April 1, 1909
Automobile coachbuilder Fleetwood Metal Body was formally launched in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, with Harry C. Urich serving as the new company’s president and general manager. Fleetwood Metal Body soon established itself as a leading high-quality producer of aluminum and wood automotive chassis.
By 1920, the company was regularly exhibiting its creations at prestigious automobile shows in New York City. “The Fleetwood Metal Body Company, makers of strictly high-grade custom automobile bodies, is justly the pride of the Borough of Fleetwood,” reported the Pennsylvania-based Reading Eagle newspaper that same year. The article highlighted the “comparatively few years of steady, phenomenal growth” for the company since its start in 1909. At the dawn of the 1920s, Fleetwood Metal Body was producing anywhere from 50 to 80 customized chassis per month for everything from limousines to touring cars.
Fleetwood Metal Body remained an independent entity until being purchased by Fisher Body Company, a division of General Motors (GM), in 1925. By that time, the company was producing bodies for a wide range of major automobile manufacturers that included Ford, Lincoln, Duesenberg, Rolls-Royce, Fiat, Packard, and Pierce-Arrow. Fleetwood Metal Body’s built-to-order products were renowned for such distinctive features as their multi-hued paint schemes and lavish interior woodwork. Some of the more famous owners of those products were industrialist Andrew Carnegie, silent-film star Mary Pickford, operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, and royalty from Japan and India.
After being acquired by Fisher, Fleetwood Metal Body mostly focused on doing coachwork for Cadillac models. Fleetwood Metal Body remained in its namesake Pennsylvania community until 1930, when GM moved the entire operation to Detroit.
For more information on Fleetwood Metal Body, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleetwood_Metal_Body and http://coachbuilt.com/bui/f/fleetwood/fleetwood.htm.