Roamer: America's Smartest Car - The Pennant
The Pennant Taxicab
When the Barley proved unsuccessful, it was rebranded as the Pennant taxicab and marketed to cab companies in large cities. Expectations were that thousands of Pennant cabs would be driven in New York City alone. It was produced from the summer of 1923 through 1925, and its chief competition came from the well-known Checker cabs, also of Kalamazoo. The Pennant was produced in a separate production unit, and initial expectations were that, in short order, more Pennants would be produced than any other make of taxi.
1923 Pennant Taxicab.
The Pennant rode on a 115" wheelbase, utilized a Boda 4-cylinder engine, weighed 3900 pounds, featured a Reed steering gear specially developed for taxis as well as a 16-gallon tank, and was one of the largest and most durable taxis then made. The body was made of kiln-dried hardwood, covered by a creosote mixture and an outer layer of 20-gauge riveted sheet steel.
It was easily recognizable, too. Millspaugh & Irish of Indianapolis was responsible for its body work. The upper half of the body was maroon, the lower half ivory, and it had a maroon hood. The radiator was, of course, nickel plated. It had bright red disc wheels and a Pennant emblem on the door. The interior featured brown Spanish leather upholstery, and a dome light and heater were included as standard equipment.
The men largely responsible for developing the Pennant were Chief Engineer Leland F. Goodspeed and engineer and draftsman James Stout. One of Stout's good friends was Morris Markin, who had founded Checker motors. Nov. 1921. Checker, the Pennant's major competitor, hired both of them away (Goodspeed as vice president of engineering) to develop new cab models. As Checker gained strength, the Pennant couldn't compete, and in just a few years, the Pennant and its founder A.C. Barley had said farewell to the automotive trade.