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Petoskey Motors: From the ashes of War (1940-2012...)


#1

In the late 1930s two drunks got into an argument over what kind of car would be superior. One advocated a small, cheap, simple vehicle that would be ideal for the public which was still suffering the effects of the Great Depression. The other argued that a mid-size versatile platform would be the better choice as it would open up options for work, family transport, etc. Eventually the two men, Gordon Petoskey and Alistair Ventnor agreed that both designs would serve their own purposes and decided to work together on starting a car company. Since Petoskey won the coin toss, they agreed to name the company after him. Setting up an office in the small rural town of Hell, Michigan. The two men got to work.

The first model developed was the Ace.



Available in both two door and four door configurations, the Ace proved a dirt cheap yet practical automobile for the public. Given the poverty level caused by the Great Depression, this car proved an excellent buy due to the low cost, decent reliability, and excellent fuel efficiency. The rear mounted low power 32 cubic inch four cylinder produced a mere 20.8 horsepower, but the light weight of the car and low fuel consumption helped shore up those shortcomings.

The second model developed was the Model B.
Much larger than the Ace, the Model B featured a larger, more powerful drivetrain, more space, and a more versatile platform.






The vast options available for the Model B proved very popular with the public. The adaptability of the chassis also helped keep down manufacturing costs. The Model B was driven by a 261 cubic inch inline six, an engine that would become legendary over the decades.

Seeing that these cars were going to prove a hit, efforts were directed towards developing a high end luxury car. Since the company was named after Gordon Petoskey, it was decided to name this sub brand after Alistair Ventnor. This new vehicle was painstakingly hand crafted from the ground up. Upon unveiling to the public, the Ventnor Premium proved to be a major success.



This beautiful car proved to be a major success as a luxury car. Many famous names have owned a Ventnor Premium, including Dominic Bambino, the infamous gangster. His car can be seen on display in the Petoskey Museum with the 1185 bullet holes riddled across the vehicle after Bambino’s career was cut short by an ambush of 26 police officers in 1948. The 571 V-12 under the hood proved to be one of the most powerful engines available at the time. This made the car difficult to drive due to the ease of which the engine could spin the wheels. Despite that shortcoming, the Ventnor Premium was a hot item.

Sadly production of all three variants was cut short after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into WW-II. With the crisis at hand, Petoskey Motors began shifting factory production towards building vehicles for the military.

Coming soon: Wartime production, the vehicles Petoskey built to send to the front.


aLittleWhile's Garage (Discontinued. Mods, feel free to delete)
#2

Petoskey goes to war and the aftermath.

The year is 1942, the war is going full swing. After declaring war on Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States turning the conflict into a global struggle. The United States found itself fighting a war on two fronts, that means the military would need all the hardware it could get its hands on. Knowing this need, Petoskey Motors switched the majority of their production towards heavy duty vehicles for military service.



Powered by a durable 360 cubic inch V8, these vehicles proved most useful as ambulances and troop transports among other things. The superior power and efficiency of the new V8 also found it’s way into a handful of Model B sedans dubbed “Police Special”

Similar to a normal Model B Fordor, the Police Special featured the more powerful V8 and a sportier tuned suspension in order to perform better in pursuit.

As the situation in the war improved, Petoskey Motors started finding themselves with a growing quantity of trucks that were not required by the military. Starting mid-1944 the HD lineup was made available to the public. In 1945 Petoskey Motors began the work of shifting production back over to peacetime manufacturing. In 1945 a pickup version of the HD was available.


The 360 was also made available in the standard civilian version of the Model B. The additional power from the engine proved exceptionally popular among the public.

Ventnor also began working on a vehicle as they began to feel the need, the need for exponential velocity!



The immense power of the 571 in the Ventnor Premium helped that car become one of the fastest automobiles in the world. Ventnor engineers went to work on improving the engines output in order to build the fastest, most expensive car in the world* at the time. Demand was exceptionally low due to the cost of nearly $640,000, however as only ten were ever made, this was not an issue. While only a select few have ever owned a Ventnor Speedster, the name has gone down in history as one of the finest automobiles ever made.

Things seemed to look good for Petoskey Motors in the post-war economy. Unfortunately high retooling costs and labor disputes left the company with vastly reduced production throughout the remainder of the 1940s. With a vast surplus of Mil-Spec 360 V8s on hand and hardly any vehicles to put them in, the fate of the company looked grim by the end of 1949. Despite this, Company co-owner Gordon Petoskey has been quoted saying “Despair is but a doorway, time is but a window. Things look bleak, but a new decade is around the corner. We may be down, but we’re not out yet.”

Coming soon: The 1950’s and the revival.

*Based off real world statistics, as people in this game have probably made something faster already.


CMT Kraftfahrzeuge GmbH - Quality Vehicles Since 1940
#3

The end of the 1940s was a grim time for Petoskey Motors. A mob war broke out and the unions which many of the Petoskey factory workers belonged to just happened to be involved. The result was numerous factories being destroyed by arson, while others were inoperable due to the retooling process after the end of the war. What was meant to be a springboard into the next decade turned out to be a pit of despair for the ailing company. However, all was not lost. As the saying goes: “The night is always darkest before the dawn.” And dawn was coming for Petoskey Motors. It took the form of the one model they were able to get into production in time for the 1951 model year.

The Indian.



The base model Indian was equipped with a newly redesigned 261 now featuring a two-barrel carburetor.

However, as factory production was limited a second option was fitted to the Indian. Since a vast surplus of 360 V8s for the military remained sitting in warehouses after the war, the Indian proved to be a most capable recipient. While the design was originally meant to use an inline six engine, the majority of Indians built used the 360 instead. Unchanged from the 1942 spec, the engines gave good service as buyers were often excited to own a car powered by “an engine that helped win the war”

One observation noticed after the war was a number of Model B owners who would tune and upgrade their V8 models for added performance. One of the more capable hot-rodders was hired by Petoskey Motors to do the same with their engine on a more official basis. This new design replaced the three single-barrel carbs with a pair of two-barrel carbs.


More aggressive cam tuning and a dual exhaust produced a powerhouse for a sport version of the Indian.

The engine was also used for the Police Special, a limited production Indian designed for municipal use.

The Indian proved to be a massive success and sales provided the needed funding to save Petoskey Motors from bankruptcy. The last V8 model rolled off the assembly line in 1956 as the supply of war surplus motors was used up. The Police Special continued production halfway into 1957 when it too was cancelled. Thus the remaining two years of production only saw six-cylinder models produced.

In 1955 Petoskey Motors found themselves in a major recovery. With the success of the Indian Sport, it was realized that Petoskey Motors needed to make a true dedicated sports car. Initial thoughts were towards something high end like the Ventnor Speedster launched ten years ago, but the plan was rejected in favor of something more accessible to the average consumer. The result was the Meteor.



Powered by a performance-tuned 261, this car while slightly less powerful than the Indian Sport still out-performed it on the track. The light, sleek, sporty coupe sold exceptionally well.

Ventnor also released a car for the 1955 model year. A car that would return Ventnor to the market after a ten year absence. The Sovereign.



While not as over the top as the Premium launched in 1940, the Sovereign proved considerably more affordable. It blew the luxury car markets out of the water as a result. The Sovereign was also the first vehicle to feature another engine that would become legendary in the Petoskey lineup. The 432 big block. At the time the only two engines available were the 261 six cylinder, which would be grossly underpowered for the task of moving the giant luxury car. And the mil spec 360 which was no longer in production and supplies were starting to dwindle. Therefore it was only logical to design a new engine suited to the car. The Sovereign was also the first car made by Petoskey Motors to feature an automatic transmission. For years to come Ventnors would often be used as a testbed for new technology for the company.

As the '50s came to a close Petoskey Motors had a few more changes to be made. In 1958 Petoskey Motors retired the Indian, though to some controversy as while sales were starting to sag, the car still remained fairly popular. For 1959, the Rapier was introduced, a worthy successor to the Indian.



Using the same 261 six cylinder as the Indian, the aluminum monocoque construction coupled with the sleek aerodynamic design resulted in superior fuel economy. The car was reliable, lightweight, reasonably priced and heralded as a car of the future. The two bucket seats in the front also proved popular though it did mean reducing the passenger capacity to 5. The sharp futuristic Rapier proved suitable to bring Petoskey Motors out of the 1950s. When the decade started, Petoskey was on the verge of bankruptcy. Towards the end, they are a company reborn, with optimism for the decade ahead.

Coming soon: The 1960s, some rough edges to smooth out.


Legrand Autowork
#4

The 1960s: The Age of the Muscle Car

Petoskey Motors entered into the 1960s with it’s head held high. Overcoming the financial troubles following WWII the success of the Indian, Meteor, Sovereign and Rapier put Petoskey Motors on a path to prosperity. The Model year 1960 was the starting point for numerous models for the company.

One of the first changes was an update to the Ventnor Sovereign. The car was outfitted with a new three speed automatic transmission. The 432 big block also received a new four-barrel carburetor to replace the twin two-barrels.


The next was a release of a new budget sedan, the Cortino.

Equipped with a new 151 cubic inch four cylinder engine, the Cortino was designed to be a budget model.

The car was cheap, reliable, and was all around a decent car, but consumers weren’t biting like initially hoped.

The car was released in multiple trims including the base sedan, a two door coupe, and an estate model.

The Cortino could be best described as something the consumers were “Just alright with.” However the Police Special released in 1962 proved a much more popular variant.

Probably owing to the new 168 horsepower 301 V8, the Police Special had more of what consumers desired. Had Petoskey Motors acted on this and built a more mainstream V8 Cortino, the car would’ve probably done much better. A more powerful Cortino race car was built for the BRC 1966. Using the 432 V8 tuned to 359 horsepower. While it was the second most powerful engine in the race, the Cortino RTX fared poorly in the competition. On a positive note, the 432 proved to be an incredibly solid engine despite the results of one of the races.

Moving back to 1960, another model released was the Workman. Petoskey’s foray into the Utility Van market.


Two variants were produced, the Utility which is your basic van. And the Hauler, a slightly more comfortable passenger van.

Both vans were equipped with the 261 Inline six.
Also released was the Stag Pickup. It was realized that the 432 was a rather beefy engine and could be used for more varied applications. Thus a utility variant was developed. While not offering the same output as the luxury variant, the Utility still offered desired output at a cheaper price.


Sales of the pickup were rather dreary, but the Klondike variant proved exceptionally popular.

In 1962, a new 301 V8 was introduced. In addition to a Police Special variant of the Cortino, the engine was also used in the Rapier.

A new variant of the 432 was also built. Since the six-cylinder Meteor was getting on in years, it was time to develop a new one.


For the Phase II Meteor, the 432 was given a dual quad setup and output was increased to 345 horsepower.

The Meteor was instantly the flagship sports car of Petoskey Motors. While it failed to surpass the Ventnor Speedster in top speed, it does out-accelerate it. Plus as the Meteor is the first car by Petoskey Motors to use 4 wheel disc brakes, the car offered superior stopping distance. The car was also superior to the Speedster in the corners. Plus unlike the Speedster, the Meteor was one twentieth the starting price and was produced on a much larger scale. The car also had the benefit of being lighter than the previous generation thanks to the use of fiberglass in construction.

In 1964 a new four-barrel variant of the 301 was made available for the outgoing Rapier.


The new engine offered 200 horsepower on tap. The final model year of the Rapier also offered an automatic transmission. While the Rapier never garnered interest with any police units like the Indian did, it did prove popular with taxi companies.

Coming soon… The other half of the '60s, and some of the most memorable Petoskey vehicles ever.


#5

1965: The birth of Petoskeys muscle car.

1965 was a big year for Petoskey Motors. A vast number of models were introduced, some which would become legendary with the company.

One of the first notable changes was an improved Meteor.


In addition to cosmetic changes, the 432 Stinger boasted an increase to 400 horsepower. This considerable jump in power was well noticed and helped bolster sales of the flagship sports car of the company.

The next model by Petoskey was designed to offer a sport package to a lower income demographic. Thus the Montauk was born.


The base model used the 4 barrel 301 introduced a year earlier mated to a three speed slushbox. The car proved to be a hit with the public, offering an inexpensive sporty car. However, the prized option was the RTX package.


Using the same 432 SHO engine found in the Meteor, the Montauk RTX proved to be a vicious contender. The only problem was the considerable jump in price from the base model to the RTX. More than double to be precise. Despite that, it still offered performance while remaining cheaper than the Meteor.

The next vehicle was a replacement for the poorly selling Cortino. This model had favorable versatility and was the new budget model for Petoskey Motors, the Rebel.



One of the more notable differences was the more widespread use of automatic transmissions, as costs started to come down they gradually became more mainstream in the Petoskey lineup.
In addition to the base sedan, a station wagon was also available.

The increased power of the four barrel 301 was made available for a police interceptor version.

The smaller design of the Cortino and Rebel proved popular among police forces in major cities due to the ease of navigation. However, highway pursuit was not a strong point in most cases.
A two door sport model was available using the same 301 mated to a four speed manual.

However, like the Montauk, an RTX option was available as well.

The more powerful RTX proved a popular sell, plus it had the advantage of being slightly cheaper than the Montauk. While not as famous as its better known cousin, the Rebel is still a sought after muscle car to this day.

The Ventnor branch was also busy for the 1965 model year offering the replacement for the aging Sovereign, the Priam.



The Priam featured an all new hydro-pneumatic suspension for improved comfort. The design proved exceptionally popular among wealthy ranchers and men who wear purple suits.

Ventnor is not only the luxury branch of Petoskey Motors, but often the testbed for new ideas as well, like the front-wheel drive Statesman.




The 432 proved too large to fit in a transverse configuration so a smaller 402 V8 was built. Despite the smaller displacement, the 402 actually produced 15 more horsepower than the 432 in the Statesmans bigger brother, the Priam.

Not ready for a rest yet, Ventnor created another version of the 402 for a special project. A six pack carburetor setup offered up 401 horsepower for this new model which brought Ventnor into the supercar market.
The Bambino!



This beautiful car proved to be among the fastest in the world. A remarkable achievement especially considering how it cost a fraction of the Speedster built twenty years prior.

In 1967 the Romero was released.



The Romero used the same 432 V8 found in the Stag pickup, though it had been updated to be slightly more efficient. The Romero filled the gap in the full size market that Petoskey had been missing since discontinuing the Rapier in 1964.
Described as having a helipad for a deck lid and a hangar for a trunk, the massive car was extremely popular for its practical applications.
The SE trim was extremely popular as it was a more comfort oriented variant. Often called the “Poor mans Ventnor”

A version was released using the 432 SHO engine for the police.

This version was far superior to the Cortino or Rebel when it came to highway pursuit.

In 1969, the company released no new models, but it did offer a number of revisions to existing designs.
The 432 SHO was improved to produce 426 horsepower on tap. This was used in both the Montauk and Rebel RTX models.



In addition, a special version of the Montauk was released with aerodynamic modifications.


This remains the single rarest variant of the Montauk with examples today easily fetching six figures.
The Meteor IX-4 featured the same engine but modified with different headers as the standard ones did not fit the more compact design.

In addition to the added power, the IX-4 featured a five speed transmission, making it the second Petoskey vehicle to use one after the Bambino.

Finally, the 1969 Ventnor Statesman was equipped with a revised 402 under the hood.



The '69 Statesman is the first vehicle by Petoskey Motors to use fuel injection. Advertisements for Ventnor from then on would frequently point their cars out as some of the most technologically sophisticated vehicles on the planet.

Petoskey Motors had a few hiccups through the 1960s but overall the company did very well. What’s in store for the 1970s? Only time will tell.


#6

Loving all these new cars, but I do have a question: how did you get Corvette6317’s '60s sedan to work for you? I still can’t do anything myself because every time I click on it, only a pink shape shows up. =(


#7

If you know what to do with the .lua, you can do the editing to fix it. Corvette said in his thread that he will be reuploading fixed versions fairly soon, so it will all be resolved then.


#8

Look in the .lua file for a section where you’ll see ECS Body, ECS Trim etc. All you have to do is put each one in quotes. Example: “ECS Body” “ECS Trim”
It’s a little time consuming but not too difficult.


#9

The 1970s: A ton of bricks for the company, and the subsequent recovery.

Things were going great for Petoskey Motors going into the '70s. With the success of the updated Statesman, Ventnor made further use of fuel injection to improve the Bambino, a brilliant sports car, but not quite up to par with a Ventnor in the luxury department. Ventnor was about to change that.


The Bambino GT featured an all hand made interior of the utmost quality. The 402 was upgraded to a high performance injection system boosting output to 440 horsepower. This means that while the Bambino GT has additional weight, the added power compensates for that, and then some.

Next on the list was a new Workman line of utility vans.


The engine bay was too small to use the standard 261 so a smaller V6 was developed. The 226 V6 had moderate output and served it’s purpose adequately.
Also available was the 301 and 432 V8s. The van was produced with the Hauler, Utility, and HD variants.

1972: Petoskey jumps the gun.

In 1972 unleaded fuel became available on a larger scale. Knowing this was the future, Petoskey practically shook up it’s whole lineup to make the transition.
The Romero was updated to a new design.





The vehicle no longer featured the 432 instead favoring a 261 for the base model, and a 301 2bbl. for the SE and Estate models. A 301 4bbl. was available for the Interceptor variant.

The next change was the most controversial in Petoskey Motors history, a redesigned Montauk.



With a growing fuel economy crunch, the base model was equipped with the 261, the first Montauk to use this engine.
Then came the Rally which used the 301 2bbl.

Finally the Magnum which used the 4bbl. 301.

The car itself wasn’t a bad vehicle, but the rather plain design compared to the previous generation proved difficult for the public to accept.

To be continued…


#10

Using similar design cues, the Meteor was also redesigned.



Externally the Phase III Meteor had numerous similarities to the Montauk. However, internally the car featured a better suspension and powertrain. Unlike the Montauk, the Meteor used a fuel injected 301 good for 211 horsepower. While slower than the previous generations due to the use of unleaded fuel, the engineers made up for that by changing other features. It was more comfortable, easier to drive, safer, and more reliable. Despite being one of the weaker generations from a performance standpoint, the Meteor did well.

The 1972 Ventnor Monarch was the luxury divisions answer to the unleaded switch.



The 402 made another appearance this time converted to use unleaded fuel. Despite the reduction in output, the Monarch continued along the Ventnor tradition of being a top of the line luxury car. Enough so that it was rated as being more comfortable than any preceding Ventnor produced.

The Petoskey Vulcan made its debut in 1972 as well. This was designed to be a low cost economy model.



The Vulcan made use of the same 151 cubic inch four cylinder used in the Cortino, only it was also updated to use unleaded fuel. A three-speed manual and basic interior made the car exceptionally cheap while a basic radio provided the only luxury feature. Sales of the Vulcan were modest if not overly thrilling.

In '75 the Stag received a major update.


The Stag featured a 261 in the 2WD, a 301 in the 4WD and a 432 in the HD (pictured).

With the Stag came the Pioneer.



More comfortable than the preceding Klondike, the Pioneer scored high reviews. Unfortunately the oil embargo and fuel crisis did prove problematic for the large vehicle. The only engine option available was the 432 with a three speed automatic. 4WD was standard.

In an effort to gain traction in the economy market, Petoskey built the Yankee for the 1975 model year.



Using a smaller engine than the Vulcan, the lighter Yankee was a hit. It was also the first mainstream front-wheel-drive vehicle produced by Petoskey Motors. Simplicity and low price helped maintain reasonable reliability while being highly affordable to the public. A winning quality with the threat of a recession looming over the horizon.


#11

In 1976 the Montauk received what many felt was a welcome redesign.



Like the previous generation the base Montauk used the 261 inline six unchanged from the outgoing model.
The Rally used the 301 V8 for added performance.
The Rally was an effort to develop a performance model while retaining an automatic transmission, a feature becoming more and more common on base model Petoskeys as the years pass.
However, the cream of the crop was the new Trance Am (pictured) featuring a 377 cubic inch flatplane V8. This was a bold endeavor by the company which had until then always used crossplane V8s. Compared to the Rally model, the Trance Am was slightly more fuel efficient while being immensely faster. Buyers were intrigued by the eye-talian “Zing!” which came from the engine.

The Ventnor Regent also made its debut in 1976.



This design was somewhat controversial as production was halted on the 402 used by the previous generation. Instead the Regent used the 301 2-barrel motor. This meant the car was considerably less powerful than the preceding model. It was however, the first model to use a four-speed automatic transmission. A feature that will remain unique to Ventnor for nine years.

Next was another update for the Stag.



The 1978 Stag was a new design that has enough room to use a 261 inline six either 2WD or 4WD. The Stag was a general improvement over previous generations.

Not willing to dismiss the SUV market, the Chippewa was the counterpart to the pickup.



Despite the poor fuel economy, the Chippewa was a strong seller as was the rest of the Stag lineup.

In 1979 Petoskey engineers worked on a new means of performance. With experience from the BRC 1000 in '76 they worked on experimenting with turbocharging, this was the result.


This Trance Am used the 301 V8 combined with twin turbochargers to boost output to 281 horsepower. This was a considerable performance improvement over the previous Trance Am. The reduced emissions meant the end for the 377, a short-lived but impressive motor.

Making use of the same engine, the '79 Meteor had a considerable gain in performance, regaining the sporting pedigree that many felt was lost at the start of the '70s.



The car proved exceptional though many have criticized the cars “Japanese tuner” looks. Public opinion of the Meteor had also seemed to have cooled as sales were down.

Petoskey Motors was always looking to expand and in the latter half of 1979, Gordon Petoskey met with Shogo Tanaka, head of Sosumi Motors based out of Hokkaido, Japan. The two companies agreed on a joint project:



Known in the west as the Petoskey Ace, in Japan it was known as the Sosumi Tanto. It was a small, low-price, economy model which was build both in the United States, and in Japan. Most US built models remained in the country while most Japanese built models remained in Japan and other Asian countries. Like the Ace built in 1940, this was designed to be as inexpensive and fuel efficient as possible. Unlike the previous Ace, this version boasted considerably more power and had a radio. The car was also much easier to drive.

Petoskey Motors suffered in the sport categories by jumping the gun with unleaded fuel, adapting to it before it was banned. Despite this, their persistence in developing basic commuter vehicles plus their utility and luxury market helped keep the company in strong financial standing. The increase in performance in several late-'70s models proved that while Petoskey hadn’t completely gained back what it lost, it’s a step in the right direction. With a strong product base and a partnership with a Japanese company, things are looking bright. What fortune will the '80s hold?


#12

The 1980’s: New technology and a scandal to boot.

The 1970’s wasn’t an easy time for Petoskey Motors. Their decision to switch the majority of their lineup to unleaded fuel proved premature and resulted in the company falling behind in the performance department. Despite this setback, the implementation of new technologies and early experiments with turbocharging helped recoup some of those performance losses. While the company failed to completely regain what it had lost, it was well on it’s way to recovery.

One of the first vehicles introduced was the Gran Romero, the obvious successor to the Romero.



Available in numerous trims, the base model used the latest generation 261 while other trims used the 301 V8. Additional trims included the Plus, Estate, and Interceptor. The Interceptor used a performance tuned 301 for police service.

The Stag received a few changes as the 1980 model year came around including the latest generation engines plus a new Severe Duty which was released.



At this point the Stag Severe Duty remains the only remaining production vehicle in the Petoskey Lineup to use the 432. The other version was a limited run named the Dune King.

Unlike the normal Stag, the Dune King was not built for road use, it is strictly a race vehicle. The 432 was stretched out to the limit of it’s capabilities in this beast.

The Workman was updated for the 1980 Model Year.


Available as a utility or passenger vehicle, this vehicle exclusively used the 261. A three-speed automatic was available in the hauler while the Utility used a four-speed manual.

The Ventnor Regent received a powertrain upgrade for 1980 using the standard 301 two-barrel.

After the 301 turbo was discontinued in 1981, the Meteor used a normally aspirated engine for the rest of it’s run.



All in all, the car while decent, was not overly thrilling. Rumors had started of a new Meteor coming soon.

The Petoskey Rebel made it’s debut in 1982 as a new budget entry in the Petoskey Lineup. Efforts were also made to sell this vehicle in the African nation of MumboJumbo, but the car failed to meet the requirements put in place by the government. Despite this, the car sold well in the United States. It was available as a sedan, coupe, or station wagon and featured a new 2.2L SOHC four-cylinder engine.


The 1982 Montauk was a radical departure from the outgoing model as the J-Body hit the market.


The base model Montauk used the same 2.2L engine in the Rebel only in a RWD configuration.
The top end model was the Rally version.

Using a 212 horsepower 301 four-barrel, the Montauk Rally proved fairly popular. The base model also had decent sales thanks to the demand for more fuel efficient cars.

The 1983 Petoskey Ace received a minor update including the use of Multiport Fuel Injection to increase the efficiency of Petoskey’s hyper-miler.



The Sosumi Tanto sold in Japan also received an identical upgrade.

As time progressed, the Ventnor Regent started to become stale among consumers. Ventnor had a new design in the works, but it would not be ready for another four years. As an interim a design was quickly hammered out using the T-Platform of which the Rebel is based. Thus the 1984 Ventnor Fortescue was born.



Initially, the engineers at Ventnor hoped to adapt the T-Platform to use a V6 engine, but there was no viable way to do so. Instead to increase performance, the 2.2L was converted to fuel injection and turbocharged. This made the Ventnor Fortescue the first vehicle made by Petoskey to use turbocharging and fuel injection. Opinions of the car were mixed. On one hand, it was a comfortable small car, on the other hand, it was expensive for it’s size and some felt that it did not convey the Ventnor experience.

Coming soon: Further expansion, and the Hokkaido Scandal.


#13

1985: A year of progress… and infamy!

1985 was a big year for Petoskey Motors. Some would argue that the new models from Petoskey aren’t all that different from the '70s. A little faster, each bit a little better, but largely the same technology and the same idea. That was going to change.

Starting in the late 1960s, Petoskey Motors began experimenting with fuel injection. The first application was the 1969 Ventnor Statesman. The following year, a performance setup was utilized in the Ventnor Bambino GT. In 1972 the Meteor featured fuel injection as a means to offset the power loss from switching to unleaded fuel. Their efforts proved limited but ambitious. For the early 1980s however, nearly every Petoskey model retained the use of carburetors. The 1983 Ace changed all that when it utilized Electronic Fuel Injection to gain additional fuel economy. It was only a couple years later when the project would be expanded to nearly the entire lineup.

The 1985 Rebel was one of the first to be equipped with a new TBI setup.



In addition the car featured a new Petoskey 4FH2 transmission. A suitable replacement for the 3FH1 used in the previous generation.

The Rebel Sport gained popularity as a budget performance car.



Like the sedan, the Sport was similar to its predecessor in appearance, however under the hood lies a 2.2L turbo which has been tuned for greater performance. The Rebel Sport used a 5FM2 transmission.

The Montauk featured an overhaul over it’s entire range. The base model dropped the 2.2L in favor of a 226 cubic inch V6.


While less fuel efficient than the previous four-cylinder model, many buyers thought this was a better choice as a base model for a sports car.

For the higher end performance range the V8 Montauk featured a new fastback design.


The car was available with a 5RM3 or a 4RH3 transmission.

While slower than the manual, the option of an automatic transmission with the top performance model proved a popular choice.

However, the best of the best would be the 20th Anniversary Edition.


the 226 V6 sported twin turbochargers and boasted 310 horsepower. This made the Montauk the most powerful vehicle in the company lineup. Problems were later discovered down the line as the 4RH3 transmission was unable to cope with the output from the engine. A recall was done mid-year and a more robust 4RH4 transmission was installed.

The next redesign was the poorly aged Meteor. Sales had dropped as enthusiasm over the car waned. The new design in 1985 proved a most welcome change.



The Phase V Meteor was available with the 5RM4 or the 4RH4 transmissions. The first time the choice of an automatic or manual was available to the Meteor. The 301 used in the Phase V Meteor featured Multi-Port Fuel Injection and used a higher octane fuel.

The Maximus engine coupled with the new styling helped to reconfirm the Meteors status as a high end sports car.

The 1985 Ventnor Regent also received a new lease on life.


Externally, the car looks the same as it did rolling off the assembly line in 1976. However, internally the car featured an all new 301 which also featured Multi-Port Fuel Injection. This was was tuned to be smoother and quieter than other versions. Advances in electronic entertainment helped the car hold on for a few more years. The next model was still three years away from being ready.

With the recent development of minivans, Petoskey Motors decided to get in on that action. The 1985 Stasera was the end result.



With competition being fairly light in this field the Stasera performed strongly in the markets. The Stasera was a more economical alternative to the Workman being available as a passenger van and a panel van.

The Stag Pickup also received an update.


The base model Stags still used the 261 inline six, but the automatic transmissions were upgraded from the 3RH5 to the 4RH5. The V8 equipped Conquistador edition (pictured) received a similar transmission and used the new 301 EFI as well.

All seemed to be going well for Petoskey Motors. The overhauled lineup proved successful and the company was looking for a bright future. This was not to be.

In August of 1985, a loading accident at the Kobe docks resulted in a shipping container breaking loose from a crane. The container which was labeled to go to the Sosumi factory in Hokkaido broke apart and the contents were revealed. Two completely intact cars. Acting on this discovery police raided the Sosumi factory and discovered no machinery whatsoever dedicated to manufacturing cars. Instead of a factory it was a covert transshipment point for Petoskey Motors to illegally import vehicles into Japan. Sosumi Motors was unmasked as a front for this operation. The cars were secretly shipped in crates marked as parts and raw materials for the factories. Gordon Petoskey was subsequently arrested. During the trial he confessed to masterminding the whole ordeal, and as a plea bargain he was the only Petoskey executive to face incarceration for his actions. Despite the Japanese government demanding his extradition he remained in a US prison. Sadly Shogo Tanaka, Petoskey’s partner in this scheme was found dead in his cell having hanged himself. Sales in Japan completely dried up as all remaining Sosumi assets were seized. Stock values in the company plummeted as the scandal became public. Normally the operation of the company would’ve been handed over to Alistair Ventnor, but his retirement two years prior meant that his daughter Eleanor was next to take charge. With stock prices at their lowest since 1948, it looked as if Petoskey Motors was about to go bust. Things do not look good for the company.

Coming soon: The sharks circle as a young businesswoman is thrown into the fire. Will she bring the company out of this scandal? Or will she crumble as others take over? Find out next time as I cover the remainder of the 1980s.


#14

Fascinating story :slight_smile: This situation and some incresingly dated models in the lineup create very interesting background for future events.


#15

Technical note: Recently I’ve started designating my vehicle transmissions with a letter and number sequence, I felt I should explain that further.

Example: 4RH4

The first digit is the number of gears, so it’s a four-speed.

The second digit is an R which designates Rear Wheel Drive. A F would mean Front Wheel Drive.

The third digit is an H which means Hydraulically Actuated. E would mean Electronically Actuated while M means Manual.

The fourth digit designates the strength of the transmission. In this case the 4 is rated up to 400 lb/ft. of torque. Some pickup trucks will use a much higher rating than engine load to facilitate towing.


#16

1986: A rough transition to say the least.

At times it seems the fates are conspiring against Petoskey Motors. Towards the end of the 1940s, the company was caught in the middle of a union dispute that broke out into a mob war. In the 1970s, Petoskey Motors jumped the gun and developed cars using unleaded fuel earlier than necessary resulting in a loss of performance and less reliability throughout the lineup. Both these crises were weathered and the company soon prospered afterwards. In the mid '80s things were looking great. Advances in technology resulted in Petoskey regaining the performance edge it lost a decade earlier. The cars were more advanced, faster, more efficient, things looked bright. Then came the Hokkaido Scandal. It was discovered that Petoskey’s Japanese counterpart Sosumi Motors was merely a front for Petoskey vehicles to be smuggled into Japan thus circumventing trade restrictions. The fallout from this led to the death of Shogo Tanaka, and the indictment of Gordon Petoskey. With Alistair Ventnor retiring three years prior, management of the company fell on the shoulders of his 35 year old daughter Eleanor. In the following months, Eleanor Ventnor proved to be a shrewd negotiator and had developed a reputation for speaking straightforward and never compromising, no matter what others thought. Numerous companies attempted to buy up shares in Petoskey Motors, however Eleanor fought tooth and nail to make sure she retained a controlling stake. Those who have sat down during business negotiations have often describer her as being abrupt, confrontational and with a vocabulary of profanities that would put most dockworkers to shame. While she failed to project an image of friendliness, she did prove that she would not be cheated and any deal had better prove to be damn good for her interests before she even considered it.

During these rough negotiations tragedy struck. While awaiting arraignment, Gordon Petoskey was found dead in his cell. Despite efforts to make it look like a suicide, the prison guards managed to discover the identity of the prisoner responsible. More disturbing was his connection to the Yakuza. Investigations were made but no connections were established with any Japanese companies and the hit. Shortly after the incident, the Japanese government dropped all charges against Petoskey Motors. The country was in a day of mourning as an automotive pioneer was laid to rest. Gordon Petoskey’s last will and testament left ownership of the company to Eleanor Ventnor until his grandson came of age, then they were to work it out amongst themselves.

It was a dark chapter for Petoskey Motors. While Eleanor Ventnor scored a major legal victory and managed to retain control of the company, the taste was bittersweet at best. A great man lost his life because his disdain for trade restrictions.

Few changes were made to the Petoskey lineup during the 1986 model year. Only two models saw any changes.

The Ventnor Fortescue was updated to use a 4FE2 transmission. This was an experimental transmission being the first to use electronic controls.

The 20th Anniversary Edition Montauk proved exceptionally popular with it’s twin-turbo V6. The design was updated for 1986 featuring a 5RM4 transmission and an increase in power to 351 horsepower. This version was called the Slayer.

The slayer was the most powerful Petoskey vehicle built in the 1980s. In order to get more out of it, several vehicles were sent to Monsato Tuning. Changes to the suspension as well as some cosmetic changes improved the vehicles track performance. As a result among the rarest Montauks are the Slayer Monsato Editions.

Critics have often questioned the decision to employ the services of a Japanese tuning company after the strife with Japan. Eleanor Ventnor replied to these statements by saying “Uncle Gordon had issues with the Japanese Government, not the Japanese people or their private businesses.”

Coming soon: Petoskey Motors rounds out the '80s.


#17

1987: Return to Grace

The past two years were rough ones for Petoskey Motors. The Hokkaido Scandal and subsequent death of Gordon Petoskey were a serious blow to the company. Thankfully the shrewd business sense of Eleanor Ventnor and the fairly stable lineup saved Petoskey Motors from total ruin.

The first six months of 1987 saw fairly low sales, however as consumer confidence returned they picked up again. The vehicle lineup remained relatively unchanged except for two vehicles.

A new trim was released for the Stasera focusing on a more luxury themed design.


The Stasera Prime featured a higher end interior plus a more sophisticated stereo system. ABS was also standard making the Stasera Prime one of the first vehicles to use the Petoskey DRIVESAFE package. Power came from the same 226 V6 available in the Montauk.

The Stag Severe Duty also received an upgrade. The 432 V8 was now equipped with a new TBI system. The interior was a little more comfortable than the standard Stag pickup and ABS was available.



Like previous models the Stag Severe Duty features wider wheel arches in the back and wider tires to carry heavier loads. (Unless they make dual rear wheels available this is my only recourse.) The fuel injection system did result in less power from the 432 but also led to a significant increase in fuel economy. Despite the reduction in horsepower, torque was increased. The addition of a 4RH5 transmission resulted in superb towing capability.

1987 proved to be the last model year for the Ace. The controversy surrounding the car resulted in poor sales that never recovered and the car was axed mid-year.

Another platform that was suffering was Ventnor. Their two models were the Regent, a dated design that was losing popularity fast. And the Fortescue, basically a Rebel with some fancy trimmings. For the past few years the team at Ventnor was working on a new vehicle. However, rather than trying to make something that would fall between the cracks in comparison to Audi, Mercedes, or BMW, the Ventnor team worked on designing something far more high end. In 1988 their creation was unveiled:

The Ventnor Chieftain



Harking back to the days of old, the Chieftain was designed with rear suicide doors, a tribute to the Ventnor Premium launched 48 years ago. Another milestone was the 452 cubic inch V12 under the hood.

This makes the first Ventnor to have a V12 in 43 years.

The Chieftain was a throwback to years before when Ventnors were hand made to the highest uncompromising standards that Ventnors of late seemed to lack. For many, this car was a refreshing reminder of what Ventnor is all about. Public reception of the car was astounding! The production limitations were an issue as there was no way to keep up with demand. Like the Fortescue, the Chieftain features the latest in automotive technology. All digital instrument cluster, power seats, power mirrors, climate control, and ABS. The Chieftain was designed to take the fight to cars like Rolls Royce and Bentley.

In 1989 the Petoskey Strider made it’s debut.



The Strider was a successor to the aging Rebel. The car proved lighter than it’s predecessor and was an instant hit. The sub-$10,000 price tag also helped later on when the country hit a minor recession.

The 1980s were certainly a rocky time for Petoskey Motors. While the company did exceptionally well with it’s vehicles, the legal fallout from Japan would haunt Petoskey Motors for years to come. In the end, Petoskey Motors managed to come out of the 1980s alive.

Coming soon… The 1990s, some hits, some misses, but hopefully a drama free decade.


#18

The 1990s: Petoskey’s foray into the “me” generation and the birth of a legend.

After the fallout from the Hokkaido Scandal and the shakeup at the upper levels, the staff at Petoskey Motors was looking forward to a calm decade ahead. Apart from a shaky shareholder meeting in August 1990 where the fate of the company was put on the line, they were going to get their wish.

In 1991 the Meteor was updated to a new generation: The Phase VI



Like previous generations, this Meteor was designed to be a pure track car, fast and brutal. When looking for an engine plans were found for the 377 which was used in the 1976 Montauk Trance Am. The engine was updated and modernized with the latest fuel injection system available. The flatplane design proved popular as the Eye-talian high-RPM zing gave the Meteor an Italian sports car feel.

The Stasera also received a major change for the 1991 model year.



The base model used a TBI 134 cubic inch inline-4. Like the previous generation the Stasera also featured a Prime trim which used a larger 202 cubic inch V6.

The new aerodynamic design met well with buyers but the platform could not support an All-Wheel-Drive system which was originally planned for the van. The redesign forced the project to be scrapped.

In 1992 the Petoskey Enforcer was introduced to the world.



The Enforcer was built as a replacement for the aging Gran Romero. However the vehicle was forced to use the same 301 V8 as it’s predecessor meaning that while the design was more aerodynamic, it’s performance was not all that different. A new engine was in the works but complications have delayed it’s progress. Like the Gran Romero, the Enforcer was made available to law enforcement. However it wasn’t until two years later that the Enforcer really began to shine.

1994 saw the release of an updated version of the Enforcer.



While physically identical to the normal Enforcer, the update featured a brand new engine, the engine that was intended for this car. The 301 TriForce:

The 301 TriForce was a culmination of the most sophisticated technological advancements made by Petoskey Motors. The most distinguishing feature is the 3 valve per cylinder configuration. That combined with a new VVL system enabled the TriForce to offer both power and fuel efficiency.
In addition to the standard model, an Interceptor* variant was available.

*light bar is subject to change, a mod is in progress.
And a 7 seat Estate version.


The Enforcer is the flagship for a longevity project undertaken by Petoskey Motors. The idea is to keep the model going with periodic updates over an extended period of time.

To be continued…


#19

Continuing on in 1994, Petoskey built the Legion, a mid range sedan.



Using the same 202 V6 built for the Stasera, the Legion was a benchmark for affordable quality vehicles. The cars were practical, safe, reasonably comfortable. Fuel economy is more in the average category, but is still within acceptable limits.
The Legion SE came equipped with a more comfortable interior and a CD player.

Both cars come standard with the Petoskey DRIVESAFE package. This means ABS and traction control are built in options.

The Lakota was built to be a basic, low cost pickup truck. It is the first pickup truck by Petoskey to use a four cylinder engine. A five speed manual comes standard with a four speed automatic as an option. The truck is available in both two wheel and four wheel drive models.



Low running costs coupled with a cheap sticker price helped the Lakota become an extremely popular truck. For light duty delivery and fleet use, the Lakota was ideal.

One of the more highly anticipated cars in the 1994 model year was the new Montauk. While successful, the J-body Montauk lacked the aggressive, imposing image that Petoskey’s higher ups were hoping for. This new design is a sleek, yet formidable appearance. The base model came equipped with the 226 V6 now with multi-port fuel injection. A four speed automatic was also standard.


Obviously a V6 model sports car is hardly the number one choice for enthusiasts so it is no surprise that the Rally would prove more popular. The Rally made use of the 301 TriForce V8.


The Montauk Rally was an excellent car, but that wasn’t the only performance option available. The higher end Trance Am used the same 377 found in the Meteor.



While only available in limited numbers, the Trance Am was the most sought after variant, offering performance and pricing between a Montauk Rally and a Meteor.

To be continued…


#20

Very nice, the descriptions make me almost believe that company really exists. As I am now uploading my own cars since 1940, I must admit some models have a little resemblance. I think I have to refer quite often to your company :smiley: Maybe someone compares the cars one day in these magazine articles here. I like the Montauk: It looks very smooth and fits perfectly in its area.