The six-seat SM-1 “Detroiter” monoplane was a power-horse for Stinson beginning in the spring of 1927. It arrived on scene at probably the most exciting period in American aviation. Endurance flights were being made in all directions, budding mail and passenger airlines were popping up all over the continent, and affluent business men were realizing the marketing advantage of owning their own airplane.
The SM-1 carried with it all of the advancements seen in the SB-1 in addition to developing additional comforts for the passengers and crew. There where roughly eight variants of the SM-1 which tends to support the airplanes utilitarian nature. Many of the factory differences between models were limited to engine choices, interior configuration (passenger, all cargo, etc), and a float plane option. There was only one major physical change between the SM-1 model and the SM-1B. When the SM-1 first began production the SB-1 biplane was still being manufactured – it made sense for Stinson to copy the biplane’s spilt axle style landing gear onto the SM-1. Early pictures of the SM-1 show this spilt axle design and both large airfoil type wing struts extending all the way from the wing to the fuselage. Later versions (unsure of the exact change over date, but definitely with the SM-1B series) used a wider tread, outrigger air-oleo strut design. Easily identifiable by the forward wing strut terminating at the landing gear outrigger assembly.