January 28, 2018


Imperial Motor Car Co. (1909)

Republic Motor Car Co. (1910-1916)

Hamilton, Ohio

This is a Republic radiator emblem (c1912)    khec
Size: 63.5mm wide 41.3mm high 
MM: Unknown (some Whitehead & Hoag)

A group of prominent local business men and industrialists with no previous experience of the automobile business, led by George Adam Rentschler, set up the Imperial Motor Car Company in 1909 but soon changed the name to the Republic Motor Car Company.

The Republic was a well made and attractive motor car and first appeared in 1910 as a four-cylinder 35/40 hp model and was offered as a touring and a torpedo roadster. A 43 hp six-cylinder model appeared in 1913 and was the only model available after 1913.

The Republic Motor Car Company also built some complete chassis with engines for the Ahrens-Fox Fire Equipment Company.

The Standard Catalog of American Cars reports that production of the Republic ended in January 1917, because of material shortages resulting from the First World War.  This may well be correct but John C Slade presented a different story in 1960 based on information received from ex-employees of the Republic Motor Car Company and from surviving relatives of George Adam Rentschler.

John Slade noted that the Republic did not have much of a dealership outside of the local area, although there were some sales outside this area. He says that production of the Republic actually ceased in 1913 most likely due to the growing competition from other motor car manufacturers and to the effects locally of a devastating flood in 1913. Republic cars offered from 1914 had apparently been assembled by the end of 1913.  

Production figures for the Republic are not known precisely but John C Slade suggests a total production of about 400 cars.


The enamel radiator emblem shown above is extremely rare. It is believed that this emblem came from a 1912 Republic. The Republic radiator to which the emblem is attached is closely similar to the radiator shown in a Republic brochure from 1912, see below:

This is a Republic radiator and emblem (c1912)      khec

This illustration is from a Republic brochure (1912) 

However, it is noted that the style of the lettering of the word "Republic" on the emblem is slightly different from the 1912 brochure and Republic advertisements from 1913, see example below:

This is a Republic advertisement (1913)

It is, therefore, possible that the Republic emblem shown above at the top of this post may be earlier than 1912 but this is not confirmed.

The emblem shown below is a Republic hub emblem and is very rare. It shows the same style of lettering as in the brochure and advertisement from 1912 and 1913 shown above.

This is a Republic hub emblem (c1912-1913)     dkc
Size: 54mm diameter

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