Hot Hup: 1928 Hupmobile

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Hupmobiles were manufactured in Detroit by the Hupp Motor Car Company from 1909 to 1940 – not a bad run really, although they were just barely hanging on during the Depression years. But even as early as the late 1920s, when the automobile industry was booming, Hupp, like many other mid-sized companies made the key strategic mistake of trying to offer a full range of models to compete in multiple price ranges, which meant the number of cars sold per model was too low.

Hup front

Somehow, Hupp did manage to struggle on longer than many of their competitors, and in the 1930s, made some beautiful cars, despite low production numbers.

Hup interior

I am not sure but this 1928 Hupmobile four door looks like the up-level Model M (side-mounts!)  Perhaps there is a Hupmobile expert among our readers who will know for sure.

Hup engine

In any case, this is not a restoration, but a hot rod, and a pretty cool one at that. It’s for sale in Los Angeles here on craigslist. The seller says it was a “true barn find” and has pictures to document it. If it was originally a southern California car, it’s likely the body and floors were in pretty good condition to begin with. According to the seller, the glass is now all new, the body was taken apart and down to bare metal, sanded and fully repainted.

Hup bare

It also has a custom interior, a new gas tank, and new wiring throughout. Other features are listed as follows, and overall this car looks like it was very well put together: 60’s Chevelle 250ci inline 6 motor with custom intake and exhaust, 4 barrel carburetur, electronic ignition; 90-91 Corvette 700r auto transmission with a Lokar shifter; 8″ ford rear end with highway gears; Artillery wheels and white wall tires – 16 inch rear and 15 inch front for a nice stance; Speedway front straight axle with discs brakes and manual steering box.

Hup dash

The owner says it drives well and has a clear, clean title. There is no asking price shown in the ad; the owner is looking for cash offers. Guessing it will not come cheap, but this is a great example of what can be done with a “barn find” car, and you will likely never see another one just like it when you are out for a cruise.

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Comments

  1. Charles H.

    Really like this!…..just don’t understand the logic of the inline 6, in my opinion a small block Chevy, Ford or even a SB Chrysler would be much more satisfying to me!, other than that, I love the look of paint and the red Artillery wheels combination.

    • Tim

      An inline 6 is inherently blananced and so doesn’t require a bunch of heavy counter weights like v8s do. That’s why they’re known for smoothness and quiet, but they can be very powerful too

      • Davnkatz

        I remember a “cold engine start” contest in a Texas Panhandle freezing winter about 1954. Contestants were a Ford, Chevy, Cadillac, Buick, Dodge, and another (Hudson?) – all with big V8 engines. The challenger was a Packard with a “straight 8” engine. All the cars with V8 chugged and chugged and then started. The engines “shook” so violently it seemed like the cars were moving. Then the Packard engine started. Just one little grind and it was running so smooth had to look at the fan to make sure it was running.

  2. Dairymen

    Why does everything need to have a sbc or 302 ford in it? I love the fact that this guy had the guts to stick in line 6 in it. At least it looks more period correct, and you’re not going to street race it anyway. I hate to see these low production numbers cars get rodded, but I’ve to admit that this 1 is done tastefully.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Dairymen, you’ll love this. My current Pile of Oxides that I’m working on is a 1934 SS1 Tourer/ Jaguar. It was originally equipped with a Standard, flathead six-cylinder engine with babbitt bearings.
      These were not known for their “soon will invent pavement rippling horsepower”. There was also no distribution for parts in the U.S. for these models.
      The car arrived in the U.S. in the late 40’s. The engine was tired and past its prime. Next owner thought a flathead should still be powering the car and transplanted a Dodge flathead with a manual transmission from a truck with a Hurst kit. Never knew Hurst was around, thought they started in the 60’s. Car raced successfully in this form.
      Next owner was looking for more power, noticed the Dodge manual tranny and mated a sub-300 cubic inch DeSoto hemi, and promptly chewed the differential gears to pieces. He then sectioned the original diff to keep the wire wheels and put in an American meatball, Dodge or Chrysler unit, and welded it all up.
      I eventually bought this Pile. Could not have afforded it had the original engine been in the car.
      Found a rear end, have 2 later era OHV engines, contact me if you have a Standard flathead six core.
      Understand your view, hate to see every rod with a SBC. Love the old Ford flathead, now finally they are getting their due. Have one with an Ardun OHV kit from the 50’s.
      This car was used, raced, abused and still here, glad I could own it and lack of original engine is the reason I could afford it.

  3. RayT Member

    The Chevelle inline-six surprises me a little, but I’m guessing it was much easier to fit in the available space than a SBC would be. Almost looks like it belongs there!

    I wouldn’t take this Hupp out dragging for pink slips, but would imagine it is more than satisfactory on the highway. All in all, it appears to be a very tidy job of resto-modding.

  4. Donnie

    I like the 6 cylinder in a car like this .Its not going to win any drag races but it was not built to

  5. Gary

    This is a nice ‘upgrade’ with the inline 6 & overdive tranny. However, as with alot of custom engine swaps, it’s the small details that are overlooked that always baffled me. In the engine pic, with the nice shiney chrome air cleaner, it’s quite obvious that the breather (grommet to the left in side of valve cover) has not been used. This doesn’t work well; it is part of the pcv system. Hence, what will appear as blow-by actuall will be an oily, vapor mist lightly covering everything within view. It just amazes me when an individual spends the time, money, etc., on such a build, but pays no attention to the small details that will ultimately become a pain in the ass when it comes to detailing, car shows, etc. In this case, it was the use of a neat looking chrome air cleaner with no access to hook up the return hose within the pcv system. Quality builds look good, and most of all, perform good. To me, this is an “almost finished” project.

    • Rob

      You know what baffles me?
      Guys who have never turned a wrench on more than a Briggs & Stratton engine, yet they want to pick out and argue about the smallest detail on my builds that they deem incorrect.

      Not sayin that’s you, but you brought to mind one reason that I hate to go to car shows with my stuff. Happy new year ya’all! Hope it’s a good one! 😃

      • Gary

        Never turned a wrench? It’s what I’ve done for a living for the last 32 years. I’m not picking on anyone, it was simply meant as an observation. I’ve bought and sold many cars & trucks over the years, most recently a 58 Impala Conv. w/348. These little things are the the things that become a bargaining chip when negotiating. That said, again, I was mearly making observations of a very neat resurection of a vehicle deserving a second go around. Peace & Happy New Year to all!

  6. Mike D

    it looks pretty neat as is.. if it doesn’t have glasspacks on it, to put them on, it would have a mellow sound as others have said, won’t win any races, but a nice rebuild .. not sure how the gas mileage would be , but would you really be worried about it? nice for cruise nights!!

  7. Silas

    I have no problems with this resurrection.
    At least it is still on the road and being enjoyed by the owner.
    Cars should be driven, not pushed on and off a trailer.
    The inline 6 was a good choice. Not requiring a lot of modification or suspension upgrades.

  8. Mark S Member

    This is what a resto mod should look like clean and tastefully done. The breather is a small over sight. I would lose that chrome air cleaner in favor of a stock GM air cleaner than hook up the breather. That Chrome thing looks out of place anyway. I think that this was a great choice in engines, it would be ridicules to think that this car should be a racer. First of all it is about as aerodynamic as a road sign with the handling characteristics of a hay wagon. What this guy has made is a nice cruiser that will keep up with traffic. Well done, nice find.

    • Gary

      Mark S, I agree, it’s a small over sight, but how does one go thru all the necessary adaption/updating and then miss the key things that make it complete? I’d be willing to bet this was a build commissioned by the owner, rather than done independently. I have to wonder what other small details were skipped. Still, overall, it’s a very nice build, and very practical using an inline rather than a small block.

      • David Frank David Member

        Perhaps one could hope he put it on just for the pictures? (Could he really think shiny was cool? Look, shiny!)
        As I recall it was a Hupmobile dealer that started charging for test rides that was the beginning of Grey Hound.

  9. 1969Deuce

    Very nice updates without destroying the look and character of the car. I’d make small changes like a stock air cleaner, period steering wheel & shifter, and replace the gauges with period units in a panel that blended in to the dash look.

    When the old Autocar COE (or more recently the wrecker) was posted some time back, I pictured a job similar to this. Sometimes all the work of sourcing and properly renovating to original outweighs the fun of having and using the vehicle. Keep what you can, even if it’s a bit slow, preserve the character and let the public see the wonderful lines of these old cars and trucks.

    As for price, maybe it’s like a fancy jewelry store — so high that the look-ee-loos are afraid to ask.

  10. Ed P

    Add two guys with names like “Knuckles” or “Bugsy” and the car is perfect. Just keep the hood closed.

  11. Jason Houston

    Sorry, I have no use for someone who takes a nice car like this and disfigures it with everything painted, mis-matched tires & wheels, vinyl upholstery. etc. Just leave me cold.

    • Mark S Member

      Hi Jason I know where you stand on restomods, and I get that but what if all the guy had to work with was a rusty shell no engine or trans and no interior, don’t you think that the builder has then done this car justice. After all it looks great and it’s not sunk in the dirt in some field, but most importantly it’s being enjoyed. As for wheel size I think it was smartly done and adds to the look. Happy New Years to you.

  12. Richard Donovan

    A very nice car .
    ” Jason ” resto mod’s & rat rod’s are made from old, rusty car that all to often have been used as part cars at one time. It’s a good thing that the cars get a new life &are back on the road & not scraped . You don’t like this car & you wont like my 1927 NASH resto mod .

  13. Brakeservo

    Ok, the builder made a drivable car out of something no one else would step up to and restore. Like it or leave it, it’s better than having left it to rot. But somethings I don’t understand, such as how much better could that interior have been had just a bit more done, as it is, it reminds me of a cheap boat or discount store dinette set.

  14. racer99

    Overall looks good to me and the six cylinder motor seems more appropriate than cramming a v-8 in it. One oversight is in the front suspension pic, looks like a sizable hunk of the frame has been whittled away for the C-notch to clear the axle without it being reinforced. Hope that’s just the way the shadows are on the picture and not that the C-notch plating has been left out. Otherwise looks like a lot of money and time was spent to create a fun driver.

    • Mark S Member

      Hi racer99 I went back and looked at that picture and I would have to agree that there needs to be a fish plate welded in around that notch, good eye on your part.

      • racer99

        Especially since the leaf spring suspension transfers a sizable load out onto the nose of the frame! Would have to think twice about whether the C-notch (even with a fish plate) is a safe mod or not. I think doubling the side plates on the frame or adding additional material to the top in addition to the fish plate would be the way to go since he’s lost about 1/2 the frame height at that point. Much better to over-do it than suffer the consequences of not having enough strength at that point. To each his own — still overall looks like a nice build.

  15. RegularGuy55

    A lot of people don’t know the Hupmobile’s role in creating the National Football League. On September 17, 1920 a group of football team owners met in Ralph Hay’s Hupmobile dealership in Canton, OH, to discuss the formation of a professional football league. Hay was not only a Hupmobile dealer, but also owned the Canton Bulldogs pro football team. As legend has it, there weren’t enough chairs for everyone to sit, so some of the owners sat on the running boards of the cars in the showroom.

    That’s why the NFL Hall of Fame is located in Canton, OH.

  16. David Coleman

    I would like to find the original engine and trans out of this or another 27 -30 Hupmobile.

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