1934 Bendix (Steel Wheels Corp.)

The Bendix car was developed as a ‘car-of-the-future’ by Bendix engineers Victor Kliesrath and Alfred Ney and styled by William Ortwig, formerly of the Fisher Body Co. Ortwig eliminated the customary running boards and moved the fuel and water filler caps under the hood to allow for unblemished body panels.

To protect Bendix’s automotive partnerships, Vincent Bendix created a phantom company, the Steel Wheel Corporation, and branded the car with “SWC” badging. The Bendix car designed and assembled in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Michigan at a cost of over $84,000. It was initially shown in Europe but kept under wraps in the U.S. It was discovered and restored by Bendix employees the late 1960s.

Country of Origin
Number Built
United States Inline Six, 170 C.I. (Continental) 86 One

Gift of the Honeywell Corporation, South Bend, Indiana.


Photo courtesy of Peter Harholdt

Did you know?
The Bendix car features front-wheel drive and fully independent suspension. These are common features today but nearly unheard of in the 1930s.

About this Series

Streamlined: Style on Motion was on display at the Museum in 2019.  This series of articles comes for the displays from that exhibition.

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