Rock River Valley Chapter Studebaker Drivers Club
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Walter E. Flanders

Name Sake of the Flanders Model 20

Before the Flanders Model 20:

Walter E. Flanders, born March 4, 1871, Waterbury, Vermont.   The son of Dr. George Flanders and Mary (Goodwin) Flanders, the oldest of three children.

As an adult, he found employment as a machine tool salesman and was also an expert in their use and placement for manufacturing.   While setting up machine tools in the Ford Plant in Detroit in 1906, Henry Ford found him to be so skilled and ingenious at Plant Layout and Work Management that he hired him on the spot, giving him the title “Works Manager” of the Piquette Plant.   Charles Sorensen, of Ford Motor Co. often credited Flanders with making heavy contributions to the early success of the Ford Motor Company.   He helped tremendously to orient Ford’s production operations toward the coming era of mass production.   This included introducing the concepts of fixed monthly output and of transferring some of the carrying of parts inventories from the Ford Company to its suppliers.   It also included rearranging the layout of machine tools in the plant with a view to the orderly sequence of operations.   This work formed a foundation on which others at Ford would build as they spent the next five years (1908–1913) developing the concept of a true modern assembly line.

However, as Flanders was an extremely outspoken individual, who liked to smoke cigars and tip a few, he likely has problems with the straight-laced Ford Organization, so it should have been no surprise, when he left Ford in April of 1908.   A Short time later, it was announced that he had teamed up with Everitt and Metzger to form E-M-F.   This company acquired the plants and properties of the “Wayne Automobile Company” and the “Northern Automobile Company” in Detroit and Port Huron, Michigan; with the express intention of manufacturing the “EMF Model 30“, a low priced high volume, four cylinder car.

Nearly as soon as the plan was put together, enter Studebaker who reached an agreement with EMF to take half of the output to sell through their extensive world-wide sales distribution.   It is unknown if EMF ever sold any cars, other then through Studebaker, as early in 1909, shortly after initial EMF Model 30 production began, Studebaker purchased the Stock of Everitt and Metzger, gaining about 1/3 of the capital stock.   Flanders became the chief executive officer and Fred Fish, general manager of Studebaker, became a director, making close ties between the two companies.

Now for the Flanders, our featured Car!

In the Summer of 1909, EMF announced it had purchased the “DeLuxe Motor Car” factory in Detroit.   It is largely rumored the purchase was financed by a loan from Studebaker. This newly purchased plant was to be used to produce a new car to be known as the “Flanders 20”, with production to began January 1st, 1910.   Flanders hoped to compete with Henry’s Model T Ford.   This car, designed by James Heaslet, was one of the first motor cars especially designed to allow for economical manufacture in large quantities.   Featuring unit construction of the motor, steering gear, and radiators on a special sub-frame, engineered for ease of assembly during manufacture.   The motor is four cylinder, cast en bloc construction with the exhaust manifold cast into the block.   A bore of 3 5/8 inch and a stroke of 3 ¾ inch allowed for a horsepower rating of 21.   Lubrication was splash, with automatic feed.   The clutch was leather faced cone type.   The transmission was a two speed slider, and the source of the greatest failure of the car (later models used the EMF 30 three speed transmission).   The Flanders 20 remained relatively unchanged during it’s three years, 30,707 unit, production run.   In 1910, two body styles were offered: a runabout for 2 passengers at $750, and a 4-passenger touring car at $790.   In 1911 prices were lowed: the model "20" runabout now cost $700, and the "suburban" (replacing the touring) was $725, also the price for a new 3-passenger roadster and the first closed car in the range, a coupe for 3 passengers, was priced at $925.   In its last year, the Model "20" added a touring car.   Like the Suburban, it cost $800.   The least expensive Flanders was the roadster for $750, followed by the runabout at $775. The Coupe was also slightly more expensive at $1,000.  The wheelbase was increased to 102 inches in 1912.

As Studebaker had acquired all the EMF stock in 1910, Flanders has become a Studebaker employee, continuing to run EMF until it’s end when Flanders and Studebaker parted company in 1912.   Studebaker replaced the EMF 30 and Flanders 20 with redesigned cars, releasing them as the new “Studebaker” Models 35 and 25 respectively for 1913, ending the EMF and Flanders models and names.

Flanders after Studebaker:

After Flanders separated from Studebaker, he became re-involved with his old partners Everitt and Metzger in another automotive venture, with little substance coming from those ventures.   On December 31, 1912, Flanders, created the Standard Motor Company as a shell; Standard bought U.S. Motor’s assets, free of debt, along with those of Flanders Motor Company.   One month later, Standard renamed itself to Maxwell Motor Company, to echo the name of its most popular car from the days of the “U. S. Motor Company”.   The Flanders Motor Company plant in Detroit was converted to make the Maxwell Six.   The company was valued at $47 million when this was all over — giving Flanders and his backers a good profit.   Maxwell Motor Company was later rescued by Walter P. Chrysler and became the foundation for Chrysler Corporation.   Flanders died in an automobile accident in 1923.
This is a circa 1911 Studebaker ad for the Flanders "20".
Note the front Badge is Studebaker, not Flanders, we are fairly sure this is just in the ad, no Flanders cars were badged "Studebaker" in 1911.
However, we do know that Studebaker
did offer all their EMF and Flanders car owners new Studebaker badges to replace their EMF and Flanders badges, after they released the first Studebaker cars branded as "Studebaker" in 1913.  As many as 12,000 of these badges may have been sent out to customers.  So it is possible to find an EMF or Flander car with a Studebaker Badge.