Rainier Model D 45/50HP 7-passenger Touring

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Model D 45/50HP 7-passenger Touring





A name that immediately reminds one of the Royal family of the small principality of Monaco and the fairytale marriage of its Prince to Philadelphia-born, legendary actress Grace Kelly, in fact has origins closer to the bride than the blue blood, being an American bred automobile. The company was founded and began producing cars in Flushing, New York in 1905. The Rainier Car Company was founded by its namesake, John T. Rainier, one of many pioneering motor manufacturers of the day, but one who preferred to focus on quality over quantity and with a particular eye on performance. With a good run of success in his first few years, and a string of competition awards along the East Coast, he wisely relocated to Saginaw, Michigan to produce his fourth car, the Model D, in 1907.

As an independent this would prove to be his zenith, the new car being of considerable stature with a 5 x 5¼ inch 4-cylinder 50hp engine, a 'make and break' ignition system and a 4-speed transmission with overdrive on top gear. At prices approaching $6,000, they were certainly for the more elite motorist, but so confident was Rainier that he marketed them as economical in one regard offering a 'guarantee of a year's use without repair expenses'. For this price their clientele undeniably received a machine of quality with a copious use of nickel steel including for its pressed chassis frame.

Their use of fine materials and a sporting engine with big capacity and large ports and valves enabled Rainier to achieve some modest success in competition. Louis Disbrow won the 200 mile Atlanta Cup and, proving their stamina, came in 2nd in a 24-hour race at Brighton Beach in 1909, ahead of such luminaries of the day as Ralph de Palma in a Fiat and Ralph Mulford in a Lozier.

During 1908, Rainier delivered some 300 automobiles and clearly must have been on the right tracks as his cars came onto the radar of William Durant and his General Motors who acquired the business in May 1909 with the intent of using this brand as their top of the line automobile. The venture only lasted to 1911.

Viewed today, and as evidenced by this particular example, Rainier cars have all the hallmarks of the upper crust automobiles of Europe, such as Delaunay Belleville, Hotchkiss and Spyker with its barrel-shaped radiator and hood and for this car its 'Roi-des-Belges' body styling.

Beginning with the 1934 model year, a significant portion of the LaSalle was more closely related to the Oldsmobile, than to senior Cadillacs. Again, Earl's work with the LaSalle resulted in a graceful vehicle, led by an elegant and thin radiator grille. Earl's other contribution was the modern, airplane-styled, semi-shielded portholes along the side of the hood. All bodies were now made by Fleetwood.

Sold for: 253000 USD
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