Miss America 1924 drives a Dagmar

Posted by | May 1, 2017

Long before the well-endowed Hollywood starlet of the 1950’s, there was a Dagmar car, built from 1922-1926 in Hagerstown, MD by the M. P. Möller Motor Car Company. This luxury sedan was named for the one of Dr. Mathias P. Möller’s daughters. The make’s emblem was a pipe organ. The Danish industrialist by that point in his business career had made his first fortune manufacturing the instrument.  His organ company, in business from 1875 till 1992, was the world’s largest builder of pipe organs for over three-quarters of a century.

Only a few hundred Dagmars were built over the course of six years at prices upwards of $6,000.00. By comparison, the autos produced by Ford and Chevrolet during the same era sold for approximately $500.00. Dagmar models included the Petite, which soon became known as the “Baby Dagmar.” One of the most unusual features was its all-brass trim, instead of the more usual nickel.

Ruth Malcomson, Miss America 1924In 1924, Möller presented a Dagmar to Ruth Malcomson, of Philadelphia, who won the Miss America title that year. Curvaceous fenders appeared on the Dagmar for the first time in the 1925 line—coincidence? Even so, Dagmar sales skidded after that high point; the last car Dagmar ever built was for Mr. Möller himself. It was an enormous 7-passenger limo that was shipped back to his native Denmark for his personal use.

With the 1923 purchase of a 250,000 square foot Hagerstown building originally built for the Crawford Bicycle Company in 1891, Möller entered the field of producing taxicabs and shifted the focus away from luxury cars. Over the course of the ensuing years, more than a dozen models of taxis and trucks were built. The taxi make was dependent on the design and specification of the large taxi companies that sub-contracted the manufacturing to Möller. The best known of his taxicab lines was the Luxor; others included the Blue Light, Super Paramount, Astor, Five-Boro and Twentieth Century.

These names were either chosen for the operating company, as with Five Boro, or simply because the promoters thought a stylish new name would increase sales. Möller vehicles became commonplace on the streets of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and numerous other cities. Growth of the car works reached a peak in 1927 with 125 taxis rolling out of the Hagerstown facility each week.

1927 Möller Five Boros Taxi CabThe only goods vehicle made by the Möller company was the Elysee panel delivery (produced from 1929-1932).  They were made in four models, the Band Box, Fifth Avenue, Courier and the Mercury. These were stylish vehicles intended for the delivery of high-class goods to wealthy homes.

During the early 20th century the Möller name in the auto industry truly commanded respect as being builders of upper end motor cars both private and public. Taxicabs and trucks remained the thrust of the firm until the death of Dr. Möller in 1937 at which point the company was closed.

Sources: www.coachbuilt.com/bui/w/woonsocket/woonsocket.htm

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