An Entirely New Line
The Durant Four Cylinder "4-07"

By Harvey Frid

(This article first appeared in the February 1980 issue of The Registry)

In August 1929, Durant Motors announced the line-up for the 1930 model year. It was no surprise that the existing models, the 4 cylinder model 40, and the six cylinder models 60, 63, 66 and 70 would be continued for another year. It was also not unusual for Durant executives to change their mind.

Automotive Industries announced on January 4, 1930; "Instead of five chassis models which were offered by Durant Motors in the past, only two will be built in 1930. Both are sixes."

The Complete Encyclopedia of Motor Cars echoed this statement; "Another new line was brought out in 1930, and the 4 cylinder car was dropped."

With the Great Depression taking a stronger hold on the nation, and Durant Motors suffering from financial problems already, it seems hard to believe that the 4 cylinder car that carried the company through lean years would be dropped. It apparently was not the intention of Durant Motors to build a 4 cylinder car in 1930. No one knows the reasoning behind this, but by April 1930, these plans had changed, and Durant announced a 4 cylinder car to be built utilizing the 614 chassis and body but equipped with a 4 cylinder Continental W8 engine.

The W8 engine was borrowed from the commercial Rugby truck line and installed in the standard 6-14 model car. The new engine developed 49 H.P. at 2350 R.P.M. Two new holes in the frame for the front engine mounts, and a longer fan hub were all that was needed. The engine bolted to the standard three speed transmission and everything else was the same. The 4.40 gear ratio in the 6-14 was changed to a 3.90 in the new model-407. The 2800 lb standard sedan cruised effortlessly at 50-60 mph.

The 407 was available in several body styles with wood wheels as standard equipment. Wire wheels were optional and will be discussed later. The model can easily be distinguished by the louvered hood, the one styling change from the 6-14 model with the "spear" hood.

The model 407 was not a regular production car but rather built only on order. Most of the 407's were built at Leaside, but a few are known to have been built in the Oakland plant.

No announcement was made of the model change as was usually the case in August of each year. Frederick Hayes had announced at the beginning of 1930 that Durant Motors would no longer announce new models, requiring expensive retooling for each new model year, but would instead, make necessary changes to the existing line to update it as needed. Hayes resigned as President of Durant Motors on August 8, 1930.

With no fanfare, the 407 was carried into 1931 production. In the US operation, the California plant offered the model 610 which was the same as the model 407. This model was announced on September 23, 1930. In late November, Durant Motors announced the addition of the "pullman" attachment which would be available on the US model 610 and the 6 cylinder model 612 which had been introduced a month earlier. With this addition, the 407 and 610 were no longer the same car, but the only change was the front seat, which would lower into a bed on the model 610.

Production continued unchanged until approximately April 1931, when the model 407 was dropped for good from the Durant line. This was one of the changes made by Canadian management which had recently taken over the Durant factory at Leaside after Durant Motors of Michigan defaulted on a loan which had the Canadian factory at Leaside as collateral. In the US, the model 610 was also dropped about the same time.

THE 407 DELUXE SEDAN

The 407 deluxe sedan was a special order model built by Durant Motors of Canada Ltd., and does not appear in any 407 sales literature. It was produced to meet the demand of a limited number of clients who were not convinced that engines other than four cylinders, would withstand rugged service. The principle customers were wellto-do farmers who wanted a four cylinder prestige car. Ford, Plymouth and Whippet, the only other four cylinder cars, were smaller and lighter, and could not meet the demands of these well-to-do farmers.

Since the 407 and 6-14 Durants for 1930-31 used the same body shell, frame and running gear, it was a relatively simple matter to install the Continental W8 engine in the 6-14 deluxe sedan.

Every Durant deluxe feature was included: stone guard, front and rear carpeting, dual tail lights, chrome plated Klaxon horn mounted under the left headlight, fender mounted parking lamps and trunk rack. These deluxe items increased the curb weight by 400 lbs to approximately 3200-lbs. To compensate for the added weight, the larger wire wheels from the model 6-17 were installed. Of a production of approximately 20 cars with the deluxe equipment, this is believed to be the only one existing. Several standard 407's were converted after delivery, most using the smaller wheels from the model 6-14. This is one way of telling if the car is truly a deluxe

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine-4-cylinder, mountings cushioned in rubber, "L" head. Bore 3 7/8, stroke 4 ¼" , 24.03 horsepower, N.A.C.C. rating, 49 brake horsepower at 2300 r.p.m. Interchangeable main bearings, bronze-backed, babbit lined. PYRODYNE non-detonating cylinder head. ISOMETRIC aluminum alloy invar strut pistons. Force feed lubrication Camshaft driven by silent chain.

Cooling-Tubular radiator, capacity 11 2/3 quarts. Large centrifugal water pump near rear of block. Thermostat controls engine temperature.

Fuel System-10-gallon gasoline tank at rear of chassis. Electric gasoline gauge on dash.Fuel pump to plain tube, high-power carburetor. Manifold hot spot. Gasoline filter.

Electric System-6-volt, 2-unit electric system. Distributor has manual and- automatic Spark control mounted above engine. Depressible beam headlights.

Clutch- Mounted with engine and transmission to form unit power plant. Multiple spring, single dry plate type with rubber insulated center, adjustable

Transmission-Selective, sliding gear type. Three speeds forward, one reverse.

Drive- Hotchkiss drive. Power plant, propeller shaft and pinion Shaft in straight line when car is loaded. Two all-metal universal joints.

Rear Axle- Semi-floating 8-bearing type. All tapered roller bearings. Special 2-bearing arrangement receives wheel thrust at axle ends.

Front Axle- Reverse Elliot type. Drop-forged, heat-treated I-beam. Tapered roller bearings for wheels. Steering pivots have ball-thrust bearings. Ball joints for all steering linkage. Worm and sector steering gear with tapered roller thrust bearings.

Brakes-"Steeldraulic" 4-wheel, internal expanding type.

Standard Equipment-Includes electric temperature indicator and gasoline gauge, speedometer, ammeter, oil gauge, pull controls for Spark, throttle and choke. Coincidental ignition and coil lock, foot pedal headlight control, rear view mirror, automatic windshield wiper, chromium plating on bright finished exterior hardware.

Equipment on Standard models does not include bumpers and bumperettes.

De Luxe Equipment -Sedan and Coupe models are available with De Luxe equipment at additional cost