June 02, 2024


Stafford Motor Car Co.

Topeka, Kansas (1908-1910)

Kansas City, Kansas (1910-1915) 

This is a Stafford radiator script (1908-1911)   sam
Size: 203mm wide 

Terry Stafford was a talented mechanic from Topeka, who engineered the Smith car, but left to set up the Stafford Motor Car Company in Topeka in 1908 to produce the Stafford car.  He moved his operations to Kansas City in 1910.

The Stafford was a 30 hp four-cylinder touring car and there was a lower priced companion roadster model. Terry Stafford engineered his own transmission and drive units but he could not compete with the growing competition and production ceased in 1915 after a total production of just under 500 cars.


Early Stafford cars at least carried a brass "Stafford" script attached to the radiator core, see example at the top of this post. Original Stafford radiator scripts are very rare.

The following original period photo, labelled as a 1911 Stafford touring, appears to show the "Stafford" script still being displayed on the radiator core, although the detail is unclear:

Stafford Touring displaying radiator script (1911)  dpl
The following photo is reported to show the only surviving Stafford car, a restored 1911 Stafford touring car, which is believed to have been used as a racing car for promotional purposes. This car has a round radiator emblem displaying the monogram "SMC", presumably for "Stafford Motor Car". This emblem is not clearly visible in the original 1911 Stafford touring car photo shown earlier above but this may be due to the poor quality of the photo.

Restored Stafford touring race car (1911)     oldtimer-classiccars 

Close up showing Stafford radiator emblem (1911)

I do not know if this Stafford radiator emblem is a restored original emblem or if it was made specially for this Stafford car restoration. If this is a genuine restored original Stafford radiator emblem, it would be extremely rare and possibly ultra rare.

The restored 1911 Stafford touring race car shown above also displays the "Stafford" name in the same style as the original "Stafford" radiator script shown earlier, on the painted brass serial plate, the cast brass step plates and the cast brass foot pedals, see photos shown below:

Stafford serial plate (1911)    conceptcarz

Stafford step plate (1911)     conceptcarz

Stafford foot pedal (1911)    conceptcarz

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