Durant Motors Inc was established by former General Motors CEO Billy Durant in 1921, with the aim of making similar automobiles to Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Oakland, but at cheaper prices. The company exported them to England but, as there was already a Star company making cars and bicycles in Britain, their export Star models were known as the ‘Rugby.’
Durant’s cars were assembled from parts bought from outside suppliers. In 1923, they became the first firm to offer a factory-built station-wagon (below).
By 1931, Durant Motors began losing market share and dealers. The final Durant-branded models rolled off the US assembly line in August 1931 and in Canada in 1932.
‘American National’ was established at the same time as a holding company for the various Toledo pedal car manufacturers. Their ‘junior automobiles’ used the model names of the top-selling adult cars of the day. The ‘Star’ pedal car looked most like a 1920 Buick.
1922 American National ‘Star’ Junior Automobile
8″ Spoke Wheels
As you can see from the description under the ‘Star’ catalogue illustration, it was offered with a canary yellow body, red seat and stripe, black enameled knuckle-joint auto gear and steering wheel, gas and spark control, bumper, nickel plated hub caps and 8″ double spoke wheel fitted with 3/4″ rubber tyres. By 1924, pedal cars were being supplied with disc wheels (though this earlier style was still being advertised, to use up old stock). Pedal cars reflected the body styling of full size automobiles, this style front end being prevalent from 1919 until the mid-1920s. Yellow was a popular colour for the full-size Star roadster.
This Star is in excellent unrestored original condition, it being rare to find examples that collectors have not repainted. It retains its name plate and also the original bonnet mascot (‘hood emblem’) that featured on full-size automobiles such as Buick and Star in the early 1920s. The steering wheel, with a throttle and advance-retard control similar to those on full-size cars around 1920, is particularly attractive.
1921 AMERICAN NATIONAL LINE
1930 AMERICAN NATIONAL LINE
FLAPPERS POSING ON A SIMILAR AUTOMOBILE
1910s/1920s AMERICAN NATIONAL TRICYCLE