Ex-Harrah's Auto Collection, one of only three known
1914 American Underslung Model 644 Four-Passenger Touring
Chassis no. DR134479
7.4-Liter T-Head 6-Cylinder Engine
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Underslung Semi Elliptic Springs with Hartford Shock Absorbers
Rear Wheel Mechanical Brakes, Foot and Hand
*One of the great early American cars
*Powerful 6-cylinder motor
*Highly advanced technology for its day
*Sporting, attractive open coachwork
*Beautifully preserved original red leather upholstery
The American Underslung
The innovative American Automobile company of Indianapolis, Indiana is best remembered today for their famous "Underslung" models. These striking designs placed the frame rails below the axles, giving a significantly reduced center of gravity along with a sporting profile. The problems of ground clearance were remedied by the use of significantly oversized wheels. This design innovation resulted in a chassis with remarkably sure handling while still retaining the necessary clearances to handle the poor road conditions of the day.
The effect of the underslung chassis, with its big wheels, was dramatic and memorable and helped make the Underslung a style and performance icon of the pre-war era. These charismatic machines have been prized since the day they were built and their owners were a who's who list of automotive luminaries. Captain Larz Anderson bought one new, and another became one of Briggs Cunningham's first and most prized antique automobiles.
Today the American Underslung is regarded by historian/collector Dr. Fred Simeone as the first American sports car. In his book The Spirit of Competition he states "...the American Car Company only made an automobile specifically for sport, at least in 1907 when the famed underslung chassis was introduced. Thus, arguably they are America's first exclusive sports car maker."
The Motorcar Offered
This beautifully presented Underslung is one of the finest examples in existence. It was a treasured part of the Harrah's Auto Collection and was not sold until after William Harrah's death, at one of the famous auctions of the mid-1980s. The car was sold to a European collector, in whose collection it remained until about eight years ago when it was acquired by its present owner.
The Underslung was carefully restored by Harrah's Auto Collection with their typical attention to authenticity and correct color schemes. Most importantly, the restorers left the magnificent original red leather interior in the car. Today this interior survives in beautifully preserved condition and is a focal point of this magnificent machine. The car has been kept in running condition though has only been used lightly in the years since the Harrah sale.
The last of the American Underslungs, the big 1914 models were equipped with the Teetor-Hartley six-cylinder powerplant mated to a tall four-speed gearbox. The "T-head" motor was rated at 60hp and equipped with twin-plug ignition and an electric self-starter system. The chassis is 132" long and the car rides on 37 x 4 ½" wheels with room for optional 38x5" tires on the same rims. The svelte four-passenger body perfectly compliments the sporting and purposeful look of the car. Only three of these big six-cylinder models survive today and one resides in the renowned Nethercutt Museum.
The 1914 model offers a desirable set of features for modern touring. The powerful and flexible six-cylinder motor combined with the tall gearing and four speed transmission make for excellent high speed road manners. The 1914 models are the only Underslungs equipped with factory electric starting equipment, a real bonus for those less enamored with starting handles. The attractive nickel-plated lighting equipment is all electric, making it possible to extend your tours into the evening.
Today an American Underslung is one of the most sought after and legendary pre-war automobiles. American Underslungs have been cherished parts of the most distinguished collections since the beginning of the hobby. Today, examples reside in The Simeone Foundation Museum, The LA County Museum collection, the Nethercutt Collection, the Seal Cove Auto Museum, and the JCR Museum. With so many of the remaining examples tied-up in long-term museum ownership, it is rare indeed to come across a great example that can be bought.
One of the ultimate machines of its day and highly sought after both for its looks and advanced technical specification, the chance to purchase a great Underslung is an exceptionally rare thing indeed.