563ci L-Head Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
110hp at 2,900bhp
Single Newcomb Updraft Carburetor
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs with Tubular Dampers
Double Acting Hand and Foot Brakes on Rear Wheels
*Offered from the Estate of Howard Fafard
*One of two known survivors of legendary short lived luxury marque
*Believed originally delivered new to philanthropist Helen Hartley Jenkins
*Only two ownerships since the 1950s
*Extensively restored in current ownership
Henry Crane graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1896, with degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. He then joined the Bell Telephone Company, and later worked for their manufacturing subsidiary, the Western Electric Company. His Crane and Whitman Company of Bayonne, New Jersey, formed in 1906, evolved into the Crane Motor Car Company by 1910. In 1912, his design for the Crane Model 3 automobile was ready for production. It was a large, refined luxury car, but "production" it barely achieved, with some 37 cars built in three years.
On the technical side it followed that of companies such as Locomobile and Napier, in that its huge six cylinder power unit was built with three paired cylinder blocks. The 9.2 liter engine drove through a four speed transmission with shaft drive to the rear wheels. As evidenced from this example, the cleverly designed exhaust system and its ability to rev, provided its driver with one of the highest power outputs of any cars of this era.
That the model was short lived most probably because its virtually prohibitive price limited sales, but ultimately because its local competitor Simplex bought Crane out. The new collective would succeed the Crane with a Model 5. It is important to note that the collaborated successor built by Simplex and wearing the Crane name bears little resemblance in technical terms compared to the Model 3, and virtually all survivors were built slightly later from the 1915, post Brass era class.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This car is one of only two known surviving examples of the original Crane Motor Car Company production run, the other being positioned in the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Mount Desert Island, Maine. That features a more formal convertible Brewster body, whereas this one, car 25 carries an unusual, but period correct style of owner driver bodywork with no division, close coupled seating and a rear opening top, which may be described as a Four Passenger Sport Landau and is understood to have been built by local coachbuilder F.R. Wood of New York.
Fred Roe, the well-known Duesenberg authority who penned 'The Pursuit of Perfection' admired Henry Crane greatly. While more of a historian than a car collector per se, when the opportunity came to acquire an example of Crane's original Model 3 design, it was unmissable for Roe, and he snapped up this car, number 25 in the early 1950s.
According to research within Mr. Roe's archives, now in the care of Joe Freeman, he was able to trace an original purchase order for the car, which states that his Crane was delivered new to Helen Hartley Jenkins. The order price was a staggering $8,000 for the chassis alone, and some scale of Mrs. Jenkins' wealth can be established from the fact that she owned no fewer than 3 of these cars!
At the point of acquisition, the car was in a somewhat dilapidated condition as shown by a series of photos that he took then, but it was nevertheless substantially complete and in the form that one sees it today, with interesting detail features such as the Landau top, side-step plates instead of the more common running boards of the day and others.
Mr. Roe completed a sympathetic restoration and would use it with some frequency at HCCA events. On one occasion it let him down with a failed rod bearing, and from this point it was mothballed. In the early days of his collecting, when Mr. Fafard bought his first Duesenberg he quickly established a good relationship with Fred Roe, who was based locally. Over a period of time, enamored by the sheer quality of the Crane's build, he negotiated to purchase the car.
In Mr. Fafard's ownership, the Crane Landau was extensively refurbished, in color terms to the rich burgundy hues that he favored most, while the brightwork, which was most likely nickel plated when new, was polished back to its brass base. The combination sits well and having had only modest use, there is very little wear to the cosmetic finishes.
Intended for touring use, and mindful of the sheer power of the car, Mr. Fafard discretely had an overdrive fitted to make the most of the engine capacity and at the same time having increased its potential, and conscious of the inertia that it carried at speed, disc brakes were added to the front axle.