Defunct car firms you've (probably) never heard of

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Posted (edited) · Report post

That's pretty neat never heard of some of them till now

Edited by chevyfever2009

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Posted · Report post

Isn't it odd that some of these brands were closely associated to the founders of G.M and Ford. I kind of wish some had been able to weather the 20's and made an impact on design and innovation, as some were truly ahead of the curve.

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Posted · Report post

I wonder if REO was connected to the Diamond REO truck firm?

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Posted · Report post

I'd heard of a few of these, like Hupp and Oakland. Still a really neat article. :)

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Posted · Report post

There were a few errors in the article.

REO formed in 1904 after Olds wanted to continue manufacturing economical cars, but his financial backers wanted to build luxury cars. So he was forced out and started REO. REO continued making cars through 1936, and trucks through 1975, in Lansing, Michigan. Diamond Reo was the name of the truck in later decades after REO merged with Diamond T.

GM was formed in 1908 and initially consisted of Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. Oakland was added in 1909. This pre-dated U.S. Motors.

It's true that Olds was using a moving assembly line before Ford, and that part is lost on most historians. Ford perfected the use in the assembly line, but he certainly didn't invent it.

The Rickenbacker plant still stands in western Detroit. I saw a 1925 Rickenbacker touring a few weekends ago. The Hupp plant is gone. The Detroit Historical Museum has a mid-twenties Hupmobile roadster in its collection, but it isn't on display.

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Posted · Report post

There were a few errors in the article.

REO formed in 1904 after Olds wanted to continue manufacturing economical cars, but his financial backers wanted to build luxury cars. So he was forced out and started REO. REO continued making cars through 1936, and trucks through 1975, in Lansing, Michigan. Diamond Reo was the name of the truck in later decades after REO merged with Diamond T.

GM was formed in 1908 and initially consisted of Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. Oakland was added in 1909. This pre-dated U.S. Motors.

It's true that Olds was using a moving assembly line before Ford, and that part is lost on most historians. Ford perfected the use in the assembly line, but he certainly didn't invent it.

The Rickenbacker plant still stands in western Detroit. I saw a 1925 Rickenbacker touring a few weekends ago. The Hupp plant is gone. The Detroit Historical Museum has a mid-twenties Hupmobile roadster in its collection, but it isn't on display.

The Olds "moving assembly line" was little more than a hand pulled conveyor, with could be pulled from station to station, but stopped at each workstation. Ford's improvement (if you will) was a continuously moving conveyor assembly line.

Art

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Posted · Report post

The current trend in the automobile business of new players, consolidation, buy outs and mergers are nothing new. They're as old as the industry itself. Many of the early companies were intermingled and did business with each other. Early cars were pretty much like component stereo systems. Makers were pretty much assemblers of parts they bought from others. For instance, early Fords had chassis and rear ends bought from the Dodge Brothers. A lot of the early orphan cars used engines made by Continental and others.

The article also had an error regarding the end of electric cars. They were originally a big seller for women and others who didn't or couldn't crank a gas engine to start it. It was a big task, and people broke their arms on the kickback if they weren't careful. The starter made gas engines work for everyone, thus the electrics fell from fancy.

The histories and family trees of the industry are pretty interesting.

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The AOL article is pretty typical of stories giving short accounts of failed automakers, only covering a few primarily former Detroit makes. Consider though, that over the entire history of the automoblie, there have been more than 1,500 makes of cars (in addition to a couple of hundred makes of trucks!) produced just here in the US.

For example, since 1896, there have been more than 500 makes of automobiles produced, just here in Indiana (and that includes Subaru, Isuzu, Toyota and Honda, along with the likes of Cole, Premier, Stutz, Duesenberg, Cord, Auburn, National, Haynes, Apperson, Roamer, Elcar, and Studebaker).

The list of automobile makes is HUGE, world-wide, but the majority of car makes have been American.

Art

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Posted · Report post

The AOL article is pretty typical of stories giving short accounts of failed automakers, only covering a few primarily former Detroit makes.

AOL articles usually read like they were written by a summer intern with a one hour deadline! :lol:

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Posted · Report post

they left out another of the infamous car visionaries... Tucker

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Posted · Report post

did anyone else notice the distinctly Cord/Auburn shape of the last Huppmobile design, the Skylark?

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did anyone else notice the distinctly Cord/Auburn shape of the last Huppmobile design, the Skylark?

Very simple reason! When Auburn Automobile Company shut down the Cord 812 assembly line in the summer of 1937, they sold the body stamping dies to a buyer/vendor of used tooling, who then approached both Hupp and Graham Paige about adapting the Cord unibody design and styling to their production systems.

Neither Hupp nor Graham-Paige could swallow such an involved project on their own, so they both wound up using the Cord sedan unit body, converted to rear drive (with a new floorboard stamping having a driveshaft tunnel and transmission hump), and a new front subframe to mount the Continental inline 6cyl engines that both companies were using. A common front clip was used by both companies, Graham Paige having chrome plated grilles (three sections) while Hupp, using the same three diecast grille sections, offered the Skylark only with painted grilles. Incidently, you can see the virtually identical cars by Googling both "Graham Paige Hollywood" and "Hupp Skylark".

Art

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Very simple reason! When Auburn Automobile Company shut down the Cord 812 assembly line in the summer of 1937, they sold the body stamping dies to a buyer/vendor of used tooling, who then approached both Hupp and Graham Paige about adapting the Cord unibody design and styling to their production systems.

Neither Hupp nor Graham-Paige could swallow such an involved project on their own, so they both wound up using the Cord sedan unit body, converted to rear drive (with a new floorboard stamping having a driveshaft tunnel and transmission hump), and a new front subframe to mount the Continental inline 6cyl engines that both companies were using. A common front clip was used by both companies, Graham Paige having chrome plated grilles (three sections) while Hupp, using the same three diecast grille sections, offered the Skylark only with painted grilles. Incidently, you can see the virtually identical cars by Googling both "Graham Paige Hollywood" and "Hupp Skylark".

Art

that is so cool, thanks Art.

the rest of the internet has Wikipedia.... Model Cars Mag forum as "Art-epedia". :)

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Bit of a tangent but ... I was amazed to find out what a rich automotive manufacturing history California has when I became interested in old trucks. There isn't a lot of manufacturing here anymore, and what we do have is mostly in the high tech industry which is kind of invisible (mostly just boring looking office complexes).

There was a large independent truck building industry here before WW2, Kleiber (San Francisco), Fageol which became Peterbilt after 1939 (Oakland), Moreland (Los Angeles), Crown Coach (Los Angeles), Van Pelt Fire Apparatus Co (Oakdale), Crocker Motorcycles (Los Angeles), FMC (Santa Clara) and the Hall Scott Motor Car Company (Berkeley).

Also several plants for GM, Ford, Chrysler and Nash. Other than Peterbilt which moved to Texas in the 80s almost all of this was gone by the time I was born, just empty buildings in bad parts of town.

There has been some recent development in alternative energy automobiles with Tesla Motors starting up in San Carlos. That one is kind of a no brainer though, really where better to set up a company to sell an expensive, high tech, green sports car than silicon valley, home to some of the richest, environmental, tech geeks in the world. ;)

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Very simple reason! When Auburn Automobile Company shut down the Cord 812 assembly line in the summer of 1937, they sold the body stamping dies to a buyer/vendor of used tooling,

And the Auburn car front clip was sold to Corbett who used it on light trucks. The school bus on the TV show "The Waltons" was a Corbett. Jeff Harper of Mass did a Corbett truck model.

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I read years ago that there were over 140 US auto producers over the years.

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I read years ago that there were over 140 US auto producers over the years.

According to the list I linked to, there were 131 in the "A"s alone.

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I read years ago that there were over 140 US auto producers over the years.

The total listing of current and former US automakers as it stands right now, is more than 1.500.

Art

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Bit of a tangent but ... I was amazed to find out what a rich automotive manufacturing history California has when I became interested in old trucks. There isn't a lot of manufacturing here anymore, and what we do have is mostly in the high tech industry which is kind of invisible (mostly just boring looking office complexes).

There was a large independent truck building industry here before WW2, Kleiber (San Francisco), Fageol which became Peterbilt after 1939 (Oakland), Moreland (Los Angeles), Crown Coach (Los Angeles), Van Pelt Fire Apparatus Co (Oakdale), Crocker Motorcycles (Los Angeles), FMC (Santa Clara) and the Hall Scott Motor Car Company (Berkeley).

Also several plants for GM, Ford, Chrysler and Nash. Other than Peterbilt which moved to Texas in the 80s almost all of this was gone by the time I was born, just empty buildings in bad parts of town.

There has been some recent development in alternative energy automobiles with Tesla Motors starting up in San Carlos. That one is kind of a no brainer though, really where better to set up a company to sell an expensive, high tech, green sports car than silicon valley, home to some of the richest, environmental, tech geeks in the world. ;)

This is wikepedia's rather incomplete listing of Indiana automobile producers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Motor_vehicle_manufacturers_based_in_Indiana

Note that only 79 companies are represented, and several made more than one make of car at some point. Not listed are cars such as Plymouth (Chrysler Corporation--produced in the late 40's and early 50's at Evansville IN); Ford's Model T, which was assembled in Indianapolis from the late 'teens through almost to the end of Model T production; Durant--produced at Marion IN for a few years in the 20's. American Motor Vehicle Company produced the Auto Red Bug in my home town of Lafayette (that's on the list both as manufacturer and marque) but wikipedia omits the other two cars they made: The Greyhound and the Dumore.

Also missing is Mier, which was built in Ligonier IN, a very small town SE of South Bend. International Travelall's and Scouts were built at Ft Wayne. Eckhart, forerunner of the Auburn, was produced at Auburn IN.

This is a list of Indiana car makers (compiled by the Indiana Historical Society) down through the more than a century of automobile production in the Hoosier state:

http://www.indianahistory.org/our-collections/collection-guides/wallace-spencer-huffman-indiana-automobile-history.pdf

As you can see, it's very long, a whole lot of makes of cars in the 117 years since Elwood P. Haynes first tried out his Haynes Automobile on Pumpkinvine Pike east of Kokomo (the automobile component city, NOT the beach!)

Art

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Posted · Report post

There's a lot of interesting weird history. For instance in the early 1950s Volkswagen built a plant in South Brunswick, New Jersey to manufacture Beetles. Through some changes in currency, it was then preferred to build them in Germany and import them, so they sold the plant to Studebaker who wanted an East Coast assembly plant. Enter the Korean War and Studebaker built war materials there, but never did get to auto production at the site. The building still exists and manufactures electrical cable.

In other news the old Ford plant on Route 1 in New Brunswick that last manufactured Escorts and Ranger pickups was demolished and a shopping center is now there. And the GM plant on Route 1-9 in Elizabeth, NJ is long gone, again demolished. There was also an airport across the highway where we used to see the FUJI Film blimp tethered. That's gone and now a shopping center.

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They even made 2 brands of cars in my hometown but each only lasted a few years.The Wick and The Mahoning(named after the county).

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