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

This Family-Owned Butcher Shop Serves Detroit’s Top Restaurants

Ferndale’s Farm Field Table supplies grass-fed beef that’s a cut above competitors

Meet the Makers: Corbé

The Detroit ceramics studio balances innovation and tradition through pottery

An Hour With ... Elise Tate

Co-Founder, Golden Future Foundation

Manchester United, Liverpool F.C. to Face Off in Ann Arbor

U-M will host the International Championship Cup match in July

Could These Minimalist Pieces Be the Future of Furniture?

Floyd Detroit is crafting beds, tables, and desks that are meant to last
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. This Family-Owned Butcher Shop Serves Detroit’s Top Restaurants
    Ferndale’s Farm Field Table supplies grass-fed beef that’s a cut above competitors
  2. Review: An Inside Look at the Newly Restored Detroit Club
    The once elusive location returns with an exquisite menu and opulent interior
  3. Manchester United, Liverpool F.C. to Face Off in Ann Arbor
    U-M will host the International Championship Cup match in July
  4. 50 Years Later: A Look Back at the Tigers’ 1968 World Series Win
    The underdog team staged a mighty comeback during the historic season
  5. Cocktail Recipe: Aquavit Gimlet
    Long Road Distillers recommends a twist on the classic
  6. Outdoor Entertaining: Put the ‘Great’ in Your Party on the Lake
    Sophisticated recipes, guides, and tips for a nautical brunch
  7. Meet the Detroit Startup Churning Out ‘Adult’ Cotton Candy
    Spun Sugar puts spiked and sophisticated spins on the childhood favorite
  8. Could These Minimalist Pieces Be the Future of Furniture?
    Floyd Detroit is crafting beds, tables, and desks that are meant to last
  9. Your Biggest Questions About Sunscreen, Answered by a Pro
    From how often to apply to the ingredients that make it work, a local dermatologist tells all
  10. Everything You Need to Know About Aquavit
    Michigan distillers get hygge with a new trend’s distinct Scandinavian accent