Woody & Rebecca Fridae's 1924 Model 27L

1924 Milburn Light Electric
Side photo

Left rear photo Left front photo

Left front quarter photo Righjt front quarter photo
Photos courtesy of Woody & Rebecca
Owner: Woody and Rebecca Fridae
EEmail: fridaefamily-at-charter.net
Location: Winters, California
Serial number (oval plate): "M27D12" stamped into plate; "27D24" stamped into RF chassis
Motor number (title):  
Body number (square plate): 16840 stamped into top of LH door and underside of both hoods
Model: 1924 is best guess (guaranteed 1922 model or after)
Wheels: Wood, 24" wheels
Color: Deep royal blue, with black running gear and natural wood wheels
Upholstery: light blue?
Seating capacity: 5
Windows: normal Milburn
Steering control: Lever (tiller)
Speed control: Lever
Top speed:  
Forward speeds:  
Reverse speeds:  
Length overall:  
Width overall:  
Height overall:  
Tires: 32x4 tires (need replace)
Brake systems:  
Curb weight:  
Drive train: Worm
System voltage:  
Additional features: Includes 1922+ features include:
* Roller-Smith Amp and Volt meters in dash;
* Alemite lubricators
* Gabriel Snubbers

Interesting features include:
* Missing the 5th speed button typical of 1922+ cars
* Body S/N consistent with 1921 series of cars (16xxx)
* Neither the chassis S/N, nor VIN plaque show a 2xxxx7 S/N,
   but instead, both show "27Dxx" numbers, each different.  This
   is the only remaining Milburn that has such a chassis S/N.
* Wood wheels for such a late vehicle are interesting
* Milburn bar-style rear bumper
* Windshield wiper and switch (factory or added later?)
* Left headlamp is 1921+ style, Right is 1920- style 
Price, new:  
Owner's remarks: My father bought a Milburn chassis about 1940 in Michigan, and our family has been carting it around the country each time we moved since then.

Research Notes: This is an interesting car and may be one of the last Milburns ever made.  Unlike every other Milburn known to exist today, this Model 27L has S/N stampings that depart from the standard numbering that all Model 27's before it followed:
 "2-xxxx-7".  Rather, this one, is stamped 27D12 on the oval plaque and 27D25 on the right front spring knuckle.  This seems to imply a Model 27D Milburn.  There are few references anywhere regarding a Model 27D.  And the earliest reference found are 1923 references, with listings also found in the Feb. 1924 car listings in AUTOMOBILE.  The Model 27D was supposed to be a delivery vehicle or truck, 1/4-ton, evidently built on the same chassis as the Model 27L.  So could someone have taken a Model 27D truck and later converted it to a Model 27L using an earlier 1921 Model 27L body?  Perhaps, but there is at least one problem with this: this body includes the Amp and Volt meters of the 1922 model cars.  It would be unlikely someone would add those individually outside manufacture.  Assuming this was a factory coupe then, why the Model 27D labeling and which year would it be?  Milburn didn't mention a Model 27D in any known literature until 1923.  And we know that the Model 27D was listed in the Feb 1924 AUTOMOBILE electric truck listings along with the Model 40 and 43.  We know that the new 1922 features came in with S/N 2600 or thereabouts (2-2600-7 stamping) and that a Model 27L exists today with 2-3284-7 stampings.  This means some 684+ cars were made for the 1922-24 years.  It makes little sense that Milburn would have shipped a Model 27L during this numbering period that was stamped "27Dxx" instead of "2-2xxx-7" or "2-3xxx-7".  Further, after Feb. 1923, GM owned Milburn's body building business and that no Milburn Light Electric bodies would have been built after that point or certainly no later than May of 1923.  Milburn Light Electric continued operation after this however at its "Grand Ave" location and without a body works, it was likely dependent on using surplus bodies from prior production or custom low volume new bodies to meet quotas.  This is further supported by the fact that Milburn advertised its Model 40 and 43 trucks with "chassis only" pricing and that bodies could be ordered and built custom as requested.

So the hypothesis is this:  After GM took over the Milburn body works, the owners of Milburn Light Electric had a supply of completed Model 27L bodies and parts that could be put towards building more cars.  Some of these bodies were 1921-vintage bodies and needed some upgrading to meet customer needs (e.g. adding amp- and volt- meters).  Big advertising ended and the company focus shifted to electric trucks in the 1-ton (Model 40), 1/2-ton (Model 43) and 1/4-ton (Model 27D).  A number of Model 27 size chassis were likely built to meet the 1/4-ton needs and were stamped "27DXX".  Similarly, they stamped brass plaques for the rear cross member car S/N plate.  It was decided not to worry about rebadging these as "27Lxx" or 2-xxxx-7" if a 27D labeled chassis was used instead for a brougham passenger car.  Hence, this car, likely a 1923 or 1924 Model 27L Brougham, was stamped "27D12" as its ID (not matching the painted-over "27D25" stamping in the chassis itself) and its mating body was a very late 1921 era body that had the amp- and volt- meters installed, but not the 5-th speed button.  Wood wheels were likely plentiful since it appears from the advertising and remaining cars that the wire wheels were most advertised and popular over most of the years of production, while they offered both---probably a surplus of these existed in their stores.  Further, the truck ads only showed the artillery wheels.

For further investigation:
* S/N of Sangamo
* S/N of Klaxon horn
* Date code of Stewart speedo
* Chalk markings behind instrument panel, behind seat, on controller (motor, body or chassis#)?
* Controller type (we still haven't seen the mythical 1922+ 9-contact controller on any remaining cars)
* Shunt weakening wiring under body despite lack of 5th speed button?
* Body plaque under seat or somewhere?