High-end supercars are only valuable if there are people to buy them.
Even the most prestigious vehicles are at the mercy of the unpredictable market, and when the buyers disappear, so does the company. These are some of the most famous luxury car brands that no longer exist.
Not many classic cars are successfully reborn; it took two tries to resurrect Bugatti. But a French businessman is determined to bring the Delage car brand back in play.
Despite its championship racing heritage, Delage became extinct post–World War II. In the next few years, though, car enthusiasts will be able to find small, high-performance Delage cars with prices starting at $2.3 million. They’re sure to be future collectibles, with only 30 cars planned for production.
The pandemic has delayed production for some of the most hotly anticipated new models, including Ferrari’s $350,000 luxury SUV. But last century’s elite clamored for a Packard. Heads of state the world over drove these elegant masterpieces.
However, Packard struggled with its customer base after World War II, losing out to brands such as Cadillac. The independent company, which had been in existence since 1899, finally closed in 1959.
The Spanish-Swiss brand is still sought after; a 1932 convertible sold at auction recently for $2.4 million. Now the descendants of the company’s founders are reviving the name (but dropping the hyphen).
The new electric cars will be made predominantly of carbon fiber, which is very lightweight but extremely expensive. Prices for the Carmen Boulougne model will start at $2 million.
Founded by an Argentinian racing driver in 1959, the De Tomaso racing car company ceased operations in 2004. Now a Hong Kong firm has bought the rights to the name. It’s planning million-dollar luxury cars that will only be available with manual transmissions.
This legendary British company provided the royal family with high-end cars for decades until Rolls-Royce won the “Royal Warrant” in the 50s. In 1960, Daimler was gobbled up by Jaguar, but in 1990, Jaguar Cars was gobbled up by Ford, and the Daimler disappeared.
Based in Milan, Isotta Fraschini was a contender on the racetrack in the early 1900s. By the 20s, Hollywood icons Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino were driving them, and an Isotta Frachini had a cameo in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard. The depression and World War II had taken its toll, though, and the company went bankrupt in 1999.
What was supposed to be Ford’s luxury car division just produced one model: the Continental Mark II. Celebrities loved the coupe, but the company couldn’t turn a profit. After two years, Continental became one of the shortest-lived luxury car brands that no longer exist.
This famed brand came out of Indiana in 1913. By 1933, Duesenbergs were faster than the competition, with a supercharged option to boost up to 320 horsepower. It was just too rich for Americans’ blood, though, and Duesenberg folded in 1937.