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Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

OK Durantonians here's a scavenger hunt for you. In 1981 at a Durant Automobile Club National Meet, a movie was obtained from the Craven Institute in Toronto, showing the assembly process of the Durant automobiles from start to finish. It probably was taken at the Leaside Plant. According to Gordon Curl, the Craven Institute is no more, and sold off it's cars and library collection. A copy of the Durant film was obtained by the late Jeff Gillis, but his wife Eileen will not part with it or let anyone borrow it. Does anyone else know where we might obtain a copy of the film, or where the Craven Collection might have ended up, maybe in a library of somewhere in Canada. I'm sure there is a copy out there that we can obtain for our club.

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

Wish you the best on locating the film...Something should be written for the "Durant Partner". Quite a few of our older members do not have computers and may have the info you are seeking. Never realized there was a film available. Thanks for your effort and also bringing the film to our attention.


Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

I believe the film you are asking about is shown as part of a permanent display at the Reynolds - Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin,Alberta. Unfortunately, I don't think they sold copies in the gift shop.

They do restoration on site and have a bit of a library, so it would be worth an email or a phone call to enquire about copies.

The Reynolds is a great musuem, well worth your time if you are every in that part of Canada.

The web site for the museum is:


Where Are You From? www.durantcars.com

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

Hi Mike, Gord is right about the Craven Foundation. I seem to remember reading that the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa obtained cars and library from the Foundation. It's something that I can look into at this end.

I sent you an email regarding this.

Ron ...

Where Are You From? www.ronjpics.com/durantstuff.htm

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

I just sent them an email inquiring about the film. If the film is not for sale, but this could lead to the DMAC getting a copy of the film, I'd be willing to donate money for the propose to procuring a copy for the club.

Rick Botti

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

I was talking to a fellow member at the Canadian Chapter meet in 2004 and he mentioned that he has the same flim your looking for. His name is Reg Bent, the same fellow who has hosted the first eight meets at his place in Carlisle Ontario. I belive you can contact him by phone @ 1-905-689-5603

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

If film can be located, it is not dificult nowadays to make a DVD copy, then at a very low price all Durant Club members willig to pay a few dollas can have a copy. I imagine that there shouldbe no copyrite of that old material.


Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

Boy there is one thing can be said. When you challenge a Durantonian they sure step up to the plate. With this and the Durant car photograph request the members have come through for sure. Ron from Canada is going to try to go down the the Canadian Auto Museum who is supposed to have the collection from the Craven Institute, and Rick B has emailed the museum to see what's there. All you detectives out there will sure come up with one. I don't know exactly what's on the film or how long it is, but the article in the old Durant Partner said it showed the vehicles being assembled and manufactured so it should be something great to show at meetings and preserve. Let's see what turns up.

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

I took a video of Jeff narrating the film when we at the meet in Nebraska. Unfortunately, I ran out of battery before the film ended and my copy is very poor. I also have a copy of the one Reg has but it is also not complete and very fuzzy.

Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

I also have a copy of Reg's tape and it is not the clearest. The copy I have is OK for viewing but copies of it (copy of a copy of a copy...) look terrible.

I showed it at our local car club meeting last spring.

I know of another copy of it on laser disk. It is on display at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology. They have a 29 Model 40 or 60 on display there and the film is shown next to it. The film however has been edited shorter.

I spoke to the curator, Garth Wilson, to try to obtain a copy. Their records didn't list the original source so it was difficult for them to make us a copy. Maybe if the club contacted the museum directly and made a formal request we might have more luck.


Re: Durant Plant film from Craven Institute in Toronto

Here's the lates I found out. I Spoke with Reg Bent from Canada who has a copy of the film. He says the film was made on the making of the Erie Canal and at the end of the film it has the Leaside Durant Plant with the assembly of the cars. He obtained his copy from an old school teacher that was aware he was interested in Durants. Reg said that his film is about 1 minute shorter than the one that Jeff Gillis had, but he believes it's the same one. He also advised that the Canadian Film Board should have the same film. He said he was in the process of packing for a move, but when he unpacked he'd be willing to make me a copy. Reg said that he thought the film was made around 1924 or 1925. I left it with him that I'd call him in a month or so to see if he found it. Let's see who can get their hands on a good copy first. Way to go Durantonians.


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