Robert Craig Hupp was born on June 2nd, 1887, in Grand Rapids, MI. In 1902, Robert began working for Olds Motors. In 1906 he joined Ford Motor Company where he gained knowledge in many automotive areas. In 1908 he left Ford. With his brother Louis, he began seeking financial backing, rented a factory at 345 Bellevue Avenue in Detroit, and began creating a demo vehicle. By 1909, the Hupmobile was created. It was fist shown to the public at the Detroit Auto Show. The vehicle was a two-seater roadster with an 86-inch wheelbase. The $750 sticker price included the 17 horsepower four-cylinder engine and sliding gear transmission.
In its introductory year, over 1500 examples were produced. In 1910, production increased by more than 5000. Hupp understood the need to continue to invest in machinery, technology, and factories. He began investing heavily, to the point that his financial backers became nervous. They did not agree that the company should be overextended. This issue escalated to the point that in 1911, Rober Hupp sold his stock in the Hupp Motor Car Company and began pursuing another automobile production venture. A court order by the purchasers of the stock prevented Robert and Louis from using the Hupp name on any new gasoline automobile.
To get around the court order, Robert began using his initials; much like Ransom E. Olds had done when forced from his company. From 1912 through 1919, Robert Hupp produced RCH electric automobiles. In 1917, Robert died.
The original Hupp Company continued to enlarge and prosper, even after its founder had left. A new plant was purchased in 1924. In 1925 the company purchased the rights to produce an eight-cylinder engine. Unfortunately, the eight-cylinder engine had flaws in its design and assembly and many of the engines suffered from reliability issues.
In 1926 a six-cylinder engine was introduced.
By 1928, sales had reached over 65,000 units and a new plant was needed to handle the continued success the company was experiencing. So the Chandler-Cleveland Motors Corporation was purchased.
The onset of the stock market crash left many manufacturers out of business and others teetering on the brink. For Hupmobile, sales fell by almost 25% in 1929, a few years before the stock market crash.
The Hupmobile continued to introduce innovative designs and technology for the next few years. Racing was a great way of advertising in the early years of automobile production. The outcome of the race often determined how well sales would be. In 1932 a Hupmobile, named the Hupp Comet was entered into the Indianapolis 500 race where it emerged with a respectable fifth place finish.
The depression of the early 1930's began taking its toll on Hupmobile. Archie Andrews began convincing stockholders that the Hupmobile was mismanaged, resulting in a company takeover. By 1935, control had been regained but the damage was done. Production was halted in the latter part of 1935 and the company was forced to sell some of its plants and assets.
It was not until 1938 that the Hupmobile began planning to produce automobiles. It began with bringing in new management and automotive expertise. In May of 1940, the Skylark was completed and ready for delivery to customers. Unfortunately, it had taken many years to produce and most of the orders had been canceled.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2007
Production in 1940, lasting only a couple of months, produced only 319 Skylarks. The company was financially strapped and most of the cars were sold to creditors and distributors. The comapny was forced to close its doors after over 500,000 vehicles were produced.