Five Noteworthy Vehicles at the 2015 Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show

From the nearly 200 remarkable vehicles on display at last weekend’s Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show, here are five we chose for a closer look. Join us for a fun journey into orphan car lore. 



As you surely know, the annual Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show is one of our favorite collector car events. We love the unusual and obscure in automotive history, and these are two items the Orphan Show celebrates. You can find our regular feature coverage of the 2015 event here. Additionally, here are five vehicles from this year’s show we thought were worthy of a closer look.


 Bob McCrary found this 1924 Standard 2 1/2 ton truck in old central Detroit, barely a stone’s throw from the factory on Bellevue Street where it was originally manufactured 91 years ago. (Read MCG’s story about the Standard plant here.) Founded by Albert Fisher, uncle to the Fisher brothers of body-making fame, Standard specialized in heavy-duty road trucks. In desperate condition when Bob discovered it, barely recognizable as a motor vehicle, the rugged rig now purrs like new.


1955 Packard Clipper Panama Hardtop Randy BurnsBy 1955, Packard was in serious trouble—doomed, actually—but that didn’t stop the storied brand from introducing a whole slate of technical improvements, including a redesigned Twin-Ultramatic automatic transmission, Torsion-Level Suspension, and a modern overhead-valve V8 engine. This beautiful ’55 Packard Clipper Panama hardtop, sporting all the above features, belongs to Randy Burns.


Ypsi Orphan_09 20 15_0155After Billy Durant lost control of General Motors for the second time, in 1921 he launched Durant Motors with a full lineup of automobile brands including the Star, Flint, Durant, Sheridan, and Locomobile. The Star was Durant’s bold attempt to compete head-on with Chevrolet and Ford in the low-price field. Debbie Gagon displayed this 1923 Star Model C Sedan, winning the Pre-War Independent category her first time out.


1955 Studebaker President Speedster Robert GardonStudebaker historians regard the 1955 President Speedster as the prototype for the Hawk line, the series of sporty coupes offered by the South Bend automaker from 1956 through 1964. With its flamboyant paint and upholstery combinations and engine-turned dash with racing-style round instruments, the Speedster was the sensation of the Studebaker showrooms in ’55. This clean example in colorful Hialeah Green and Sun Valley Yellow is owned by Robert Gardon.


1952 Hudson Hornet Hollywood Ed Meurer Jr.In Hudson lingo, the name Hollywood indicates a two-door hardtop body style, in much the same way as Riviera with Buick or Victoria with Ford. Introduced in September of 1951, well into the ’51 model year, the pillarless top lent some modern flair to the aging step-down Hudson platform introduced back in 1948.  Note the spotlight, wire wheels, and windshield visor on this impressive 1952 Hornet Hollywood owned by Edward Meurer Jr.


2 thoughts on “Five Noteworthy Vehicles at the 2015 Ypsilanti Orphan Car Show

  1. That 55 Packard is beautiful. Too bad they went bust, they had some nice designs. The 55 Stude looks good too, except for that hideous chrome grill. The 53-54 front end designs were much cleaner and fit the style better, the 55 grill and bumper looks like a chrome plated set of fish lips.

  2. My wife saw this exact Studebaker Speedster at last year’s Orphan Car Show and promptly instructed me to buy her one. It took us three months to find the right car but she is now a proud owner of a “lemon-lime” Speedster. She had a great time exhibiting it at the Eyes on Design car show earlier this year.

    Another reason to love this event is that a car like the Star, being exhibited by a first time car show participant, can win its class over cars like Duesenberg and Pierce-Arrow.

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