da Vinci Papers

        1922 - 1926

James Scripps Booth was a talented artist who was also fascinated with automobiles.  He designed and manufactured cycle cars in the teens, and his company was later purchased in 1917 by the Chevrolet Motor Company.  In 1922 Booth set out to design the ultimate automobile which he named the “da Vinci”.  The design called for an under slung chassis with a low center of gravity, and a number of other novel features.  Booth did not wish to manufacture the car, but instead wanted to license the design to a major automotive concern.  He presented concept drawings to a number of prominent automotive executives including Edsel Ford, and the principals of the Stutz Motor Company.  In order to promote his idea further, Booth took his concept to the next level by building a working prototype.  In early 1925 he entered into a contract with Louis Chevrolet to build the da Vinci show car.  The following documents pertain to Louis Chevrolet’s participation in the development of the da Vinci automobile. 

9/24/22 - Pasadena, California

James Scripps Booth standing next to

scale drawing of the perfect automobile

(Detroit Public Library)

Circa 1925

Schematic drawing of

Single Sleeve Valve Argyll Engine

(Detroit Public Library)

Circa 1925

Schematic drawing of

Single Sleeve Valve Argyll Engine

(Detroit Public Library)

2/21/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Chevrolet writes James Scripps Booth

about commission to build da Vinci car

(Detroit Public Library)

3/03/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

James Scripps Booth writes to Edsel

Ford regarding his vision of the da Vinci

(Cranbrook Institute)

9/08/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Several of the blueprints for the da Vinci

have the notation "Drawn by L.C." 

(Cranbrook Institute)

9/30/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Engineering blueprint of da Vinci,

front axle section

(Cranbrook Institute)

9/30/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Engineering blueprint of da Vinci,

steering box & front spring detail 

(Cranbrook Institute)

9/30/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Engineering blueprint of da Vinci,

worm gear rear axle & spring packs 

(Cranbrook Institute)

11/18/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

Chevrolet writes James Scripps Booth

regarding services for da Vinci 

(Detroit Public Library)

12/10/25 - Indianapolis, Indiana

James Scripps Booth writes Chevrolet

about the da Vinci, and money owed 

(Detroit Public Library)

1/22/26 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Custom coachwork for the da Vinci

completed by the Fleetwood Company 

(Detroit Public Library)

Scripps Booth da Vinci featured the Straight 8 Argyll Engine, under slung chassis, and coachwork by Fleetwood

(Cranbrook Institute)

12/16/29 - Indianapolis, Indiana

James Scripps Booth sues Stutz Co.

for patent infringement on chassis 

(Indianapolis News)

da Vinci hub cover

 

(Detroit Public Library)