Derby car restoration set to begin

Published: Mar 25, 2013

The Saskatoon Antique Auto Club (SAAC) and the Western Development Museum (WDM) are pleased to announce a new partnership – the restoration of a 1927 Derby car from the WDM’s collection. The SAAC will undertake the work under the guidance of the Museum. The restoration will be completed in 2014 as a SAAC 50th anniversary project.

The unrestored Derby will be on display during the Draggins Rod & Custom Car Show, March 29-30, 2013 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. Both the WDM and the SAAC are grateful to the Draggins Car Club for allowing us to fundraise for the restoration of the Derby during its event. People can support the project by donating to the Western Development Museum Derby car fund. Donations are tax deductible.

The Derby was really a Davis, manufactured in Richmond, Indiana by the Davis Motor Company, and imported to western Canada. Derby founder Louis Arsenault first brought the cars to Winnipeg where he changed the name plate and hubcaps to Derby. After running into financial trouble, Arsenault set his sights on Saskatoon.

By 1924, Derby Motor Cars Limited had an office in Saskatoon. The company planned to import cars in pieces and assemble them at the former Marshall tractor plant on 11th St. West. The building will be familiar to many Saskatonians as the recently demolished Mitchell’s Gourmet Foods, formerly Intercontinental Packers. Some sources say that no Derby cars were ever assembled in Saskatoon; others believe there may have been a handful. The evidence is not conclusive. By 1928, Arsenault’s Saskatoon dream was dead, the company defunct.

The WDM car has a Derby Motor Car Company, Winnipeg nameplate on the radiator and a Davis hubcap. Unfortunately, the story of this particular car has been lost to time. Nevertheless, the car represents the story of one man’s vision for a Saskatoon automobile industry.

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For further information:

Norm Mowles, President
Saskatoon Antique Auto Club
Ph: (306) 492-2237 or (306) 492-7559

Thom Cholowski, Conservation Manager
Western Development Museum
Ph: (306) 934-1400 or 1-800-363-6345

101-202 Fourth Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0K1
Phone: (306) 242-1206 | Fax: (306) 242-1955 | 1-800-567-2444