November 8, 1909 – The first Hupmobile test drive

1909 Hupmobile (blue) next to a 1909 Hudson.

On this day in 1908, with investors looking on, Bobby Hupp took the first successful test drive of a Hupmobile on the streets of Detroit, Michigan. After the successful run, they popped the champagne. The company was incorporated the same month and debuted their Model 20 to the public at the 1909 Detroit Auto Show. 

Some years later, Henry Ford gave his thoughts on the car, “I recall looking at Bobby Hupp’s roadster at the first show where it was exhibited and wondering whether we could ever build as good a small car for as little money.” Once enough orders for the new automobile were received, production began. More than 500 autos left the factory by the end of fall 1909. The next year production increased to more than 5,000 cars. 

Above: 1934 Hupmobile Model J. By Alden Jewell.CC BY 2.0. Top: 1909 Hupmobile (blue) with 1909 Hudson (red). By Brian Corey

Before starting his own company, Hupp had previously worked for Oldsmobile, where he helped to design the Curved Dash Runabout. He had also spent time at the Ford Motor Company. Hupmobile would build its last car in 1939.

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