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Russell 14-28

Model Year: 1914

Location of Manufacture: Toronto, Ontario

By the opening years of the 20th century, the popularity of the bicycle was fading and, concurrently, interest in motorized transportation was on the rise. In 1903, the Canada Cycle and Motor Company (CCM) of Toronto purchased the assets of a defunct automobile producer, Canadian Motors Limited. A new automobile division was established under the leadership of then general manager, Tommy Russell – the Russell Motor Car Co. From 1903 to 1916, the company produced a range of models with increasingly large engine sizes. In 1911, the Russell Motor Car Co. was so successful, it was incorporated as a entity separate from CCM.

The Russells had a solid reputation as well-built, reliable cars, and sales offices were opened in England, Australia and New Zealand. However, success in the moderately-priced car market was not enough for Russell. With the arrival in Canada of the almost silent Knight sleeve-valve engine, Russell saw an opportunity to expand into the luxury car market. Russell began producing vehicles with a significantly quieter engine, embellished with elegant brass fittings and rich hardwood detailing.

The Russell Motor Car Co. was dealt two devastating blows. The first came in 1913, when problems with the sleeve-valve engine resulted in ongoing mechanical difficulties. In 1914, with the start of World War I in Europe, industrial resources were diverted to the war effort, leaving non-military factories short of materials. Russell ceased producing cars in 1916 and focussed instead on supplying munitions for the military, and on producing car parts in the post-war period.