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London Motors Limited
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William Riley Stansell was born March 26, 1881 in Courtland, Ontario to Ephream and Eunice Belore Stansell. He began his career as a baker’s apprentice working in St. Thomas, Portsmouth, and Windsor. He started his own business selling baking equipment in Dundee, Michigan in 1902. Stansell married Bertha Buchner, daughter of A.O. Buchner, on October 12, 1903. They had six children together.
Stansell changed careers and began work in the machinery business with positions at the Read Machinery Company and the Lynn Superior Machinery Company. He founded the Motor Car Sales Company in Detroit, Michigan in 1915 selling and distributing Lexington, McFarlane, and Premier Motor cars. After working at Packard in Detroit, he joined Deby Motor Truck Company as their City Sales Manager. In 1919, Stansell was transferred to the Deby Motor Truck Company’s factory in Chatham, Ontario as their Factory Sales Manager.
In 1921, Stansell raised $750 000 to start London Motors Limited and set up shop in London as the President and General Manager. The company acquired space on Hale Street, near the family’s home at 367 Hale Street, and a second site at 67-69 King Street, the original site of the White Portable Steam Engine Company. Production began on pilot models in autumn 1921. The London Six was displayed at the London Motor Show in February 1922 and the CNE in August 1922. Stansell was known for his abilities in marketing and in April 1922 Governor General Lord Byng and his party were transported to and from the ground breaking ceremony for the new Western University campus in London Sixes.
London Motors built 98 London Sixes over the course of their operations. The cars were priced at $2700 to $3700. The price tag depended on the specific model, touring, roadster, or sedan. The London Six included a Herschell-Spillman engine underneath a rounded aluminum body. A variety of finishes were available, including polished, painted, or covered in cloth.
In 1924, Stansell needed to raise more capital for the business, and when he was unable to do so, the Board of Directors took control of the company. London Motors was unable to change their finances and the company dissolved in early 1925.
After the company dissolved, Stansell sold real estate in London before leaving for Detroit around 1928, where he worked as a car salesman. He retired to Courtland, Ontario in the 1950s and died on July 22, 1961.
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Created January 26, 2021.