1914-15 CHEVROLET MODEL H REGISTRATION RECORDS
Here is my database of early Chevrolet State Registration Records starting with the 1914 Model H. Most of these records are from "Who’s Who In Autos," that covers cars that were registered during 1914 in Western New York State. Others were supplied from several individuals who copied them from their State archives. These records have been sorted out by the "Factory Number of Car," with the lowest production number listed first. It is hoped that a few readers will get as excited as I am, and help research and uncover more early registration record that can be added to this database.
There are 378 Chevrolet Model H’s (Royal Mail H-2, Baby Grand H-4, and Amesbury Special H-3) listed in this database, which works out to be 5.2% of the estimate 7300 built up to mid October 1914.. The western part of New York State contributed 308 registrations (4.2%), with Joe Rath, the Buffalo Factory Branch store, selling about 91 Model H’s within the Buffalo city limits, for almost 2.4% of the total built up to this point.
ROYAL MAIL ROADSTERS
There are several interesting points that can be observed from the cars registrations listed here. The Model H’s used the engine serial number as the manufacture’s serial number. This number was found on the left front engine support, stamped into a flatten pad on the top. This same number was also stamped on the round circumference surface of the flywheel
We knew that the 1914 Royal Mail Roadster production was almost equal to the Baby Grand Touring, with the 1,884 roadsters built at Flint, amounting to 41% of the 4597 Flint totals. I was surprised to find just how high the early Royal Mail production percentage was from this database. For example, there are 18 Model H’s with serial numbers under 400, and only 3 of these are the Baby Grand Tourings. The "Zig-Zag" Royal Mail outsold the Baby Grand five to one. These first 400 Model H’s were all magneto and gas lamps equipped, being built in Flint before November 1913.
ROADSTER OUTSOLD TOURING TILL JUNE
For the first 1000 Model H’s, built by the end of December 1913, the roadster percentage only dropped down to 61.4%, with the percentage remaining above 50% until about the first of June, 1914, at No. 3452. It was not until June, when Model H production was increased by 50%, that the touring took the lead.
Joe Rath sold his first 1914 Royal Mail in Buffalo the first week of September 1913 (see November 1990 REVIEW). No. 44 which was built in mid August 1913, could be this same roadster that was announced by Joe Rath as, "The New "Little Four" Is the "Royal Mail."
The first electric starter and light equipped Model H with the new style dash delivered in New York State could have been this Baby Grand No. 402.
ROYAL MAIL NO. 470?
The earliest women owner shown is Dora Mitchell with the No. 470 roadster. Sharp eve readers will remember back in the April 1986 REVIEW, that the winner of the oldest regularly driven Chevrolet contest in 1936, was a Mr. Dohner of Quentin, Pennsylvania (near Hershey), who had driven his magneto, new style dash, 1914 Royal Mail Roadster No. 470 for more than 22 years. In addition, in the June 98 REVIEW, there was registered as a Chevrolet 21 hp roadster No. 470 owned by a Mr. Payne of Buffalo that I showed as a 1912 Little Four. What gives? Since Mr. Dohner’s No. 470 Royal Mail was checked out by Chevrolet in 1936 (he won a new 1936 model), his must be correct. Mr. Payne’s No. 470 roadster must be a Little Four, if in fact it is No. 470, but it still could be a Royal Mail that was re-licensed with a missing digit, such as No. 4070 that was also in Buffalo as we will see next month. Dora Mitchell’s No. 470 is probably a 1915 Monroe M-2 Roadster that was sold by Chevrolet dealers and were somwtimes registered as manufactured by Chevrolet as a Monroe model. The first Model H weren’t ordered by REO Pacific and shipped out to California before late December 1914 (see November 1994 REVIEW), so it make sense that No. 693 and 902 would have been about the first cars sold in California.
"CHEVIOLET" TO "CHEVEFLEA"
I think it is sort of fun to see the different names that were assigned to the Chevrolet car. Cheveron was used four times for No. 141, 459, 1739, and 1745. Chereron was used once for Car No. 668. Other French sounding pronunciations were Cheviolet for No. 44, Chevellea for No. 1420, Cheveflea for No. 2855, and Cheverlea for No. 2878.
NO. N2947 BUILT IN NYC PLANT
No. 2947 was listed as N2947. The N prefix indicates it was built at the New York City plant. Western New York State was in the Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan’s territory, while the eastern part was under the Chevrolet Motor Company of New York. No. N2947 was built the first week of May 1914.
MORE 1914-15 MODEL H REGISTRATIONS
Some overall statistics for the H Models shown here are: 378 cars listed in this database, with 190 printed last month and 188 this month. There is a total of 92 City of Buffalo addresses for a quite remarkable 30% of the 305 cars reported sold in Western New York. The Royal Mail and Amesbury Special models add up to 179, for a surprising high 47% roadster models sold.
SAE HP VERSUS MANUFACTURE RATED HP
Most states listed the SAE horsepower rating of the engines for both identification purposes and as a means of establishing the registration fees that were based on the taxable horsepower rating of the engine. There was some confusion back then between the SAE horsepower rating and the actual horsepower the engine would put out on a dynamometer. This was usually the advertised horsepower as listed on the sales specification sheets. In the case of the Model H, the SAE hp was 21.7, that when rounded, gives 22 hp. Some states used a table or chart to cross reference the 3 9/16 inch cylinder bore size to number of cylinders, to establish the tax rate for registration fees, and 21.7 hp could be legally rounded down to 21 hp. Only five owners reported their cars (serial numbers 773, 1205, 2029, and 2081) with the Model H’s 30 hp advertised rating, in lieu of the lower SAE taxable horsepower rating. It was equal between last month and this month with 28 owners reporting that their engine SAE rating was the higher (rounded up) 22 SAE horsepower, with most owners using the lower 21 SAE horsepower figure. When no listing of horsepower was made, I have added the  figure for this hp column.
NYC PLANT BUILT ‘N’ PREFIXED CARS
There were five additional ‘N’ prefixed cars this month. The ‘N’ indicates they were built and shipped from the New York City plant. Only the last one listed, Car No. N6953, would have been classified as a 1915 Model (built after September 1st, 1914), with the other four, Car Numbers. 4746, 4764, 5070, and 5967, being built at NYC plant from mid July through August at the end of the 1914 model year. Notice, N4746, that was sold to a Mrs. MA Mead of Auburn, New York, and was classified as a runabout (N5070 and N5967 were also runabouts). It is possible that these runabouts were early Model H-3’s, the fancy Amesbury Specials, that were built in the NYC plant at the tail end of the 1914 model year? At least, I think the term runabout more fits the class of car the Amesbury Special was, more so then a roadster.
EARLY NYC BUILT AMESBURY SPECIALS?
The earliest known H-3 to date is Car No. N7634, a 1915 Amesbury Special built at the end of October 1914. However, I believe there were a batch of these wide body Amesbury Specials bodies that were left over from the earlier 1914 Chevrolet Special that used the old Little Touring chassis with the new ACM 30 (Mason) four cylinder. This was the same over bored and long stroke engine used in the 1914 Partin-Palmer Touring. See the report on this $1250 NYC built Special in the August 1993 REVIEW. Perhaps with a little research into the local newspapers for Auburn and Syracuse, a photo might be found that was taken of the owners getting delivery of their ‘runabouts’ in late 1914, that would indicate if these were the Amesbury Specials or the more common Royal Mail Roadsters.
1915 MODEL H STARTED AT CAR NO. 6244
The common acceptable serial number break for the start of the 1915 Models is Car No. 6244, so the last 1914 model listed here is Car No. 6218, and the first of the 1915 models is Car No. 6308. The source for this is the Combination Price List of Parts for the 1914-16 Model H’s. However, there has been reports that some of the late 1914 models built during August of 1914 (approximately from Car Nos. 5300 to 6243 -- the last 750-1000 cars built in the last month of production of the 1914 Model H’s) might of have some 1915 model parts. These are demountable rims, 106 inch wheel base frames, and Flint built open drive shafts with double U-joints and torque bar instead of the 104 inch wheel base and traditional enclosed Chevrolet drive shaft with torque tube.
BETTER CHEVROLET BRAND AWARENESS
By mid 1914 the Chevrolet Bowtie nameplate was very well known and the correct spelling of Chevrolet was not the problem it was during the 1913 to early 1914 period. The owners however, were still experiencing difficulty in locating the correct Car No. that was located both on the top of the left front engine support and the flywheel. Notice the ten out of sequence numbers listed at the end. It appears the owners copied the number 21243B off the front lamp support bracket (2 cases), or the number 21387B off the spark control bracket (7 cases) that attaches to the block on the left side. I guess nobody questioned in the Secretary of State office back then these obvious errors in recording the serial numbers?
SEVERAL OWNED TWO MODEL H’S
There were at least four individuals that owned two of more Model H’s cars during this period. One was Mr. Robido from Niagara Falls who seemed to have taken delivery of the first Royal Mail No. 44 in Buffalo. He must of like his little Chevrolet so well he came back to purchase a 1915 Royal Mail No. 7272 about a year later. I wonder what happened to his 1914 "zig-zag" No. 44 little runabout?
Another interesting person was Amelia Klem of Rochester, who owned both No. 3566 Royal Mail and No. 6728 Baby Grand. Perhaps the reason she possibly traded in her 1914 Royal Mail for a 1915 Baby Grand was she wanted a back seat so more of her friends could ride along?
Colonel Stockwell in Fillmore, and probably Mr. Shaw in Springfield who also had a Main Street address, was a Chevrolet dealer doing business as J. W. Stockwell Co. Stockwell owned No. 1906, 4906, and 4914 and Shaw owned 722 and 1947.
1914 NEW ENGLAND AUTO LIST ADDITIONS
Another 334 Chevrolets 1914 Model H’s state registration records have
been documented. This makes a total of 712 Model H’s when added to those
previously printed in the August and September 1998 REVIEWS. The database
now represents almost 10% of the 7300 Model H’s built to mid October 1914.
There were several dozen more Model H’s in the Auto List, but I have not
recorded them because of a lack of serial numbers. I was surprised that
only eight more New York City assembled cars with the “N” prefix were found.
That indicates the Flint, Michigan factory supplied most of the 1914 Model
H’s delivered into New England that was deep within the sales territory
of the Chevrolet Motor Co. of New York.
1914-15 CHEVROLET H-2 & H-4 STATE REGISTRATIONS
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