Packard Museum to Display Warren-Made 1925 Automobile

WARREN, Ohio – The National Packard Museum’s new permanent interpretive exhibit featuring the 1925 Sterling Knight five-passenger sedan will open Tuesday, May 23. The vehicle is part of the museum’s permanent collection of historic automobiles.

The Sterling-Knight was a luxury automobile designed by James “Pete” Sterling and assembled in Warren from 1923 to 1926. The company produced about 700 cars at its factory on Dietz Road, but only three are known to survive.

The Warren Tribune trumpeted news of the establishment of the Sterling-Knight Company in 1923 as “the re-establishment of the automobile industry in Warren,” noting that “this city was one of the pioneers in the automotive industry when the Packard was developed and manufactured here.”

Sterling-Knight autos were powered by an innovative six-cylinder internal combustion Knight engine that used sleeve valves instead of the more common poppet valve construction.

In 1920, Pete Sterling resigned from the F.B. Stearns Co. with intent to start his own car company. The Sterling Knight Motor Co. of Cleveland was incorporated in April 1921 with a capitalization of $1 million. 

The company purchased a plant on Cleveland’s east side, but a post-war recession delayed production, forcing Sterling to seek additional financial backing.

After several Warren-area sources, including Newton A. Wolcott, then the president and co-owner of the Packard Electric Co., provided an additional $1.5 million in capital stock, the Sterling Knight Co. of Warren was incorporated on May 5, 1923.

Except for the engines, which were manufactured in-house, Sterling-Knight automobiles were assembled from parts purchased from outside suppliers. Many of those parts came from local sources, including the Philips Custom Body Co. that crafted Sterling-Knight bodies at its factory located in the former General Electric Trumbull Lamp plant on West Market Street.

The National Packard Museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Pictured at top: This 1925 Sterling Knight sedan will go on display at the National Packard Museum.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.