The National Motor Vehicle Company was an
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manufacturer of
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s in Indianapolis, Indiana, between 1900 and 1924. One of its presidents, Arthur C. Newby, was also one of the investors who created the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana Speedway is a town in Wayne Township, Marion County, Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States The United Sta ...

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
. The company first concentrated on
electric vehicle An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses), railed vehicles (trains, trams), wat ...

electric vehicle
s but soon began producing gasoline-engined cars. National produced a range of four, six, and twelve-cylinder passenger vehicles, as well as numerous successful racing cars. In 1923, National was merged into Associated Motor Industries, which subsequently went out of business in 1924.


Production models

National's first vehicle was the
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-steered electric runabout Style A in 1900. The single
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motor was situated at the rear of the car, producing 9
). A 4-speed herring bone
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmission ** Electric power transmission * Transmission (mechanics), a machine which provides controlled application of power * Transmission (telecommunications), the process of sending ...
was fitted. The reinforced wood-framed car could reach 15 mph (24 km/h). In 1903, the company began producing internal combustion-engined cars with four-cylinder engines made by Rutenber. Electric cars were dropped from production in 1905. For 1905, a circular
radiator Radiators are heat exchanger A heat exchanger is a system used to transfer heat between two or more fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or externa ...

became a styling signature of the National brand. National introduced one of the first six-cylinder engines in the 1906 model range, which remained available until the breakup of the company. Peak production for National was reached in 1915, with over 1,800 cars produced. For 1916, the company introduced the Highway Twelve, a 12-cylinder engine of the company's own design (costing over $1,900http://oldcarbrochures.com/static/Misc%20Brochures/1916%20Motor%20Cars/1916%20Motor%20Cars-05.html) and changed its name to National Motor and Vehicle Corporation. Curiously, the 6-cylinder engine option was priced higher than the 12-cylinder, perhaps because National outsourced the 6-cylinder to
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under the "Continental Red Seal" moniker. Forced to raise their asking prices to counteract the effects of wartime inflation, National ended up in a higher price range in which they could not compete. For 1920, National dropped their Highway Sixes and Twelves and issued a new model – the Sextet. The Sextet used a Continental side-valve six-cylinder, modified by National engineers with an overhead valve head.


The company was merged to form Associated Motor Industries in 1922 along with Dixie Flyer and
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. Associated was renamed the National Motors Corporation in 1923, and few cars were made until the company ceased production in 1924.

Sporting success

National had the most enviable and successful career of all of the American pre-World War I race cars. For instance, in 1911, in a combination of road races, speedway races, hill climbs and dirt track races, they won a total of 84 times, came in second 48 times and third 30 times. The Elgin National Trophy race as well as the Illinois Trophy was won by a National 6-cylinder in 1911. In 1912, Joe Dawson won the
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Indianapolis 500
in a National with an average speed of 78.7 mph. This was the first and only time a stock car ever won the Indianapolis 500.




* ''Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly'' (January, 1904) * Clymer, Floyd. ''Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925''. New York: Bonanza Books, 1950.

See also

List of automobile manufacturers This is a list of notable automobile manufacturers with articles on Wikipedia by country. It includes companies that are in business as well as defunct manufacturers. Only companies that have articles here are included. A Algeria * SNVI ...
List of defunct automobile manufacturers This is a list of defunct automobile manufacturers of the United States. They were discontinued for various reasons, such as bankruptcy of the parent company, mergers, or being phased out. A * A Automobile Company (1910–1913) 'Blue & Gold' ...
{{IndianapolisCars Battery electric vehicle manufacturers Motor vehicle manufacturers based in Indiana Defunct motor vehicle manufacturers of the United States Manufacturing companies based in Indianapolis Defunct companies based in Indianapolis
Chrysler {{Cat more, Chrysler Truck manufacturers of the United States Stellantis American companies established in 1925 Vehicle manufacturing companies established in 1925 Wikipedia categories named after vehicle manufacturing companies of the United State ...
Brass Era vehicles Veteran vehicles Vintage vehicles American companies established in 1900 Vehicle manufacturing companies established in 1900 Vehicle manufacturing companies disestablished in 1923 1900 establishments in Indiana 1923 disestablishments in Indiana 1923 mergers and acquisitions Electric vehicle manufacturers of the United States