March 27, 2022


Monroe Motor Co. (1914-1916)
Flint, Michigan
Monroe Motor Car Co. (1916-1918)
Pontiac, Michigan
William Small Co. (1918-1922)
Stratton Motors Corp. (1923)
Monroe Motors, Inc. (1923)
Indianapolis, Indiana 

This is a Monroe radiator emblem (1914-1923)    mjs
Size: 86mm wide 39mm high   MM: Unknown

The Monroe started in 1914 as a venture between R F Monroe, as president, and William C Durant, as vice-president. There was a close link with Chevrolet and all the stockholders were also stockholders of Chevrolet. Manufacture of the Monroe began in an old Chevrolet plant and distribution was handled by the Chevrolet sales department. The Monroe-Durant collaboration was short-lived. In 1916 Durant resigned and Monroe moved into the former Welch plant in Pontiac. The company was reorganized as the Monroe Motor Car Company and R F Monroe decided to sell the Monroe himself. This he did for two years until he went bankrupt in 1918.

The Monroe assets were bought by the William Small Company of Indianapolis, the former distributor for Monroe in that city. The Monroe was now moved to Indianapolis and Louis Chevrolet was recruited as a consultant to help improve the design of the Monroe. Louis Chevrolet put together seven race cars, four of them under the Monroe name and three as Frontenac (see Frontenac). Gaston Chevrolet won the 1920 Indianapolis 500 in a Monroe, the first American car to win at Indianapolis since 1912. Shortly afterwards, in August 1920 the William Small Company went into receivership.

Production of the Monroe continued at a reduced rate until 1923 when the Monroe business was finally purchased by Frederick Barrows of Premier. The final Monroe cars were sold as the Premier Model B.


The Monroe carried the same blue and white enamel Monroe radiator emblem throughout the life of the Monroe, see example shown above at the top of this post. This Monroe radiator emblem is rare.

The first Monroe cars also displayed the "Monroe" name on the hubcaps, see example shown below:

This is a Monroe hubcap (1914-1916)   dkc

The following is a later Monroe Hayes wheel hub emblem. This hub emblem is rare.

This is a  Monroe hub emblem (1917-1923)    mjs
Size: 56mm diameter   MM: None

Some surviving Monroe cars display the "Monroe" name on a brass radiator script, see example shown below:

This is a Monroe car with a radiator script (1917)     nam/alamy

Other surviving Monroe cars display the "Monroe" name on a panel across the radiator, see examples shown below:

This is a Monroe with radiator name panel (1915) darkphoenix975 

This is a Monroe with a radiator name panel (1915)  justacarguy 

However, original illustrations in Monroe advertisements and original period photos do not show any radiator scripts or radiator name panels features, see examples shown below:

Monroe with rad emblem but no script (1916) ebay

Monroe at Cleveland Auto Show without script or name panel (1917) freelibrary

This suggests that Monroe radiator scripts and name panels were not attached at the factory and may have been added much later during restoration.

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