The Makes That Didn't Make It remembers the lost American automakers, great and small, in picture and in story. They are sorted into the historical era in which they met their demise.

If one of the boxes below has a title, click the picture to get the story. The makes are also highlighted under the Index of Makes Histories to the right. If you don't see your favorite do be patient and try again at a later date. I want to do justice to each story and that takes time.

The Recently Departed


Throughout the evolution of the automobile economic hard times have naturally selected out the weakest Makes. Between the bursting of the DotCom Bubble and the Great Recession, the first decade of the 20th Century sent some storied names to their graves, as well as others that won’t be as sorely missed.  

The Age of Malaise


These were the dark days of the American automobile. The triple wallop of oil embargos, government regulations and an nearly constant state of recession took down most of the last remaining independents. Also defeated were several promising and a few suspect upstarts.

 The Great Contraction


As the realities of the post-war world set in, many of the storied independent makers found they could no longer compete. Soon thereafter the nation's worst recession since the Great Depression forced even the Big Three to retreat (or at least two of them)

The Post-War Boom...and Bust


A time of boundless optimism the immediate post-war period ignited America's spirit of enterprise. But these entrepreneurial ventures soon discovered that building a successful car company takes a lot more than making a really cool car.

The Last Independent

Like the nation it was named after, the 100-year history of American Motors derived its essence from many varied automotive cultures. The story of America’s “last independent” spans the early years of the Jeffery and Rambler to Nash Motors, absorbing first Hudson, then Kaiser-Jeep, to become AMC who later had a French fling with Renault, before the Chrysler Corporation laid the storied carmaker to rest. 

For the Love of Cars

And finally…no matter the era, some cars just had to be built.