The Climber Automobile
Arkansas' chapter in Automotive History began early in 1919 with the forming of the Climber Motor Corporation in North Little Rock. The factory was built on a 20 acre tract of land located at 1800 East Seventeenth Street. Capitalized at $1,000,000, stock sold initially at $10 per share. The incorporators were William Drake, Clarence Roth and Davis Hopson with Drake as the President of the Firm. However, in October 1919, a reorganization brought Henry Buhler, who had been Sales Manager, in as President.
Promoters of the Climber Motor Company went to Detroit and hired George Schoeneck as Chief Engineer. He was given the responsibility of purchasing material and parts that would be needed in producing the Climber Automobile. Production was scheduled to begin in the Spring of 1919. He was soon joined by Ernest Taylor, Chief Electrician, who later was promoted to Plant Superintendent. Schoeneck went North and purchased and shipped to Little Rock all the equipment, materials and parts to begin production. Unable to acquire all the "finished parts", it was necessary to design and manufacture some components along with the equipment necessary to install them. This delayed production until late 1919.
The name Climber is appropriate. It would climb like a tractor, yet run well on the highway. To prove its stamina and climbing ability, a Climber was once driven up the steps of the State Capitol Building in Little Rock.
From its beginning, the Climber Motor Corporation was in financial trouble and during its few years of production, 1919-1923, built approximately 275 cars.