LaFayette Motors

Lafayette Motors

Lafayette Cameo

Lafayette Cameo

LaFayette Motors was a United States-based automobile manufacturing Corporation. Founded in 1919, LaFayette was named in honor of the Marquis de la Fayette, and LaFayette autos had a cameo of the Marquis as their logo.


LaFayette Motors was originally headquartered in Mars Hill, Indianapolis, Indiana and made luxury motor cars, beginning in 1920. LaFayette Motors innovations include the first electric clock in an auto. In 1921, Charles W. Nash became president of LaFayette Motors. Nash was already president of Nash Motors, but for a time the two brands remained separate companies, although Nash Motors was the principal LaFayette Motors stock holder. In the 20’s rumors circulated about Pierce-Arrow merging with LaFayette, Rolls-Royce or General Motors.

In 1922, LaFayette’s production was moved to the Nash Milwaukee, Wisconsin facility by Charles Nash to save on costs, and its poor sales led to its production end in 1924.

Lafayette Motors

Lafayette Motors Radiator Emblem

This radiator emblem belonged to a Lafayette automobile that was manufactured by the Lafayette Motors Company from 1921 until 1924. The emblem has a black background with a silver rim. The center of the emblem has white stylized interlocking letters “LF.” The silver rim reads “Lafayette Motors Company/Indianapolis” in raised text.

In 1924, Nash Motors became full owner of Lafayette Motors, and the name was retired soon after. Its factories were quickly put to a new, more profitable use: the manufacture of Ajax motor cars.

In 1934, Nash re-introduced the LaFayette name, this time for a line of smaller, less expensive autos. In 1935, Nash introduced a series known as the “Nash 400” to fill the perceived price gap between the LaFayette and the Nash. By 1937, it was determined that this perceived gap wasn’t so important after all, and that Nash Motors was marketing too many models. The LaFayette and the Nash 400 were combined into a single model called the Nash LaFayette 400 for 1937, and the LaFayette ceased to be regarded as a separate make of car. For 1938, this became simply the Nash LaFayette, and the LaFayette line continued as Nash’s lowest-priced offering through 1940. For 1941, the LaFayette was replaced by the all-new unibody Nash 600.

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