Earl Cars: Better Looking—Better Built - Page 6
As for its convertibility, the company said its "very wide plate glass door panels are lever-controlled and can be raised or lowered without effort in the fraction of a minute. The one-piece, clear vision windshield swings inward or outward. Ventilation of the Cabriole, therefore, can be regulated to a nicety. The individual seats can be tipped forward at right angles, the backs holding flat. With the extra wide doors, this makes entrance and exit easy."
An ad appearing in the August 3, 1922 edition of Motor Age, showed the Cabriole in profile and asked dealers to look at the new car "with a Buyer's eyes." There were, the ad continued, "many clever innovations in design." Among those cited were a left-hand ignition and dimmer switch that made night driving easier and safer, a long-stroke motor, and sturdy chassis. Dealers, impressed by the Cabriole's good looks and solid road performance, were told customers would swarm to their sales floors: "That $1395 price — with low upkeep and operating costs — puts the Earl Cabriole within reach of at least 100,000 Americans who have never yet been able to find the kind of enclosed car they fancied and they could afford to drive."
"The right car, at the right price, with the right dealer discount," chirped a 1923 ad spotlighting the Cabriole. Dealers were told they'd find that physicians and business executives were pleased with the roomy, dependable car and that thousands of women had settled on the Cabriole as "the only right-price motor car which meets all their requirements." Panel Truck or Screened Delivery Car. These models were available from 1921, with the panel truck selling for $1160 and the screened delivery truck for $1085.
The Rest of the Story
Clarence Earl finally had control of his own car company and he pushed to increase production volume markedly. Unfortunately, his backers and supply executives watching the money dwindle were more cautious in their approach. After a number of increasingly heated disagreements, Earl resigned in November, 1922. The bankers and suppliers established George Scobie as president, by early 1923 establishing the new Earl Motor Manufacturing Corp. with a capitalization of $1 million. They continued to make Earls but in much smaller numbers. Although they reduced prices by $200 per car, it didn't take long for the company to fail. Only 2,000 Earls had been built. In the early part of 1924, servicing rights to the former company were sold to Standard Motor Parts Company of Detroit.
Earl resigned in November 1922; later becoming president of National Automobile Company of Indianapolis. His bad luck persisted there, as well. In the early twenties, the company had moved to construction of only six-cylinder cars and had also devised the merger of eight companies, among them the Dixie Flyer and the Jackson. Just six months after Earl's arrival on the scene, a number of creditors sued National for non-payment of debt, and by January 1924, the company moved into receivership. Although Earl asked for a five-year grace period to get the company back on solid footing, his bankers were not inclined to oblige. Once more, Earl resigned.
Despite the vagaries of the car business over the years, Clarence Earl persevered in his faith in the automotive industry. While few of his Earl cars were ever built, he must have been proud of his short-lived involvement with their production. He had seen a time when the ancestral Earl family crest appeared on every car rolling off his production line.