June 20, 2017


American Motors Corp. (1917-1923)

Plainfield, New Jersey

American Southern Motors Corp. (1920-1923)

Greensboro, North Carolina

Bessemer-American Motors Corp. (1923-1924)

Plainfield, New Jersey

This is an American radiator emblem (c1917)     mjs
Size: 90mm wide 57mm high   MM: Unknown

Production of the American started in 1917 with a 45 hp six-cylinder touring car, which had been designed by Louis Chevrolet, who was initially chief-engineer and vice-president of American Motors Corporation. The car was an assembled, medium priced car known variously as the American, American Six or American Balanced Six and from 1918 was offered in a wide variety of body styles.

In 1920 the American Southern Motors Corporation was set up in Greensboro, North Carolina to assemble and market the American in the Southern States.

The American ran into financial difficulties in 1921 but the company was reorganized in 1922 and business improved. In 1923 the company joined the Bessemer Truck Corporation and production of the American continued as the Passenger Car Division of Bessemer-American Motors but production of the American was phased out by the spring of 1924.


The American Six radiator emblem shown above displays the American Motors company logo with the letter "A" in a shield, which was also shown on the hub caps. This emblem is believed to have been used from 1917 and is very rare.

While Louis Chevrolet was chief engineer at American Motors Corporation, American cars also carried an "O.K. Chevrolet" signature badge on the dash to show that the cars had passed Chevrolet's test of quality. I have not seen this badge. If you have further information or a photo of this badge, please send details to add to this post.

The American was also known as the American Balanced Six and was advertised in this way from 1919. The American Balanced Six radiator emblem shown below displays a set of balancing scales and is very rare:

This is an American Balanced Six radiator emblem (c1919)     mjs
Size: 90mm wide 57mmhigh   MM: Whitehead & Hoag

In 1923 the American radiator emblem was replaced by a large cast metal emblem which was bolted to the top of the radiator. The emblem displays an eagle with outstretched wings carrying the American logo shield but with the word "AMERICAN" replacing the earlier letter "A", see example below, which is extremely rare:

This is an American radiator emblem (1923-1924)    mjs
Size: 198mm wing span

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