Hooniverse Asks: What Dead American Car or Truck Brand Should we Most Memorialize?

graveyard copy
Today is Memorial Day here in the U.S. of A., and that means flags and parades, barbecues and beers… Well, that’s pretty much how we all celebrate it, but the real meaning of the day is a remembrance of those who have fallen in the service of the country’s armed forces. Those of you who have served your country and are still alive don’t have to wait until Veteran’s Day in November for your acknowledgement, we’ll give you a hearty handshake and a thank you today as well.
The holiday began in 1868 as Decoration Day when the graves of those who died in wars would be decorated with flags and flowers. Not to insult or undermine the solemnity of the day, but this being a blog about cars, I thought that we could as well consider the makes that have sought to serve our motoring needs here in the U.S., but are now no longer with us. I wonder, which of those – Oldsmobile, Hudson, Bricklin… the list is seemingly endless – is most worthy of memorializing, or at least raising a  beer in its honor?
Image: Tribune.com

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27 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What Dead American Car or Truck Brand Should we Most Memorialize?”

  1. Alff Avatar

    I’ve never raised a glass to Hupmobile, who made some lovely vehicles, lasted for more than three decades and whose history is tied to Chandler, Graham-Paige, Cord and Raymond Loewy. So yeah, I’ll do that today.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    I’ve never seen one in real life, but Hudson’s cars are always talked about as true quality vehicles. Thought-through innovation here and there, and a consequent ambition about making quick and comfortable cars. Also: Gorgeous to look at. That’s my vote.

  3. Joe Dunlap Avatar
    Joe Dunlap

    I nominate the Studebaker Corporation. They probably had as much to do with putting America on wheels ( and keeping it there) as anyone.

  4. tonyola Avatar

    Duesenberg. Never has an American make aimed so high. The greatest US car ever.

    1. William Robinson Avatar
      William Robinson

      I came to post somthing to this effect.. more of a what if they where still around today. What would they be? What would they look like? Could I afford one? And yes I know there is a company using the name and shopping a prototype around.

  5. Citric Avatar

    Cord was doing stuff in 1937 that other people wouldn’t pick up on for 30 years.

  6. Guest Avatar

    Tucker. He came so close, and yet, was so far.


  7. Guest Avatar

    What does it say about me when all of the current nominations are of my favourite companies?

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      It says a lot about a proud car nation – I’m pretty wowed by the first posts. Also: Imagine how the US car market would look like today without the big drive for cheaper and cheaper cars that killed a lot of quality makes.

  8. Citric Avatar

    It seems like given the day one should also memorialize American Bantam:
    They created the Jeep, after all.

    1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      And don’t forgot they also gave us a moderately successful American microcar as well.

  9. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    American Motors Corporation. The last independent automotive company. They were the underdog, the David among goliaths, who went down fighting. http://assets.hemmings.com/story_image/250751-1000-0.jpg?rev=3

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      Memorialize AMC and you’re memorializing a lot. Kaiser, Nash, Willys-Overland, Hudson, Rambler and, um… Eagle sorta.

    2. caltemus Avatar

      Mazda is still independent

  10. Lokki Avatar

    For me – Packard. What great cars they made at their height. I sometimes wonder what kind of cars Studebaker or AMC or Cord among the others already mentioned might be building today if things had gone better for them, but with Packard I know, and they would fast, luxurious, and very well built.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Sadly, Packard’s decline was mostly self-inflicted. Trying to stay afloat during the Depression, they introduced the Junior series cars, beginning with the 120, in 1935. The 120 was the first sub-$1000 Packard, and made Packard a less exclusive car. By the time my mother’s first husband bought a new 1952 200 with Ultramatic (trading in my mother’s first car, a ’50 Chevrolet with Powerglide), Packard was already on life support, no longer a competitor with Cadillac and Lincoln.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        The 120 didn’t do as much damage as the 1937 Packard Six, which was priced down in the Pontiac and Dodge range and became Packard’s highest volume car. It was also stubbier than the 120 and looked less like a luxury car. Packard compounded the error right after the war by continuing to sell cheap cars in a seller’s market when in truth they could have gone back to the premium market and sell every luxury car they could make.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          How are these holding up today? I am really surprised every time a Packard I8 is shown nice and cheap on BaT.

        2. StephaneDumas Avatar

          Also, Packard originally flirted with Nash for a merger. But the head of Packard at that time, Jim Nance, didn’t want to be the second fiddle to Nash’s head at that time George Romney. Packard go with Studebaker and they didn’t checked Studebaker’s books. The merge of Packard with Studebaker was the final nail in the coffin.

  11. Guest Avatar

    International Trucks and SUVs, from when trucks were trucks.


    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      I was reading somewhere that the CXT / MXT / RXT line was technically a return to the consumer truck market, but even I don’t believe that.

    2. mad_science Avatar

      Is it bad that I remember that very Travelall from eBay a couple years back?

  12. 0A5599 Avatar

    Since Cord and Duesenberg are already mentioned, I’ll complete the set with Auburn. My grandfather had one, but traded it for a family car when my dad was born.

  13. Batshitbox Avatar

    So many choices! Off the top of my head
    Willys (-Knight, -Overland), for the Jeeps and the Americars and all that
    Crosley, because nutball
    Checker, for disappearing in what, like, one week in 1982? (EDIT:Technically survived ’till 2010)
    Oldsmobile, from the curved dash Olds to the Rocket engine to the Jetfire Olds was an innovative and high performance brand.

  14. XRSevin Avatar

    First mass-produced car. First mass-produced OHV V8. First American mass-produced FWD. Oldsmobile deserved better.

  15. mdharrell Avatar

    “…here in the U.S….Bricklin….”
    No, perhaps not Bricklin.

  16. Manxman Avatar

    I miss Plymouth, if only for Christine and the Superbird.

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