5 Forgotten Classic Car Manufacturers

When most people think of classic cars, they tend to think of manufacturers that are still around to this day including Ford, Chevrolet, and even luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari., A lot of these classic cars are incredibly common and can be purchased by even a novice collector who’s trying to build a foundation before getting into the rarer classic cars that are floating around.

The familiar names aren’t the only ones that have made a lot of classic cars, though. There are some brands that are no longer with us that made some of the most popular classic cars of all time. Let’s take a look at those manufacturers, some of the models that they made, and how much those cars are selling for today.


Plymouth was once a brand under the Chrysler umbrella that started in 1928 and were a luxury brand compared to the standard Chrysler car. The original models were just called Plymouths until it became its own brand, producing models which included the Acclaim, Grand Voyager, and Satellite, just to name a few. At one point, Plymouth was making nearly 1 million cars per year in the early 1970s.

However, things would change quickly in the 1980s, and by the end of the 1990s, Plymouth’s luck had run out with the remaining models rebranded to either Dodge or Chrysler vehicles. Plymouth shut its doors in 2001, but there are plenty of popular classic cars out there including the Road Runner, Prowler, Belvedere, and Savoy, which can typically range from $30,000 to $75,000.


If you visit South Bend, Indiana, and make your way to the Minor League Baseball stadium downtown, you might notice that there’s a massive building that looks like it hasn’t been used in quite some time. That building was once part of the massive Studebaker Corporation plant, which was founded all the way back in 1852 before going out of business in 1967.

The company made the switch from horse-drawn vehicles to automobiles in the 21st century and got off to a strong start when it made the move in the 1920s from Detroit to South Bend. However, Studebaker felt a massive impact from Ford’s increase in production, and the move to Indiana ultimately proved to be its demise as it couldn’t keep up with Detroit manufacturers. Some of the more popular Studebakers include the Avanti, Lark, and Champion, which can be as cheap as $15,000.


The list is solely made from cars that were made in Detroit, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana, and Packard is one of those that were built in both cities. Packard Motor Car Company started in 1899 in Detroit and was much more cutting edge than it gets credit for in terms of adding features that are still used today like the steering wheel and air conditioning.

Packard had a strong few decades and then merged with Studebaker during the final years for both companies. Packard models include the Caribbean, 120, and Patrician. At the cheapest, you can pick up a Packard for around 8,000, while more expensive ones can get nearly six figures.


The Ford Motor Company wanted there to be a “Big 4” in Detroit with two of those four being under the Ford umbrella. Thus, in 1956, the Edsel division was founded and named after Henry Ford’s son. However, the Edsel company would only last for three years, becoming defunct on its anniversary in 1959.

The release of the Edsel was a response to Ford becoming publicly traded, making Edsel a family-owned operation. Edsels were a bit more expensive than the standard Ford but cheaper than Lincolns. In fact, they were right on pace with Mercury and had models including the Corsair, Pacer, Ranger, and Citation. Classic Edsels aren’t too expensive, typically costing as low as $10,000 and as high as $70,000.


If you remember the 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” starring Jeff Bridges, then you already know the story of Preston Tucker. The Michigan native became enthralled with automobiles and worked with Ford in his early 20s before quitting the company and starting to sell Studebaker cars. In the late 1930s, Tucker began creating combat vehicles, then focused on civilian cars including the Tucker 48.

The Big 3 in Detroit didn’t take too kindly to Tucker making his own model, and he eventually ran into legal issues that shuttered his company. Still, the Tucker 48 models that are out there (albeit rare) are incredibly valuable and downright gorgeous vehicles. Some sell for up to $3 million in great condition, with a low-end of $500,000.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *