The Bour Davis and the Louisiana Motor Car Company

The Louisiana Motor Car Company

Located in Shreveport, the Louisiana Motor Car Company was one of the thousands of small, independent auto companies which sprung up across American in the late 1910s and early 1920s. As automobiles became more affordable and more necessary, these independent companies formed to meet the increasing demand. Like the rest, the Louisiana Motor Car Company produced cars by assembling pieces purchased from various suppliers like Continental Motors.

The Company showroom was in downtown Shreveport, at the corner of Milam and Market Streets, while the manufacturing plant was in the town of Cedar Grove, now a suburb of Shreveport.

In May of 1921, the Louisiana Motor Car Company declared bankruptcy and sold all of its assets to Commercial National Bank.

The Bour Davis

Originally named after Chicago advertising executive Charles J. Bour and engineer Robert C. Davis, the Bour-Davis was a low priced American automobile. The Bour-Davis’ was originally manufactured in Detroit from 1915 to 1917 and later in Frankfort, Indiana in 1917.

In 1918, the Louisiana Motor Car Company purchased the Bour Davis manufacturing rights and began creating their own versions of this luxury vehicle. The Company offered a few variations of the Bour Davis, including both a five and a seven passenger touring car and a two seat roadster. The Louisiana Motor Car Company produced the car in three different colors: blue, yellow, and green.

Early models of the Bour-Davis cost around $1,200.  However, the 1921 seven passenger touring car constructed by the Louisiana Motor Car Company was priced well over $2,000, quite expensive for the time. Despite the many different manufactures of the Bour Davis, less than 1000 individual vehicles were constructed between 1915 and 1921.

The Only Bour-Davis around

In November of 1990, Dick Nelson and two other members of the Ark-La-Tex Antique and Classic Car Association drove to Peoria, Illinois to investigate a report that there was a Bour Davis there. The car they found, while not a true Bour Davis, held enough similarities to the real thing that served as the base from which they could began re-assembling a Bour-Davis. After fifteen years of salvaging across the country, the club was able to reproduce a 1921 seven passenger “21-S” model Bour-Davis. The Continental Red Seal Engine and drive train were found in New Jersey. In San Diego they found a body, which they painted Cobalt Blue, to match one of the three original Bour Davis colors.

“This is the only one known to exist,” said Nelson.

In 2013, The Ark-La-Tex Antique and Classic Car Association donated the restored Bour-Davis to the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum. Although the car is in original driving condition, the gas tank and battery were removed prior to installation in the Museum. This is what the arrival of the car looked like when it first came to the Museum in 2011.

The Continental Red Seal Engine

As mentioned above, the Louisiana Motor Car Company built their cars using pieces purchased from suppliers. The Bour-Davis in particular came with Continental Red Seal six cylinder engine. The name “Red Seal” came from the color of the engine block. Continental Motors, the manufacturer of the engine, supplied engines like this to nearly ninety percent of the independent automakers in 1920s America.

Original Bour Davis promotional booklet

Printed by the Louisiana Motor Car Company