The Ohio Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio decided to get into the car manufacturing business in 1920, after previously manufacturing trailers. They named their new car the Ferris, after Ohio secretary-treasurer William E Ferris. Like may cars of this era, the Ferris was an “assembled” car, in that most of the major mechanical components (engine, gearbox, wheels) were purchased from outside suppliers, and then assembled at the company’s Cleveland factory.
For all of its life the Ferris was powered by a Continental 9N 6-cylinder engine. The C-20 and C-21 Models were offered for sale in 1920 and 1921, with prices ranging from $3350 for a touring car and sports sedan through to $4875 for a closed sedan. Bodywork was one area which made the Ferris stand out from other assembled cars. Aluminium bodies looked custom-built, the high curved radiator was distinctive, and disc wheels with side-mounted spares were offered as standard equipment. The Ferris had the advertising slogan of “The Car of Character”, and in promotional literature the Ferris was dedicated “to the man who would not live on a street where all houses are alike.” To help project this image, the majority of publicity photos of the various Ferris models were taken in front of the exclusive Union Club in Cleveland.
In 1922 two new models were introduced – the Model 60 and Model 70, with six different body styles for each model. Prices for the Model 60 ranged from $2595 for the tourer through to $3895 for the sports sedan, while prices for the Model 70 ranged from $2795 for the tourer through to $4100 for the sports sedan.
Like many independent manufacturers of this era, the 1921 mini-recession dealt a fatal blow to the company. The company went into receivership in the middle of 1921, and this arrangement continued until production finally ended in 1922. Total Ferris production was approximately 440 cars. The drawing at the top of this blog entry is a 1921 C-20 or C-21 Sports Sedan.
The following books and websites were used in the preparation of this blog entry:
Beverly Rae Kimes and Henry Austin Clark, Jr, “The Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942”, 3rd edition, Krause Publications, Iola, WI, 1996
Nick Georgano “The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile”, Stationery Office, London, ENG, 2000