The Car-Nation roadster was an 1100lb cyclecar costing $495. The vehicle had a four-cylinder Herreshoff "25" engine and a 3 speed transmission.
Car-Nation also manufactured a larger four-seat Tourer model with a base price of $520. They also advertised a fore-and-aft tandem; it's not known if more than a few protoypes were produced. Two roadsters and five touring cars are known to survive.
In 1912, former Pope-Toledo manager Forest Keeton moved his Keeton Towncar Works into a factory in Wyandotte, Michigan, on the shore of Lake Superior, and formed the Keeton Motor Company. He began construction of his first “French-like” car, the big Renault-influenced, air-cooled Keeton. It sold well enough to allow Keeton in 1913 to launch a second line of continental-influenced, low priced cars under a new name: Car-Nation. All that activity apparently attracted the attention of oil magnate Charles Schaeffer, and shortly after the introduction of the new car, the short-lived Car-Nation Motorette Co. and the existing Keeton Motor Co. unified under his ownership, reincorporating as the American Voiturette Company in Detroit.
Slow acceptance of the Car-Nation's nonstandard 48inches gauge and reported problems with the Herreshoff engines in the Car-Nation sent the company into receivership in 1914. At a public auction in February of 1915, Forest Keeton appears to have bought the assets of the company, including 60 Keetons and 350 Car-Nations, along with machine tools and countless thousands of parts. But while he did supply repairs, he never again built a car.
Herreshoff cast-iron L-head straight-four, integral valves, cast-en-bloc
Bore x stroke
3.375inches x 3.75inches
18 (25 A.L.A.M.)
2 nickel babbitt
Gravity, Zenith updraft carburetor, alloy intake manifold
6-volt, Splitdorf fixed-spark magneto
Splash; plunger pump (note: Car-Nation advertised pressure lubrication, but it does not appear on any of the known cars)
Three-speed Detroit Gear & Machine sliding gear, cone clutch (note: early cars appear to have used an alloy clutch plate. Prone to cracking, later versions have a cast-iron clutch plate)
Adjustable worm gear
1¼ x 10inches internal expanding emergency; external contracting service on transmission shaft
CHASSIS & BODY
Full-frame riveted 1/8-inch channel steel, 1x3 ash sills, composite body
One door, two-passenger roadster
Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Quarter-elliptic leaf springs
Quarter-elliptic leaf springs WHEELS & TIRES
Detachable Detroit Stanweld wire
30 x 3 inches
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
bhp per c.i.d.
Weight per bhp
Weight per c.i.d.
Car-Nation, total est.