June 08, 2023


Commerce Motor Car Co. (1911-1922)
Detroit, Michigan
Commerce Motor Truck Co. (1923-1926)
Detroit and Ypsilanti, Michigan
Relay Motors Corp. (1927-1932)
Lima, Ohio

This is a Commerce truck radiator emblem (1927-1932)    mjs
Size: 88mm wide 44mm high  MM: Unknown

The first Commerce in 1911 was a 1/2-ton panel delivery truck powered by a four-cylinder engine and with chain drive. Capacity went up to 3/4-ton in 1914 and a 1-tonner was added in 1917. By 1922, Commerce had introduced larger trucks up to 2-1/2-tons capacity. In 1922 also, Commerce added a ten-passenger touring car to its line of vehicles. This Commerce car was produced for one year only. For 1926, there were major changes in specifications and six-cylinder trucks were offered.

Early in 1927, Relay Motors bought Commerce and moved truck manufacture to Lima, Ohio (see Relay). Commerce trucks were now the same as new Relay trucks and were available in eight models from 1-ton to 4-tons capacity. The Depression resulted in the end of the Commerce in 1932.


There is very limited information available regarding the emblems used by Commerce vehicles, particularly in the early years. 

The 1500 lb capacity Commerce truck, introduced in 1914 and which continued in production until 1919, is seen in Commerce advertisements as having a cast iron radiator with a ribbed radiator tank top but there is no evidence of an emblem or radiator script. However, the "Commerce" name was displayed on a black painted nameplate on the body side under the entrance to the driver's seat, see example shown below. It is possible that a similar body side nameplate was used on the first 1000 lb capacity Commerce delivery truck introduced in 1911 but I cannot confirm this.

Commerce ad with script logo (1916)  ebay

Commerce 1500 lb truck close up showing body side script nameplate (1916) 

This is an example of a Commerce body side script nameplate showing the "Commerce" logo script. This Commerce nameplate is rare.

This is a Commerce body side nameplate (c1914-1919)  mjs
Size: 344mm wide 95mm high   MM: None

The Commerce 1-ton truck introduced in 1917 continued to display the body side nameplate but also had a brass "Commerce 1-TON" script displayed on the radiator core, see example shown below. Original Commerce radiator scripts are very rare.

Commerce 1-ton truck ad (1917)   ebay

Commerce 1-ton truck ad detail showing radiator script & body side nameplate (1917)

The following Commerce 1-ton truck advertisement indicates that some models displayed the side nameplate on the chassis side frame member:

Commerce truck ad (1917)   ebay

Commerce 1-ton truck ad detail showing chassis side frame nameplate (1917) 

From about 1919 with the introduction of 1-1/2-ton and 2-ton trucks, heavier duty Commerce trucks had the "Commerce" name cast into the radiator tank top and in the radiator cap, see examples shown below:

Commerce heavy duty truck radiator (1919)  brc

Commerce radiator & rad cap emblems (c1919)   forums.aaca

The following photo shows a lighter duty Commerce truck from the early to mid-1920's with what appears to be an aluminum radiator shell carrying a winged radiator emblem:

This is a Commerce truck showing a winged radiator emblem (1920's)    transpressnz

This is the winged metal Commerce radiator emblem shown below:

This is a Commerce radiator emblem (1920's)   mjs
Size: 152mm wide 64mm high   MM: None

This Commerce radiator emblem is very rare and is thought to have also been used on the 1922 Commerce ten-passenger touring car, which was produced for one year only and very few were built.  

Emblem collectors should beware as there are colored enamel finished reproductions of this Commerce radiator emblem, see example shown below:

This is a reproduction Commerce radiator emblem   dkc

After the take over of Commerce by Relay Motors in 1927, the Commerce truck radiator emblem was changed to an oval shaped emblem. This is the black and red enamel Commerce radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. This Commerce radiator emblem is rare.

This is a Commerce truck radiator emblem (1927-1932)   mjs
Size: 88mm wide 44mm high   MM: Unknown

The following is a red painted hood side Commerce nameplate. This Commerce nameplate is scarce.

This is a Commerce truck hood side nameplate (1927-1932)  mjs
Size: 289mm wide 72mm high    MM: None

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