Motor World Review, August 1946
Model Year-In-Review Edition
Best Sedan – 1946 - Vermillion Athena
Relative Rating: 100.00
Our pick for Sedan of the Year, 1946, is none other than the Athena from Vermillion. The best all-around competitor we found, this 6 seat sedan gains high marks in every category we feel is important for a family or commuter car.
Under the hood is a 231 cubic inch straight-six putting out 104 horses. Rather unusually, Vermillion chose to put a pair of small carburetors on this motor. It pulls well throughout the band, and the 3 speed column shifter works well enough.
We found all 6 seating positions to be comfortable enough, though the middle positions of both rows are best suited to children, so as not to interfere with the driver’s elbow room or the space of passengers in the slightly narrow back.
On the road, the Vermillion is one of the best handling cars. It can also make it to nearly 100 mph in a spirited straight run.
While this is more expensive than several of its competitors, the Athena most definitely appears to be worth it.
Vermillion’s tagline is “Take a Look.” We couldn’t agree more.
Best Other – 1946 - PMI Usurper V8
Relative Rating: 97.09
Brawny and comfortable. These are two adjectives that come to mind after we tested the Art Deco-style Usurper from PMI. Part roadster and part luxury car, this V8 powered street figher is our Best Other Car of 1946.
Able to rocket to over 100 MPH, and cover the first 60 in just over 11 seconds, it’s plenty fast. Genuine wood trim all over the interior, two plush seats, and a radio round out the equipment list on the Usurper.
Perhaps it’s not the best handling car in the world, but the fun factor is undeniably there. As is the flash factor.
For those looking for a unique, thrilling ride, not much approaches the dollar for dollar value of this vehicle.
PMI may claim that the Usurper “has a way with women”, but we think that it is simply “the way” for sport in the current market climate.
Best Engine – 1946 - Vermillion 231cid Straight-6
Of the engines put before us this year, we are most impressed with the 231 cubic inch 6-cylinder from Vermillion. It is not the most powerful option on the market, but at 104 horsepower, it does the job with which it is tasked. And it does so with buttery smoothness and remarkable efficiency. For that, Vermillion Motor Company receives our Best Engine award for 1946.
Sedan Class Reviews
Epoch Model 10
“…unbeatably low purchase price is unfortunately compromised by a woefully underpowered 31 cubic inch (no, that is not a misprint) engine. One must carefully weigh the significant savings from low fuel consumption against the sheer amount of time to get from point A to point B.”
Pros: Best in class fuel economy, lowest purchase price, both by far
Cons: Unbelievably slow, poor practicality
Relative Rating: 86.15
ACA Corona V8
“…lavish interior appointments, standard AM radio, and beautiful exterior. The Corona shows why it was king before the war. Unfortunately, it still rides like it did almost 10 years ago, and the power plant is showing its age…”
Pros: Best in class comfort, very prestigious model
Cons: High purchase price, worst in class handling, poor reliability
Relative Rating: 90.77
Ardent Starlight 220 Deluxe
“…cramped seating for 6 people. Also, despite good manners and nimble handling on paved roads, we found it was a little less than pleasant on a rutted, muddy road. Overall, however, the package offered in the Starlight is a good one, particularly for a small sedan. The 99 cubic inch 4-cylider has proven to be trouble-free in extensive testing…”
Pros: Low purchase price, best in class reliability, best in round handling
Cons: Worst in class offroad, poor acceleration, low comfort
Relative Rating: 93.85
Bogliq Zealot Entrance
“…flat out uncomfortable. Also, the transmission is a simple hi-lo affair, which seems to tax the 122 cubic inch four to its limits. Once you get past that, however, you can see where the Bogliq has interesting value. And it comes mostly from its relationship to war-time transport models that Bogliq used to put out. Almost unbelievably, the tiny Zealot can go almost anywhere that a rough-and-tumble truck can, for a fraction of the cost…”
Pros: Best in class offroad, low purchase price
Cons: Very slow, worst in class comfort
Relative Rating: 92.31
“…Smooth, comfortable, and fast. This solidifies the Birmingham 5000 as one of the must-have cars for managers and executives. It also places it out of reach for most average drivers. On the topic of averages, the Birmingham is not for the average driver in another aspect; it is a very raucous ride when pushed in any way, so only those who truly know what they are doing should be driving one in a spirited manner.”
Pros: Most prestigious in class, fastest in class
Cons: Least driveable, most expensive, least reliable
Relative Rating: 93.85
“…another reasonably balanced candidate. It combines the prudence and frugality of the Ardent with the size of the Vermillion. It falls short of the latter in our testing, but is still a strong overall contender…”
Pros: Low purchase price
Cons: Poor safety
Relative Rating: 92.31
Other Class Reviews
Deer and Hunt Fallow
“…a very good selection for rural owners and farm work, we still hoped that the Fallow would be a bit more rounded of a truck. We felt its motor was just too small to do an adequate job for large loads or for heavy towing work. On the other hand, it looks to be an inexpensive, reliable option.”
Pros: Low purchase price, high reliability, best in round offroad
Cons: Worst in round drivability, poor utility for what it’s trying to be
Relative Rating: 85.71
“…gloriously spirited driving machine. It doesn’t have the sheer power of the PMI, but rather makes use of absolutely every horse, every inch of suspension. A bit of a shame that it’s a kit car, as it will not garner the attention it should were it a mainstream model.”
Pros: Best in round sportiness, great drivability, marvelous (albeit a bit advanced) engine
Cons: Limited availability, poor comfort, cannot be driven on unpaved roads at all
Relative Rating: 89.67