Ayres Gasoline Engine and Automobile Works 1900-1902
the first attempt at starting an automobile company in Saginaw was the Ayres Gasoline and Engine works founded by William F. Ayres. It was located on the corner of Bristol and North Hamilton. There are no known photos or advertisements of the car.
Rainier Motor Car Co. 1907-1909
John T. Rainier started the Rainier Motor Car Co. in flushing New York but was persuaded by Saginaw businessman E. A. Robertson and lumberman Arthur Eddy to move to Saginaw in 1907. They gave him the old Mershon-Schutte-Parker lumber mill on 6th and Washington and $100,000. The Rainer cars were expensive for the time and its luxury model the Landaulet sold for $5800 and the company closed in 1909.
After Rainier folded, an investor with the company went to flint and talked William Durant, who was forming General Motors, into purchasing the plant and building cars under the name Marquette until 1912.
The Marquette merged with the Welch Motor Car Company in Pontiac and built the newly named Peninsular car at both locations. After building a few cars in 1913 General Motors reorganized and stopped production and used the plant to produce mortar shells for World War I.
Saginaw Cycle Car 1912-1914
A 1914 Saginaw Cycle Car sold for $395 in its day, a two-seater manufactured by the Valley Boat Engine Co. in Saginaw at 503 waters street. Stated in the 1914 edition of Motor Age Vol. 25 “one feature that is made by the way the axle hangs, is that after rounding a corner the driver can remove his hand from the wheel and the front wheels will straighten up”
The Railsbach was an automobile built in Saginaw, Michigan by L.M. Railsbach in 1914. The company classed the vehicle as a light car, but with its wheel track of 3 ft, it would make it a cycle car. The two-seater sold for $350. It had a water-cooled 4-cylinder, 1.2L engine
Duryea & electra 1914
Charles Duryea, one of the Duryea brothers who is credited with creating the first horseless carriage in 1893, moved to Saginaw and built the “Duryea” and “Electra” at the site of the Valley Lumber Co. Mill on Hoyt and Water street. The public never developed an interest in the high wheeled buggy type car and the plant soon closed.
Argo Electric Vehicle Co.1910-1916
The Argo Electric Vehicle Company operated in Saginaw, in the old Sommer Bros. Match Co building on the corner of South Jefferson and Atwater, from 1912 to 1916. They were offered in both four- and five-passenger models, with open and closed versions available. The 110-inch wheelbase was the longest of any electric at the time. The Argo Brougham was a 4 passenger car, weighing 3,200 lb, claimed a range of 75 miles per charge.
Saginaw Speedster 1914
The Detroit Cycle Car relocated to Saginaw, Michigan, and this car was also known as the Saginaw Speedster for a short time. The Detroit Cycle Car was a cycle car manufactured in Detroit, Michigan by the Detroit Cycle Car Company from 1913-14. The cycle car was heavier than most cycle cars at 850 lb (390 kg). It was offered with a four-cylinder water-cooled engine of 1.5l, costing $375.
Lehr Motor Company 1916
The Lehr Motor Company produced a car called the “Saginaw” but the company closed shortly after opening. It was also believed they produced a failed pick-up named the “Saginaw” also but very little information exists about it.
Saginaw Motor Company “Yale” 1916-1918
The next auto manufacturer to operate out of the old Argo plant on Jefferson with the financial support of several lumber barons, was the Saginaw Motor Company by Louis J. Lampke. The plant was to call the automobile the Saginaw, but the Lehr Motor Company across town had already beaten them to the name. The Saginaw Motor people thus got together and settled on the Yale name, the car never gained popularity and was forced to close in 1918 because of financial troubles.
Borland Gannis 1917
Borland-Grannis Purchased Argo Electric to produce Electric powered cars since the popularity of gas surpassed electric power, the company closed in 1917
Nelson Bros. Jumbo Truck 1918-1932
The Nelson Brothers Co. moved from Alma to Saginaw in 1911 and built gas engines in several sizes. One of their most popular engines was called “ The Little Jumbo” and the engine factory was on Owen and Morse. In 1918 they must have decided to build trucks that used their engines. The trucks were built in the old Argo factory on South Jefferson and were known as “Jumbo Trucks” they were special order trucks built more as a sideline business.
Ruggles Truck 1921-1929
In 1921 Frank Ruggles moved from Alma to Saginaw and started a truck factory on the site of the old Saginaw Ship Building Company in Carrollton. The Old Plantation Bar was Ruggle’s office. They built truck ranging from 1-1/2 tons to 3 tons and buses up to 25 passengers and sold trucks to every major city in the U.S. and 35 countries. Sadly the demise of the company was due to a hurricane in Florida. In 1928 they shipped 200 trucks to Coral Gables Fl. And the hurricane destroyed their inventory before they were paid and they were not insured and the company lost 1.5 million dollars. Soon after, the Great Depression forced the company to close in 1929.