Another Three Forgotten Detroit-Built Cars

1917 ChalmersNope, they don’t call Detroit the Motor City for nothing. Here are three more lapsed, lost, and forgotten auto manufacturers that originated in Detroit. How many do you recognize?  



In our ongoing survey of obscure, forgotten, and discontinued Detroit-based car manufacturers, we are now up to 31 makes in eight separate photo features—with no chance of running out anytime soon. You can check out all the previous stories in our website’s Detroit-Built Cars category. Meanwhile, here are three more lost Detroit automakers.


1934 Hupmobile 417 SedanVirtually forgotten there today, Hupmobile (founded 1908) was once a major employer in Detroit with a big factory on Milwaukee Street a few blocks south of the sprawling Dodge Main complex. Many enthusiasts are familiar with the 1939-1941 Hupp Skylark, which used the body dies of the famed Cord 810 (also shared with the Graham Hollywood). However, that wasn’t the first time Hupmobile shared body tools with another automaker. In 1934-1935, the Hupmobile Model 417 coupe and sedan (above) borrowed a number of panels from the 1933-1934 Ford Model 40. Note the resemblance?


1911 CarharttCarhartt, Inc., makers of rugged but fashionable (in the Midwest, anyway) clothing for work and outdoors, got its start in Detroit in 1889. An early auto enthusiast, company founder Hamilton Carhartt and son Hamilton Carhartt Jr. briefly jumped into the automobile business in 1910 with two high-quality models of 25 and 35 horsepower. Priced at $1100 to $2250, the cars failed to sell in sufficient volume and the automotive operation was discontinued in 1912.


1923 Chalmers SedanChalmers was a successor to Thomas-Detroit, founded in 1906 by E.R. Thomas of Thomas Flyer fame. When Thomas stepped out as principal investor in 1908 and cash register tycoon Hugh Chalmers stepped in, the company became known as Chalmers-Detroit, then simply as Chalmers.

Sales topped 20,000 units for several years following World War I, but when the company began to stumble, it joined forces with Maxwell, and in 1923 Maxwell-Chalmers was acquired by Walter P. Chrysler and his backers to become the nucleus of the Chrysler Corporation. The Chalmers brand was then discontinued. A 1923 Sedan is shown above, while the car in the lead photo at the top of this feature is a 1917 Chalmers Touring parked in front of the establishment of Chicago dealer James Levy.


8 thoughts on “Another Three Forgotten Detroit-Built Cars

  1. Love your Articles on the cars , would love to see something on Durant, Frontenac cars sometime. Bill

  2. My late father always told a story of my grandfather’s Hupmobile. Details are sketchy, but he remembered riding in as a kid, so that had to be the 30’s, and the car was from the 20’s. It had tall steel wheels, possibly a “Century 6”, and what he remembered most, was once, my grandfather couldn’t stop the car in time and ran over an elderly woman. He thought he killed her, but because of the tall wheels, she was ok. Apparently, nothing happened and the woman went on her way. Can you imagine that today?

    • Hi Myron, that would require a new website called, Mac’s “Northern Coast “Garage. 🙂

  3. Chalmers started the Chalmers Award, where they gave a free car to the baseball player with the best season batting average. The first winner was Ty Cobb. This award led to others such a MVP and Cy Young.

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