A list of defunct automobile manufacturers building vehicles in the United States
into the 1930s and later. They were discontinued for various reasons, such as bankruptcy of the parent company, mergers, or being phased out.
Defunct Automobile Videos
1955 Hudson Wasp
American Motors Corporation (AMC) was created by the merger of Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson in 1954. At the time, it was the biggest corporate merger in U.S. history.
After periods of intermittent but unsustained success, Renault acquired a major interest in AMC in 1979—and the company was ultimately acquired by
Chrysler. At its 1987 demise, The New York Times said AMC was "never a company with the power or the cost structure to compete confidently at home or abroad."
1910 Auburn Model X
The Auburn Automobile Company grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded in Auburn, Indiana, in 1874 by Charles Eckhart. Eckhart's sons, Frank and Morris, experimented making automobiles before entering the business in earnest, absorbing two other local carmakers and moving into a larger plant in 1909. The enterprise was modestly successful until materials shortages during World War I forced the plant to close.
Cord (1929-1932, 1936-1937)
1937 Cord 812 Sportsman
Cord was the brand name of an American luxury automobile company from Connersville, Indiana, manufactured by the
Auburn Automobile Company from 1929 to 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937.
The Cord Corporation was founded and run by E. L. Cord as a holding company for his many transportation interests, including Auburn. Cord was noted for its innovative technology and streamlined designs.
1981 Delorean DMC 12
The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was an American automobile manufacturer originally formed by automobile industry executive John DeLorean in 1975. It is remembered for the one model it produced — the stainless steel DeLorean sports car featuring gull-wing doors—and for its brief and turbulent history, ending in receivership and bankruptcy in 1982. Near the end, in a desperate attempt to raise the funds his company needed to survive, John DeLorean was filmed appearing to accept money to take part in drug trafficking, but was subsequently acquitted of charges brought against him on the basis of entrapment.
1958 Desoto Firesweep
DeSoto (sometimes De Soto) is an American automobile marque that was manufactured and marketed by the
DeSoto Division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1928 to the 1961 model year. The De Soto marque was officially dropped November 30, 1960, with over two million vehicles built since 1928.
Dual Ghia (1956-1958)
1957 Dual Ghia D 500
Dual-Ghia is a rare, short-lived, automobile make, produced in the United States between 1956 and 1958. The idea for a sporty limited production car came from Eugene
Casaroll, who controlled specialized vehicle builder Dual-Motors Corporation based in Detroit, Michigan; the name Dual-Ghia is representative of the collaborative
efforts between the two builders.
1936 Duesenberg SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton
Duesenberg Motors Company (sometimes referred to as "Duesy") was an American manufacturer of race cars and luxury automobiles. It was founded by brothers August and Frederick Duesenberg in 1913 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where they built engines and race cars. The brothers moved their operations to Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1916 to manufacture engines for World War I. In 1919, when their government contracts were cancelled, they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and established the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company, Inc. (Delaware). In late 1926, E.L. Cord added Duesenberg to his
Auburn Automobile Company. With the market for expensive luxury cars severely undercut by the Great Depression, Duesenberg folded in 1937.
1929 Durant Sedan<
Durant Motors Inc. was established in 1921 by former General Motors CEO William "Billy" Durant following his termination by the GM board of directors and the New York bankers that financed GM.
Durant Motors Automobile Club and Museum
Edsel is an automobile marque that was planned, developed, and manufactured by the Ford Motor Company for model years 1958 through 1960. With the Edsel, Ford had
expected to make significant inroads into the market share of both General Motors and Chrysler and close the gap between itself and GM in the domestic American
automotive market. Ford invested heavily in a yearlong teaser campaign leading consumers to believe that the Edsel was the car of the future – an expectation it failed
to meet. After it was unveiled to the public, it was considered to be unattractive, overpriced, and overhyped. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary
American car buyers and sold poorly. The Ford Motor Company lost $250 million on the Edsel's development, manufacturing, and marketing.
Edsel Owners Club
Fargo Motor Car Company (1913-1922)
Fargo was a brand of truck originally produced in the United States in 1913 by the Fargo Motor Car Company. Dropped in 1922, the name was reintroduced for a line of trucks manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation after purchasing Fargo Motors in 1928. Later, Chrysler absorbed
Dodge and started producing its truck line, so over time Fargo trucks became rebadged Dodges, similar to the parallel sale by General Motors of its GMC and Chevrolet truck lines.
The modern-day descendant of Chrysler's truck division is now known as Ram Trucks.
1986 Fiberfab Bonito FT
Warren Goodwin was a former sports-car racer and a keen fisherman, born in 1921 or 1922. His first wife and the mother of his two sons was Gwendolyn.
His earlier company, Sports Car Engineering, had manufactured Microplas Mistral bodies under license and sold them as the Spyder. He founded Fiberfab in 1964. In
1967, Goodwin was arrested on suspicion of murder for shooting his 28-year-old second wife, Jamaica. The police said he had found Jamaica with Farbus Kidoo.
Goodwin claimed the shooting was accidental. He was charged with the voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. He died in jail on December
26, 1968, of a heart attack.
The Glasspar was started in 1947 as a boat-building company when Bill Tritt began building small fiberglass boat hulls in his Costa Mesa, California fiberglass shop.
Glasspar was also one of the first companies to build fiberglass-bodied cars, most notably the G2 (Glasspar), but including the Woodill Wildfire, the Studebaker-based
Ascot and the Volvo Sport. The G2 was a prime influence on the decision for Chevrolet to develop the Corvette. The Glasspar G2 was born in 1949 when Bill Tritt helped
his friend, United States Air Force Major Ken Brooks, design a body for the hot rod Ken was building. The car consisted of a stripped down
Willys Jeep chassis with a
highly modified V8 engine mounted on it. Bill Tritt, at the time, was building small fiberglass boat hulls in his Costa Mesa, California, factory and he convinced Ken
that fiberglass was the ideal material for the hot rod body. The company was sold to to Larson Boat Works.
Graham Paige (1927-1940)
1938 Graham 97 Supercharged Cabriolet
Graham-Paige was an American automobile manufacturer founded by brothers Joseph B. Graham, Robert C. Graham , and Ray A. Graham in 1927. Automobile production ceased in 1940, and its automotive assets were acquired by
Kaiser-Frazer in 1947. As a corporate entity, the Graham-Paige name continued until 1962.
1946 Hudson Commodore
The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was discontinued.
Kaiser Motors (formerly Kaiser-Frazer) Corporation made automobiles at Willow Run, Michigan, United States, from 1945 to 1953. In 1953, Kaiser merged with
Willys-Overland to form Willys Motors Incorporated, moving its production operations to the Willys plant at Toledo, Ohio. The company changed its name to Kaiser Jeep Corporation in 1963.
King Midget (1946-1970)
1967 King Midget
King Midget was a micro car produced between 1946 and 1970 by the Midget Motors Corporation. Although the company started out by offering a kit to build the car, they
soon added completely-assembled cars and later only offered completed cars. Company founders Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt first sold the King Midget as part of their Midget
Motors Supply operations in Athens, Ohio. By 1948, they began to use the name Midget Motors Manufacturing Co., too. In about 1956, Dry and Orcutt changed the name of
their company to Midget Motors Corporation.
Today, more information about the King Midget is made available by members of the
King Midget Car Club, which offers books on the history of the cars, an annual
gathering of fans and owners, and information about spare parts, repairs, vendors, and restoration. In recent years, an increased appreciation has developed about the
qualities of the King Midget's efficient use of materials, fuel economy, ruggedness, and ease of repair.
Maxwell automobile production began under the Maxwell-Briscoe Company of Tarrytown, New York. The company was named after founders Jonathan Dixon Maxwell, who earlier had worked for Oldsmobile, and Benjamin Briscoe, an automobile industry pioneer and part owner of the Briscoe Brothers Metalworks,
who was president of Maxwell-Briscoe at its height. In 1907, following a fire
that destroyed the Tarrytown, NY, factory, Maxwell-Briscoe constructed what was
then the largest automobile factory in the world in New Castle, Indiana.
This factory continued as a Chrysler plant following its takeover of Maxwell until its demolition in 2004.
Maxwell eventually over-extended and wound up deeply in debt, with over half of its production unsold in the post-World War I recession in 1920. The following year, Walter P. Chrysler arranged to take a controlling interest in Maxwell Motors. Around the time of Chrysler's takeover, Maxwell was also in the process of merging, awkwardly at best, with the ailing Chalmers Automobile Company. Chalmers ceased production in late 1923.
In 1925, Chrysler formed his own company, the Chrysler Corporation. That same year, the Maxwell line was phased out and the Maxwell company assets were absorbed by Chrysler. The Maxwell automobile would continue to live on in another form however, because the new 4-cylinder Chrysler model that was introduced for the 1926 model year was created largely from the design of the previous year's Maxwell. And this former Maxwell would undergo another transformation in 1928, when a second reworking and renaming would bring about the creation of the first
1951 Mercury Monterey Coupe
Mercury is a defunct division of the American automobile manufacturer Ford Motor Company. Marketed as an entry-level premium brand for nearly its entire existence, Mercury was created in 1938 by Edsel Ford to bridge the price gap between the Ford and Lincoln vehicle lines. In a similar context, Buick and Oldsmobile served the same role within General Motors (between Chevrolet and Cadillac) while Mercury competed against the namesake brand of Chrysler (above Plymouth and Dodge, but below Imperial).
Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company was founded in 1900 in Racine, Wisconsin as a motorcycle maker spin-off from the wagon maker Mitchell & Lewis Company Ltd. The company began manufacturing automobiles in 1903. The wagon business and auto companies were combined into Mitchell-Lewis Motor Co. in 1910. The Mitchell car brand produced automobiles from 1903 to 1923.
Originally a carriage builder, the company's first model was a 7hp runabout.
Nash Motor Company bought Mitchell-Lewis in 1924.
Mitchell offered four-, six- and eight-cylinder models were built. The 1920 Model E-40 had a rear-sloping radiator which led to the unfortunate nickname of the "Drunken Mitchell". Sales never recovered, and when the company folded in 1923, Nash Motors bought the factory. The company was known for large, fashionable touring cars.
1951 Muntz Jet
The Muntz Car Company was established in 1950, in Glendale, California, by Earl "Madman" Muntz, a well known local used car dealer and electronics retailer. It closed in 1954. Muntz was assisted by Frank Kurtis, who had earlier attempted to produce a sports car under the Kurtis Kraft marque (the Kurtis Kraft Sport, which sold just 36 units by 1950).
In 1951, Kurtis sold the license to manufacture the cars to Muntz, who rebadged them as the "Muntz Jet", extended the body to make it a 4-seater, and exchanged the Ford engine with a larger Cadillac V8. Later, this engine would be replaced with a less expensive Lincoln side-valve V8
1958 Nash Rambler
Nash Motors Company was an American automobile manufacturer based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the United States from 1916 to 1937. From 1937 to 1954, Nash Motors was the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. Nash production continued from 1954 to 1957 after the creation of American Motors Corporation.
Nash pioneered some important innovations; in 1938 they debuted the heating and ventilation system which is still used today, unibody construction in 1941, seat belts in 1950, a US built compact car in 1950, and muscle cars in 1957
The Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan, was an American automobile manufacturer and division of General Motors. Purchased by General Motors in 1909, the company continued to produce modestly priced automobiles until 1931 when the brand was dropped in favor of the division's
1953 Oldsmobile 88 2 Door Hardtop
Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Olds Motor Vehicle Co. was founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897. It produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan factory. During its time as a division of General Motors, it slotted in the middle of GM's five divisions (above Pontiac but below Buick), and was noted for its testing of groundbreaking technology and designs, most notably the "Rocket V8" engine. In 1985, over 1 million Oldsmobiles were sold, but by the 1990s the division was tasked with competing with import brands. When it was shut down in 2004, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque, and one of the oldest in the world, after Peugeot, MAN, and Tatra.
1941 Packard 180
Packard was an American luxury automobile marque built by the
Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan. The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899, and the last Detroit-built Packard in 1956, when they built the Packard Predictor, their last concept car.
Packard bought Studebaker in 1953 and formed the Studebaker-Packard Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. The 1957 and 1958 Packards were actually badge engineered Studebakers, built in South Bend.
Phillips Berlina (1980)
1981 Phillips Berlina
The Phillips Berlina is a neo-classic car built in Pompano Beach, Florida in the early nineteen-eighties. Debuting in 1980, it was designed by Charles W. Phillips in the
style of the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster. It used stretched
C3 Chevrolet Corvette underpinnings, coupled to fibreglass bodywork. As for the Corvette,
power steering and brakes, powered tinted windows, and tilt steering were fitted. The fuel injected 5.7 litre V8 engine in the 1982 Berlinas offers 200 hp at
4,200 rpm, for a top speed of around 110 mph. The earlier carbureted version (L81) had 190 hp on tap. By 1982, a special "Coupé SE" version was also
Pierce Arrow (1901-1938)
1935 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow
The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was an American motor vehicle manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York, which was active from 1901 to 1938. Although best known for its expensive luxury cars, Pierce-Arrow also manufactured commercial trucks, fire trucks, camp trailers, motorcycles, and bicycles.
1959 Plymouth Sport Fury
Plymouth was a brand of automobiles based in the United States, produced by the Chrysler Corporation and its successor DaimlerChrysler. The brand first appeared in 1928 in the United States to compete in what was then described as the "low-priced" market segment dominated by Chevrolet and Ford.
Plymouth was the high-volume seller for the automaker until the late 1990s. The brand was withdrawn from the marketplace in 2001. The Plymouth models that were produced up to then were either discontinued or rebranded as Chrysler or Dodge.
1972 Pontiac GTO
Pontiac was a car brand owned, made, and sold by General Motors. Introduced as a companion make for GM's more expensive line of Oakland automobiles, Pontiac overtook Oakland in popularity and supplanted its parent brand entirely by 1933.
Sold in the United States, Canada, and Mexico by GM, Pontiac was advertised as the performance division of General Motors from the 1960s onward. In the hierarchy of GM's five divisions, it slotted above Chevrolet, but below Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac.
Amid late 2000s financial problems and restructuring efforts, GM announced in 2008 it would follow the same path with Pontiac as it had with Oldsmobile in 2004 and discontinued manufacturing and marketing vehicles under that brand by the end of 2010. The last Pontiac badged cars were built in December 2009, with one final vehicle in January 2010.
Powell Manufacturing Company (1926-1978)
1956 Powell Sport Wagon
Powell Manufacturing Company (PMC) was a company based in southern California, widely known for its line of motor scooters that peaked in popularity in the late 1940s. From September 1954 to March 1957, Powell manufactured "Sport Wagon" pickup trucks and station wagons. In the 1960s and 1970s, they manufactured the "Powell Challenger" trail bikes.
2007 Saturn Sky
The Saturn Corporation, also known as Saturn LLC, was an American automobile manufacturer, a registered trademark established on January 7, 1985, as a subsidiary of General Motors. The company marketed itself as a "different kind of car company" and operated somewhat independently from its parent company for a time with its own assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, unique models, and a separate retailer network, and was GM's attempt to compete with Japanese imports and transplants in the US compact car market.
Following the withdrawal of a bid by Penske Automotive to acquire Saturn in September 2009, General Motors discontinued the Saturn brand and ended its outstanding franchises on October 31, 2010. All new production had already been halted on October 7, 2009.
Stout Scarab (1932-1946)
The Stout Scarab is a 1930–1940s American minivan. It was designed by William Bushnell Stout and manufactured by Stout Engineering Laboratories and later by Stout Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan.
The Stout Scarab is credited by some as the world's first production minivan, and a 1946 experimental prototype of the Scarab became the world's first car with a fiberglass bodyshell and air suspension.
1952 Studebaker Champion
Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles, all sold under the name "Studebaker Automobile Company". Until 1911, its automotive division operated in partnership with the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio, and after 1909 with the E-M-F Company. The first gasoline automobiles to be fully manufactured by Studebaker were marketed in August 1912. Over the next 50 years, the company established a reputation for good quality and reliability.
After years of financial problems, the company merged in 1954 with luxury carmaker Packard to form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. However, Studebaker's financial problems were worse than the Packard executives had thought. The Packard marque was phased out, and the company returned to the Studebaker Corporation name in 1962. The South Bend plant ceased production on December 20, 1963, and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 17, 1966.
1948 Tucker Sedan
The Tucker 48 (named after its model year) is an automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. Only 50 cars were made before the company ceased operations on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity initiated by the news media, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial (in which the allegations were proven baseless and led to a full acquittal). Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers and Michigan Senator Homer S. Ferguson also had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise
1940 Willys Americar Coupe
In 1908, John Willys bought the Overland Automotive Division of Standard Wheel Company and in 1912 renamed it
Willys–Overland Motor Company. From 1912 to 1918, Willys was the second-largest producer of automobiles in the United States after Ford Motor Company.
In 1913, Willys acquired a license to build the Charles Knight's sleeve-valve engine which it used in cars bearing the Willys–Knight nameplate. In the mid-1920s, Willys also acquired the F.B. Stearns Company of Cleveland and assumed continued production of the Stearns-Knight luxury car, as well.
1931 Stutz Verticle Eight DV 32
Ideal Motor Car Company, organized in June 1911 by Harry C. Stutz with his friend Henry F Campbell, began building Stutz cars in Indianapolis in 1911. They set this
business up after a car built by Stutz in under five weeks and entered in the name of his Stutz Auto Parts Co was placed 11th in the Indianapolis 500 earning it the
slogan "the car that made good in a day". Ideal built what amounted to copies of the racecar with added fenders and lights and sold them with the model name Stutz
Bearcat. Bear Cat being the name of the actual racecar.
Abbott-Detroit (1909–1916; Abbott 1917–1918)
A.E.C. (or Anger) (1913–1915)
Aero Car (1921)
Aero-Type (Victor Page model)
Ajax Electric (1901–1903)
Keep Your Car Looking New
This site claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this
site are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this
site that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.
Acura Automobiles Through the Years
Reviewed by Gene Wright on