William B. Stout 1880-1956
Stout was a critic of the teardrop form adopted by Fuller and Bel Geddes. According to Stout, the effect of cross-winds on a true teardrop is to create a vacuum on the lea-side. Unlike an airplane, an automobile needs to stay on the road, and cannot afford to drift sideways to compensate in the presence of crosswinds. Therefore, according to Stout (who was Fuller's friend) streamlined vehicles ought to resemble turtles, crabs or beetles, rather than birds or fish.
Stout Motor Car Corp & Engineering Lab - 2124 S. Telegraph St. Dearborn, MI
William B. Stout, inventor of tri-motor airplane, also designed and built Scarab Automobile in Dearborn. The Scarab was aerodynamic vehicle with a rear engine mount. In 1945, Owen Corning, working with William Stout, developed the Stout-Scarab auto. This prototype, which never made it into production, was the first car with a FRP (Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic) body.
Stout Engineering was incorporated in 1929. Initially the lab was devoted to aeronautics work but in 1932 Stout decided to build a car employing the latest technology. The Stout Motor Car Corp. was established in 1934. Stout named his car the "Scarab" because "like the Egyptian Beetle it had an exoskeleton". The Scarab debuted in 1935. Only 9 of these unusual looking cars were built between 1932-1939 but their influence far outstripped their meager production. The lab was used for Stout's aircraft projects as well.
William Stout (1880-1956)
William Stout was an ďImagineerĒ and an early pioneer in the fields of motor vehicle manufacturing and aviation. He was primarily known for his unique designs of airplanes, automobiles, busses and trains. His engineering interests from motorcycles, to automobiles, and airplanes.
Stout was born on March 16, 1880, in Quincy Illinois and attended the University of Minnesota. Though severe eye problems kept him from graduation, Stout continued his interest in engineering by later lecturing graduates on aviation.
While working as a writer at the St. Paul (Minnesota) Dispatch, Stout purchased a motorcycle, which earned him a position at the Scripps-Booth Automobile Company. The Stout 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. Seating was designed so women could ride side-saddle.
In 1909, Stout became Chief Engineer for the Schurmeier Motor Car Company of St. Paul. There he designed two motorcycles while also working part-time for the Chicago Tribune as a technical writer. He became Advertising Manager for McIntyre Motor Company in 1914, and created the Imp Cyclecar, a small vehicle powered by a V-2 motorcycle engine with friction drive and an automatic transmission containing four speeds. Stout continued his writing for various publications and became Chief Engineer for Scripps-Booth Motor Company in Detroit during 1915. He worked on the first Scripps-Booth motor car, a 4-cylinder shaft-drive model featuring a step-down frame, steering wheel horn button, wire wheels, electric door locks controlled by a single button, built-in trunk and electric starter.
Stoutís aviation career began as a result of his success in his automotive efforts. His Cyclecar caught the attention of Alvan MacCauley who subsequently brought Stout to Packard Motors in Detroit. In 1916, Stout became Chief Engineer of Packardís Aircraft Division. He developed a thick wing monoplane and his design of an internally braced cantilevered wing improved the efficiency of aircraft. This led to the development of the famous Batwing Plane and the all metal Torpedo Plane. After his career at Packard Motors, he left for Washington to serve as the advisor to the United States Aircraft Board.
In August of 1925, Stout inaugurated Stout Air Services, which operated the first regularly scheduled airline in the United States. Stout also built the Liberty-powered all-metal monoplanes to initiate this service. Later, between 1928-1932, Stout designed Ford Trimotors and flew passengers and Ford cargo between Dearborn, Chicago, and Cleveland. And, in 1929 Stout sold Stout Air Services to United Airlines.
After the Great Depression reduced sales of the Trimotor planes in 1929, Stout left Ford in 1930. Although no longer with Ford, Stout continued to operate his Stout Engineering Laboratory.
It was at his own laboratory, that he conducted research and development on experimental devices. Anxious to apply his aviation theories to the automobile, Stout centered his efforts into the development of an innovative automobile called the Scarab. It was an all- aluminum tubular airframe covered with aluminum skin, with the engine compartment at the va 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.
Stoutís other innovations included the Skycar, an automobile/airplane hybrid; and a Pullman Railplane and Club Car. He is also known as the originator of prefab housing and the sliding car seat. All of these innovations were modem in design, incorporating many features new in both appearance and function, features not yet available in vehicle design.
Stoutís mind never retired. In 1951, the year he wrote his autobiography he visualized the skies filed with aircraft design as birds with flapping wings. He also envisioned machines that could reproduce themselves.
William B. Stout (1880-1956) is remembered in aviation for his part in the design of the famous Ford Tri-Motor
"Tin Goose" and in automotive circles for the Scarab, nine of which were built. His credo "Simplicate. Add
lightness" was reflected in the Scarab design by eliminating running boards (allowing a wider body interior),
placing the engine in the rear and incorporating a smooth airflow body, based on unit construction (no frame as
Born in Illinois, Stout came to Michigan as an automotive designer in 1914. During World War I he turned to aviation. In 1922 he produced America's first all-metal plane, a navy torpedo plane. The same year he organized the Stout Metal Airplane Company. In the next two years he built America's first successful commercial metal planes. The company occupied the new airplane factory at the Ford Airport in 1924 and became a division of the Ford Motor Co. in 1925. While he was the division's consulting engineer the Ford tri-motor was developed. In 1926 he founded the Stout Air Services, this countries first regularly scheduled passenger airline. Later, in his Dearborn workshop, Stout designed the "Sky Car," a combination airplane and automobile; the "Rail Plane," a gas-driven railroad car; a collapsible "House Trailer," and the "Scarab Car," a spacious, rear-motor auto.
Talk about oddball. Over on the left, surrounded by gob-smacked on-lookers is Ron Schneiderís 1936 Scarab. Heard about the minivan craze in the US? This was the vehicle that pre-dated it by half a century. Itís the perfect people-carrier; seating for seven, moveable seats, fold-down card table, flow-through ventilation, and a woven wicker roof. Power came from a rear-mounted V8, and the suspension was all-independent. It was designed by aircraft engineer William B. Stout, and is one of only seven built.
W ILLIAM B. S TOUT worked 1913 as a journalist in Detroit, when he developed his first car. It gave its occupation up and worked for different automobile companies. 1932 it created the Stout engineering Laboratories in Dearborn, Michigan, thus in the same city as the Fords engine CO whose V8-Motor used it also for its mistkaefer (" Scarab ")
The roofridge one which built in 1932, and it went through several years OF refinement before A working production prototype hit the road in 1935. During ' 35 and ' 36, he would build about helped A dozen Scarabs, with three going tons anonymous Hollywood of celebrities. The Scarab pay for $5.000 A CoPy, RK A time when even A luxurious senior luggage pool of broadcasting corporations could had for $2.500 tons of $3.500 and on ultra luxury luggage pool of broadcasting corporations V-12 for 4,000.
In its originals, the Stout Scarab which concept brimming with innovation. For The roofridge one, A prototype larva in 1932, featured A body OF lightweight aluminum, A power team combining the then fashionable Fords flathead V-8 with A Stout modified three speed manual transaxle, and A roomy interior with observation cover style seating and visibility. It which unique in on era plagued by boxy Designs, conventional drive LINES and cramped, confined interiors. But then its designer which NO ordinary one.
Stout was once an editor at Motor Trend? or MoTor?
Still another STOUT development: the flying car. 1949 were built a similar vehicle, the Aerocar, this however remained only one idea.
The Aerocar was developed by MOLT ( MOULTON) TAYLOR after the Second World War and built in several remarks.
OF all the Aerocars built the most famous is the one pay ton of B WHETHER C UMMINGS from the hit T.V. Show. He used the Car as on intro tons his show and thus as personal transportation around the country. The same car which thus used for some time as A Traffic watch aircraft for the radio station KISN out OF haven country Oregon. This car since 1988 has been proudly owned by E D and S ANDRA S WEENEY . For at airplane built into the 50's flys great and has been RKS the read two EAA OshKosh Conventions it quietly plus numerous airshows. OD has been upgrading the car lately ton improve safety and ADD power.
Here's an extremely rare example of the super-streamlined Stout Scarab, looking beetle-like as its namesake. Only nine of these advanced cars, which embodied designer William B. Stout's motto "Simplicate!", were built in the mid Thirties. In addition to technologically advanced features such as a V8 rear engine and unit body construction, the Scarab had a spacious, almost minivan-like interior.
Stout intended the Scarab to be a luxury touring car, so he gave it movable seats and a flip-up table, among other amenities. Care to stop for lunch on the road, or perhaps a game of cards in the evening? The Scarab was just short of being a mini-motorhome...all it needed was a fold-out bed. But at $5,000 this innovative but odd-looking beast cost a thousand dollars more than a top-of-the-line Packard. Not enough wealthy buyers were attracted to the innovations, and the Scarab soon scuttled off the stage of atomotive history.
Arguably the single most peculiar vehicle in the museum was the mammoth 1913 Scripps Booth Bi-Autogo, a 3,200-pound cross between a car and a motorcycle. Intended as a three-person sports car, this monstrosity cost $25,000 to build (in 1913 dollars!) and never got off the ground commercially. It had two main wheels, making it technically the world's largest motorcycle (by far!)...but since there was no way anyone could deal with a 3,200-pound dead weight when the thing wasn't rolling, it also had a pair of "training wheels" (visible at the rear) that kept it balanced until the driver got the beast up to speed...at which point he would retract them.
But guess what? The chief engineer for Scripps-Booth in 1915 was...William B. Stout! The design wasn't Stout's, though--that dubious honor goes to company founder James Scripps Booth. It's a good guess that Stout was probably brought in to try to fix some of the Bi-Autogo's many quirks, including its chronic steering problems. (Reportedly the front wheel caster was such that the front end dropped about two inches on turns--and in order to straighten out again, the driver had to apply enough muscle power to lift the Bi-Autogo's ton and a half mass back up by that amount!) But even Stout's engineering brilliance was not up to the task of turning the Bi-Autogo into a going proposition. The example shown here is the only one ever built, something for which we can all be grateful.
PAST - William Stout introduced the Scarab in 1932 and gave himself a pat on the back for inventing a new type of vehicle.
If you thought minivans were an invention of the 1980s, think again! Sometimes the vehicle comes long before the market segment.
Though "Scarab" never became a household word, it anticipated today's minivan in form and function. Its designer and engineer, William B. Stout, described it for Popular Mechanics in 1942 as "bigger than a Buick, more powerful than a Cadillac, better riding than any previous car, yet 50% more economical, 50% lighter in weight and 50% more spacious inside than are present passenger vehicles."
An inveterate tinkerer, mechanic, inventor and promoter, Stout was best known for developing the famous Ford Tri-Motor airplane. He applied his aircraft experience to building this elegant, beetle-shaped "living room on wheels." The radical design might never have been produced even in good times, but the Great Depression and the following war ensured that the Scarab never reached its market.
Inside, the Scarab anticipated many of the features of today's minivan. Lots of headroom, movable seats, a fold-down table, and a large rear bench seat made it flexible and functional. With a space frame, no chassis and a rear-mounted Ford V8 engine, the Scarab is still a dream to drive. I know, because I got to drive one of the few remaining Scarabs in 1994. Now, does that make me a soccer mom? Only my demographer knows for sure.
The snub nosed Yank tank you see here on this page is probably one of the earliest known examples of what we know
today as the MPV. One could be forgiven for thinking of it as a bloated Volkswagen Beetle with a large slow revving
American V8 at the rear but the nearest the Americans had then seen of the Beetle was in Nazi propaganda pics and
America hadn't been dragged into the second world war yet!
1956 Stout Scarab
William B. Stout, designer of such famous products as Ford metal airplanes and streamlined Scarab cars, has been experimenting with a "mobile house" essentially a trailer, its sides unbolt and unfold into additional cubage, comprising a living room, twin bedrooms, a dressing room and a kitchen. Yet even with such increased flexibility in design trailers are limited as to maximum size. Highways are the determining factor, for the mobile shelters must be able to cope with narrow road widths and sharp turns.
Prefabrication and mass productionóa trailer, the Stout mobile house.
Stout is quoted as saying, "Never resort to mathematics until you have exhausted the possibilities of two toothpicks and a piece of string."
THE STOUT SCARAB
A couple of readers have asked me for the background story on the Stout Scarab, after buying one of the Brooklin models of this extraordinary car. So, here is a brief account.
When I described the Curtiss Aerocar trailer caravan in a recent issue of MAR, designed by famous aircraft designer Glenn Curtiss, I touched on the frequent cross-overs between designers of cars, aircraft and other industrial products. Sometimes this is due to economic pressure, like Curtiss and Piaggio, who were forced by lack of government orders for aircraft after a world war to produce road vehicles (in Piaggio's case the Vespa scooter). Other aircraft firms who turned to road vehicles after war orders ceased include such names as Rumpler, Messerschmitt, Heinkel and Farman. In other cases the hubris of a great industrialist leads him to think he can be a leader in a different field as well. Both Austin and Ford tried to produce 'cheap' aircraft intended to bring flying to the masses to whom they had introduced cheap motoring. Many car manufacturers on the other hand, including such leading names as Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza, Packard and Renault, found themselves in aero-engine production under pressure from military and political interests. Another group which brings in different interest fields is that of industrial design, where names such as Loewy and Colani are well-known in automotive, railroad, maritime and aircraft design or styling.
STOUT'S EARLY DAYS
There is still one more personality type involved, however. This is the inveterate inventor. Notable car designers and builders such as Fred Lanchester and Gabriel Voisin also made their mark in other fields, due to their curiosity and inventive capabilities. William B Stout also falls into this latter category. In 1913, as an Editor with Motor Age magazine he designed a cyclecar typical of its era, which led to the Imp cyclecar built by the W H McIntyre company. He worked for Scripps-Booth as chief engineer from 1915, and in 1916 joined Packard's aircraft division, where aeronautics caught his imagination. He designed the first US cantilever-wing aircraft, the 2-AT mailplane, which interested Henry Ford sufficiently to buy his Stout Metal Airplane company in 1925, ordering a larger trimotor version which incorporated features pioneered by Fokker and Junkers, and which Stout hoped to operate in his Stout Air Services airline and mail service line. Stout's design increased the size of his 2-AT by adding two engines, on the centre line of the high wing. They were thus out of line with the central engine, which was set at the bottom of the exceptionally deep fuselage, which had an open cockpit perched on the top. This design was unsuccessful, and was re-designed for Ford by others, who put all three engines at the same level (by hanging the wing-mounted engines down on pylons and reducing the fuselage depth), creating the famous 4-AT, the classic Ford Tri-Motor. Stout was sacked by Ford when the initial design failed, but his concept was a good one, and once it was developed, it went on to great success until superseded by more modern designs like the Douglas DC-3. The Tri-Motor pioneered most air routes in the USA, the almost 200 aircraft which Ford built flying with over 100 airlines over time. Out on his own again, the indefatigable Stout turned to the design of the Stout Sky Car light aircraft in 1931. A later version was tested by the USAAF during the Second World War as the XC-65, but like so many of William Stout's brainchildren it never caught on with the buying public.
THE STOUT SCARAB
In 1932 Stout set up the Stout Engineering Laboratories in Detroit, and built the first experimental Scarab car from Duralumin, based on his aviation experience. In the current vogue of 'futuristic' designs like the Burney Streamline and the Sterkenberg (designed by John Tjaarda), the Scarab was rear-engined and of a modern 'streamlined' shape. It was powered by a Ford V-8 engine in unit with a three speed transaxle, Stout staying faithful to his ex-employer for the power unit. The large internal volume was flexible, in the fashion of a 1990s people-carrier. Seats were movable, and a table could even be erected. The early Dural prototypes led to the 'production' steel-bodied car in 1935, the version modelled by Brooklin. It had unitary construction and coil spring independent suspension all round, but its body design was regarded at the time as too clumsy and ugly, and less than half a dozen were built, in spite of advanced technology. Stout subsequently went on to war work.
A somewhat more stylish derivation of the Scarab was built in 1946, but it was no more commercially successful than its predecessors. When Joseph Washington Frazer of Kaiser-Frazer decided to enter car production, he acquired the venerable Graham-Paige make as a springboard into the auto industry. On closer investigation, however, it was apparent that their old pre-war designs would not be suitable for postwar buyers, so he engaged Bill Stout and Howard Darrin to design a radically new car derived from the pre-war Scarab. If it had been a success, Project Y would have been the first product-ion car with a fibre-reinforced plastic body, the concept of which was funded and sponsored by Owens-Corning Fiberglas, designed by Stout and styled by Darrin. Unfortunately, the resulting Project Y car was far too complicated and unbuildable, so it was replaced by a simpler Darrin design for a four door steel-bodied sedan which became the 1947 Frazer. Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was still interested in fibreglass car designs, however, and in 1952 they marketed the Kaiser-Darrin 161 sliding-door sports car.
Bill Stout was still convinced of the efficacy of the 30 year old Tri-Motor design. Accord-ingly he bought the rights to the design from Henry Ford II in 1954, and helped to establish the Hayden Aircraft Company, with the intention of putting a modified version back into production, but this company failed. The owners continued work on the prototype, however, and in 1966 The Aircraft Hydro-forming Company of California completed the prototype Bushmaster 2000. Plans to build 100 aircraft for bush airlines and military STOL COIN purposes came to nothing.
For more information please read:
William Bushnell Stout - So Away I Went!
Stout's Scarab - Automobile Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 4
Donald J. Bush - The Streamlined Decade
S. Heller & L. Fili - Sreamline
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