The 11th annual Orphan Car Show took place in riverside Park in Ypsilanti, MI this weekend with Checker being the featured marque this year. The Orphan Car Show is dedicated to brands and nameplates that are either no longer being produced or not available in the United States anymore. Several of the defunct brands were produced in the Ypsilanti area in the years before and after World War II, including some that were built in the former B-24 bomber factory in Willow Run.
One of the best known of these was the legendary and notorious Corvair built at Willow Run during the 1960s. Prior to the 1965 publication of Ralph Nader's Unsafe At Any Speed, the rear-engined Corvair was a popular model. The air-cooled flat-6 hanging off the rear axle was unique among American cars, as was the nasty swing axle suspension. Corvairs came in a variety of body styles including sedans, coupes, vans and even a pickup, most of which were represented in the park.
Continue reading about some of the other orphans after the jump.
In addition to the Corvairs there were plenty of other cars including several dozen Checkers. Checkers were built from 1922 until 1982 and sold primarily as taxis. They weren't fancy but they were extremely durable and had plenty of room in the back for passengers and their luggage. The company finally stopped building their cars when they lacked the money to develop a modern vehicle to meet new crash and emissions requirements.
Other American brands on display ranged from the famous to the completely unknown. There were Studebakers and Hupmobiles, Packards and an Ann Arbor, DeSotos and a Monarch Lucerne. One of the oldest examples was a 1903 Michigan Model A, while some of the most recent were 1980s AMC models. While crossovers are all the rage today, one of the first was the AMC Eagle. Check out the galleries of a sampling of what was on display in the park before the rain arrived.