SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Ready to Roamer: 1921

Ready to Roamer: 1921

        Built in Kalamazoo, Michigan, by the Barley Motor Car Co., the Roamer was marketed as "the affordable Rolls-Royce."

San Francisco circa 1921. "Roamer roadster." Today's entry on the Shorpy Chart of Chilly Chariots. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Ugly Duckling

It has the elegant lines of a WWI Army tank.

Still Roaming

Here's a 1918 Roamer, spotted at a car show in Auburn, Indiana, a few weeks ago. It's the only one I have ever seen on the hoof. As an "assembled" car—i.e., most all components were outsourced by the company and merely assembled at their factory in Kalamazoo—I'm not sure if you could say it was up to Rolls Royce standards, but it appeared to have been quite well engineered and crafted.

Article on Barley motors

A very long descriptive history of the company.

It Wasn't THAT Bad!

In defense of the Roamer, this is an unusually unflattering shot. Here's one where it looks better:

The Nerve

The Barley Motor Car Co is sure feeling their oats comparing their jalopy to a Rolls.

Looks a little Rolls-ish

And maybe a little Royce-ish.

And maybe I should take off my belt and wrap it around the hood of my 1999 Ford F-150.

Roamer Caesar

My very thoughts, indeed, Preacher Froid. But look at the driver's face: he knows what we're thinking, and you think he gives a damn?

I couldn't do any better

... if I built a car in my bedroom.

I enjoy most of the "Chilly Chariots" I see on Shorpy. This one is unfortunate.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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