Rollston began after World War I as a body repair shop in Manhattan and soon expanded into coachbuilding. New Yorker Harry Lonschein was 16 when he became employed by Brewster & Co. He would go on to found Rollston Co. together with his partner Sam Blotkin. They were admirers of Rolls-Royce and wanted the name of their business to honor it, say, as a "son of Rolls". Why the letter "t" was added to the new name is not known, though Rollston was a somewhat familiar surname seen at the time.
Changing Rollston's primary business to coachbuilding came from work for the New York distributors for Packard and Minerva. There were often several similar designs built, but never in large quantity series. The emphasis was on the one-of-a-kind body. Relatively few Rollston bodies were built, yet their special character continues to make them well known.
From July of 1927 to April of 1931 - Rollston's all-time busiest period ? the firm produced a total of 218 bodies, an average of 50+ per year. Rollston bodies appeared on Bugatti, Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Cord, Duesenberg, Ford, Hispano-Suiza, Lancia, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Packard, Peerless, Pierce-Arrow, Rolls Royce, Stearns Knight and Stutz chassis.
The company survived the Great Depression, but was forced to close in 1938, because many car manufacturers had started producing their own bodies in series.
MARKETPLACE: cars for sale designed by Rollston
I am not a natural flatterer, I like to think that I "tell it like it is", politely I hope. So when I tell you that I am very impressed by the contents of your website, it is just not English politeness. I of course love the subject matter but you deal with it in an energetic and respectful manner. I am overwhelmed by the research that has gone into compiling the list of coachbuilders/bodybuilders for Europe and North America. I have never heard of the vast majority of them.
Congratulations on an excellent website.
- N. Maltby of Car Scene International
We use Coachbuild.com almost daily as our main reference source!
- Schloss Dyck Classic Days
We use Coachbuild.com all the time for references!
- Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
We are very impressed by your website!
- Bicester Heritage UK