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1927 Case Touring Car
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By Vern Parker

Farm equipment manufactured by the J. I. Case Co. of Racine, Wisconsin was well-known in rural America as the 20th Century began.

Case was not only a builder of threshing machines but also steam traction engines as well as agricultural tractors and other farm equipment.

As automobiles began to replace horses and buggies Case decided to cash in on the trend and offer a gasoline powered car in 1910. Case was already a trusted name and the network of dealers that sold Case farm equipmentwould also sell Case automobiles.

That was the plan.

Initially Case cars were powered by four-cylinder engines. After a few years a six-cylinder Continental engine replaced the smaller engine.

The Case company proved to be more adept at selling farm equipment than cars so Case automobile production ceased in the autumn of 1926 with only a few 1927 model cars manufactured. One of those 1927 cars, a thoroughly restored Model “Y” seven-passenger touring car reappeared in the summer of 2014. It was advertised for sale at an exclusively Case equipment auction in Hempstead, Maryland.

Scott Leaf's stepson, Gavin MacKenzie, saw the ad and informed Leaf of the event. Leaf suggested the two of them should make the 75-mile trip that weekend to see what they could see.

The Case farm equipment at the auction held no interest for Leaf but the fully restored touring car did. His bid was the highest and as of June 2014 he became the owner of the 1927 Case, Graciously, the previous owner offered to show Leaf the intricacies of the workings of the Case. A week later the 3,975-pound car was delivered to Leaf's home in Virginia.

A close inspection revealed each wheel had twelve wooden spokes with two 7.00x20-inch spare tires on the rear of the car. All of the tires were on demountable rims. In the event of a flat tire a power tire pump was mounted above the running board for a quick roadside repair.

The upscale Case not only had an electric starter for the convenience of the driver but the 16-inch x 2.5-inch four wheel hydraulic brakes provided even braking.


Under the long hood perforated by 31 louvers on each side is an L-head engine that develops 70 horsepower. At the rear of the car is the 18-gallon fuel tank with a gauge attached to register the level of gasoline in the tank.

The big touring car rides on a 132-inch wheelbase. With a reference to the performance of the car Case advertised that “At all speeds there is remarkable stability and safety.”

For economy, durability, dependability and extreme riding comfort Case recommended the Model “Y” Indeed, Case sales literature boasted: “The superiority of the Model “Y” can be appreciated to some extent by examination and comparison.”

By 1927 standards the Case automobile is rather well equipped with a glass rear window and a pair of metal saddles at the rear corners of the body to cradle the top whenever it is was lowered.

Additionally, near the rear of each rear fender were mounted a combination tail/brake light, each one shining STOP when the brakes were applied.

When Leaf climbs into his car through the 23-inch-wide door and settles into the driver's seat behind the four-spoke wooden steering wheel with the spark advance and throttle levers sprouting from the hub he finds a wooden dashboard above the front floorboard while the passengers in the rear are treated to a carpeted floor covering.

All of the upholstery is leather and concealed beneath the rear floor boards are the two pop-up jump seats.

Flanking the chrome radiator shell at the front of the Case are the two non-glare “drum” headlights. At the top of the radiator is the time-honored Case eagle emblem modeled on “Old Abe,” the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment from 1861 to 1881.

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