Stinson Aircraft had introduced their large high-winged six-seat SM-1 Detroiter in 1927.The SM-1 was sold successfully to airlines and other commercial operators, but it was too large to appeal to private owners.
Stinson therefore redesigned the aircraft with shorter span wings, shorter fuselage and a choice of less powerful engines as the SM-2 Junior. The aircraft was a strut-braced high wing monoplane with a sturdy outrigger undercarriage which was braced against the wing support struts and the initial 110 h.p. Warner Scarab engine was normally left uncowled. The first SM-2 flew in mid-1928 and deliveries commenced that year. Later versions of the SM-2 had higher-powered engines of between 165 h.p. and 225 h.p.
The design was further developed to produce the more powerful and heavier SM-7 and SM-8 models which were full four-seaters and these were also used by commercial firms. The Junior R of 1932 had a deeper fuelage and a low-set stub wing to mount the undercarriage and wing struts.