Most people familiar with the history of automobiles in the Valley know that Packard built its first car in Warren in 1899.

However, in the early 1920s another car, the luxury Sterling-Knight automobile was designed by James “Pete” Sterling and assembled in Warren from 1923 until 1926.

Now you’ll be able to get an in-person look at a 1925 Sterling Knight 5-passenger sedan at the National Packard Museum beginning Tuesday.

The car has been added as a permanent interpretive exhibit featuring that is part of the museum’s permanent collection of historic vehicles.

Although the company produced about 700 cars at its factory on Dietz Road, only three are known to survive.

The Warren Tribune trumpeted news of the establishment of the Sterling-Knight Company in 1923 as “the re-establishment of the automobile industry in Warren,” noting that “this city was one of the pioneers in the automotive industry when the Packard was developed and manufactured here.”

Sterling-Knight autos were powered by an innovative 6-cylinder internal combustion Knight engine that used sleeve valves instead of the more common poppet valve construction.

In 1920, Pete Sterling resigned from the F.B. Stearns Co. with the intent to start his own car company. The Sterling Knight Motor Co. of Cleveland was incorporated in April 1921 with a capitalization of $1,000,000.

The company purchased a plant on Cleveland’s east side, but a post-war recession delayed production, forcing Sterling to seek additional financial backing.

After several Warren-area sources, including Newton A. Wolcott, then the president and co-owner of the Packard Electric Company, provided an additional $1,500,000 in capital stock, the Sterling Knight Co. of Warren, Ohio was incorporated on May 5, 1923.

Except for the engines which were manufactured in-house, Sterling-Knight automobiles were assembled from parts purchased from outside suppliers.

Many of those parts came from local sources, including the Philips Custom Body Co. which crafted Sterling-Knight bodies at its factory located in the former General Electric Trumbull Lamp plant on West Market Street.

The National Packard Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at 1899 Mahoning Ave N.W., Warren, Ohio 44483

Admission is $10.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors (65 and older), $5.00 for children (aged 7-12), and children under 7 are free. Cameras and flash photography are welcome.