1923 McFarlan Model 154

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I have to admit – even up until yesterday, until I watched Jay Leno’s video, I didn’t know about the 1923 McFarlan Model 154. There’s no typo here – we’re not talking about British McLaran cars now, but American McFarlan cars. You’ve heard of it, a car brand?

I’ve been interested in cars since seventh grade, but maybe because I live in Ukraine, not in America, I’ve never heard of this great car brand from the USA, even though I’ve known about Franklin, Marmon, Peerless for a long time. I watched the video of Jay Leno, and then another girl, with great interest and decided to make my own, small post about this, outstanding car. Since on the internet, I found very little information about McFarlan cars.

John B. McFarlan was born in London, but had Scottish roots. I think it is clear to everyone without my reminder. In the middle of the 19th century John B. McFarlan founded a company that assembled carriages. The grandson of the founder of the company – Alfred Harry organized the production of cars in 1909 in Indiana, the town of Converseville. And imagine – already in 1910 2 McFarlan cars came to the finish line of the Indianapolis 500 race, in the first five. And even then, there were companies in the US that had started making cars and racing much earlier. Think of the 1902 Ford 999. With this success, McFarlan cars proved their high speed and reliability.

The 1923 McFarlan Model 154 was the most outstanding, American car of its time. It was built between the 1910 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 and the 1928 Duesenberg Model J. Incidentally, 1923 was the last year that the Packard Twin-Six was produced. At the time of its release, the McFarlan Model 154 was America’s most luxurious and comfortable automobile. Just imagine – shown in Chicago in ’23, the car was adorned not with nickel plating, but with gold plating on some of the bodywork. It sold for $25,000, an astronomical sum at the time. Al Capone had two of these cars. Legend has it – he bought the first one for his wife, but after he was convinced he liked the car, he bought another one for himself.

The 1923 McFarlan Model 154 was a very technologically advanced car. The six-cylinder engine was equipped with three spark plugs for each cylinder. This solution was to make it as easy as possible to start a cold engine. It may surprise many people, but this engine has four valves per cylinder. T – shaped engine heads at that time were also found on other cars. With this engine layout, the valves were not directly above the pistons, but on the sides of the pistons. This minimized the likelihood of engine overheating.

For all these reasons, the McFarlan cars became the American Rolls-Royce. They combined: – comfort, luxury, reliability, speed and costliness. In the best of times McFarlan company produced 600 cars a year, which was a good indicator for such an expensive car. But today, few people remember these cars.

Price and value of the 1923 McFarlan Model 154.

The new McFarlan Model 154 cost $8,000 dollars. We are talking about a car with a nickel-plated finish on the radiator grille and other elements, not gold-plated – as on the car mentioned above. This was a very high cost. By comparison – the Pierce – Arrow Model 66, which was also an outstanding car of its era, cost between $6,500 and $8,000. A twelve-cylinder Packard in 1915 could be bought from 3,000 to 5,000.

Appearance and photos.

Unfortunately, I did not find any data about the dimensions of this car. What is known is that it weighed over 5,000 pounds and was equipped with huge, 27-inch wheels. Note the emblem – the statue on the radiator grille. It has a man holding a balloon (I think it looks like a planet) with McFarlan written on it. The Model 154 had electric headlights and some of the body panels were made of aluminum. Just think about that fact! After all, at that time, even on airplanes, aluminum was not often used. Such a decision could not be accidental, because as far as I know, Alfred Macfarlane was an aviator and even knew the Wright brothers.

Note the Stop sign above the taillights. Perhaps at that time drivers were not quite accustomed to light indicators and to indicate braking more clearly, the manufacturer used such a solution.

Salon Equipment.

In those years, the 1923 McFarlan Model 154 was equipped with a heating and ventilation system. On cars where the driver’s and passenger compartments were separated, an intercom system was installed, similar to those used on the Ocken liners.

Two additional folding seats could be installed in the rear part of the cabin. Such seats could be used by security. The couches here are fantastically thick and comfortable. The interior is illuminated with electric lights and the windows could be covered with curtains. The steering wheel has a wooden rim.

Engine and Specifications 1923 McFarlan Model 154.

The in-line, six-cylinder engine has a displacement of 572 cubic inches (9.4 liters). The block of this engine is decorated with the lettering – McFarlan, above which is a diagram of cylinder operation. The motor develops 90 horsepower, which allows a top speed of 85 miles. Unfortunately I did not find data on torque, but in this car it must be gigantic.

The transmission is a manual, three-speed. Drum brakes are fitted to both axles and are mechanically actuated.

This is an amazing car. It’s reliable, fast and luxurious. It was superior to any other American car of the time. Sadly, few people remember this great car today. Even I didn’t know about it. Perhaps this little post will remind someone of this American Rolls-Royce.

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