February 11, 2020


Phianna Motors Co.

Newark, New Jersey (1917-1918)

Long Island City, New York (1919-1922)

This is a Phianna radiator emblem (1917-1918)    sam
Size: 60mm diameter    MM: Unknown

The Phianna name came from Phyllis and Anna, the twin daughters of one of the organizers of the Phianna Motors Company. Phianna Motors grew out of the demise of the S.G.V. Company of Reading, Pennsylvania (see S.G.V.) when a group of businessmen bought the S.G.V. assets and transferred operations to Newark, New Jersey. 

The first Phianna in 1917 was a small 25 hp four-cylinder model with a patented oval-shaped radiator. Like the S.G.V., the Phianna was a precision-built and expensive motor car, but did not sell well and production ceased in 1918.

Miles Harold Carpenter was impressed with the high quality of the Phianna. He took over Phianna and moved the business to a new factory in Long Island City where he redesigned the Phianna. The new car was beautifully designed and crafted with a longer wheel base and custom-built coachwork. The oval radiator was replaced by a Rolls-Royce type radiator. The car was introduced at the New York Automobile Show in October 1919 with price tags up to $11,500 for a limousine.

The Phianna was clearly meant to be a prestige automobile for the wealthy few. Indeed, it was bought by members of European royal families and diplomats in America. During 1921 there was a plan to build a much larger six-cylinder Phianna but the post First World War depression was too much for the Phianna and the last Phiannas were built from parts on hand in 1922.

Total production of the Phianna was about 300 cars.


The Phianna was targeted at a wealthy clientele from the outset, see example 1917 Phianna advertisement shown below, which includes a tiny front view showing the oval shaped radiator and a round emblem:

Phianna advertisement (1917)   ebay

The first Phianna cars using the oval radiator had a circular radiator emblem, see original period photo shown below:

 1917 Phianna showing round radiator emblem   coachbilt

This is the black painted brass Phianns radiator emblem, shown above at the top of this post. This Phianna radiator emblem is extremely rare.

The later Phianna cars from 1919 used a Rolls-Royce type radiator and carried a different radiator emblem, see original period photo shown below:

1919 Phianna showing new radiator emblem   coachbilt

This is the black painted cast metal Phianna radiator emblem shown below. This Phianna radiator emblem is very rare.

This is a Phianna radiator emblem (1919-1922)    mjs
Size: 80mm wide 21mm high    MM: Unknown

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