If a stranger were to peruse my collection of old family photos, he or she might assume that we owned a car company in the early 1900′s. We did not, but cars are in so many of the pictures, sometimes just the car and no people, that one can safely assume some of my ancestors were obsessed with autos.
I am going to try to post a picture/car a week, I should finish when I’m 150 or so.
Aunt Mae (Frost) Hotchkiss was my great-grandfather Jules’ sister. Polly (Pauline) and Jackie (John) were his kids (my grandfather Bob’s sister and brother). Mae and her husband Nelson lived at 10 Cross St, West Orange NJ in the 20′s. If you look closely through the octagonal window, you can see Jules’ wife Helen. The plate on the car says NY 1924. Based on the clothing, license plate and ages of the kids, it’s likely this is summer 1924. Note the dent on the fender behind Jackie’s head.
This car shows up in a few more photos taken in 1923 and 24, so best guess for the year of the car is 1919-1923. Near as I can tell it’s a Cole Aero-Eight Sportsedan, or a Model 878 as it was known. The unique octagonal rear windows help to confirm the make and model.
According to the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal, the 878 was introduced by the Cole Motor Company of Indianapolis, IN in 1919. From the journal:
Provision for adjusting the upper glass panels is a feature of the doors, gives means of ventilation…
In other words, the windows roll down. The price was $3895 and you had a choice of Aero gray or American Flag blue, the top was black.