The Cole Motor Car Blog

A Special Thank You to Leroy Cole

I wanted to give a special thank you to Leroy Cole.  Without Leroy’s amazing knowledge and all of the information that he has generously shared with my son and I, the Cole registry would not be possible.  As I mentioned in the page on the History of the Cole Motor Car Club of America, Leroy was instrumental in driving that very active club over the years.  He also assembled a large collection of Cole history and artifacts that comprised of multiple truck loads in size.  He has since passed on that collection to the Gilmore Car Museum and it is known as the “Cole Archive” in their research library.  After we acquired our first Cole Motor Car, we met Leroy and he inspired us with his stories and deep knowledge of this amazing company and car.  My son and I will carry on his dedication to the Cole automobile with the this registry and ensure that his hard work will continue on and be shared with others.

Again, thank you for all that you have shared with and done for us!

Leroy Cole (Center)
Three past Society of Automotive Historians (SAH) Presidents at the Gilmore Car Museum. Right to left. Sinclair Powell 1997-1999; Leroy Cole,1999-2001; Dale Wells,2001-2003. All have donated their archives to Gilmore. Dale worked with the Classic Car Club library.

Some Winter Season Cole Motor Car Pictures

Winter is here and in Michigan the snow is flying.  Many people do not take their historic cars from the 1910’s and 20’s out in the snow anymore, but back when the cars were made people did all of the time.  Here are some great photo’s of the Cole family out in their cars during the winter time.  It looks like lots of fun to me and I love the picture of JJ Cole pulling his son on a sled behind his Cole 30.

Cole Motor Car Company Master Parts Lists

Just recently, we acquired this wonderful 1919 Cole 870, 860,and 850 Master parts lists.  This catalog would have been available at the dealer and would have the entire breakdown of parts for the cars including prices, so that customers could order new car parts.  These guides are very useful for Cole owners as they do have some good breakdown diagrams, parts diagrams, and of course all of the parts that are in an assembly.  This particular 1919 Parts catalog has 143 pages and is in pretty good condition.  The parts catalogs are not easy to find and I would say are a bit rarer than a car owners manuals.  We also have a Series 9 parts catalog published in 1914 and will continue to add to the library.  As always, if you have questions, please just send me an email and we can help you out.

Post 1916 Coles are CCCA Full Classics

Did you know that all V8 Coles 1916 and newer are considered Full Classics by the Classic Car Club of America?  In 2012, Helen Cole and a few others worked very hard with the CCCA to have Coles considered Full Classics.  the post 1916 Cole cars are eligible to attend CCCA events and you can participate in your regional CCCA club if interested.  Right now there are 4 Coles registered in the CCCA and it would be great to see more of them as part of that club!  You can find out more here

1941 1914 Cole Series 10 Barn Find

Have you ever wondered what a barn find was like in 1941?  Well, through some of the Cole historical information we have, we can now get a glimpse into how it may have gone.  It looks like the Cole family was looking for Cole Motor Cars of their fathers namesake and an agent reached out to JJ Cole Jr. with a lead on what appears to be a 1914/15 Cole Series 10.  I say this because it has no cowl lights, but definitely looks to be a 4 cylinder model.  Here is a picture of the car in the barn with the current owner as well as a letter to JJ Cole Jr. offering the car for sale by the agent.  Also, here is a hand written letter to JJ Cole Jr. from the agent in follow up.  I have no idea if this sale ever went through, but it is a fascinating piece of history!

1913 Cole Series 9 Transcontinental Test Run

In early 1913, Cole took a specifically labeled new Series 9 car on a long trip to test it out and show endurance as well as to raise marketing awareness for the ‘Standardized’ car.  JJ Cole called it the standardized car because he wanted all of the best components in it that were or would be the standard in the automotive industry.  Here are a few pictures from a company or Cole family scrapbook of the trip.  The first picture is an 8×10 of the three drivers of the transcontinental test car.  The second picture is the typed note on the back of the picture.  The next picture is of the three individuals standing with JJ Cole. and then the picture after that is of some Cole execs arriving to the event in another Series 9 touring car.  The pictures after that are from a 1913 Cole Service Bulletin with a map of the trip and then a great picture and story about the bear mascot mentioned on the back of the 8×10 photo.  

Crawford and two other Cole employees with 1913 Cole Test Car


JJ Cole with 1913 Cole test drivers







Cole Executives in 1913 Series 8 car

Cole Route for testing the Standardized Car








Standard the Cole Bear cub


**Updated** The oldest known Cole car that survives today

1910 Cole Mrs. Simpson
Mrs. Simpson with the car shortly after purchased

At the time of this posting, this car was thought to be the oldest known Cole car known to survive.  Since the post, in late December 2018, a 1909 Cole High Wheeler was identified and has been added to the registry.

The oldest known surviving Cole Motor Company car today is a 1910 Cole Model 30-4F Palace Touring.  The car serial number is #598 and was
built in December of 1909.  It was originally purchased by John C. Simpson for $1500 in Middleton, NY.

1910 Cole Barn Find
As found in the field
After first restoration in 1950’s

Here is a picture of Mrs. Simpson with the car in the early days.  The car was found in a field in NY in 1952 and was restored for the first time shortly after that as seen in the included photo.

The car then went through two more owners and was again restored in the early 2000’s.  After the restoration, it made a grand entrance at the Hershey Show where it won an award.  We have not verified the current owners and hope to track them down soon.

1910 Cole Hershey
Making a grand entrance at Hershey
1910 Cole restored
1910 Cole after restoration