Ruxton- A Beautiful Car Nearly Lost to Time
This is the story of the Ruxton, a car that rivaled even Cords and Duesenberg's, but was nearly forgotten through the passage of time.
Ruxton, it's a name you may have heard of once or twice, maybe you've seen one in person at a Concourse event, but the Ruxton, like so many other wonderful cars of the time, fell subject to lawsuits, money troubles, and many other problems caused by the Great Depression, which killed Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg. So begins the story of Ruxton.
A timeless classic.
In the summer of 1928, William Muller, a lead engineer at Budd Manufacturing Company (a maker of automotive body's) decided to make something revolutionary. After managing to convince the management that it was a feasible idea, set out to produce a front wheel drive luxury car, grander and more beautiful than any other car on the market, the Ruxton. (though at the time, it had no name.) A front wheel drive prototype was developed, (with the intended purpose of being a concept that would then be sold to a company to produce, with Budd bodies for the car.) The prototype was designed by Joseph Ledwinka, with a Studebaker 6 engine, a 130 inch wheelbase, and a height of about 63 inches (many cars though, were over 10 inches higher than this at the time.)
Here is the prototype Ruxton Model C.
After all this, a free-wheeling promoter, and financier became quite interested in the car. Archie Andrews, who had several board directorships, decided to take the project under his wing, and promoted it to the Hupp Motor Company. But with no success, so, Andrews decided to just manufacture, and promote the car himself, and organized New Era Motors, based right with an office in the middle of New York City. And, of course, they didn't even have a factory, but the good news was that Muller's prototype was complete, sporting the famous Woolite cat-eye headlamps, and a Continental straight-eight engine. After many other tries with many other companies, Andrews finally struck gold, Moon Motor company had agreed to build the car. But unfortunately, the company was in dire financial straits, and hoped this car would lift them out of their money troubles. Andrews managed a piece of Moon stock in exchange for the patent rights of the Ruxton, which then led to trouble, as Andrews decided to appoint his own people at Moon, including Muller.
A beautiful car, unfortunately doomed from the beginning.
After Andrews appointed people at Moon, the former president, C.W. Burst, decided to barricade himself and his officers inside the production plant. Then Andrews and his gang decided to break into the production plant with a court order in hand. Thus came the end of the partnership with Moon, as many lawsuits and a massive court battle followed soon afterward. The production switched through many different companies, such as Windsor and Kissle. After all this, the Kissle brothers, decided to let their company fall into Andrews hands, and received part ownership of the Ruxton. And, inevitably, soon after, both those companies became bankrupt (fun fact: the case with Moon didn't end until about 1965!) Andrews then proceeded to become president of the Hupp Motor Company, before he was quickly fired by the board of directors. Sadly, Ruxton died in 1930, with Andrews dying about eight years later.
An exciting and wonderful car, that met a sad and common end like many cars of its time.
Overall, there were around 500 cars that were built, and none were sold until around 1932. Most were roadster and Sedans, but there were a few that were custom. They were really spectacular cars though, with a wonderful sounding straight-8, front wheel drive, and beautiful looks. The cars front wheel drive system, and the advertisements claimed the car was the first front wheel drive car in the world, which was officially given to the Cord L-29, but actually, the Ruxton prototype was built earlier, but Cord actually made it into production. One thing that set them apart from other cars of the time, though, was the fact that they had no running boards, which was quite unusual, the car's symbol was of a majestic griffin, although the company met a not-so-majestic end. One funny thing, was that the car was named after William V.C. Ruxton, who funnily enough, took Andrews to court over it. Thus came the end of the Ruxton. But go ahead and take some time to admire the wonderful car in all its glory.