In 1934 McQuay-Norris, a manufacturer of automotive parts based in St. Louis, Missouri, hired Hill Auto Body in Cincinnati, Ohio to build a fleet of six vehicles they called Streamliners (also known as “Aluminum Eggs”). These bulbous, bulging, smile-inducing cars were used as promotional and testing vehicles by sales reps who drove them all over the U.S. and Canada. The dashboard, which extended all the way to the floor, was covered with gauges and instruments to help reps sell, demonstrate, and test the pistons, bearings, rings, and other automotive parts the company made. The drivers also used McQuay-Norris parts to rebuild the engines of the vehicles, giving them first-hand knowledge of their company’s products.
The bodies of the Streamliners were built on a Ford chassis, with a wood framework encased in steel and aluminum. They were powered by an 85-horsepower Ford Flathead V8 engine and had a top speed of 80 mph. The plexiglass windows gave the driver, who sat in the middle of the car, a near-panoramic view. The only area without windows is the rear of the car – we’re guessing that backing up may have been a challenge.
McQuay used the vehicles until 1940, then sold them. One of the two surviving Streamliners is in the collection of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Kevin Austin