The tricked-out 1917 Majestic lived up to its name, but was doomed to fail
Considering the era in which it was built, the 1917 Majestic was appropriately named. There was nothing quite like it; the automobile was so regal that it offered features rarely seen on four wheels. However, as political tension rose and the U.S. moved closer to entering World War II, was the Majestic a case of too much too soon? It seems so.
No doubt the principal players thought differently, feeling they had waited long enough. According to AmericanAutomobiles.com, The Majestic Motor Company of New York— initially Monitor Motor Company—had to overcame labor and material problems to get the car operational and onto the public stage. Finally, the automaker made an announcement in the January 11, 1917 issue of The Automobile: Its new vehicle would be on display at the New York Auto Show, and the company was looking for potential dealership partners.
“The Majestic,” the ad ran, “… [is] a car combining highly developed mechanical features with such beauty of design and completeness in detail as to make it significant in any assemblage of cars.” Calling it representative of a “new era in motor car construction,” the automaker claimed that “no other car offers so elegant an equipment as the Majestic, which sells complete with an unexcelled eight-cylinder motor for $1650.”
That’s about $34,000 in today’s economy, a price which seems reasonable until you compare it to the cost of the contemporary Model T, which cost only $500 ($10,275).
If you were looking for a plush and ostentatious ride, the Majestic fit the bill. It was powered by a 283-cubic-inch V-8 engine made by the Colonial Motors Co., mated to a three-plate clutch and three-speed gearbox. The open, four-door five-seater could be had with a special rounded Victorian top or a more conventional, standard “one-man top.” Specially designed “double bulb headlights for both city and country driving” came standard.
The Majestic’s lavish interior included high-grade leather and an array of unusual features: an ice box, a cigar lighter, and thick carpeting that the company claimed to be waterproof. Catering to rear-seat passengers, the back of the front seat was paneled in mahogany and had built-in compartments, and the center section of the front seat featured a fold-out table.
The only problem? The car didn’t sell. In fact, 1917 was the automaker’s only year in business, and details about the vehicle are limited. We can only imagine the reaction of attendees at the 1917 New York Auto Show—both to the new automobile’s range of unusual features and its price. The car was, without question, Majestic.