Reference is made to an article, “White Elephantitis” that appeared in your September issue. The car in question was the Roamer made here in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Perhaps I can contribute a few notes that will improve the accuracy of your description. It is quite true that the Roamer was never as common as the Rolls-Royce; to find one in England is an unexpected pleasure. On the other hand, they are not quite as rare in the States as you indicate. I personally know of six Roamers right here in Michigan; three of these have Rochester-Duesenberg engines; the others have Continental engines.
The record established at Daytona in 1921 was not by a racing car, but by a stock car. It may also be of interest that the A.A.A. officials allowed the 105 m.p.h. record, although on one trial his car did 118 m.p.h. in one direction on the beach, but on the return trip the timing equipment failed; as a result this entire run was thrown out.
Mention is made of the Wolverine using this same engine. This is true; and this was really a rare item; only one car was ever built.
The original fuel system for this car used a Stewart vacuum tank. The 4-speed transmission was Brown-Lipe, not Duesenberg.
The car was also available with a 3-speed, Warner box.
You are overly concerned about the two-bearing crankshaft. Both bearings were silver babbit, and they were very large; I’d guess each bearing must have been 6 in. to 8 in. long, although it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one. In any case, stop worrying about these bearings, they’ve taken a lot more punishment than Mr. Jones, the present owner, is likely to give them.
The Roamer With the Rochester-Duesenberg engine cost $1,000 more than with the 6-cylinder Continental engine.
Mr. Jones has apparently done a beautiful job of restoring this fine, old car. In this connection a couple of points intended helpfully: the paint striping was only on horizontal lines; there were no vertical stripes. Also the stripe was a rather fine pinstripe. The original car did not have lights on the front fender.
You are absolutely correct, appearance is where the resemblance between the Roamer and Rolls Silver Ghost stops; the Roamer with that 4-cylinder Duesenberg engine was probably the noisiest car on wheels, but it would out-accelerate and reach a higher top speed than most other cars, including the Rolls.
Stand tall, Mr. Jones, your Roamer is not a freak; it’s a real going monster, and many of us in the States would give our left you-know-what for it.
Bruce S. Lane.