The Earl Motor Company

Earl Car & Truck Division - "Honest cars and trucks, for humble, hardworking people"

The Earl Motor Company is a large auto manufacturer, with a proud history of excellence, and a fine lineup of cars, trucks, and 4X4s for every budget available. No matter your taste, we can over you with one of our four brands: Earl Cars & Trucks, Silverhare, Hirondelle, and Steed.

Lee Harvey Earl (Americanized from Erlenmeyer) was born in 1875 in the town of Rejection, Nevada, son to German Jewish immigrants. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps as a rancher, but Lee showed mechanical aptitude from a young age - by repairing and even improving upon machinery belonging to local farmers, blacksmiths, and the nearby silver mine. He was able to go to high school, and was at the age of 16 was accepted into the inaugural class of Stanford University, despite failing the entry exam in English. There he studied Mining Engineering alongside future president Herbert Hoover. Upon graduation in 1895 he was hired by the Gummer Mining Corporation to help supervise the construction of a salt mine in upper Michigan. After a few years of mining he became interested in the new fad of the automobile, and worked for several Detroit area manufacturers, learning from the faults of failed companies. After the failed venture of the Rapids Auto Company, in 1909 he created what would become the Earl Motor Company. His first cars were advanced but relatively affordable, offering the cheapest six cylinder cars in the country, with some of the earliest all steel bodies and underslung chassis. The Earl name would come to represent honest value vehicles, well engineered but free of much styling. Earl has advanced with the ages and adapted to a changing America, but its values have never changed.

The 1956 Lineup
In the style-focused 1950s, Earl kept up with trends, started adding two toning while maintaining a taught size, coming in at affordable prices.

  • The Earl E15 Workman - $1,499 - Shown in Banana Split
    The E15 is the backbone of hard work everywhere. With a standard Black Smoke Six engine with 110 gross horsepower, 3 speed manual transmission, and heavy duty suspension, it can do any jobs you ask of it. It offers options to increase capability, such as an overdrive transmission, as well as niceties such as power steering and a radio.

  • The Earl Glenwood - $2,199 - Shown in Wash White over Blue Berry
    The Glenwood is the premier mode of transport for families everywhere, with three rows of comfortable seating, versatile rear tailgate & glass hatch, and stylish chrome accents. Optional features such as a two speed automatic transmission, radio, V8 engine, and even air conditioning can make this car a machine to last through the ages.

The 1960 Lineup
Entering the 1960s, a changing country cried out for alternatives to big, chrome-laden cars. Earl Motor Company invested into four completely different ideas for “compact” car lines, two of which were sold under the Earl brand. Even the company’s large cars were revitalized with lightweight unitized construction.

  • The Earl Eagle Custom Wagon - $2,299 - Shown in Cherry Bomb
    The Eagle is the family car of tomorrow - easy to drive, easy to park, with room for up to six in a pinch (delete option front bench required). The huge rear cargo area of a wagon only improves this capability. A standard 100 gross hp Black Smoke Six engine and 3 speed manual provide efficiency and utility, but optional 115hp engine, 2 speed automatic, and power steering can make driving a breeze.

  • The Earl Banshee - $3,499 - Shown in Young Turq
    The Banshee is the American made car that provides the fine sporting driver’s experience of a European road car. But more than that, it maintains the comfort, value, and drivability of Earl’s finest vehicles, but most of all our company’s unmatched reliability. Truly, the best of both worlds.

The 1966 Lineup
As the 60s continued, Earl further divided its many lines to appeal to as many niche products as possible. Passenger cars came as compact, intermediate, and full size; while compact trucks and vans joined the traditional light duty full sizers. Some of these vehicles necessitated smaller engines, but on the balance, the large V8 became the default choice.

  • The Earl Thriftmaster - $1,699 - Shown in Fight The Powder
    The Thriftmaster took Earl’s know how of making reliable, long lasting trucks, together with the skill of making smaller, more efficient and manageable vehicles from the Eagle, and put them together into a compact delivery van. The Thriftmaster is therefore hearty and capable, yet efficient and easy to drive.

  • The Earl Eagle Special Sedan - $1,999 - Shown in Wash White
    The Eagle may be a compact car, and indeed, it is an affordable car; but you get far more than what you pay for. It is a capable, efficient machine, with options like a 216 cubic inch six cylinder engine and 2 speed automatic continuing to make it perform like a larger car, all while maintaining peak efficiency and easy of handling. The Eagle offers many equipment levels to suit every need, but this Special model is available for little more than a used car!

The 1972 Lineup
As Earl entered the 70s, the economy was strong despite civil unrest, so sales continued to grow despite greater competition from imports than ever. Performance was becoming less important thanks to insurance rates, with luxury starting to become the new focus, plentiful, cheap, and leaded gas were still the norm… new regulations and crises were still on the horizon.

  • The Earl Jupiter Estate - $2,999 - Shown in Wash White
    The thorough redesign of Earl & Silverhare’s midsize entries carried through to 1972, and the Jupiter remained a top choice for family vehicles. This basic Jupiter Estate is a safe and efficient wagon for modern families, representing a great value proposition. This model features the standard 150 gross (118 net) horsepower six, AM radio, cross ply tires, and front and rear bench seats.

  • The Earl Executioner - $2,499 - Shown in Dark Night
    While the muscle car market started to die out partly due to insurance premiums, the already “refined” muscle cars, the Silverhare Spear GTA and Earl Rio Grande gradually began to soften into personal luxury, but the purposefully obnoxious Earl Executioner remained. Clad in black on black with a subtle, unique graphic, this engine uses a Manchester 4 barrel carb allowing the 444 cubic inch Langhorne V8 to produce 400 gross (300 net) horsepower, accelerating the car to 60 in under 7 seconds and providing surprisingly good gas mileage and handling when optioned with the Radial Tire & Suspension Package, as shown here.

The 1977 Lineup

  • The Earl Vista S
    In 1974 it became apparent to Earl executives that the RWD live-axled Beano subcompact, while competitive with domestic alternatives, wold not hold up to the next generation of imports. All development resources were poured into the company’s first transverse front wheel drive architecture with the help of Earl of Europe, making better use of space and providing better performance and economy. While a new 16v overhead cam four cylinder engine family was considered, the OHV Black Smoke Four when paired with a four speed manual proved to have similar performance and economy for less money and helped enable a shorter development period. The final product was launched in a dramatic advertising blitz, with a coordinated ads on all three networks, singing gospel music praises withe Vista perched on a mountaintop.

  • The Earl Thriftmaster 4WD
    The unibody, mid–engined first gen Thriftmaster was replaced by a larger, more truck-based generation in 1975, with the drive train mounted under an actual hood instead of the front seat. The running gear components shared with the E-15 pickup enabled this four wheel drive version to be introduced new for 1977. This model features the 303 V8 and automatic transmission to go with the 4X4.

The 1981 Lineup

  • The Earl Vista Value
    After the original base model Vista, while successful for downsizers, proved to be a little to luxurious for the hyper-miler, the Vista Value was announced alongside the 1980 front end refresh. Every feasible expense was spared, including the radio, rear middle seat, and back doors. Fuel injection, despite the expense, was included, allowing the same power in a slightly downsized Black Smoke Four, but with excellent fuel economy considering the comparatively large size of the Vista.

The 1987 Lineup

  • The Earl Vista Value Plus
    The Vista Value turned out to be a huge success, so before a full Vista/Eagle replacement would arrive in 1990, little was changed. A cheap radio was added as was a five speed transmission, and the engine was returned with multiport injection to provide slightly more power but much better economy.

  • The Earl Pilgrim S
    Fortunate to catch the minivan wave on the front end in 1985, Earl caught the winning front whee drive formula and built the Pilgrim and a matching Silverhare on the Vista/Eagle chassis, including using the Black Smoke engine. Available all the way from cargo vans to turbocharged sports models and V6 wood paneled monstrosities, the S model was the fairly basic version many families opted for.

  • The Earl E-15 Xtra Cab Base
    While Earl would introduce compact trucks and utilities in the 1980s, the full size E-15 was still a dominant market force. Extended and even crew cab models became popular, as well as a new four door SUV. Yet basic trims like these still served worksites everywhere, beloved in their ability to handle loads (and people) too large for compacts.

The 1991 Lineup

  • The Earl UFO Turbo
    While the traditional Silverhare Chupacabra remained popular in its RWD pony car format, Earl showrooms got a new FWD sports 2+2 in 1989. The “UFO,” named as such from a public poll from its unusual appearance, was offered with a naturally aspirated or turbocharged four as well as a small V6. This Turbo model features a 2.4 liter with a turbocharger and a 5 speed manual transmission, offering good acceleration but high mpg at a low price.

  • The Earl Pioneer LE
    Earl introduced the compact E10 truck platform in 1985, launched with the Palomino pickup and the Prancer two door SUV, but soon the Pioneer four door model was released and outpaced its brother. Slightly refined and having lost its wood paneling by 1991, this V6 powered SUV was ready to replace the station wagon in the driveway of many a faux outdoorsy family.

The 1996 Lineup

  • The Earl Vista Peon
    Slightly rounder and smaller but not altogether superior second generations came out to the Vista and Eagle came out in 1990. The pushrod Black Smoke Four was finally dropped for a modern SOHC four. Somewhat cheeky but not completely inaccurate trim levels for the Vista were coined, with this Peon model having a radio and an 80hp 1.8 liter engine.

  • The Earl Conqueror Lakota
    The full size E15 trucks were restyled for the 90s with more dramatic and less boxy styling, and so were the requisite Conquistador two door and Conqueror four door SUV. The aged Caliber V8 was replaced by a new but very similar Cannon V8, after prototypes for OHC V8s proved underwhelming. This high trim Lakota model provides high comfort and family versatility as well as off road capability, albeit at a price in the showroom and at the gas pump.

  • The Earl Jupiter Space 3.5
    The second generation of FWD Earl Jupiter / Silverhare Spear came about in the mid 90s, with very conservative styling, almost boxier than the first generation. While appearing bland, the enlarged 3.5 liter V6 provided models like this one with good acceleration despite a 4 speed automatic, various comfort features, and maintaining good fuel economy.

The 2002 Lineup

  • The Earl Eagle Peasant
    The Vista hatchback and Eagle sedan were jelly-bean-ified in a year 2000 redesign, gaining better rustrproofing and a 16 valve engine for most models. Styling was controversial, with the front end often being compared to “a sad puppy.” This moderately equipped Peasant trim for the Eagle features a 2 liter engine and a automatic transmission but still delivers 33 mpg for under $16,000.

  • The Earl Pioneer LE-6
    The first generation of the Pioneer midsize SUV remained very popular through the 1980s and 90s but was in need of replacement come the new millennium. Rather than stick with a truck based platform, it became a semi-unitized chassis with independent rear suspension. Performance was acceptable with the new Demeter inline 6 engine designed for both transverse and longitudinal use, but not exciting; though off road prowess was unmatched and gas mileage fair. This LE model features a mixed cloth-leather interior and a CD player.

  • The Earl Jupiter Space LE
    While the boxy Jupiter/Spear twins of the 90s sold well they had a decidedly dowdy image. For 2001, a brand new generation in sedan and wagon only was introduced with long rounded lines, if a somewhat questionable front end design on the Jupiter. The real engineering kick was a very wide but longitudinally-short engine compartment designed for most trims to have small, transverse inline six engines, instead of the larger, rougher V6s used previously. This reasonably equipped LE model has such a feature, but the one that wowed reviewers was the EXE model with a 24v turbocharged six. Otherwise the vehicle was not especially technically advanced - for example, ABS still remained an ala-carte option.

The 2013 Lineup

  • The Earl E-15 Yellowstone
    Pickup trucks, while always popular, gradually became more luxurious and more suitable to use as a family vehicles in the 2000s. The Earl E-15 was no different - with this crew cab, short bed model in the ritzy Yellowstone trim (licensed from the famous Montana cattle ranch) being an example of a seemingly compromised machine. But it also features full four wheel drive with locking differentials, and an overhead cam 5.5 liter V8 producing 366hp, with high towing and hauling capabilities.

Silvehare Premium Automobiles - "More than a pretty face"

In 1899, Silverhare was one of the first car companies to form in the United States. A business venture between machinist Duke Silver and banker/investor Hiram Harrington, it was initially Silver-Harrington, then Silver-Hare, then Silverhare. The company focused on precision manufactured, advanced technology, middle priced cars - one of the first companies with independent front suspension, overhead valve straight eight engines, and even experimenting with partial unitized body construction. It experienced moderate success until the beginning of the Great Depression. Earl Motor Company, noting a massive gap between the top Earl models and the cheaper Hirondelle vehicles, and still solvent due to the popularity of cheap and fleet models, acquired the company for a song in 1932. Silverhare was slowly scaled back, and by the 1950s (and onward) most of its mainstream models were either refined Earl designs or decontented Hirondelle models. However, the spirit of innovation lives on within Silverhare, and many of the company’s more unique cars come out of the brand, as well as serving as a test market for new technologies such as the automatic transmission and disc brakes.

The 1960 Lineup

Silverhare entered the 1960s with two of the company’s new compact car ideas, as well as redesigned full size cars with unitized construction. Styling was as distinctive as ever, as the trademark Silverhare split grille and eagle emblem became ingrained in all the brand’s designs.

  • The Silverhare Cavallaro - $3,299 - Shown in Wash White over Hulla Blue Sparkle
    The Cavallaro is the luxury car without the luxury pricetag. The largest car you need, with the largest engine you need, and the most conveniences you want - but nothing more. Be the gentleman of the open road with so many smartly chosen standard features that the only thing you really need to pick is the color. Standard with a 230 gross horsepower V8 engine and three speed automatic transmission.

The 1966 Lineup

As the sixties marched on, the country’s thirst for performance grew and many famous (and infamous) muscle and pony cars were born. The Earl Motor Company was at the center of all of it, with Silverhare usually edging ahead in sales compared to equivalent Earl models, for perhaps in nothing else besides sales.

  • The Silverhare Spear GTA- $2,699 - Shown in Orange You Glad
    The GTA is one of the two well-remembered, heavily advertised pre-designed muscle cars from Silverhare (anyone could order a big engine in any model, after all) alongside the Spear 4-4-4. While the 4-4-4 is designed with drag strips in mind, the GTA is an all-rounder with a fairly comfortable interior, stylish exterior (including vinyl roof and sport stripe), and mag wheels; but more importantly a sport tuned suspension and the top tune of the Caliber V8 - 357 cubic inches with over 320 gross horsepower. In the end it can beat most big block cars around a track, and still be driven - safely, and reasonably efficiently - every day.

  • The Silverhare Stepford - $2,899 - Shown in Seafoam Green Sparkle
    The Stepford is the luxurious midsize family wagon from Silverhare, sans wood panneling, for perhaps the more subtle buyer. It still offers 6 passenger comfort and a luxurious interior, with innumerable standard comfort and convenience features. A 303 cid Regular gas V8 is standard providing perfectly suited performance, while Super gas and larger engines are available at minimal cost for the performance-minded family man.

The 1977 Lineup

  • The Silverhare Spear Shamal
    With resources put towards downsizing compact cars first, the 1973 Jupiter and Spear intermediate models carried on through 1977 - despite being the size of many now full size cars. The Spear Shamal remained the luxurious choice featuring front bucket seats with glove soft vinyl and an 8 track player. The coupe, while less practical, was the most popular body style, offering a more personal experience and style statement. This model features the standard downsized 303 V8 with automatic transmission with adequate performance and ‘meh’ mileage.

The 1981 Lineup

  • The Silverhare Pegasus
    While the Earl Banshee remained a draw to dealerships as a somewhat unsophisticated V8 powered sports car, Silverhare finally got approval to complete it’s sports image with a smaller sports tourer. Originally designed to be mid engined, leadership wanted it to be the first car with the new Goddess Six - including the company’s first turbocharger. So despite appearances, the engine was turned and placed in the front with a four speed trans axle. With massive tires and carefully tuned suspension, the front-heavy handling was nonetheless excellent.

The 1987 Lineup

  • The Silverhare Spear ES
    For 1985 the new Spear switched to front wheel drive as the old generation soldiered on cut down to the luxury Shamal coupe. The new Spear was available with a four, but more popularly, a V6, and featured space-ship styling and a light-bar, and in some models turbocharging or AWD.

The 1996 Lineup

  • The Silverhare Pegasus 2.3S
    Despite looking very similar to the larger, four seat Earl UFO, the second generation Pegasus was unrelated by platform having many components from the original model. Still a front engine RWD two seater, easier to drive four cylinder models like this 2.3S became more popular, as efficient, fun to drive commuters.

The 2007 Lineup

  • The Silverhare Masquerade 3.0
    The Earl Motor Company approached the burgeoning market for crossovers in the 2000s in a rather confused fashion. Earl dealerships, not wanting to sacrifice their reputation in off road capability, kept selling the truck-like traditional 4WD Pioneer and Conqueror. Silverhare dealers, having had difficulty for years in the decline of large car sales, glady started selling comfortable, efficient car-based CUVs with transverse FWD/AWD. Hirondelle, refusing to sell any transverse vehicles, used the chassis from the Masquerade but a longitudinal drive train to make the Merlin. This Silverhare Masquerade is a well equipped trim with a 3 liter 6 cylinder, all wheel drive, and a luxurious interior; producing over 200hp and getting over 25 mpg combined.

The 2013 Lineup

  • The Silverhare Masquerade 2.0T
    The Silverhare brand continued success in the 2000s even after most middle-price brands died off, having carved a niche in now selling crossovers exclusively. (The venerable Spear midsize produced quite an upset when discontinued in 2012, on its 50th anniversary, having sold over 10 million units).
    Despite the subcompact Mangrove and three row Matterhorn being introduced, the Masquerade was the top seller. Six cylinder models remained available though selected less and less owing to mediocre mileage. This is the nicest four cylinder trim available, with AWD and a turbo 2.0 liter producing over 200hp and providing 36mpg and comfort for 5.

Hirondelle Fine Cars - "Other cars are for getting somewhere, a Hirondelle is for when you’ve arrived."

In 1899 Lee had married a French woman he me at an international auto show, and together they had three children. His first born and eldest son, Everett Earl, was born in 1900. Everett was focused more on art and style over his father, and upon graduation from the University of Michigan in 1922 tried to exert his ideas into his father’s company. Instead, Lee realized that while his affordable cars could stay as they were, that he was letting the growing luxury car market of the roaring twenties go unserved. He set his son on the task, and in 1924 the first Hirondelle luxury cars entered the market, some of the first cars designed by artists in addition to engineers, but with highly advanced V16 engines. The name was suggested by his mother, because she felt that a luxury car should have the beauty and grace of a swallow. Hirondelle, while a net drain on the company through the great depression, remained as a symbol of the aspiration of the American dream for many. After WWII, while smaller and with V8s instead of V16, Hirondelle continued its role as the premier American luxury car, ambitious in its styling and uncompromised in its design.

The 1956 Lineup
Hirondelle was a powerhouse in the 1950s, while not necessarily innovative in its technology, it had world-renown quality, powerful V8 engines, and distinctive styling.

  • The Hirondelle Shambala - $5,999 - Shown in Salmon Fresh over Wash White
    The Shambala is the most exciting Hirondelle yet, a new paradigm in luxury on a personal scale - no need for a chauffer, when the driving experience is so easy and pleasant. A dazzling convertible named after the mythic oriental paradise of Shangri-La, inside the Shambala is indeed a magical place to be. Featuring standard power steering, power brakes, power windows, power leather seats, Dyno-flite automatic transmission, center seat armrests, and a 357 cubic inch, 300 gross horsepower, dual-carburetor V8 engine with twin exhausts.

The 1972 Lineup
The 1970s would turn out to become a top decade for Hirondelle - choosing to approach the field with a focus on exclusivity and top quality like Mercedes but avoiding the utilitarian approach to design and firmer ride of the Germans, Hirondelle vehicles became the best of both worlds of luxury.

  • The Hirondelle Shambala - $9,999 - Shown in Ruby Esque with Cream Vinyl
    The Hirondelle Shambala, a nameplate long denoting the high trim convertible of the luxury line, became a high style personal luxury coupe with a monocoque chassis and design entirely unique from the other Hirondelles. Nearly every imaginable convenience was offered as standard, such as heated front 8 way power two tone leather bucket seats, FM/AM/8-Track four speaker stereo, front disc brakes, radial tires, sunshine roof, power truck lid, automatic triggering and dimming headlights, automatic climate control, and more. But the largest highlight was an engine designed specifically for the Shambala, the Opus Twelve; a torquey eight liter V12 engine offering paramount smoothness and quietness.

The 1981 Lineup

  • The Hirondelle Lancelot
    The V12 engine originally exclusive to the Shambala coupe was downsized, fuel injected, and given to the regular Hirondelle sedans. This Lancelot edition, with numerous features above and beyond the standard Merlin, represents the greatest comfort four people (loose cushion seating and a rear center console) can experience from a live-rear-axle machine.

The 1991 Lineup

  • The Hirondelle Galahad 350
    The Galahad introduced Hirondelle to the world of not-quite-full-sized cars in 1975. Ostensibly marketed as the Hirondelle for the buyer with more European tastes, it was never quite as small or as sporty as it could be; but while the Lancelot was somewhat stymied by tradition, the Galahad became more and more technologically advanced through the 1980s. This very new 1991 model features what would indeed prove to be some of the styling themes yet to dominate the 90s, as well as a silky smooth engine, respectable performance, and advanced technology - but for a less eye watering a price as historically expected.

The 2007 Lineup
The Hirondelle brand had less meaning in the luxury market by the 2000s, not due to any particular major failure but rather just new and strong competition. The Camelot name, formerly applied to an extended wheelbase limousine model, was applied to a luxury SUV in 1998; while the Merlin sedan name was given to a luxury crossover. The Galahad remained an entry level sedan, while the Lancelot and Shambala were retained as flagships.

  • The Hirondelle Lancelot Tradition
    The “base” trim Lancelot Authenticity featured a 5 liter V8, while the “sport” oriented Lancelot Modernity had a turbocharged 6.6 liter V12. This midlevel Lancelot Tradition features the 445 horsepower naturally aspirated version of the 6.6 liter SOHC Persephone V12, based on the Demeter six with more advanced casting and tech. Listed for an MSRP of $59,999, its prodigious size and weight do not keep it from getting 20mpg and reaching 60 mph in nearly 5 seconds. It also features an endless list of niceties from cooled seats, to a panoramic sunroof, to weighted center hub caps that keep the Hirondelle emblem upright at all times.

The 2013 Lineup

  • The Hirondelle Merlin Mage
    Hirondelle performed well in the tens, producing both traditional comfort focused vehicles and some performance variants, and everything from midsize sedans to full size SUVs. This is the Merlin midsize crossover, in base Mage trim, but with the optional turbocharged 3.3 liter I6, (crampt) third row seating, and split “Picnic Tailgate”. Love the styling or (more likely) hate it, it is a tech tour de force even in base guise, with over 300hp and providing nearly 30 mpg, while carrying up to 7 people.

The latter two were actual Chrysler colors in real life, but all three are just right for the extroverted, ground-pounding Chimera.

Edit: “Gang Green” is somehow more appropriate for the Chimera. But in any case, no matter what color it comes in, this beast would look terrific blasting through the hilly streets of San Francisco.

I was going for fake Chrysler Hi Impact Colors, I forgot Sub Lime was real. I believe Statutory Grape was a MAD magazine parody at the time. :rofl:

Cool cars, looks like a Mercury parody.

So this topic doesn’t die out from age: I’m adding the entries made for Generations II as they come. So far we are up to 1972.

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I realize I never properly linked my Youtube video to this topic. Not all of my videos (including the next one) will be about Earl products, but this one is, the 1974 Earl Ponderosa Station Wagon:

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