The automobile may have had its origins in Europe, but few sectors of the U.S. economy embody the American notions of personal liberty, expression, and freedom as fully as the automotive industry.
The rise of the industry at the beginning of the 20th century coincided with the ascent of manned flight and the motion picture industry, and a sense that the United States was entering a new and progressive era where anything was possible.
Hundreds of automotive companies sprouted all over the nation at the turn of the century, firing the ambitions of people in all walks of life.
Not all of these ambitions were realized. Many companies foundered because of mismanagement, overexpansion, misjudgment of the public taste, and underestimating supply chain costs. Some companies in the early part of the 20th century whose products were electric vehicles or steam-powered cars could not compete against gas-powered autos that had more power and were cheaper to drive.
Other factors such as the economic downturn in the early 1920s, and the Great Depression that caused widespread economic distress and dislocation, spelled doom for many carmakers, such as Du Pont, Durant, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, and Peerless. Even though cars from these companies are no longer cruising on the nation’s highways, many of these defunct companies developed innovations such as disc brakes and automatic windshield wipers that are standard features of modern cars.
Stacker has compiled a list of 50 car companies that no longer exist from various historical sources such as the Ohio History Connection and HistoricDetroit.org; websites from education sources that included Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland; car club websites; and sources such as Hemmings Motor News, a monthly magazine catering to traders and collectors of antique, classic, and exotic sports cars.
In compiling the list, we attempted to tell one part of the story of the American automotive industry through various eras, the innovations of these companies and their ambitions, and the segment they held in the marketplace. The story also outlined the causes and reasons as to why these companies no longer exist. This list is not meant to be a comprehensive record of all the companies that no longer exist, but rather a slate of companies that made an impact through their designs or innovations that helped move the industry forward.
Keep reading to find 50 car companies that no longer exist.
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