A Little Journey to Connersville
Booklet courtesy of Richard Blacher.
Comments and pictures by Paul Jackson.
A Little Journey to Connersville
By Elbert Hubbard, 1914
This booklet measures 8" x 6" and has 23
numbered pages. This pamphlet deals with E. W. Ansted and the Lexington Motor
Car Company of Connersville Indiana.
The Lexington Motor Company was founded in 1909 in Lexington, Kentucky, by Knisey Stone, a Kentucky race horse promoter, Several months later the company outgrew its building. In 1910, a group of Connersville businessmen noted that the community had too much tied up in the buggy and carriage industry, which was being displaced by the growing use of the automobile. The group enticed the infant Lexington Motor Car Company to relocate from Lexington to a new plant at 800 West 18th Street in the McFarlan industrial park. John C. Moore, the company's chief engineer, immediately started on improvements to the Lexington to keep the company ahead of its competition. His 1911 multiple exhaust was reported to give 30% more power on less fuel. Each cylinder had a separate exhaust. Dual exhaust pipes and mufflers were used. The company was promotional minded and entered both the Glidden Tour and the Indianapolis 500 in 1912.
Financial difficulties of 1913 were solved when E.W. Ansted acquired Lexington to assemble the six-cylinder Howard for a contract with a Chicago distributor. The resultant company was named Lexington-Howard. In 1915, the named changed back to Lexington Motor Company. The regular four-cylinder engine was supplemented by a light six and a supreme six. With the new Ansted engines, its cars became modern and powerful. It should be noted that from the beginning, Lexingtons like most other Indiana-built automobiles, were assembled cars, being built with components from many different suppliers. Lexingtons were popular with Thoroughbred Six and Minute Man Six models.
Lexington's first plant expansion was in 1915. A factory building was erected just north of the office. Also built at the same time was a 100 foot smoke stack with the Lexington name in lighter color bricks. Four years later the company built a 106,050 sq.ft. assembly building just west of the office. In 1917, engineer Moore put together a new frame with a rigid box cross-section that eliminated the problem of jammed doors caused by frame flexing. This car also had an emergency brake affixed to the drive shaft. In 1918, Lexington autos featured hardtop enclosures made by the Rex Manufacturing Company of Connersville.
The Lexington star descended about as rapidly as it had ascended. On May 10, 1927, E.L. Cord purchased Lexington and Ansted Engineering. The facilities were later used to produce Auburns, Cords, Packard-Darrins and U.S. Army Jeeps. Ansted descendants remained in the automotive business into the 1960's. William Ansted was a part owner in A.J. Foyt's 1964 Indianapolis 500 winning car. The Ansted was the successor to the Lexington and the Ansted-Lexington, it was maufactured from 1926 to 1927. Following the sale of the Lexington plant in Connersville Indiana to Auburn, the company marketed its last cars as Ansteds. They were the same as Lexingtons, differing only in their radiators, emblems, and hubcaps.
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