Following a distinguished career with Oldsmobile, Ford and Regal, Robert Craig Hupp established manufacture of motor cars bearing his name in 1909 in Detroit, Michigan.
Hupmobile’s early success can be attributed to the Model 20, a compact and affordable car that gained popularity for its reliability and fuel efficiency. As the company expanded, they introduced larger and more sophisticated models, catering to a broader market.
In 1911, Hupmobile established its reputation for endurance when a Model 20 completed a transcontinental journey from San Francisco to New York in 48 days, showcasing the car’s durability and reliability. This feat contributed to the brand’s positive image.
Hupp left the company in 1911 following a disagreement with the board, but Hupmobile continued, the Model 32 of 1912 and onwards, an all steel bodied car, being the mainstay of pre-Great War production.
During World War I, Hupmobile, like many other automobile manufacturers, shifted its production to support the war effort by producing military vehicles and equipment. This experience further diversified the company’s capabilities.
In the post-war period, Hupmobile thrived, reaching its peak production in the mid-1920s. The introduction of the Hupp 8 in 1925 marked an ambitious move into the luxury car segment. The Hupp 8 featured a smooth eight-cylinder engine and upscale amenities, attracting a more affluent clientele.
The effects of the Great Depression hit the automotive industry hard, and Hupmobile was no exception. Despite attempts to adapt to changing economic conditions by offering more affordable models, the company struggled financially. By 1936, Hupmobile attempted a fresh start with a new lineup, but the market conditions and competition proved insurmountable.
Desperate for a return to market strength, on February 8, 1938, Hupmobile acquired the production dies of the Gordon Buehrig-designed Cord 810, paying US$900,000 for the tooling. Hupmobile hoped using the striking Cord design in a lower-priced conventional car, called the Skylark, would return the company to financial health. Enthusiastic orders came in by the thousands, but production delays soured customer support.
Lacking adequate production facilities, Hupmobile partnered with the ailing Graham-Paige Motor Co. to share the Cord dies. Hupmobile and Graham both sold similar models, all to be built at Graham-Paige’s facilities. While each marque used its own power train, the Graham edition, called the Hollywood, differed from the Skylark in a few minor details.
In 1939, deliveries of the Hupmobile Skylark finally began. Unfortunately, it had taken too many years to produce and most of the orders had been canceled. Production lasted only a couple of months, and only 319 Skylarks were produced.
Hupmobile ceased production in late summer. Graham-Paige suspended production shortly after the last Hupmobile rolled off the line.
The company officially declared bankruptcy in 1941. While Hupmobile may not have endured through the decades like some of its contemporaries, its legacy lives on as a symbol of innovation and quality craftsmanship during the early days of the American automotive industry.
Sources – Wikipedia, Breakout cards