Car Collector Corner: Readers remember Diana automobile
Q: Hello Greg, I am 88 years old and my sister is 90 and we really enjoy your articles on the old cars in The Spokesman Review. I am wondering if you have any information on a car called the Diana? My dad had one and it was a real big car. This was back in 1933, and I believe the model was a 1928. I remember it had a half moon with a bell and a crescent on the badges.
We always had fun in the back seat of this car as it was so big. I think it had an eight cylinder engine, too.
Any help you can give is much appreciated. Thanks much, Tom Kendall, Washington.
A: Tom, I'd be glad to help. The Diana Motor Company built cars from 1925 through 1928, so it sounds like your dad bought his Diana in its last year of production. The reason you remember the "half-moon" on the numerous badges on the outside and interior is because the Diana was a subsidiary of the Moon Motor Car Company, which operated out of St. Louis, Mo.
Founded by noted carriage maker Joseph Moon in 1905, the company produced cars and trucks. They also built a cotton picker under contract by American Cotton Picker Corporation in the mid-1920s.
The year 1925 was Moon's best year when 10,271 vehicles were sold. In addition to the Moon name, Moons were sold under the Hol-Tan name in 1908 and then, following the end of the Diana name, Moon had another subsidiary which produced the Windsor in 1929 and 1930. The timing was bad, as the Great Depression hit hard in 1929 and by 1931, all of Moon's factories were sold to Ruxton Automobile Company.
Today, you can see Moon automobiles on display at the Museum Of Transportation in St. Louis.
In ending, your dad's Diana, which cost $1,895 back then (not cheap) was indeed powered by the first eight cylinder engine offered by Moon, a Continental Straight-Eight.
Thanks for your question and the nice words.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist who welcomes reader questions on old cars, auto nostalgia and motorsports at 116 Main St., Towanda, PA 18848 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org).