The Way It Was


Published:

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY COLLECTION, DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY

1911

The short life of the Abbott-Detroit automobile resembled a fiery nova: It shone bright but briefly, and is remembered only by gearheads and automotive history buffs. The Abbott-Detroit (1909-19) was renowned as a luxury drive, but its marketing department also touted its durability and speed. Publicity from the period reveals it was entered in several auto races, and it was featured prominently in cross-country endurance journeys. In 1911 advertising, the Abbott-Detroit was being touted as the “Up-to-the-Minute Car.” This fashionable quartet of women sitting in an Abbott-Detroit in front of the Belle Isle Casino reflects the “up-to-the-minute” claim — at least for 1911. The car, whose 4- and 6-cylinder engines were built by Continental (there were also some 8-cylinders built by Herschell-Spillman), were assembled at the company’s plant on Waterloo Street, on Detroit’s east side. But in 1916, the firm’s board decided to move to a bigger location in Cleveland, at which time the name “Detroit” was dropped, and the auto was known simply as the Abbott. It turned out to be a bad move. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1918, and the 1919 model was its last. The Abbott drove off into automotive oblivion, something these carefree women hardly thought possible only a few years before. 

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

The Metropolitan Building, 1927

The Way It Was

Club Harlem Piano

The piano is a reminder that even during the Great Depression, Detroiters could still dance the night away

Local Museum Pays Homage to Lace Treasures

Exploring the collection of gowns, gloves, and more at Northville's Lace Museum

The Dirty Show Turns 18

Detroit's annual Dirty Show comes of legal age.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 2017 Restaurant of the Year: Bistro 82
    With impeccable attention to details and the subtle evolution of ongoing menu items, the staff at...
  2. Mackinac's Grand Hotel Subject of WTVS Documentary
    Previewing Detroit Public Television's new documentary about the iconic hotel, debuting in March
  3. What Do Wine Rating Numbers Mean?
    Wilfred Wong explains the range in understandable words.