Headquarters: Greenville, South Carolina
The initial beginnings for the Carolina Motor Group was in a small conference room on April 6th, 1920, in the Hendersonville Inn in Hendersonville, North Carolina. This meeting of 6 men, Stacey McEllrath, David Sorrells, J.E.B Stevenson, William Lee, Henry Pierce, and John Davis. These men met during their service in the First World War and struck up a great friendship. They decided to start a business catering to the rapidly expanding demand for internal combustion engines, primarily in agricultural and industrial contexts. They choose the town of Greenville as the sight of their initial plant due to its proximity to their homes in North and South Carolina, its location along several railroads, and multiple ideal building sights. The Greenville Engine Manufacturing Company opened for business on June 16th, 1921, building a 25 HP 4 cylinder kerosene engine for use in tractors and light construction equipment. The company was quickly imperiled by the agricultural depression of the 1920s and action was needed, The solution was to begin to build the single cylinder Triumph Model H with old tooling after the end of English production in 1923. It was a smash hit, becoming very popular in cities and rural areas alike, with its gas sipper economy, euro styling, and very affordable price. Upgrades were made in 1925 to the front fork to increase its durability on rough roads, and was renamed the Carolina Star. With the business taking off, the six friends began to bicker about how the company should be run, with William Pierce and Stacey McEllrath leaving due to the perceived reliance on euro engineering. Seeing the success of the automobile, even in the poor Southern United States, John Davis designed a passenger vehicle in 1926, using the 40HP 3 liter 4 cylinder kerosene unit from their tractor line. This resulted in the Carolina Mark 1. There were only 30 vehicles produced. most people found them too rough to be used on public roads and ironically were used as tractors like their predecessors.