Hooniverse Asks: What Failed Car Brand Put Up The Best Fight?

If you’re anything like me then you likely imagine that when GM told the Oldsmobile management team that their brand was scheduled for the axe, the response was something along the lines of “what kind of severance will you be offering?”
The inner workings of an automotive brand’s departure from the market is not typically something that’s undertaken as public spectacle, but you can bet that some marques didn’t go quietly into that dark night. What we’re interested in today is your opinion on which brands seemed to go out swinging. What do you think were the failed brands that, before their demise, put up a noble fight?
Image: Curbside Classic


    1. And AM General can trace their roots back through American Motors, Kaiser-Jeep, Studebaker, Kaiser-Willys, Willys-Overland, and Overland.

      1. The continuation cars up to 1989,( Avanti II, with the biggest difference being a Chevy V-8) the ones using the original design and chassis are OK. They went downhill quickly after that.

          1. Mea Culpa.
            Still it seems to have been Mitsubishi’s choice/ineptitude/carelessness/stupidity to go down the route they are on.Eg dumping Evo, not following up the Diamante/Magna properly, etc.

    1. Amc at it’s outset was a last ditch effort by 3 failing marques (all of which produced some very unique cars in their own times) to stay competitive. They were fighting a losing battle from the very start but they still managed to hang in there for 30 odd years and made some interesting cars in the process.

    1. If it weren’t for the valuable Jeep brand, I think Chrysler would be fully dead by now.

          1. The idea of RAM was brought up back when Nissan was looking to buy into the full size truck market even before DC.

      1. Chrysler has a knack to find that one car to keep it going.
        K Car, LH, Neon, minivan, LX…

  1. Pierce-Arrow survived the Depression, followed by an awkward merger and bankruptcy/breakup with Studebaker, yet continued for several more years as an independent before closing shop. Throughout all this they developed magnificent new eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, sponsored a record-setting endurance run on the Bonneville Salt Flats, released the Silver Arrow, and never once succumbed to the otherwise nearly universal temptation of diluting the marque’s reputation with a “cheap” car to attract volume sales. If that’s not a noble fight, I don’t know what is.

      1. Packard merged with Studebaker in 1954 but Studebaker had previously joined with Pierce-Arrow in 1928, only to become separate again as part of the 1933 bankruptcy.
        Had Studebaker managed to own Peerless at some point, they would have collected the complete set of Three Ps.

  2. BMW. They have “Gran Tourers” and “Active Tourers” now, and lots of cars close to 2t, which all sell well but keep eating into their cred, but they’re fighting their “GM or VW, in any case everything for everybody” by serving us things like the i3 (daring technology and a good design, albeit I’m talking about the interior here) and the M2.

  3. Huppmobile and Graham went out swinging by repurposing one of the best bodies of the 1930’s

  4. Rover, before being dragged down by being lumped in with BMC in the Leyland debacle. With the huge profits from Landrover and the Rover cars being bled off to support the money-losing Austin Morris cars group.
    The nadir was this car, the Rover P8, being cancelled at the last minute, after production tooling had started, after pressure from Lyons at Jaguar after the BMH/BMC merger; afraid of competition for his new XJ6. After this, Rover engineering was never mentioned again as the equal of Mercedes Benz.
    Still the company soldiered on into the new millennium, and one of the companion designs of the P8 ended up founding an entire new brand, Range Rover, (ironically now paired with Jaguar).The SD1 that followed the cancelled P8 was deliberately cheapened with a live rear axle and drum brakes and Rover was never top echelon again.

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