William James: City of Toronto Archives

As the auto industry contemplates radical restructuring to save itself, one of the likely fallouts will be the demise of a familiar brand or two. But while disruptive we have to remember this is nothing new. The history of the automotive industry is littered with the remains of defunct brands. Since Karl Benz drove his four-stroke cycle gasoline engine in Germany in 1885, there have been literally hundreds of auto manufacturers. Some, like Autoette and the Bugmobile, had the life span of a May fly. Others, like Packard and Plymouth, were once-mighty marques that were in business for decades before disappearing. And that’s just in the U.S.

The same story is true across Europe and, to a much lesser extent, Japan. Who now remembers cars with exotic names such as the Armstrong Siddeley or the Hispano-Suiza? To jog your memory, or to at least learn about cars that in their day were every bit as well-known as Cadillac and Chrysler are now, but have since gone to the great junk heap in the sky, read on.

Business Exchange related topics:
U.S. Automakers
General Motors
U.S. Economic History