As the American motoring industry exploded at the tail end of the 19th century, hundreds of automobile companies began cropping up in barns, garages, and factories across the country, with wildly varying degrees of success. The burgeoning industry attracted engineers from far and wide, with similarly variable talent. One of the more notably talented among them was Robert Craig Hupp. He developed his skills at Olds, Ford, and Regal before breaking out on his own in 1909 when he produced the first Hupmobile. That first car – the Model 20 – boasted a 20HP four-cylinder engine set in an 86-inch wheelbase chassis with a neat and attractive runabout body. The sliding gear transmission and high-tension magneto were features not typically seen on a lower-priced model and immediately boosted Hupmobile’s reputation for value. More than 1,600 cars left the Detroit, Michigan factory in the first year, and that number swelled to over 5,300 for the second year.
By the time the Model 32 debuted in 1912, Hupmobile was well-established, and the new flagship model was a show of confidence from the Detroit marque. The Model 32 was more powerful than any previous “Hupp,” boasting a 32 horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with a 106-inch wheelbase chassis. Hupmobile’s mid-market stature did not discourage them from implementing innovative ideas, and one of the more forward-thinking features of the Model 32 was its lightweight yet sturdy all-steel body, produced by railway carriage builders Hale & Kilburn. Despite Robert Craig Hupp’s departure from the firm, Hupmobile continued its upward trajectory, selling nearly 12,000 examples of the outstanding Model 32 in 1913.
Offered here in a marvelous unrestored state, this 1913 Hupmobile Model 32 is positively brimming with charming character. This attractive and rarely seen 5-passenger touring car is exceptionally well-preserved, with an authentic weathered look. The body is impressively well-made and is in excellent condition, thanks largely to its all-steel construction, which eliminates the problem of structural rot that plagues more traditional wooden-frame bodies. The numerous details include distinct high-mounted headlamps, cowl lamps, running board-mounted acetylene generator, hand horn, and period accessory Boyco fluid canteens. The large diameter artillery wheels and close-fitting fenders give the Model 32 a slightly underslung look, which, combined with the low-cut touring body, imparts a sporty character. The body is finished in black, with a heavily patinated yet consistent finish.
Black leather upholstery is similarly careworn yet remarkably intact for being more than a century old. It wears every crack and crease with pride and unashamed honesty. Appointments are appropriately sparse, with little more than steering and gearbox controls, dash-mounted spark and throttle levers, and a Stewart speedometer. The convertible top is likely a later replacement, though it has a suitably weathered character and matches well with the partial set of side curtains. The sale also includes a spare cylinder block and other miscellaneous mechanical spares.
Charming and unpretentious, this rare Hupmobile Model 32 will surely endear itself with its next caretaker. It would be a welcome sight in Horseless Carriage Club events, and with minor preparation, will surely be the talk of your local Cars & Coffee.
Offers welcome and trades considered