• Dec 1, 2008
In this era of automakers on the brink of extinction, it's worth recalling that car companies going belly up is not a new phenomenon. Henry Ford himself started up two other brands that failed before Ford Motor Co. finally caught on. Start-up companies are not something that was invented in Silicon Valley and among all start-ups, failure is much more likely than success. In the early part of the 20th century, as the car was just gaining traction, there were literally thousands of automakers, most of whom have been long since lost to history. In the next couple of years we will almost certainly see more brands disappear and consolidate, so let's look back at some of the more memorable examples that are already gone while we wait for others to go. For those interested in seeing some of these orphans in person, we recommend checking out the annual Orphan Car Show every June in Ypsilanti, MI. Most of the gallery photos were shot there.



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  • 25 Comments
      zapperdude60
      • 6 Years Ago
      r.i.p. amc
      • 6 Years Ago
      How could you forget Cord!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Remember the convertible with sliding doors? A beautiful car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lets not forget Geo's cousin, Asuna.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone forget Glas?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lemme get this straight--Geo makes the cut(?!) but not DeSoto? You'd take a Metro over a 1960 DeSoto Fireflite? Inconceivable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Russ: that Sunbeam Tiger was a very similar car to the early AC Cobras. they were both UK roadsters with Ford V8 powertrains. i always thought the modified Sunbeam Alpine body was better looking than the AC Ace/Cobra, but history hasn't seen fit to remember the Tiger as well. great car though!
      • 6 Years Ago

      Perhaps we shall see more additions to the list soon.

      Mercury
      Pontiac
      Saturn
      GMC etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wait, no Merkur? I may be partial (I own three Merkur Scorpios), but this definitely deserves to be recognized as one of the best orphan brands. Great cars, just under-appreciated.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What? No Kaiser or Frasier? No Henry Js?

      No way is this list anywhere near complete. Kaiser/Frasier was probably the last American auto company outside of Detroit, and perhaps the best example of how government interference can ruin a company. They introduced the modern, fenderless body style that sprang up postwar, and made a very significant number of sales between 1947-1953. Of course, when they tried to get the government to pay them for the work they did during world war two in the form of a loan to develop a V8 engine, the government instead gave them a much smaller loan to develop economy cars: Hence, the Henry J. Naturally, this was the fifties, and nobody wanted economy cars, so the automotive division went belly-up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Man I wish I was an idle billionaire or something, I'd totally buy the Geo brand from GM since it's probably crazy cheap now that they're desperate for cash.
      Then I'd make it into some kinda import Chinese car brand once Chinese cars are good enough to be imported and the economy has recovered (so in like 5-10 years). Which would be great because Geo was a brand full of imported asian cars, so it'd fit perfectly (not that anybody really remembers what the hell Geo stood for lol)
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