In 1769 the first steam powered
Bicycle mechanics J. Frank and
Charles Duryea of
had designed the American
gasoline automobile in 1893,
then won the first American car race
in 1895, and went on to make the first
sale of an American-made gasoline
car the next year.
Thirty American manufacturers produced
2,500 motor vehicles in 1899,
and some 485 companies entered the
business in the next decade.
In 1908 Henry Ford introduced the
Model T and William Durant founded
Cadillac was founded out
of the ruins
of automotive pioneer Henry Ford’s
second failed company (his third effort,
the Ford Motor Company, finally succeeded).
When the shareholders of the Henry Ford
Company called in Detroit machinist
Henry Leland to assess the company’s
assets for their planned sale, Leland
convinced them to stay in business.
His idea was to combine Ford’s latest chassis
(frame) with a single-cylinder engine
developed by Oldsmobile,
another early automaker.
In its first year of
production, Cadillac put
out nearly 2500 cars, a huge number
at the time.
Leland, who was reportedly motivated
by an intense competition with Henry Ford,
assumed full leadership of Cadillac in 1904,
and with his son Wilfred by his side he firmly
established the brand’s reputation for quality.
Among the excellent luxury cars being
produced in America at the time–including
Packard, Lozier, McFarland and Pierce
Arrow–Cadillac led the field, making the top 10
in overall U.S. auto sales every year from
1904 to 1915.
Cadillac's top of the
line model from 1930 - 1940.
The V16 powered car was a first in the
United States, both extremely expensive and
exclusive, with all chassis finished to
Only 4076 were constructed, with the
majority built in its debut year before
the Great Depression took strong hold.
In 1912, Cadillac introduced the world’s
first successful electric self-starter, developed
by Charles F. Kettering; its pioneering V-8
engine was installed in all Cadillac
models in 1915.
The years, Cadillac maintained its reputation
for luxury and innovation.
In 1954, it was the first automaker to
provide power steering and automatic
windshield washers as standard
equipment on all its vehicles.
the name Hudson came from
Joseph L. Hudson, a Detroit department
store entrepreneur and founder of Hudson's
department store, who provided the
necessary capital and gave permission
for the company to be named after him.
A total of eight Detroit businessmen
formed the company.
Motor Car Company made
Hudson and other brand automobiles in
Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954.
Hudson merged with
Corporation to form American Motors (AMC).
The Hudson name was continued through
the 1957 model year, after which it was
One of the
organizers of the company was
Roy D. Chapin Sr., a young executive who
had worked with Ransom E. Olds.
(Oldsmobile) Chapin's son, Roy Jr., would
later be president of Hudson-Nash descendant
American Motors Corp. in the 1960s.
As the role
of women increased in car
purchase decisions, automakers began
to hire female designers.
Hudson, wanting a female perspective
on automotive design, hired Elizabeth
Ann Thatcher, who later became
Betty Thatcher Oros, in 1939.
A graduate of the Cleveland School of Arts
(now Cleveland Institute of Art)
with a major in Industrial Design,
she became one of America's
first female automotive designers.
Her contributions to the 1941 Hudson
included exterior trim with side lighting,
interior instrument panel, interiors and
interior trim fabrics.
designed for Hudson from 1939
leaving the company when she married
Joe Oros, then a designer for Cadillac.
He later became head of the design
team at Ford that created the Mustang.
In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator
Corporation to become American Motors.
The Hudson factory, located in Detroit, Michigan,
was converted to military contract
production at the end of the model year,
and the remaining three years of Hudson
production took place in Kenosha, Wis.
The last Hudson rolled off the Kenosha
assembly line on June 25, 1957.
There were no ceremonies, because at
that point there was still hope of continuing
the Hudson and Nash names into the 1958
model year on the Rambler chassis as
deluxe, longer-wheelbase senior
the DeSoto make was founded by
Walter Chrysler, and introduced it for the
1929 model year.
It was named after the Spanish explorer
Hernando de Soto.
The DeSoto logo featured a stylized image
of the explorer who led the first European
expedition deep into the territory
of the modern-day United States, and was the
first documented European to have crossed
the Mississippi River.
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.
Chrysler wanted to enter the brand in
competition with its competitors Oldsmobile,
Buick, Mercury, Studebaker, Hudson, and Willys,
in the mid-price class. DeSoto served as a
lower priced version of Chrysler products,
with Dodge and Plymouth added to the
Chrysler family in 1928.
Shortly after the DeSoto was introduced,
Chrysler completed its purchase of the
Dodge Brothers, giving the company two
mid-priced makes. Initially, the two-make
strategy was relatively successful,
with DeSoto priced below
Packard was founded by
James Ward Packard, his brother
William, and their partner, George
Lewis Weiss, in Warren, Ohio.
A mechanical engineer, James Packard
believed they could build a better
horseless carriage than the Winton cars
owned by Weiss. Packard's first car was
built in Warren, Ohio, in November, 1899.
the Ohio Automobile Company
was founded to produce Packard
automobiles and in 1902 the name was
changed to the Packard Motor Car
Company with James Packard
In the beginning, all Packards had a
single-cylinder engine until 1903.
Packard vehicles featured innovations,
including the modern steering wheel and,
years later, the first production 12-cylinder
engine, adapted from developing the
Liberty L-12, and air-conditioning in a
Packard produced its "Twin Six"
model series of 12-cylinder cars from
1915 to 1923.
Packard constructed a modern
automobile manufacturing plant in Detroit.
Packard produced luxury automobiles not
only for the American market, but also for
foreign markets. By the 1920s,
Packard was exporting more cars than
any other make in the luxury class.
While the high-volume Oldsmobile Runabout
went for $650, the Packard concentrated on
cars with prices starting at $2,600.
The company developed a following among
wealthy purchasers both in the United States
and abroad, competing with European
marques like Rolls-Royce and Mercedes Benz.
the Great Depression forced
Packard to introduce its first lower priced car,
the Packard 120. Sales tripled in 1935 and
then doubled again in 1936. The 120 model was
built in an entirely separate factory.
Packard ceased the car production
during World War II.
In late 1945, the company resumed production
with the Clipper. Like other cars of this era,
the 1946 and 1947 models were essentially the
same as the 1941 models. In the post-war era,
Packard decided to emphasize the higher
volume lower priced models instead of the more
first half of the twentieth
the Packard was one of America’s premier
The first Packard automobiles were produced
in 1899, and the last true Packard in 1956,
when they built the Packard Predictor,
their last concept car.
bought Studebaker in 1953
Studebaker-Packard Corporation of
South Bend, Indiana. The final Packards were
actually badge engineered 1958
Studebaker was founded in
South Bend, Indiana, and
incorporated in 1868 under the name of
the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing
Company, the company was originally a
producer of wagons for farmers, miners,
and the military.
Studebaker began when brothers
and Clement opened the H & C Studebaker
blacksmith shop in South Bend, Indiana,
Their wagons became known for quality
began slowly, with production
being only two wagons built and sold
the first year; the first carriage followed
in 1857. By 1858, brother John Mohler
joined and invested in the firm, which was
filling wagon orders for the U.S. Army.
Studebaker continued to supply wagons to the
Army throughout the Civil War, exposing their
product to the Nation.
company grew quickly.
1867 was 6,000 vehicles, and by
1885 topped 75,000.
Sales by 1887 surpassed $2 million.
Studebaker had become one of the world's
largest manufacturers of horse drawn
vehicles in the world.
This success was not without hardship.
Major fires occurred at the factory in
1872 and 1874 with the 1872 fire nearly
wiping out the firm, and the 1874 fire
destroying two-thirds of the factory.
its wagons, Studebaker
were highly prized, and counted
U.S. presidents among their passengers,
including Abraham Lincoln,
who was transported to Ford's Theater
the night he was assassinated
in a Studebaker carriage.
Brothers Manufacturing Company
was the only top ranked carriage builder
to actually manufacture both automobiles
and wagons from 1902 to 1920.
The company introduced an electric car in
1902 and a gasoline powered vehicle in 1904.
entered the automotive
in 1902 with electric vehicles
and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles,
all sold under the name Studebaker
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.
closed its South Bend
plant in 1963.
Car production continued at the
Ontario, Canada, plant until its closure
in March 1966, ending a 114 year history
of Studebaker vehicles.