A Puzzle: 1926 Star Speedster

left front

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After Billy Durant, co founder of General Motors, was forced out of GM he founded Durant Motors. The Star Automobile was one of the Durant Motors Brands designed to compete with the Model T. They were built from 1922 until 1928. This Star Speedster listed on eBay in Portland Oregon is a puzzle. It appears too well built to have been been home built and there is no know history of the car. The body is all steel. It’s been in storage for a long while and will need the usual mechanical attention to get it running and driving. Thanks to Craig B for the tip.


The dash is very basic. This would appear to be an older restoration.


The seats look typical of the 1960s or perhaps the 1970s.


The engine is the original Continental 4 cylinder used until it was replaced by a 6 cylinder Continental in 1926.

left rear

Regardless of the history, this could be a fun little car. It looks to be in great shape, driven very little since restoration. Could this have been a prototype or is it a home built car? Could someone have the tooling to build the body? Bidding is just over $5,000 with the reserve unmet. With its history unknown, what do you think someone will be willing to pay for this cool speedster?

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  1. David WilkMember

    Looks like quality work throughout. Fun car — though impractical for most of us, which seems likely to limit its value. Lots of smiles though, for the driver and its one passenger.

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  2. Mark S

    If you look at the joints on the wood trim you will be able to tell that it’s a home build. The sheet metal is flat for tha most part with no compound angles typical of press made panels. All that being said it still looks like a fairly well made car. I would have done this as a boat tail out of wood with a fibre glass covering, and some fenders.

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    • Mark S

      ,To elaborate on what I ment the wood would be done in the same manor as a cedar strip boat than fibre glass covering using weave fabric and high lustre apoxy resin. This would be followed by 600 grit sanding and three coats of auto clear. I’d start at the fire wall back to the rear bumper. The end result would look very cool.

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  3. dirtyharry

    I think it safe to say, it is combination of parts and sheet metal work by someone with some experience bending panels. Interesting vibe, but that gas tank hanging off the back causes me to think twice. Would be great at a car show, just for the head scratch factor. Write something on it in French, maybe the name of a girl. Call it for $5k.

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  4. Mark

    It’s definitely a car that would only be bought for the fun factor. Since there is no known history for the vehicle nor is it any something from a known manufacturer there is close to zero value in the car.

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    Billy Durant is NOT a nobody in infancy of the automobile at all. To me his association is a plus.

    My guess it was “restored” in a time period where it is what you did to an old car. Hard to determine when. Not as stand out as the 90’s era when everything was pastel colored with a splash of pink somewhere rolling on billet wheels. Had it been done in the 70’s or 80’s or as recent as 10 years ago someone somewhere should know something about the story.

    Nothing wrong with it mind you. Love the look especially with the seemingly millions of Henry’s still around. I have some Star operators manuals I’ll have to review that rear. May be original. Could be a chopped touring. I agree on the boat tail look however not with fiberglass.

    It is about as weather derived as a motorcycle for sure for useability. Perhaps it would generate more interest with the mechanicals were sorted and pretty much everything else left as found. My how times have changed.

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  6. DolphinMember

    There were all kinds of ‘speedsters’ built in the 1920s, some elaborate, full bodied ones built by a real factory, some fairly simple builds from somebody’s garage or back yard. Google ‘1920s speedster’.

    Unless somebody has vintage paperwork / photos / other information, it will be difficult or more likely impossible to know much about this car, who designed and built it, where, and when. That’s just the way old home built speedsters are.

    This car is already on the web because it has been listed on Ebay and here on Barn Finds, but there doesn’t seem to be any more information that what’s in the Ebay listing, and the seller has said that he doesn’t have much history on it. Maybe it was sold at auction to a guy in the 1980s, but the seller doesn’t actually seem to have that pinned down, so maybe not. It’s guesswork at this point.

    As for the seller doubting that this is a backyard build, that’s worth no more than the paper it’s written on, and it’s not even down on paper, just electrons on Ebay.

    The seller seems to underestimate peoples’ ability back then. Most of the body is flat panels, and it would be no problem for an Italian craftsman in Northern Italy back decades ago to knock out in a couple of days. They did it all the time in small factories like Zagato and others.

    There is no reason whatsoever why a similarly skilled No American couldn’t have built this body by himself. Forget the sellers guesswork. If somebody likes it, buy it for what it is, not for somebody’s guesswork.

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  7. Madbrit

    The flutes down each side of the hood are very reminiscent of the UKs GM line called Vauxhall along with some of the USA range. They were a feature on Vauxhall cars since the 1900s. The last sighting is on the 1959/60 Victor when the flute was pushed out to the fender sides and then they were gone for good.

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  8. John K

    This is identified as a 1924 Star Speedster: http://classiccarpicturesalmanac.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/1924_Durant_StarSpeedster_152ci_80HP_4Cylinder1.jpg

    If correct, Durant really cut back on efforts from 1924 to 1926.

    From what I can see the suspension, the drivetrain and the dash look similar to the ’24. My guess is that this was a bitsa’ built from a frame, drivetrain, and some other odds and ends.

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  9. Tom S.

    The ebay ad says the car was possibly sold at auction to John Farrell in Seattle in the 1980s. I googled Seattle obituaries for that name and quickly came to two guys who would have been the right age at that time to find this car appealing. Contact the families through the mortuary and maybe you’ll get some answers about the car’s history.

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  10. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    This is a homebuilt for sure. However I suspect the main body was from another older car, slightly modified to fit this chassis. Note that the body cowl actually increases in width, exceeding the width of the frame by several inches. [The “sightline” following the line of the hood sides, should have continued at the same angle, rather than bulging out]. I would hazard a guess this body was removed from a vehicle with a slightly wider, and a far shorter chassis, hence the body ends in front of the gas tank. I would suggest the spare tire mount was cut into the existing body too. There are too many unused holes in the chassis rails that suggest a different body with fenders, when it left the factory.

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