Jamie Meets a 1934 Hupmobile

Today’s Post and photos by Jamie Zartman, with Joe Farace

Jamie had this to share with us: We just pulled into a Walmart parking lot and noticed a gentleman reading inside this magnificent beast. I took a few snaps with my wife’s new iPhone 11 Pro Max, including my own reflection, darn it, on the side front close-up. I really enjoyed seeing the car and speaking with the owner who was originally from New York. He didn’t have a card but told me that he bought the car a year ago. I also didn’t know they referred to as “gangster cars.”

Hupmobile automobiles were built from 1909 through 1939 by the Hupp Motor Car Company. The first model, the Hupp 20, was introduced at the 1909 Detroit automobile show and was an instant success. Hupp Motors obtained $25,000 in cash deposits at the show to begin manufacturing the Hupp 20, which was the lowest capitalization of Detroit’s eight major carmakers,.

Bobby Hupp co-founded Hupp Motor Car Company with Charles Hastings, formerly of Oldsmobile. In late 1909 Bobby’s brother, Louis Gorham Hupp left his job with the Michigan Central Railroad in Grand Rapids and joined the company.

The first cars were built in a small building at 345 (now 1161) Bellevue Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. The company outgrew this space and began construction of a factory a few blocks away at E. Jefferson Avenue and Concord, next to a former Oldsmobile plant. The company produced 500 vehicles by the end of the 1909 model year. Production increased to more than 5,000 in 1910. But after an auspicious start, sales dwindled.

In 1938, Hupmobile partnered with Graham-Paige Motor Co. acquired the production dies for the Gordon Buehrig-designed Cord 810 hoping to use the striking Cord design for a lower-priced called the Skylark to return the company to financial health. While each marque used its own power train, the Graham Hollywood, differed from the Skylark only in a few minor details.

But is was a case of too little to late. The Skylark had taken too many years to produce and most of the initial orders were canceled. Production lasted only a couple of months, and only 319 Skylarks were ever produced. Hupmobile ceased production in late summer. Graham-Paige suspended production shortly after the last Hupmobile rolled off the line.

Trivia. Mary’s father, Bob Rice, was a racer, back in the day and his car of choice was a Graham Hollywood. One time he rolled the Graham during a race and he and a buddy put it back on its wheels and Bob got back into the race