10 Forgotten Car Brands Lost to Time

Media is diverse. Very diverse. What content you see is the one that manages to come out on top while most of it slithers down, not to be discovered again. Same is the story with car brands, while you may know many of them and their creations, a good chunk of them barely got any recognition and remembrance. Luck, financial problems and bad decision making caught up with them, resulting in their end. So, enough drama! Let’s discuss 10 of the many forgotten car brands that have been lost to time.

1. TVR:

An Orange TVR Sagaris

TVR is a British car company, founded by Trevor Wilkinson in 1947 that has faded into obscurity as of today. While it has produced notable, unique, raw and powerful cars over the years such as the Sagaris & Tuscan, the company has always faced serious financial problems, ownership changes, severe market competition and reliability concerns. As of its latest ownership, the company was acquired by Les Edgar in 2013. Many rearrangements were made and a new model, the TVR Griffith was announced in 2017. In 2022, TVR announced that it had paid the debt it owned to the Welsh government. While we haven’t got the Griffith yet, chances are that it will soon become a reality. Till then, we can only hope that TVR becomes that what it once was.

2. SVS (Spada Vetture Sport):

A Black Spada Codatronca

Spada Vetture Sport is an Italian automotive company founded in 2008. The reasons why it is unknown by the majority is because it has produced few, though powerful models over its short life. SVS is mostly known for producing the Codatronca, a powerful supercar based on the C6 and powered by a 7-Liter LS7 V8. Other versions of the Codatronca were also produced such as the Monza and TS. A high-performance variant, the Codatronca TSS, was planned but did not materialize. As of today, it does it seems forgotten.

3. Caterham:

A lime Caterham project v

While Caterham has been doing good so far and has had a fairly good reputation, known for producing lightweight cars that offer raw driving experiences, for some reason it is still an unknown name to majority of the gear heads. Caterham was founded by Graham Nearn in 1970’s and started by producing the Lotus Seven under its own name. Over the years, Caterham has made many cars and special versions such as the superlight r500, 300.R, etc. Caterham recently just announced an EV in 2023, the Project V, which claims to solve the problem of over-weight EV’S. Let’s hope Caterham receives more recognition.

4. Studebreaker:

A beige colored Stude breaker Avanti

Studebreaker was an American automobile manufacturer that produced vehicles from the 1850’s to the 1960’s. Initially the company gained good reputation. Known for its diverse line-up, innovations and designs. Studebreaker became a major name until competition became severe by the intervention of the big 3 (GM, Ford, Chrysler). The company began losing money and demand, and an unsuccessful merger with Packard (another forgotten company) put the final nail in the coffin. Some cars from Studebreaker include the Champion, Avanti, etc.

5. Spyker:

A Black Spyker C8 Spyder

Spyker is another company with a rich heritage that is lost to time. Initially, Spyker was founded in the 1880’s. With the success of automobile industry, Spyker started developing automobiles and in WW1, took part in aircraft production. However, the company’s success was short lived and financial problems caused Spyker to go bankrupt in 1926. The modern Spyker phase started in 1999 when the Spyker name was registered by Dutch entrepreneur Victor Muller. Spyker’s most notable car, the Spyker C8 Spyder was developed. Maarten de Bruijn, who took a big part in the development of the C8 left the company in 2005. Later the Spyker Aileron made its debut and in 2010, Spyker bought SAAB. From here almost everything went downhill, SAAB went bankrupt, and Spyker stayed in suspension. After multiple failed relaunch attempts, Victor Muller announced that Spyker would be relaunched in 2022.

6. DMC (DeLorean Motor Company):

A silver DMC Delorean 12

DMC was founded by John Zachary DeLorean in 1975, a former GM executive known for his work on the GTO and Firebird. John wished to create a futuristic car and in 1981, the Delorean DMC-12 was just that. Even though the DMC-12 was noted for its stainless-steel body, futuristic design, sleek design and was celebrated in movies, quality issues, low-performance and the company’s failing reputation did not help. After 9,000 produced models, DMC was declared bankrupt in 1982. Many revival attempts were made but to this day, DMC remains buried.

7. Horch:

A Black Horch

Horch is a company that is long forgotten but its successor, Audi is a household name. Yes, Audi’s roots date back to Horch. August Horch and his business partner founded Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG in 1904 but after having troubles with the CFO, August Horch founded a second company in 1909 which was later named Audi, which is Latin for Horch. In 1932, Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer were merged to form Auto Union (the four Audi rings stand for the merger of the four companies). In 1969 Auto Union and NSU Motorenwerke merged to form Audi NSU which later resulted in present day Audi. Some notable cars produced by Horch include the Horch 930V, P240,etc.

8. Saab:

A White Saab 9-11

Saab was a well-known Swedish car brand and produced many notable cars over its life. Founded in 1937 and initially had a focus on aviation. In 1940’s, Saab expanded its operations in the automobile industry and produced its first car in 1947, the Saab 92. However, soon the time came where Saab was struggling with financial problems and later bought by GM. In 2010, GM sold a large stake of Saab to Spyker cars, which itself wasn’t doing well at the time and in just 2 years, in 2012, Saab went bankrupt. Saab was later acquired by NEVS which planned to produce electric cars under the Saab name, however to this day Saab remains dormant and forgotten.

9. AMC (American Motors Corporation):

A yellow AMC Javelin

AMC has produced some sick muscle cars over its short age. It was formed following the merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company in 1954.The merger aimed to compete with the big three. Initially AMC produced compact and fuel-efficient cars which increased their reputation but in 1970’s ventured into the muscle car territory and legends like the AMC Javelin came into being. Soon due to rising fuel prices and multiplying competition, AMC started struggling financially and in 1987 was acquired by Chrysler. Although the company itself went extinct, the vehicles it produced remind of its golden age.

10. Mercury:

A white Mercury

Mercury is a defunct division of Ford. It was created by Edsel Ford in 1938 as a medium-priced brand between the affordable Ford models and more expensive Lincoln vehicles to compete with Buick and Oldsmobile. Mercury proved to be successful and popular brand over the years. During its last few years lack of investment, lack of crossovers & SUV’s (which are modern preferences and Mercury mostly offered sedans), overlapping of Ford models sealed Mercury’s fate. As a result, it went defunct in 2011. Some cars produced by Mercury include the Cougar, Bobcat, Marquis, Mystique, etc.

Honorable Mentions:

  • SSC
  • Saleen
  • Oldsmobile
  • W Motors
  • Packard
  • Hudson
  • Plymouth
  • Pontiac
  • Tucker
  • Nash
  • Rambler
  • DeSoto

Also Watch:

For Further Reading:

-Defunct car brands and why they went extinct

Also Read:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *