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June 19, 2013

Hupmobile club to visit locally

WASHINGTON — If you see nearly two dozen classic cars rolling up and the down the roads of Daviess County and the surrounding areas next week, there’s a good chance you are seeing a Hupmobile.  Beginning Sunday, the International Hupmobile Club will begin its annual tour, this time across southwest Indiana.

Hupmobiles were built in Detroit, Mich., from 1909 until 1941 by the Hupp Motor Car Company. Robert Craig Hupp, a former employee of Oldsmobile and Ford, founded the company with his brother Louis in 1908.

The first cars were assembled in 1909 and by 1910, production of the Huppmobile reached around 5,000. After some disagreements with financial backers, Robert Hupp sold his stock in the company and started the RCH Automobile Company that later went on to be known as the Hupp-Yeats Electric Car Company.

On the cutting edge of technology, in 1912 Hupp’s new company became one of the first two automakers to use all steel bodies, the other being BSA, a company based in the United Kingdom.

Even after the departure of its founder, the original Hupp Motor Company thrived and a new plant was purchased in 1924. At the time, the Huppmobile was one of the top automobile companies in the country competing for the top spots along with Ford and Chevrolet. By 1928, over 65,000 Hupmobiles were produced each year. To help with the increase in sales, Hupp purchased the Chandler-Cleveland Motors Corporation to increase the manufacturing facilities but sales did not increase after the additional production lines were made.

Unfortunately, sales of the Huppmobile, which had always sought to, “build a car in the working man’s price range,” were sinking even before the start of the Great Depression.

In an effort to keep up with attracting new customers, the Hupp Motor Company offered many different body styles and with relatively low production volume, no model could be produced in sufficient quantity to keep yielding a profit. By 1936, the company was forced to sell off some of its assets and in 1937 production was suspended.  In 1938, a new line was started but Hupp had so few dealerships left sales were very low.

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