These 11 Car Brands Reached The End of the Road In Our Lifetime
Updated: May 31, 2019
Our Motivation - Why we created this site
For several years, two flags were hanging on my condo wall; one Porsche and the other Ferrari, I found myself staring at these two flags often. The Porsche flag was given to me by a close family friend Mike, who was the Best Man at my parent's wedding, and who spent his entire career designing and executing sales incentive programs in the automotive industry. That Porsche flag hung from the 1983 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance where Porsche was the featured marque and at the final night dinner Mike set up for Porsche it was hanging over the stage where luminaries such as Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Jackie Icyx (who had won LeMans that year), and even Ferdinand Anton Ernst ("Ferry") Porsche's son (grandson of founder, Ferdinand Porsche) were in attendance. Mike had to rescue it after the dinner as some of the attendees at the dinner where trying to jump up and tear it down for their collection. Then Mike gave it to me on my 21st birthday and it is a gift I have enjoyed putting on display.
I purchased the Ferrari flag on a stop along a backpacking trip through Europe after graduating from the University of Iowa in 2001. The flag was purchased in Monaco just a few days before that year's Monaco Grand Prix. It is a treasured souvenir reminding me of a day filled with sights and sounds of exquisite cars in an exotic location.
After reflecting on the stories behind what those flags meant to me in my life, I became curious about what those car logos represented for Porsche and Ferrari. My curiosity as to why the German brand and Italian brand logos were so similar was the first question I sought to answer. That will be covered in its own post soon. What started with casual research as to why Porsche and Ferrari had very similar logos yet were from different countries turned into an accumulation of research about cars covering stories of their logos, to advertising campaigns, to famous car collections, and even peculiar car videos that capture the essence of a brand.
We simply set out to capture the stories behind the hood ornaments, or marques, for all of the brands in production during our lifetime. But we we soon noticed that an automotive brand seemingly ended production as each year passed. Our curiosity initially pursuing interesting trivia about car logo origins quickly morphed into documenting the stories that might some day be lost as brands die off. Our interest in the well-known and just as much, the obscure stories behind all automotive brands is what we love learning about and feel are worth sharing and if we don't capture these tales they may be lost in time.
Consider for a moment the geneology of automobile companies below from HistoryShots.com.
The depiction above includes 130 years of visual history of more than 100 car companies across the automotive industry internationally. From 1900 to 1925 over 3,300 organizations were formed to produce automobiles in the United States alone. Today, ten companies account for about 90% of all US automobile sales. (HistoryShots.com)
And now consider just since Jared and I were both born in 1978 how many auto brands have retired and reflect on the legacies they leave behind. Just to name a few:
White Motor Co. 1980
Maybach 2013 (on and off)
Holden 2017 (recently announced)
Think of all the stories that these brands created in their time, some well known and worth capturing and others less known and worth promoting.
Plymouth interestingly had in its last year of production 2001 only 2 vehicles that couldn't be more distinct from one another: the Neon and the Prowler. This brand with legendary racing roots experienced a dichotomy in its end.
Hummer wouldn't have been available for the general consumer unless the AM General was convinced by Arnold Schwarzenegger to produce the military vehicle for civilians to purchase, him specifically. Arnold was so impressed when he saw a fleet of them driving by a movie shoot location he was convinced he had to have one.
Saturn had an interesting approach to thanking their customers by sending potted plants and other gifts following purchase. A brand with a no nonsense sales approach that has been slow to be adopted by other brands.
Maybach, originally the coach builder for early Daimler-Benz was later purchased by them but never leveraged for almost 60 years. Once resurrected, production teams included an arborist who would visit a customer's home and go so far as to examine a specific tree that the customer wanted as the source of the wood inlays for the cabin of their very own Maybach. Customization never seen before and not well known either. It appears this marque is being resurrected again in 2017.
DeLorean is a car that is recognized by most as the Back To The Future car and was perfect symbiosis fit for the big screen. This kind of placement is one where the movie wouldn't have been the same without it and allowed the brand to live many more years than it was actually in production.
These are just a few of the stories that these fabled brands brought to the automotive industry. There are lessons to be learned from so many interesting stories of automotive brands from around the world. Operational best practices, marketing genius, meteoric sales, amazing collections, celebrity influence, cultural placement, that need to be captured.
This is a labor of love for us and we look forward to sharing with you the many great highlights from automotive history as we curate cars and celebrate them.
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Jared & Jim