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Thursday, April 17, 2014


America on Wheels in Allentown Pa. has a rotating exhibit plan, as one leaves another group comes in on loan. Brass era cars go out and Orphan car exhibit just opened just in time for the museums 6th anniversary.
Can you imagine a Prius wasting space in a museum?

An Orphan is described as one that has parents which are dead or gone. 
The term orphan car accurately applies to any marque of motor vehicle built by a manufacturer that has discontinued business entirely. The term is sometimes inaccurately applied to a discontinued marque from a still-existing vehicle manufacturer (e.g. Oldsmobile) or a sub-marque (e.g. Thunderbird). In the case of a revived marque where a newer company resuscitates a discontinued brand (e.g. Maybach), only the original vehicles are accurately considered orphans.
Their own site describes Orphans as "BIG DREAMS WITH SMALL BUDGETS AND MIS-MANAGEMENT" HUH?. Pontiac was around 1926-2010, Mercury 1938-2011, Plymouth 1928-2001 and all three although nameplates discontinued have parents that are alive and well. They were not disowned although retired gracefully from production.  
 Studebaker is an Orphan because its Parent Company is dead, not really they still make Paxton Superchargers 

 Hupmobile is an Orphan
Mercury although a discontinued Marque, its Parent Company is still alive FORD 
 Nash is an Orphan

 A Tri-wheel does not actually fall into this class, just not enough production and really only 1 model to speak of?

 This one is tough Austin had been absorbed into many parent companies including most recently BMW then MG-Rover group then dropped- It's later parent companies are alive.

 Another tough one although Vespa Scooters is still around it appears that Vespas were French built and may qualify as an Orpan?

 Yes an Orphan Hudson although eventually AMC absorbed many makes the parent companies are dead.

 I actually stopped at the owners house earlier in the day and am preparing a blog on his new museum.

 Edsel is not an Orphan, it was under FORD 
 Does a low production obscure electric car fall into the Orphan class?

 I got dizzy here, Plymouth only recently discontinued and was obviously under the guidance of Chrysler. Discontinued Marque, but not an Orphan 

 Another Orphan Studebaker although the Avanti had 2 more rebirths with different parents

 4000 built over 7 years although a strange unusual design it is an Orphan
There are many independant orphan cars still around they could have done a better job finding them, not putting recently discontinued marques of large companies still in business on display!

 Pontiac an Orphan? Mom and pop GM died?

 Desoto was just one of the lines from Chrysler along with Imperial as a separate line, just a gone Marque
Very sloppy research here, we also used the Independent label to note Auto Manufacturers that never were part of the big guys.
There were 1000's of small car companies, but lets qualify them a bit- multiple models and sustained production for several years without ever falling under a BIG GUY umbrella would be an Independent worthy of becoming an Orphan. Is a low production obscure 3 wheeler or electric car  an orphan, I say no. 
Is a Plymouth,Mercury or Edsel an Orphan, no because it still has a living relative!    
There were some big plans for Allentown PA. and this museum, but I have been here 4 times now, once a failed attempt to promote a show there and I think its location in a rather run down city and confused agenda take points away! The last 2 times being greeted by the same sarcastic woman at the entrance just keeps turning me off. Today she asked for my ID for an $8 credit card charge, felt like I was going through security with TSA at the airport! Lady lighten up a little!!  

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