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:: [  Probably cca 1921 Harroun AA2 Tourer   ] ::



We at the Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society have an active Help Page on our website where the general public can get free assistance with identification of old cars from old photographs. While searching for answers we often come across photographs of interesting vehicles which we put aside for later study and investigation. One such case is the photo above showing a car that we had not been able to identify at the time.

The photo is titled “Hough-McRae Motor Co”. The car dealership in the background is for Harroun Cars. Roy Harroun was the first winner of Indianapolis and later went to make his own car. Our suggestion is that he could be the figure on the left. He manufactured about 2,000 cars called the Harroun A1 or AA1 during 1917 – 1921.  He then introduced the Model AA2 in 1921 shortly before production stopped.. We have not been able to find any pictures of the AA2 to be able to compare and wondered if the car in this photo is one of them? The slight worry is that the radiator and bonnet seen very familiar, being similar to other American cars of the period. The rest of the car does have close similarities to the AA1. The license plate is a 1919 Michigan dealer/manufacturer's type.



We contacted the AACA Forum in the USA who have been very helpful in the past and further digging revealed that the photo was taken at "Hough-McRae Motor Company showroom at 3829 South Fox Street in Englewood Arapahoe County Colorado" and confirms the Harroun car connection. However, search on Google streetmaps suggests the address is very much in a residential area?

AACA Forum contributors suggested that the car was of pretty generic design, although it is lacking an manufacturers logo or emblem. Perhaps the best clue as to its identity is the epilogue in the Wikipedia article on the Harroun Motor Co. "After the war, the company tried to get started again, creating a new model for 1922 sales year. Representatives took the car on a tour from Detroit to Montana and on to Denver to prove its reliability. The picture is probably an image from that trip. It shows a car that is obviously brand new (the paint still has some "shine" to it!) with a Michigan manufacture/ dealer license plate. Hurroun cars were built in Wayne, Michigan, and this one is parked in front of a Harroun dealership in Colorado. This is probably the prototype, or early production model, or it wouldn't sport that license plate. It appears to have been driven to Colorado from Michigan a little worse for wear. Also according to that entry, this was also the company's swan-song as they halted production in 1922 and their assets were sold off in 1923.



By way of history, Wikipedia advises that "Ray Harroun was born on January 12, 1879 and died January 19, 1968. Nicknamed the "Little Professor" for his pioneering work in creating, with Howard Marmon, the Marmon Wasp, which was a revolutionary design being the first open-wheel single-seater racecar. Harroun is best known for winning the first running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 30, 1911. He is known to have started at least 60 AAA-sanctioned races, during the years 1905–1911. From 1909 to 1911, Harroun drove primarily for the team operated by Indianapolis-based auto maker, Marmon. However, at least one 1909 race result shows him driving a Buick. Also, statistics from 1905 through 1908 show him driving cars described as "Harroun Custom" and "Harroun Sneezer." In 1916, Harroun started his own automobile company in Wayne, Michigan, called the Harroun Motor Car Company. The venture folded after World War I, and today a street in Wayne is named for him. In 1927 he joined Lincoln Products, and he continued to work in the automotive industry until his retirement at age 79. " 

Interesting to note on the photo above and on the photo below is another Ray Harroun invention, somewhat controversial, which helped him to win a lot of subsequent races, until adopted by everybody. The rules specified that the driver had to be accompanied by a riding mechanic who would be the lookout as to what was happening behind. Ray Harroun was the first to fit a 'rear view mirror' to his car thereby obviating the necessity for the riding mechanic, - and his weight, The mirror can be seen on both photos as the strut supported unit on the scuttle forward and above the steering wheel.



The Harroun was an automobile manufactured in Wayne, Michigan by the Harroun Motor Sales Corporation from 1916 to 1920 having raised $10,000,000 in stock to begin a car company. Harroun bought the buildings and equipment of the former Prouty and Glass Carriage Company, a factory of some 80,000 square feet. This was used for paint and upholstery, and in 1917 Harroun built a new 1,220,000 square foot factory next door for all other processes. The company operated for 12-18 months producing 200 cars per day. There were three models offered, a roadster and a touring car (each priced at $595) and a sedan ($850), each powered by the company's own four-cylinder engine. Cars were only available with a green body, brown roof and black fenders and upholstery. The roadster was only available in midnight blue. In 1918 Harroun also invented and patented a shock absorbing steering wheel to reduce driver fatigue. 



In the spring of 1918 the company got a government contract to produce 200,000 artillery shells during World War I, and was prevented them from making cars. After the war, the company tried to get started again, creating a new model for 1922 sales year. Representatives took the car on a tour from Detroit to Montana and on to Denver to prove its reliability. This we think is the car in our mystery photo. The tour went well, but the company still closed in June 1922 with apparently no others made. Overall Harroun production numbers have variously been quoted as low as 500 and as high as 3,000 cars being built,  - and two are known to survive.

    

In our searches we came across photos of two existing cars of the A1 types which were in various stages of disrepair and repair, one of which shows the logo the cars would have had. Also a photo of the very interesting exposed valvegear engine.  (Please click on photos to enlarge).
   

Harroun cars were made in Wayne, Michigan which is a few miles inland from 'Motowm' of Detroit, which is on the shore of Detroit River, which is the water passage between Canada and USA leading from the the Great Lakes to Lake Erie and out to the Atlantic, We contacted the Wayne Historical Museum in Wayne City, and were advised by their Tyler Moll that they do not have specific documented pictures of the Harrouin car beyond that available from general sources. They did however supply us with a couple of photos which showed the Tourer and the Roadster. We have not been able to find a copy of the standard Sedan photo anywhere. In our searches we came across an interesting website by
Mike from Wayne City who is assembling info on Harroun cars:, 
      

So this research has had to come to the end with the conclusion that the photo below may be only photo in existence of a 
1921 Harroun Model AA2 Touring , This would make it quite a find and it would be quite unique. 



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