school in Dearborn that's named after him -  William Bushnell Stout Middle School, which also houses a large scale model of a Ford Tri-Motor.

Buddy L made a pressed steel Scarab replica that was first available during 1936. Painted red, they included a spring loaded motor that allowed them to propel across a flat surface. A limited number of blue- and silver-painted 1:43 scale Scarab II replicas were later manufactured by Brooklin - all three are extremely pricey today.

© 2014 Mark Theobald for

Appendix 1 US Patents:

USD49374 – Design for an automobile body - ‎Filed Apr 15, 1916 - ‎Issued Jul 11, 1916 to William B. Stout assigned to Scripps-Booth Co.

USD52066 – Design for an aircraft fuselage - ‎Filed Mar 1, 1918 - ‎Issued May 28, 1918 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1315050 – Wheel - ‎Filed Nov 28, 1917 - ‎Issued Sep 2, 1919 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1325054 – Aircraft - ‎Filed Nov 28, 1917 - ‎Issued Dec 16, 1919 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1377858 – Aircraft - ‎Filed Nov 27, 1917 - ‎Issued May 10, 1921 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1409612 – Golf Club - ‎Filed Jun 12, 1920 - ‎Issued Mar 14, 1922 to William B. Stout

US1443100 – Airplane - ‎Filed Apr 8, 1919 - ‎Issued Jan 23, 1923 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1464670 – Airplane - ‎Filed Mar 2, 1918 - ‎Issued Aug 14, 1923 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1517765 – Airplane - ‎Filed Mar 2, 1918 - ‎Issued Dec 2, 1924 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1558942 – Airplane - ‎Filed Mar 2, 1918 - ‎Issued Oct 27, 1925 to William B. Stout assigned to Packard Motor Car Co.

US1616008 – Gasoline tank - ‎Filed Feb 20, 1925 - ‎Issued Feb 1, 1927 to William B. Stout

US1767488 – Convertible chair - ‎Filed Jul 11, 1924 - ‎Issued Jun 24, 1930 to William B. Stout

US1760890 – Airplane landing gear - ‎Filed Jul 11, 1925 - ‎Issued Jun 3, 1930 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1785879 – Airplane control - ‎Filed Jul 11, 1925 - ‎Issued Dec 23, 1930 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

USD85212 – Airplane - ‎Filed May 11, 1931 - ‎Issued Sep 22, 1931 to William B. Stout

USD85213 – Fuselage for airplanes - ‎Filed Jun 22, 1931 - ‎Issued Sep 22, 1931 to William B. Stout

US1840643 – Airplane - ‎Filed Jul 11, 1925 - ‎Issued Jan 12, 1932 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1842055 – Airplane - ‎Filed Mar 28, 1930 - ‎Issued Jan 19, 1932 to William B. Stout

US1842736 – Air and water craft and method of making same - ‎Filed Dec 23, 1918 - ‎Issued Jan 26, 1932 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1857888 – Airplane landing device - ‎Filed May 21, 1929 - ‎Issued May 10, 1932 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1859807 – Airplane - ‎Filed Mar 28, 1930 - ‎Issued May 24, 1932 to William B. Stout

US1862102 – Airplane - ‎Filed Mar 29, 1919 - ‎Issued Jun 7, 1932 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1866680 – Airplane - ‎Filed Aug 11, 1928 - ‎Issued Jul 12, 1932 to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1869871 – Airplane - ‎Filed Jul 19, 1926 - ‎Issued Aug 2, 1932  to William B. Stout assigned to Ford Motor Co.

US1880520 – Airplane - ‎Filed Jul 16, 1930 - ‎Issued Oct 4, 1932 to William B. Stout

US1980233 – Airplane - ‎Filed Apr 20, 1932 - ‎Issued Nov 13, 1934 to William B. Stout

US1988671 – Automobile - ‎Filed Apr 27, 1932 - ‎Issued Jan 22, 1935 to William B. Stout

US2000360 – Automobile - ‎Filed Apr 27, 1932 - ‎Issued May 7, 1935 to William B. Stout

US2056217 – Railway car - ‎Filed Sep 2, 1933 - ‎Issued Oct 6, 1936 to William B. Stout assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2056219 – Car truck - ‎Filed Sep 2, 1933 - ‎Issued Oct 6, 1936 to William B. Stout assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2056220 – Car truck - ‎Filed Sep 2, 1933 - ‎Issued Oct 6, 1936 to William B. Stout assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2056223 – Brake system for vehicles - ‎Filed Oct 16, 1933 - ‎Issued Oct 6, 1936 to William B. Stout, Evan H. Wright, and Ora G. Blocher, assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2093535 – Rail car - ‎Filed May 28, 1934 - ‎Issued Sep 21, 1937 to William B. Stout, Everett Eugene Adams, Martin P. Blomberg and William H. Mussey assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2093579 – Railway car - ‎Filed Sep 2, 1933 - ‎Issued Sep 21, 1937 to William B. Stout assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2119655 – Bus body construction - ‎Filed Aug 19, 1936 - ‎Issued Jun 7, 1938 to William B. Stout assigned to Gar Wood Industries Inc.

US2124088 – Engine mounting - ‎Filed Feb 3, 1936 - ‎Issued Jul 19, 1938 to William B. Stout assigned to Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc.

US2155876 – Portable building structure - ‎Filed Nov 13, 1935 - ‎Issued Apr 25, 1939 to William B. Stout assigned to Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc.

US2161728 – Ventilator - ‎Filed Mar 23, 1936 - ‎Issued Jun 6, 1939 to William B. Stout assigned to Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc.

US2212757 – Base for portable houses - ‎Filed Jul 30, 1937 - ‎Issued Aug 27, 1940 to William B. Stout assigned to Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc.

US2230580 – Motorcar - ‎Filed Mar 26, 1934 - ‎Issued Feb 4, 1941 to William B. Stout, Everett Eugene Adams, Martin P. Blomberg and William H. Mussey assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

US2255194 – Building construction - ‎Filed Aug 1, 1939 - ‎Issued Sep 9, 1941 to William B. Stout and Frank M. Smith assigned to Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc.

US2395691 – Building with folding walls - ‎Filed May 25, 1942 - ‎Issued Feb 26, 1946 to Frank M. Smith assigned to Stout Engineering Laboratories Inc.

USD100000 – Articulated rail car - ‎Filed May 9, 1935 - ‎Issued Jun 16, 1936 to William B. Stout, Everett Eugene Adams, Martin P. Blomberg and William H. Mussey assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

USD100001 – Rail car body - ‎Filed May 9, 1935 - ‎Issued Jun 16, 1936 to William B. Stout, Everett Eugene Adams, Martin P. Blomberg and William H. Mussey assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

USD100002 – Rail car body - ‎Filed May 9, 1935 - ‎Issued Jun 16, 1936 to William B. Stout, Everett Eugene Adams, Martin P. Blomberg and William H. Mussey assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

USD106154 – Rail car or similar vehicle - ‎Filed Aug 10, 1935 - ‎Issued Sep 21, 1937 to William B. Stout assigned to Pullman-Standard Car Mfg. Co.

USD139028 – Stout airplane - ‎Filed Apr 13, 1944 - ‎Issued Oct 3, 1944 to William B. Stout assigned to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp.

USD139432 – Helicopter - ‎Filed Apr 13, 1944 - ‎Issued Nov 14, 1944 to William B. Stout assigned to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp.

Appendix 2 auto-related articles written by William B. Stout:

Motor Age, September 11, 1913: ‘The Reason for the Cyclecar’

Motor Age, September 18, 1913: ‘Cyclecar Development: The Cyclecar - an Opportunity’

The Automobile, December 11, 1913: ‘The Possibilities of the Cyclecar’

SAE Transactions, Vol IX, Part1, pub. 1914: ‘The Possibilities Of the Cyclecar’

Automobile Topics, January 10, 1914: ‘The Possibilities Of the Cyclecar’

The Automobile, January 15, 1914: ‘The Possibilities of the Cyclecar’

The Automobile, January 29, 1914: ‘Scripps-Booth’

The Automobile, February 19, 1914: ‘The Need for a Cyclecar Motor’ 

The Automobile, March 26, 1914: ‘Three Methods of Seating-Tandem, Staggered, Side-by-Side’

The Automobile, April 9, 1914: ‘Moves More Quickly, Quick in Traffic’ 

The Automobile, April 16, 1914: ‘Design Far from Perfect’

The Automobile, July 2, 1914: ‘Cyclecars Should Weigh Under 500 Pounds’

The Automobile, August 27, 1914: ‘Thinks the Light Car Solves the Economy Problem’

The Hub, October, 1914: ‘Cyclecar Described by a Partisan’

The Automobile, December 24, 1914: ‘Rigidity a Factor in Longevity’

The Automobile, June 24, 1915: ‘Scripps Booth’

The Automobile, September 9, 1915: ‘Scripps Booth’

Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal, November, 1915: ‘A Discussion of Eight-Cylinder Engines.’

The Automobile, June 1, 1916: ‘Art and the Motor Car’

Horseless Age, May 1916: ‘Scripps Booth’ - William B. Stout has been appointed general sales manager of the Scripps-Booth Company

Horseless Age, June 1916: ‘Scripps Booth’ - William B. Stout has been appointed general sales manager of the Scripps-Booth Company

The Automobile, August 16, 1917: William B. Stout has given up his duties as manager of the aircraft division of the Packard Motor Car Co., Detroit

The Automobile, May 30, 1918: William B. Stout, technical adviser to the Aircraft Production Board

The Automobile, June 20, 1918: Present Day Problems in Aeronautics

Naval Consulting Board Bulletin No. 3, August 1, 1918 - Problems of Aeroplane Development: ‘Aircraft Problems’

SAE Journal, Vol. IV, No. 1, January, 1919 issue:’ Opportunity of Aviation’

The Automobile, February 13, 1919: W. B. Stout, formerly of the Packard

The Automobile, June 26, 1919: Mr. Stout on the 900-Lb. Car

The Automobile, July 3, 1919: Engineers Discuss Better and More Efficient Car

The Automobile, July 3, 1919: United Aircraft Corp.

The Automobile, December 18, 1919: Stout Engineering Laboratories, Inc.,

The Automobile, December 16, 1920: The Stout Plane

The Automobile, October 6, 1921: Manufacturing Possibilities Offered by Duralumin

Aviation, January 16, 1922: ‘Requirements For Commercial Aircraft’

The Automobile, October 26, 1922: ‘Only by the Superiority of American Duralumin’

Scientific American, March 1, 1922: Duralumin: The Properties and Commercial Possibilities of This New Alloy

The Automobile, July 3, 1924: A Factory for the Stout Metal Airplane

The Automobile, April 2, 1925: Stout Metal Airplane Co.

Popular Mechanics, September, 1932: 'The Motor Car of the Future'

Popular Mechanics, February 1934: 'Air-Minded Railroading'

Scientific American, March 1, 1934: The New Terranautics: The Findings of the Wind Tunnel Are Not Always Applicable to the Design of Motor Cars

Cycle And Automobile Trade Journal, February 1935: The Stout Rear-Engined "Scarab"

The Automobile, November 2, 1935: Stout Announces A New Scarab

Scientific American, December 1, 1935: Progress In This Age of Science

Appendix 3 Videos featuring Stout-designed vehicles:








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

William B. Stout - The Boy's Book of Mechanical Models, pub. 1916

William B. Stout - 'What the Traveling Public Wants in the Future, SAE Journal Vol. 33, September 1933 issue

William B. Stout - Design for the Eye!, Machine Design No. 5, September 1933 issue

William B. Stout & Franklin M. Reck – Tomorrow We Fly, Commercial Aviation and Air Transport, Present and Future, pub. 1943

William B. Stout - The Modern Airplane and All-Metal Construction, SAE Journal, Dec. 11, 1922 issue

William B. Stout - Wood Versus Metal for Airplanes, US Air Service, May 8, 1923 issue

William B. Stout - What’s coming in Aviation? Rotarian, January 1930 issue

William B. Stout - Bigger, Faster, Higher!, Rotarian, January, 1945.

William B. Stout - So Away I Went!, pub. 1951

Ford R. Bryan - Henry’s Lieutenants, pub. 2003

Bill Stout - Fortune, January 1941 issue

James M. Flammang - 1936 Stout Scarab, Collectible Automobile, Vol. 8 No. 1, June 1991 issue

Richard M. Langworth – Kaiser-Frazer: The Last Onslaught on Detroit, pub. 1975

Phil Patton - A Visionary’s Minivan Arrived Decades Too Soon; New York Times, pub. January 6, 2008

Rich Taylor – The Prophet: Stout’s 1935 Scarab, SIA #32, January-February 1976

Rich Taylor – 1936 Stout Scarab: 50 Years Ahead Of Its Time, SIA #123, June-July 1991

David A. Weiss - The Saga of the Tin Goose; The Story of the Ford Tri-Motor, pub. 1971

William T. Larkins - The Ford Tri-Motor 1926-1992, pub. 2004

Henry M. Holden - The Fabulous Ford Tri-Motors, pub.1992

Douglas J. Ingells & Ralph Dietrick - Tin Goose; The Fabulous Ford Trimotor, pub. 1968

Robert W. Marks – Detroit DaVinci: Inventor Bill Stout Makes His Practical Genius Pay, Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 7, 1940 issue

Joseph Stocker - Those Fabulous Flying Fords, Popular Mechanics, Vol. 99 No. 6, June 1953 issue.

Ted West & Bruce Feldman - The Great American Race  - Automobile Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 1

Thomas S. LaMarre - Stout's Scarab: A Challenge and a Prophecy  - Automobile Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4

Donald J. Bush - The Streamlined Decade

Ivan Margolius - Automobiles by Architects

Maurice Holland - Architects of Aviation, pub. 1951

Robert D. Cunningham - Orphan Babies: America's Forgotten Economy Cars, Volume 1, 1887-1927, pub. 2008

Robert D. Cunningham - Orphan Babies: America's Forgotten Economy Cars, Volume 2, 1927-1943, pub. 2010

Robert D. Cunningham - Orphan Babies: America's Forgotten Economy Cars, Volume 3, 1943-1969, pub. 2014

Robert D. Cunningham - Too Little Too Soon: America's Early Economy Cars, pub. 1994

S. Heller & L. Fili – Streamline

Rich Taylor – The Prophet: Stouts 1935 Scarab, SIA #32, January-February 1976

Rich Taylor - 1936 Stout Scarab; 35 Years Ahead Of Its Time, SIA #123, June 1991 issue

Bob Stevens - Stout Scarab; Novelty or Pioneer?, Cars & Parts, Vol. 41, No. 11, November, 1998 issue

Dave Brownell - 1936 Stout Scarab; Drive Report, SIA #123, June 1991 issue

Ed Technical – The Scarab; Proves Ease of Mounting of Compact V-8 Engine, Ford Field & Service Field, June 1936 issue

The Stout Rear Engined Scarab, Automobile Trade Journal, February, 1935 issue

Robert Cumberford - A Different Kind of Beetle, Automobile Magazine, March, 2005 issue

1936 Stout Scarab - Collectible Automobile, Vol. 8, No. 1

Stout Scarab, Cars & Parts, Vol. 41, No. 11; November, 1998 issue

Submit Pictures or Information

Original sources of information are given when available. Additional pictures, information and corrections are most welcome.

Click Here to submit pictures or information


quicklinks|buses|cars|customs|designers|fire apparatus|limos|pro-cars|taxis|trailers|trucks|woodies

© 2004-2014, Inc.|books|disclaimer|index|privacy