Gray Motor Corporation

 This rare Gray Touring car is on display at the Classic Car Collection in Kearney, Nebraska:

The Gray Motor Corporation began manufacturing automobiles in 1922 and set a new world’s record for long distance gasoline economy that same year.  The record was set by a stock Gray carrying a capacity load.  At 10 o’clock on a Wednesday morning in September, Mayor Rolph of San Francisco officially started the Gray on its run to New York.  The Gray headed south toward Los Angeles on the first leg of its journey, complete with a police escort.  The driver was Leo DeClark, and he was accompanied by Captain A. B. Waldon, the official observer for the American Automobile Association.

Philadelphia Inquirer (September 24, 1922)

It could not have been an easy trip considering the state of our nation’s roads, or lack thereof, at the time.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that, “The tour from San Francisco to New York puts a severe test upon any car.  Mountains must be climbed and deserts with heavy sandy roads negotiated.  Rivers are to be forded, and storms are to be expected.  In some parts of the route, the Gray will encounter thick, clayey, gumbo roads that seem actually to grasp the wheels in an endeavor to hold them back.”

In spite of the unfavorable conditions, the Gray made the trip in 26 days and 16 hours.  It traveled a total of 4,819 miles and averaged 33.8 mpg. This success was featured in Gray Motor Corporation advertising:

Pittsburgh Post Gazette (November 12, 1922)

 Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep the company in business.  They closed their doors in 1926, and that was the end of the world record-setting Gray automobile.   

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