Still more forgotten Detroit-built cars

1929 Essex Convertible CoupePresenting another batch of lapsed, lost, and forgotten automotive brands, all built in the Motor City. 



We’re now on the sixth chapter of our continuing series on forgotten Detroit-built cars, but the end is still nowhere in sight. (You can find links to all the features at the bottom of this page.) However, one clear pattern has emerged: The histories of these companies are intertwined in fascinating ways—sharing their financial backers, inventors, vehicle designs, and factory facilities in seemingly endless combinations. These makes may be little remembered today, but all played a role in creating the Motor City.


1907 Aerocar Model F 40 hpThe Aerocar of 1906-1907 was an attempt by Alexander Malcomsen, Detroit coal dealer and key investor in the Ford Motor Co., to launch his own car company. But when Henry Ford got wind of the plan, he promptly forced Malcomsen out, citing conflict of interest. Early Aerocar models used a four-cylinder Reeves air-cooled engine (hence the Aerocar name) while the 1907 Model F, above, was powered a conventional water-cooled four with 40 hp. Aerocar went bust in 1907, but the original factory building on Mack Ave. exists to this day. Read the Mac’s Motor City Garage feature here:  Still standing: the Aerocar/Hudson plant


1917 Doble-Detroit Touring steam carOften regarded as the most advanced steam automobile ever built, Doble was founded in Waltham, Mass. in 1914, but called the Motor City home from 1916 to 1918 and was briefly marketed as the Doble-Detroit. The Doble brothers then moved their steam-powered dreams to Emeryville, California, but the company folded in 1931 with only a few dozen cars produced. Shown here is a 1917 Doble-Detroit Touring.


1911 Everitt automobileByron F. “Barney” Everitt was a pioneer of the Detroit auto industry with many successful enterprises to his credit, but the car marketed under his own name was not one of them. The 1909-12 Everitt was produced in both four and six-cylinder models and offered an early self-starting system, but never sold in significant numbers. Pictured here is a 1911 Everitt runabout. In 1912 the Everitt was rebranded as the Flanders, then acquired by the doomed United States Motor combine. Everitt’s more lucrative endeavors included E-M-F and the B.F. Everitt Co.


1922 Essex CoachThe Essex, produced from 1918 to 1932, was the low-priced companion brand to the well-regarded but deluxe-priced Hudson.  With its angular but sporty lines and spunky four-cylinder F-head engine, the Essex (1922 Coach shown here) provided stiff competition for Chevrolet and Willys-Overland, pushing Detroit-based Hudson into the top 10 in sales. Later models, such as the 1930 Convertible Coupe in the lead photo, boasted four-wheel brakes and six-cylinder power, and in 1933 the Hudson junior line was rebranded as the Terraplane (read about it here).


More features on lost and obscure Detroit makes at Mac’s Motor City Garage:

+   Five forgotten Detroit-built cars    Thomas-Detroit, Anhut, Krit, Rickenbacker, Columbia

+   Six more forgotten Detroit-built cars   Detroit, Liberty, Graham, EMF, Saxon, Rockne

+   Four more forgotten Detroit-built cars    Hupp-Yeats, King, Northern, Harroun 

+   Another five forgotten Detroit-built cars   D.A.C, Divco, Benham, Owen, Terraplane

+   Three more forgotten Detroit-built cars    Nelson, Crown Detroit, Falcon-Knight 


5 thoughts on “Still more forgotten Detroit-built cars

  1. The Essex was pretty popular here in Australia, where they were sold with locally produced bodies. The sixes were reliable but underpowered, and were commonly known as “gutless wonders”.

    • Agreed, and there is a few around still too. I see them on vintage runs and a few have been rodded too.
      I never realised they were Hudsons!! Or that the Terraplanne replaced them.

  2. Thanks MCG, It always amazes at how many tried their hands at the automobile. I can only think , it’s like the computer age we’re in now. Everybody can give it a shot, and some will be successful, it must have been the same when automobile’s were in their infancy.
    As far as the looks of the cars, forgive me, but all those type cars, look the same to me. I’m more of a ’30’s and up kind of person, when styling really took off. Still, pretty cool all the different attempts. I like looking in the background of these pics. Wow. Thanks again.

    • Cleveland and Detroit have many similarities, and but for a few historical twists, Cleveland could have become the Motor City.

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