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Automobiles Produced in Minnesota

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Pan Automobile

 Note from the webmaster: This information comes from Automotive History On-Line: http://www.automotivehistoryonline.com/ and the information and the photo are used with their permission.


I would like to thank Randy Glover for the opportunity to add a little more to the story of Sam Pandolfo and the Pan Motor Company. The facts come from a book written by John Dominick titled The Legend of Sam Pandolfo, Minnesota’s Pan Motor Company and Its Legacy.

The “large factory” wasn’t just a large factory; it was a 22 acre complex of buildings with underground tunnels connecting them. These tunnels carried electricity and heat to all the buildings. As well as being able to walk from building to building with out going out into the cold.  Some of these building are still in use today.  Just across the railroad tracks to the south of the Pan plant no.1, is where Sam Pandolfo started the Pandolfo Manufacturing Company. Here he produced the Combination Compartment Tank used on the Pan Automobile, folding chairs, coffee makers, “A Table of More Then Ordinary Usefulness” that became known as a TV tray, and many other utilitarian items.

Sam Pandolfo also built over 50 houses for his employees. These were well constructed, diverse styles and are a neighborhood known today as Pantown. Along with this Sam Pandolfo convinced the city of St. Cloud to extend a sewer line out to this development.    

Sam Pandolfo accomplished a great deal, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, in a relatively short time. What is even more amazing is the fact the World War I was happening during this same time period.

Pandolfo also produced forged parts for other manufactures. One of our club members has a connecting rod out of a Chevrolet engine that has “Pan” forged on it.

Pandolfo also attempted to produce farm tractors. He designed two different models, one a conventional type and a Tank Tread walk behind tractor. Neither one ever went into production nor as far as we know the prototypes never survived. I’m including a copy of a photo of the conventional tractor and there is a photo of the walk behind in John Dominick’s book.

Around 750 automobiles were produced before the Pan Motor Company went out of business. Our car club owns two restored Pan Automobiles, and we have two members who each own one. I’m also inclosing a photo of the four Pans taken at our 2006 car shows.

 From the information I’ve gathered while putting together the St. Cloud Antique Auto Club, Inc. (Pantowners) Web site. I speculate that what happened to Sam Pandolfo is very similar to what happened to Preston Tucker a quarter of a century later.

I also believe Sam Pandolfo did not set out to victimize any one. Even today a lot of large companies are incorporated in Delaware. I know this is a fact, because the company that previously owned the company I work for was incorporated in Delaware and we are located in Minnesota.

David Dickson Pantowners Web Master