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Lifelong Search: 1939 Hupmobile Senior

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Front Garage

Reader Richard B recently sent in his story of how he found this ’39 Hupmobile Senior Six barn find. Here is Richard’s story in his own words: “I had been looking for a ’38 or ’39 Hupmobile “Senior” for some time, as my mom and dad had one when they first got married. My dad had passed away, so I decided that my first real antique car had to be a ’38 or ’39 Hupp. As I searched, it became quite obvious that this model Hupmobile is one of the rarest and most difficult to find. When these cars wore out during World War II (Hupp Motor Car Company had left the automobile business), while some parts were still available, they were difficult to find and people who owned the cars just didn’t feel the cars justified saving.

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Side Garage

They were conservatively styled, in contrast to the Raymond Loewy designs that had preceded them (“Aerodynamic” and “Cycle Fender” Hupps) and the stunning Skylark that followed. The first time I saw an advertisement in Hemmings for a Hupp Skylark, I was hooked – here was a way to own a Cord and a Hupmobile, all in the same car! So I began searching for Skylarks instead of the Hupp Senior. Over the intervening years I have owned up to 4 Skylarks at a time, now down to 2, the “limit” allowed by my long-suffering wife. I really love the Skylarks, and my one restored Skylark is a tremendous source of pride. However, one day in February of 2009, I received a phone call from a friend in the Hupmobile club informing me of an ad on craigslist for a 1938 Hupmobile. I made a phone call, spoke at length with the owner, and made a deal to purchase the car sight unseen, except for the photos which I’ve attached to this email.

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Rear Garage

During this conversation, I discovered that although the car was titled as a ’38, it’s really a 1939 model. When I registered the car in Connecticut, I had the model year corrected, so the documentation now shows the car as a 1939 model. Having agreed on a purchase with the owner, now it was time to present the deal to management (my wife) to apply for “special dispensation” to actually complete the purchase – because of the car’s significance to the family history, and it’s rarity, she agreed to let me buy it. However, I was told in no uncertain terms that the limit had been reached, and that was that!

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Interior

It seems that the car’s owner was a hot rod shop owner – his business is based on turning old cars into street rods for his customers. While looking for his next project in a wholesale dealer’s lot in Detroit, he spotted this old car in the back of the lot, and bought it because he thought it would make a cool street rod. He brought it home in the spring of 2000, and parked it in his barn to store it until he had time to begin work on it.

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Front Cleaned

Fast forward to 2008 – the owner pulled the car out of the barn and began inspecting it, and after a short time, made the decision that the car was too straight and too complete to cut up. He began to work on it a bit, and got the car running and addressed the brake issues, and then decided to try and find a new home for it – one that would preserve and perhaps restore this old treasure.

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Rear Cleaned

I made a trip out to Detroit to pick up the car in May, 2009, and brought the car home. It is a bit rough, as it was a “rust belt” car all its life, but other than new paint (white was not a Hupmobile color after 1935), and new interior upholstery (red velour, but in the correct patterns and reasonably presentable), the car is absolutely original. It shows just over 46,000 miles on the odometer, and runs pretty well. It has some transmission issues which I’m currently addressing, and it needs new tires, but it’s 100% complete and presentable as is. It spent some time sitting outside over the last few years of its life, but other than some paint peeling and surface rust, it’s surprisingly solid.

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six Corner Cleaned

Right after bringing the car home, I took my mom for a short ride in the car, and the expression on her face was priceless – she talked about their car, how beat up it was, and how they didn’t use it very long before moving on to another, better car, but it was a great day for both of us. Shortly afterward, her Alzheimer’s took a serious turn for the worse, and she has since had to move into a nursing home. I am so pleased that she had a chance to ride in that car before the disease completely destroyed her memories.”

1939 Hupmobile Senior Six And Skylark

We would like to congratulate Richard on finally finding a Senior Six like his parents had. We thank Richard for sharing his find and hope he keeps us updated on the status of his Hupmobile.


  1. Pete

    Just plain wonderful; thank God the hot rod shop owner had a soul !

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  2. Robert B Shelby

    The story of your Hupmobile was nice and interesting, especially taking your Mother for a ride and her memories of their car. I am an old car buff also. My profile photo shows our pride and joy – 69 Plymouth.

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  3. Barry Huddart

    Hi Richard,Like your Hupp I have a 1938 822E in New Zealand I have owned it for 30 years it has a bussle boot lid,can you tell me how many of these cars were made as of 10 years ago I belive there was only 10 left in the world have you any idea if this is true.Regards Barry & Jackie

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  4. Wayne Graefen

    I stumbled on to a ’38 Hupp 8 cyl OD sedan in San Angelo, TX a few years ago and brought it home. The styling on these senior models is absolutely incredible. I’ve since found the car a new owner with Classic tastes and restoration resources. CONGRATS on your ’39 !

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  5. dan

    have friend who has one. absolutely awesome! real wood on dash i think and battery under front seat! all original. cant believe condition. thanx for your showing.

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  6. Harland

    my friend finally was able to buy a 1939 Hupp that he has yearned for maybe 40 years! car is amazing-he’s a mechanic and got it running just fine. an original CO car with zero rust. was originally a medium green.now body is all covered in ugly primer gray. original interior. curious and never before seen (by me) a wood steering wheel with square corner edges-not rounded as is universal. would gladly connect anyone interested with Ken-the owner in Ft. Collins, CO

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  7. chad

    WoW, gotta look up ALL the other (late 30s – early 50s) Hup. models, now!
    At what point did they close/merge?
    Thanks 4 story/pic Josh (& Richard)!

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  8. Roy Nelson

    I had a very nice black 39 in So-Cal in the mid 80’s. Came with a Ford 6 cylinder and automatic. Didn’t want to destroy the historic value of this rare car, but being a rodder, had to help it out. Had a 260 Ford v8 and automatic in inventory and installed it. Did a complete 12 volt rewire and with Classic Instruments gauges. Had my in-house upholsterer do the interior as stock. Driving or parked, it looked completely stock. Just very dependable. Wonder what happened to it?

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