First known reference: The Mail, 10 July 1915, page 19
Last known reference: May 1918
Summary: The story of the Pullman agency at Vivian Lewis Limited is one of two struggling motor businesses: Vivian Lewis struggling to secure vehicles to sell as their traditional British and European sources dried up due to the war, and the Pullman Motor Car Company of York, Pennsylvania, struggling to keep afloat in an industry increasingly dominated by the large manufacturers.
It would seem that most, if not all, of the Pullman cars sold by Lewis were the four-cylinder model, rated at 25/30 h.p. but usually listed as 22.5 h.p. in the surviving registration records. (22.5 h.p. RAC corresponds to a bore of 3 3/4 inches in a four cylinder car.) Early shipments were of complete cars, fitted with either a 5-seat tourer or a 3-seat "clover leaf" (two seats in front, one behind) body. Although Lewis had a fully equipped body building works in their Gawler Place South factory, and tariffs on imported bodies were high, business conditions obviously favoured bringing in complete cars, perhaps due to war-time labour shortages.
By mid 1917, Lewis were offing Pullman cars fitted with "high quality colonial bodies". These were built at the Lewis works, and for a while were offered together with the two American body options. Interestingly the Lewis-bodied 5 seater touring car at £325 was significantly more expensive than the American-body options, which were available for £295. From the announcement of the embargo on imported bodies in August 1917, all Pullmans would have come in as "chassis only" and been bodied at the Lewis works.
The Pullman Motor Car Company ended its struggle to survive with bankruptcy in 1917, and Lewis advertised its last new Pullman for sale in May 1918. South Australian registration records list 56 Pullman cars registered up to 1920, although as many as 15 of these were registered after the middle of 1918 suggesting they may have been re-registrations of second hand cars. Sales were likely 40-50 cars over a three year period; reasonable but small compared with the Ford and Dodge agencies across town.
One complete but as-yet-unrestored Pullman car survives in South Australia, together with bits and pieces of two other cars.
Amount of information available: Technical detail of cars, bodies, colour schemes, etc.