Wikicars, a place to share your automotive knowledge


Jump to: navigation, search

Search By Model

(insert logo here)


Crane-Simplex is a now defunct car Manufacturer in the New York City at the beginning of the 20th century.


The Smith and Mabley Manufacturing Co. of New York City built their first car in 1904, which was called the S&M Simplex, and went bankrupt in 1906. By 1907 the firm's assets were absorbed into the Simplex Automobile Co. Herman Broesel purchased the company and the "Simplex" would be able to go 90 m.p.h. under his direction, as he was passionate about racing. The firm became Crane-Simplex after purchase of the Crane Motor Car Company in 1915. The Crane-Simplex Company was finally purchased by the Mercer Automobile Company.


The 1904 Smith and Mabley was a touring car model. Equipped with a tonneau, it could seat 5 passengers and sold for US$5500. The vertically-mounted water-cooled straight-4, situated at the front of the car, produced 18 hp (13.4 kW). A 4-speed transmission was fitted. The wood and angle iron-framed car weighed 1200 lb (544 kg). The car used a honeycomb radiator with a fan.

The Crane-Simplex, built in New York, were among the most expensive, largest, most powerful, and well-built luxury cars of the early twentieth century. They were owned by only the wealthiest socialites and entrepreneurs of the time and bodied by the best coachbuilders in the U.S. Only a total of 121 examples were made.

Notable Models

  • 1909 90 HP Tourabout - large 11 liter straight four engine, with 90 horsepower and 3 valves per cylinder
  • 1915 Roadster - believed to be the only Simplex roadster ever made, with 110 horsepower
  • 1915 Sport Berline Brewster - personal car of Henry Crane and built for 1915 New York Auto Show, sold new for $13,800
  • 1916 Model 5 Holbrook Skiff - built for 1916 New York Auto Show with yacht-inspired design, (including doors in the middle rather than beside passengers and a propeller in back) soon purchased at the San Francisco Auto Show, now owned by Jay Leno
  • 1918 Crane-Simplex - owned by John D. Rockefeller, had two Brewster bodies, for summer and winter seasons, now one of the last surviving Rockefeller family cars

Notable Owners

  • Frederick W. Vanderbilt
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
  • Theodate Pope Riddle


  • Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (January, 1904)

External links