Camden City

Millwood Motors sold Chandler and Cleveland automobiles in the early 1920s. The business was run by Benjamin F. Miller and J.H. Miller.

Of J.H. Miller there is little information at this time. Benjamin F. Miller was born on May 2, 1892 in Pennsylvania. At the time of the 1920 Census he was living with wife Frances in an apartment at 936 Broadway, and was already engaged in automobile sales. A daughter, Mary E. Miller, was born around 1921. By 1930 he had moved to Collingswood NJ, where he would live the rest of his life. Benjamin F. Miller remained an auto salesman in the Camden area for many years. He was working at Fisher Motors, a Chrysler Dealership that was located for many years on Crescent Boulevard, just north of the White Horse Pike. The building still stands, and has been the home of SAR Automotive Equipment since the early 1980s. Benjamin F. Miller passed away in July of 1972.

Benjamin F. Miller

January 1928

The Chandler Motor Car Company 

1926 Chandler Comrade Roadster

Before World War II, long before Detroit's Big Three controlled the American automotive market, there were dozens of automobile manufacturers actively producing cars in the United States in any given year. Ford dominated the lower-priced market while a handful of exclusive marques, like Pierce-Arrow and Duesenberg, catered to the luxury class. The real sales battleground was the huge market for medium-priced cars, cars that were good but not great, attractive and comfortable but not luxurious. Among the more successful of these makes was the Cleveland-built Chandler.

The Chandler Motor Car Company was founded in 1913 by Fred Chandler and a group of employees of the old Lozier Company of Detroit. Chandler was successful from the start because the Chandler was a very good car at a very good price. Although it was by no means a competition car, it achieved some impressive test and race results in the early 1920s. A 1923 Chandler set a new speed record for climbing Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and in 1925, a Chandler beat a Stutz in the Altitude Alley race up Pike's Peak. Aware that most drivers did not scale mountains every day, Chandler engineers introduced, in 1924, their new Traffic Transmission, an early form of synchromesh gearing which eliminated the need for double clutching in city traffic.  The company became the largest auto-producer in Cleveland, and the 13th biggest car company in America by the early 1920s.

Chandler reached the peak of its success in the middle Twenties but by early 1929 the company was gone. There were several reasons for the company's rapid failure: the founders were reaching retirement age and had other interests, the medium-priced field was overcrowded and very competitive, and dominated by General Motors and Ford;  and in the 1920s, the company had diverted its best talent to producing the low-priced Cleveland automobile, which disappeared by 1926, unable to compete against better models that were even more lower-priced. Chandler was purchased by the Hupp Motor Company of Detroit in 1928 and ceased production in 1929.

The above car can be seen at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, in Cleveland OH.

This 1926 Chandler Comrade Roadster was purchased by Cleveland-based Thompson Products in 1946 from a Cleveland-area auto dealer, for inclusion in their new automobile museum, the Thompson Products Auto Album, which in 1963 became the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.  When the Crawford Museum inaugurated its restoration program in the mid-1970s, the Chandler was the first car selected.  Upon removing the sage-green body panels, it was discovered that the 90 percent of the car's wooden frame was suffering from dry rot, and the chassis was rusted away.  The Crawfordıs restoration crew had to build an entirely new frame for the car!  Chandler owners across the country were contacted for parts and accessories, and while some were donated or purchased, others were only borrowed, so that the Crawfordıs restoration crew could replicate them.  Nearly every part on the car had to be rebuilt!

The car was repainted buff and blue, the standard color available for the 1926 Chandler Comrade Roadster, a new woodgrain dashboard was reproduced by an expert craftsman in Reno, Nevada, and in the best stroke of luck, the Cleveland company that supplied the original leather for the seats was still in business and still had the original dyes!  So the new leather perfectly and authentically matched the old leather.  Completed in 10 months, the restoration effort took over 3,000 hours from one mechanic and two bodymen/woodworkers.  Funds for the restoration were generously donated by Mrs. Fred Chandler, Jr.  Upon completion of the restoration, the car was entered in the 1976 National Antique Automobile Association of America Meet in Hershey, PA where it won First Junior award, which was given to the best of first-time entries.  

1920 Cleveland Model 40 Roadster