Hupmobile owned by same family for 105 years going to auction

American car delivered spirits in Northern Ireland for many years

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1915 Hupmobile
This 1915 Hupmobile has been owned by the same family since new, but now is heading to auction | H&H Classics photos

In May 1915, William MacFlynn, a merchant of spirits, became only the second person in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, to own an automobile when he took delivery of a 1915 Hupmobile Model HA. 

He had ordered the American-built car the previous month, and had it equipped with a Westinghouse electric starter, dynamo, 5 electric lamps and 815×105 Dunlop tires.

On August 19, that Hupmobile, still owned by the MacFlynn family, will be offered for sale at H&H Classics online auction, where it is expected to sell for £20,000 to £24,000 ($26,025 to $31,275).

According to the auction company, the Hupmobile was used daily to make deliveries until the mid-1930s, when it was put into a storage shed. 

In 1966, the car was inherited by MacFlynn’s son, Charles, who finally extracted it from storage in the late 1970s and got it back into running order. He drove it to car shows and in local vintage rallies from 1980 to 2000, when it went to yet a third family member, who is identified by the auction company only as Mr. L. MacFlynn, grandson of William and nephew of Charles.

Reportedly, L MacFlynn continued to show the car until around 2010, when it was put back into storage… until 2016 when he began a complete and 2-year restoration done to what H&H terms “an extremely high standard.”

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“Unfortunately,” the company notes, “post restoration, the car has not received the use that it deserves” and the MacFlynn family has decided that after 105 years it is time for the car to go to a new family and thus its place on the auction docket.

Robert Hupp, after working for Olds, Ford and Regal, started his own car company in Detroit in 1908. Hupp left the company 5 years later to launch the R.C.H. Corporation and built Hupp-Yeats electric cars. 

In 1912, Hupp had hired Frank Watts as chief engineer, a title that Watts held for 26 years. He would have overseen the introduction of Hupp’s first 8-cylinder engine, a straight-8 known as “the Distinguished Eight.” 

Hupp also was known for the styling of its vehicles. Ray Dietrich designed the Model E that launched the Distinguished Eight. In 1928, Hupp styling was done by Amos Northup, who later would be responsible for vehicles such as the Willys-Knight Great Six, Reo Royal and Graham Blue Streak. In 1932, Raymond Loewy began the automotive part of his design career with Hupp, where he worked with Northup.

Hupp struggled as the Depression unfolded and in 1932, the company’s new president, Archie Andrews, tried unsuccessfully to engineer a merger with Willys. Andrews arrived at Hupp with a reputation that left him unpopular with others in the auto industry, and investors backed away from Hupp, which closed in 1940.

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While Hupp may have been largely forgotten among automotive brands, it does have a place in the heart of fans of the National Football League because it was in the Hupp dealership in Canton, Ohio, in 1920 that owners of independent professional football teams met and created the NFL.

The Greyhound bus line also traces to a Hupmobile dealership, this one in Hibbing, Minnesota.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Sad that after all these years it is being kicked out of the family? If that was my grandpa’s car, it wouldn’t ever leave.

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