The iconic show “Jay Leno’s Garage” once again welcomed a remarkable vehicle, this time a unique 1923 McFarlan Model 154 Knickerbocker Cabriolet.
The auto, hailing from the revered Nethercutt Collection in California, is believed to be the last of its kind, according to the institution’s Vice President, Cameron Richards.
The car was produced by McFarlan, a firm initially based in Connersville, Indiana. Beginning as a carriage manufacturer, it transitioned to car manufacturing, but its focus was luxury rather than quantity, producing only about 600 cars annually between 1910 and 1928.
McFarlan didn’t compromise on its automobiles. The Model 154 weighs in at 5,200 pounds, and under its Rolls-Royce-like grill lies a 572-cubic-inch inline-6 engine featuring 18 spark plugs and four valves per cylinder. The valves, arranged on either side of the combustion chambers in a T-head configuration, were a popular choice of the era due to low-quality gasoline, Leno clarifies in the video. The T-head design facilitated better cooling, thus reducing the risk of engine knocking.
The multitude of valves and spark plugs contributed to a power output of 120 hp, all of which is directed to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission that uses a contemporary H-pattern shifter.
The car’s previous owner was Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle, a renowned comedian of the time, and it includes a fold-out canopy and director’s chair, allowing the star to unwind during breaks. In contrast, the driver’s seating area was less sheltered. Arbuckle’s Model 154 featured a popular design for its time, with an enclosed rear cabin and an open driver’s compartment.
Despite its relative obscurity in contemporary times, the McFarlan was once deemed a worthy American counterpart to Rolls-Royce, as Richards points out. Leno concurs, likening the Indiana-built car to a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. However, unlike Rolls-Royce, McFarlan didn’t endure. After filing for bankruptcy, it was acquired by Auburn, another doomed car manufacturer from Indiana.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 1923 McFarlan Model 154
What car was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage?
A unique 1923 McFarlan Model 154 Knickerbocker Cabriolet was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage.
Where is the 1923 McFarlan Model 154 originally from?
The car is originally from Connersville, Indiana, where McFarlan, the manufacturer, was based.
How many cars did McFarlan manufacture annually?
McFarlan produced approximately 600 cars annually between 1910 and 1928.
What unique features does the 1923 McFarlan Model 154 have?
The 1923 McFarlan Model 154 has a 572-cubic-inch inline-6 engine with 18 spark plugs and four valves per cylinder arranged in a T-head configuration.
Who was the former owner of the showcased 1923 McFarlan Model 154?
The car was previously owned by the famous comedian of the time, Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle.
What happened to the McFarlan car company?
McFarlan didn’t survive. After going bankrupt, the company was acquired by Auburn, another Indiana automaker that also faced financial difficulties.
More about 1923 McFarlan Model 154
- Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube Channel
- Nethercutt Collection
- History of McFarlan
- Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle
- Auburn Automobile