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

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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

27 Comments

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

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

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

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

        2. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

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

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