1930 Hupmobile Bonneville Speedster

1930 Hupmobile Bonneville Speedster

One-off Bonneville Salt Flats special, with unique boattail speedster coachwork. Built and raced by Dr. Norbert Knoch with support from the Hupmobile works. Well-documented history, freshly restored and ready for historical events or show.

Racing and record-breaking were essential marketing tools for motor manufacturers in the 1930s. Speed records and success on the race track demonstrated superior reliability and performance, translating into sales in the showroom. Hupp Motor Company of Detroit lacked the budget and resources to support racing on a large scale; however, they still recognized the tremendous sales potential that motorsport offered. In 1931, Hupmobile executives contacted Russell Snowberger, a privateer driver and car builder who had shown immense promise at Indianapolis with his home-built, Studebaker powered special. Hupmobile convinced Snowberger to replace the Studebaker engine with a Hupp 8, which he could modify to his specs with Hupp’s support. The resulting Hupp Comet was astonishingly quick considering its production-based engine. It debuted at the 1932 Indy 500, starting second on the grid and finishing 5th overall against a field of far more sophisticated machinery. At the end of the season, Snowberger chose to take a new direction, and he returned the special high-compression, four-carburetor engine to Hupmobile. With circuit racing on the shelf, management began to look elsewhere for sport-related marketing opportunities.

Meanwhile, in Denver, Dr. Knoch, with assistance from Bill Kenz (a future Bonneville legend himself) was making serious progress in converting his Hupp sedan into a dry-lakes speedster. He commissioned local coachbuilders Niederhut Carriage Company to create the light and purposeful two-passenger boat-tail body. Niederhut scrapped the fenders in favor of specially designed, streamlined mudguards which served to keep the salt out of the cockpit. Documents suggest the design inspired those used on Duesneberg’s Mormon Meteor record car.

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