June 03, 2020


Sunset Automobile Co. (1900-1906)

San Francisco, California

Victory Motor Car Co. (1906-1913)

San Jose, California

This is a Sunset 30 radiator script (1909)      sam
Size: 365mm wide

The Sunset Automobile Company started in 1900 by producing a small steam runabout. A new 10 hp two-cylinder gasoline engine powered Sunset runabout replaced the Sunset steamer in 1904. Touring and surrey models joined the roadster model early in 1906, together with a new 20 hp four-cylinder car. But then disaster struck and the Sunset factory was destroyed by the San Franciso earthquake in April 1906.

The Sunset Automobile Company teamed up with the Knapp Manufacturing Company and the Victory Motor Car Company took over production of the Sunset at a new factory built in San Jose. Three 15 hp Sunset models were offered for 1907, a two-cylinder runabout, a three-cylinder runabout and a three-cylinder touring. A new roadster model was introduced in 1908, which had some success in local racing events. A new Model 30 appeared in 1909 and was available in roadster and touring body styles.

The history of the Sunset after 1909 is confused. Some references suggest that production of the Sunset did not proceed into 1910, when the key figures in the management left the company. The Standard Catalog refers to a 1913 report that the Sunset was being built under the aegis of the California Motor Car Company but the Sunset factory in San Jose was sold that year.


Early Sunset steamer and gasoline cars did not have a radiator and would not have carried an emblem but most likely did have a small maker's nameplate attached to the body.

Later Sunset models probably displayed a brass radiator script, as was the case for the Sunset Model 30 in 1909, see example shown above at the top of this post. Original Sunset radiator scripts are very rare.

It is possible that some later Sunset models had a radiator emblem but I cannot confirm this. If you have any details of a Sunset radiator emblem, please let me know, in order to update this post.

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