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1913 STEARNS KNIGHT

WATER-COOLED SLEEVE VALVE ENGINE

Production Years: 1912-1913
Country: United States
Number Produced: 739

Frank B. Stearns (1879-1955) built his first car in his family’s Cleveland, Ohio basement at the age of 17. With the support of his  father he later moved his “factory” to the family barn.  In 1898 he formed F. B. Stearns and Company, and built several varieties of small cars.  As his market grew, his cars became larger and more powerful, and were known for their quality.

In 1912, Stearns became the first U.S. manufacturer to license the “Silent Knight” sleeve valve engine design.  One of the licensing requirements in the US was that the word Knight be used in the car’s name, thus the Stearns-Knight (European licensees such as Mercedes, Daimler, and Panhard were not required to use the Knight designation). These motors were known for their prodigious power and low noise. This model was capable of 90 MPH.

Stearns-Knights were advertised as “America’s Most Luxurious Motor Car”, and this model sold for approximately $5000.  Our 1913 Stearns-Knight is the last known running example of this model.

In 1925 the company was sold to J.N. Willys, of Willys-Knight and Jeep fame.

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