(This article originally appeared in Hemmings Classic Car #127, April 2015)
If you stop and think about the names of automobile manufacturers you realize that they aren’t very creative. While some used imposing mascots, most manufacturers use the founder’s last name or the location of the company. This month’s piece comes from the latter group and looks at some sales literature for the Cino car; a car that had a short run from 1910-1913 and got its name by abbreviating Cincinnati, Ohio.
The parent organization behind the Cino car was Haberer & Company, a firm that originally produced horse-drawn carriages. As a logical extension and expansion they decided to test the automotive market in 1910. A two-color folder for the 1910 offering proclaims that the Cino is “A New Bright Star”. The lead paragraph states that their $2,250 car was “designed to meet the growing demand for a medium-priced automobile”. Body styles included a Touring Car, Pony Tonneau, Roadster and Runabout and each Cino had a 113” wheelbase, 4-cylinder 40-hp valve-in-head engine, three speed transmission and rear brakes. One of the 1910 folder’s paragraphs described the engine by stating it is “strictly our own creation conforming with our own ideas based upon years of experience.” Since 1910 was Cino’s inaugural year the writers must have taken some liberties with the laws of time or had jumped away from horse-drawn carriages years before they made such news public. Of course a more probable explanation would be that the years of experience came from the engineers who worked for different firms before joining Cino.
In 1911 Cino offered a 9 ¼” X 12 1/8” catalog that was a vast improvement over the simple folder from 1910. The 30-page catalog greeted the reader with company history, proclamations of the Cino’s performance on the racetrack and an illustration of the Cino Motor Car plant protected with a sheet of onion skin paper. The reader is then reminded that “In the ‘CinO’ car we have a perfect motor car. Made in its entirety in our own plant, under the most exacting supervision, it stands as a model of mechanical art, designed to please the most critical motorist of the present day.” Ten pages that follow include full-page illustrations of different models ranging from Touring car and Miniature Tonneau to Semi-Racer and Light Delivery Wagons. The specifications section shows that 1911 models ran on the same 113” wheelbase as earlier models and were still powered by the 4-cylinder 40-hp engine. Also found in the back of this catalog are “Extras” that included tire brackets for $6, a Warner Speedometer for $50 and slip covers for all body styles.
The outward appearance of the 1912 Cino catalog did not change much from 1911. Remaining the same size and keeping the brown cover, the front of the catalog now had text boxed in with red ink. The 1912 catalog begins with a write-up about the Cino factory followed by two pages on racing championships. In the racing section great pride was taken in the fact that “In no instance did a Cino car have a part break…that endangered the life of the driver or mechanic.” If it was safe on the race track, surely it would be safe on public roads. In 1912 Cino would offer a six-cylinder engine along with its four-cylinder. The catalog states that the “Cino Six is totally without rumbling, rattling or vibration. When standing idle at the curb the running of the motor is imperceptible.” The Six had a self-starter and the catalog brags that “to the gentler sex the self-starting Cino Six is a huge success.” Exploded views, illustrations, specifications and testimonials round out the catalog, making this the strongest piece of Cino sales literature that I’ve seen.
While the rise of the Cino was quick, its ending came even faster when the nearby Ohio River overflowed its banks. The official report to the automotive industry came in May, 1913 from The Horseless Age. It read “no more Cino cars are to be made by Haberer & Co. It is said that the recent flood had disastrous effect on the company”. While Heberer & Co. would live on, Cino was no more.