1911 Hupmobile Model 20

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, Robert 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.

This 1911 Hupmobile has a legendary history, one that began the moment it rolled off the factory floor on November 3rd, 1910. Driven by two Hupp employees, this vehicle traversed 48,600 miles, and 26 countries in eighteen months time. It was by far one the longest journeys to date undertaken by any one vehicle, and the first to travel around the world. A reporter from the Detroit Free Press accompanied Joseph Drake and Thomas Hanlon on this historic journey. The car was a standard open touring car without any special equipment. It managed to make the journey with very few brake downs, the most serious being a broken rear axle shaft.

The roads in the early 1900's were often very poor. The vehicle went through all types of terrain including jungles, deserts, swamps and mountains. It endured extreme heat and extreme colds.

Upon their return on January 24, 1912 the journey was over and the car had proven its potential. Unfortunately, the Hupp Motor Corporation had lost its founder and many employees had followed. The company had changed considerably during that two years time. The company continued to produce automobiles with the help of acquisition and mergers and endured some difficult times in history, including World Wars and Stock Market Crashes. But in 1940 the company collapsed.

This car still has slogans and other indications adorned on its side of its journey.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2006
The unusual body design and sporty appearance of this model made it a very good seller. Note beautifully tulled upholstery. The Hupmobile is the antique equivalent of a M.G. The car was advertised as the little car that was constructed better than the larger ones. The company also claimed that if the car were larger, they could not afford to build it as good. The car weighs 1,100 pounds and sold for $750.00
Hupmobile made its first Touring car in 1911. Factory records show that only 18 Touring models were manufactured. The Hupmobile was considered to be a well built, durable and affordable automobile. To help prove the reliability and dependability of the Model 20 Hupmobile Touring, two employees began around the world trip on November 10th of 1910. The car traveled through 26 different countries (14 of which had never seen an automobile), covered 48,600 land miles and 28,000 ship board miles. The journey ended in Detroit, Michigan on January 24, 1912. The Hupmobile was the first car to complete an around the world trip. The car was powered by a 4 cylinder engine with a Bosch Magneto producing 17-20 horsepower and a slide gear transmission. An early catalogue described the Hupp Touring as long, low and racy looking. This car has very stylish lines considering the time period in which it was built. The Hupmobile was fully warranted for the life of the vehicle, except naturally the tires.

This particular Hupmobile was used to promote the first RCA radio. A pulley mounted on the front of the engine (which is still on the car today), drove the generator for the radio. Mr. Richard Conner, who was the owner of this car in 1915, used it under the auspices of RCA to advertise their initial entry of automobile radios into the market. Mr. Conner drove this Hupmobile from Maine to the Carolinas in the early 1920's with a huge roof-top sign inviting all to come and listen to an automobile radio.

Unfortunately, Hupmobile discontinued automobile production in 1940.

This vehicle sold for between $900 - $1,100.
Robert Craig Hupp had worked with Olds, Ford and Regal, before he built his own vehicle in November of 1908. It was a two-seat runabout powered by a four-cylinder water-cooled engine. It was introduced at the February 1909 Detroit Automobile Show where it was displayed as the 'Hupmobile Model 20.' Pricing was set at $750 which made it even less expensive than the Ford Model T. Production began in March at the newly-organized Hupp Motor Car Company.

During their first year of production, Hupmoible produced 1,618 cars. The following year they produced 5,340. Their height-of production was in the late 1920s, when they sold 65,862 vehicles in 1928 followed by 50,579 the following year. As the Great Depression began to tighten its grasp on the economy, production fell to 22,183 for 1930 and by 1936, Hupmobile produced just 74 vehicles.

Production of the Model 20 would continue from 1908 through 1913. For 1908, it was available only as a runabout. By 1911, three additional body styles became available including a two-passenger torpedo, a four-passenger touring car and a four-passenger coupe. In 1912, it was joined by a larger Model 32 which had a wheelbase size of 106-inches and a 32 horsepower engine.

1913 was the final year of production for the Model 20 (now called the Model 20-C) and still retained its 86-inch wheelbase and $750 price tag. It was now only available as a runabout.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
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