Hartford, Wis. - The Wisconsin Automotive Museum is currently displaying a rare 1932 Ruxton Model C Sedan. The Ruxton was an early front wheel drive car, competing with the Cord L-29. Research indicates that only 96 Ruxtons were actually produced, with just 19 existing today. The car is on loan from the Richard H. Driehaus Collection at Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage.
New Era Motors which produced the Ruxton was a joint venture including the Moon Motor Car Company of St. Louis and the Kissel Motor Car Company of Hartford. The transmissions and open cars were made by Kissel, and the sedans were assembled at Moon in St. Louis. Sedan bodies were built by Budd, while Baker-Raulang made bodies for the open models. Three of the Hartford made Ruxtons still survive, including the cars owned by the Kissel brothers- Wil’s 1931 Phaeton and George’s 1930 Roadster.
The 1932 Ruxton Model C Sedan was also unique due to its low profile- standing 10” lower than most passenger cars of the time. Due to its low profile, the car has mud flaps rather than the running boards typical of other cars from this time period. The Ruxton has an 8 cylinder engine with 100 horsepower, a 130” wheelbase, and cost $3195 when new.
The paint scheme on this car is done in the rainbow style of the Joseph Urban cars. Urban was an architect, scenic designer, and one of the originators of the Art Deco style. The horizontal bands of color were to emphasize the low lines of the car. 4 other Ruxtons have the same style of paint in shades of other colors.
It is believed this is the second to the last car produced by New Era Motors. A number of the cars were assembled after bankruptcy was filed. This is the last Ruxton to be sold and the only one considered a 1932 model. The car will be on exhibit at the museum through early February 2018.
The high caliber Kissel automobiles were manufactured in Hartford 1906 – 1931, making Kissel the second longest car manufacturer in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Automotive Museum currently has 117 vehicles on exhibit including 25 of the fewer than 150 remaining Kissels.