But according to IBIS World, there are no fewer than 157 car and automobile manufacturing businesses across the United States. It may sound like a lot but we actually lost hundreds of carmakers, which either went bankrupt or disappeared through mergers, since the early days of the automobile.
The massive list includes a few iconic names such as Pontiac, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Mercury, Packard, and Studebaker. But many of you may also remember American Motors Corporation, Duesenberg, DeSoto, Kaiser-Frazer, and maybe even Tucker and Edsel. Then there's Hudson, which gave us the innovative "step-down" body design, and the fabulous Hornet, which dominated NASCAR with an inline-six engine.
But did you know that Hudson was also one of the first independent automakers to launch a brand focused on affordable automobiles? It happened in 1919 with Essex and continued in 1932 with Terraplane. Mostly forgotten nowadays, Terraplane not only saved Hudson during the Great Depression but also built some of the most stylish automobiles of the 1930s.
But even though they were successful at the time, Terraplanes are hard to find nowadays. Sure, there are plenty of rust buckets to choose from in junkyards, but examples that are still in one piece and worth restoring are as rare as they get. And that's why finding a 1936 Terraplane that's been preserved in a barn for 60 years is a big deal.
Discovered and purchased by YouTube's "Bad Chad," this four-door was retired from public roads sometime in the 1960s. That's not unusual for a 1930s car, but the amazing thing about it is the owner chose not to trade it or send it to a scrapyard. Even after he realized that he will never drive it again. It wasn't until 2023 that he decided it was time to part ways with the car, hoping that the next owner would restore it and put it back on the road.
Granted, the Terraplane won't be road-worthy anytime soon, but it's in fantastic condition for a car that spent six decades in storage. The blue paint has seen better days and some body panels show dings and rust issues, but the exterior is in excellent condition otherwise. And impressively enough, it's also complete, a rare feat for barn-found oldtimers.
Like many automobiles from the era, the Terraplane got notable design changes every year, so the 1936 model has a few features that make it stand out. The two-piece Art Deco grille that extends into the split engine hood is one of them. The 1937 grille remained similar, but Terraplane retained only the inner piece and finished the side in body color, basically making the entire unit slimmer.
Unlike earlier Terraplanes, the 1936 version came with only a straight-six engine under the hood. The 212-cubic-inch (3.5-liter) mill generated 100 horsepower, about 25% more than a Chevrolet Master. The company dropped the straight-eight engine that made the Terraplane popular with gangsters like John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson in 1933.
Back to our sedan in question, it's off to a better home and it remains to be seen whether it will get a sympathetic restoration or it will become a restomod, like many Terraplanes that are still around. Until we find out more about that, check it out as a freshly revealed barn find.