An article from the Tribune’s archives revealed Nov. 20, 1923, vividly described the thrill surrounding the grand opening of the Sterling-Knight vehicle showrooms within the Hippodrome constructing on Excessive Road.
The Sterling-Knight was a luxurious vehicle designed by James “Pete” Sterling and assembled in Warren from 1923 till 1926. The corporate produced about 700 automobiles at its manufacturing facility on Dietz Highway, however solely three are recognized to outlive, together with a 1925 5-Passenger Sedan that’s on exhibit on the Nationwide Packard Museum and is a part of its everlasting assortment of historic autos.
The Warren Tribune trumpeted information of the institution of the Sterling-Knight Firm in 1923 as “the re-establishment of the auto trade in Warren,” noting that “this metropolis was one of many pioneers within the automotive trade when the Packard was developed and manufactured right here.”
Sterling-Knight’s lineup included 5 fashions: a five-passenger phaeton; four-passenger double-coupe sport sedan; five-passenger sedan; four-passenger, four-door sport sedan; and three-passenger roadster. Costs ranged from $1,985 to $2,800.
Sterling-Knight autos had been powered by an progressive 6-cylinder inner combustion Knight engine that used sleeve valves as an alternative of the extra widespread poppet valve development. The Knight engine was first developed by American engineer Charles Yale Knight and patented in England in 1908. Pete Sterling’s lengthy affiliation with the sleeve valve engine started in 1909 when his boss, Cleveland automaker F.B. Stearns, despatched him to England to review the Daimler-Knight engine. As chief engineer for Stearns, Sterling was accountable for the engineering behind the Stearns Knight V-8 engine, launched in 1911.
In 1920, Pete Sterling resigned from the F.B. Stearns Co. with intentions to begin his personal automotive firm. The Sterling Knight Motor Co. of Cleveland was integrated in April 1921 with a capitalization of $1 million. The corporate bought a plant on Cleveland’s east aspect and introduced plans to fabricate a luxurious automotive at that website, however a post-war recession delayed manufacturing, forcing Sterling to hunt further monetary backing.
After a number of Warren-area sources, together with Newton A. Wolcott, then the president and co-owner of the Packard Electrical Firm, offered an extra $1.5 million in capital inventory, the Sterling Knight Co. of Warren was integrated on Might 5, 1923. The reorganized firm acquired the previous Supreme Motors engine plant on Dietz Highway. As a result of that facility was only a few years previous and totally geared up to fabricate vehicle engines, manufacturing started shortly, with the primary automobiles delivered in August 1923.
Apart from the engines that had been manufactured in-house, Sterling-Knight vehicles had been assembled from elements bought from outdoors suppliers. Lots of these elements got here from native sources, together with the Philips Customized Physique Co. that crafted Sterling-Knight our bodies at its manufacturing facility situated within the former Basic Electrical Trumbull Lamp Plant on West Market Road.
Sterling Knight established dealerships in 13 cities throughout the nation, together with one in Los Angeles, however gross sales didn’t develop as shortly as anticipated. In late 1925, Sterling-Knight encountered critical monetary issues that quickly proved deadly. After the financial institution that financed manufacturing ran low on funds, Sterling Knight Co. was compelled to function on a money foundation.
Money owed, which had been incurred as early as 1924, mounted. The automaker hobbled on however, and manufacturing continued on a much-curtailed foundation till mid-1926, when the plant closed for good. Sterling-Knight went bankrupt in December 1926 and the Van Huffel Tube Co. bought the shuttered manufacturing facility in October 1928 for $75,000.
With the demise of Sterling-Knight, the promise of “the re-establishment of the auto trade” within the Warren space pale. Forty years later, in 1966, that promise was resurrected when a white Chevrolet Impala sports activities sedan rolled off the meeting line in Lordstown. By the way, the Tribune Chronicle’s writer, Helen Hart Hurlburt, who was a lifelong good friend and neighbor of the Packard household, bought that first automotive constructed at Lordstown.