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Hupmobile Model 20, Real Tour Car or Just a Parade Car

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:18 pm
by Bharper
Greetings All,

This long winter has prompted me to spend some time perusing back issues of the Gazette. As I read tour reports and study the pictures of the cars on tour, the Hup Model 20 runabout (and more so the Model D touring) are conspicuously scarce, if seen at all. This has prompted me to wonder if those cars are really adequate for real touring or if they are better suited to only parade duty.

So, thoughts and opinions anyone?

Model 20 owners, defend your noble steeds!

I have been considering purchasing one for touring, but if they are not robust enough then I may look to something else. I do have a '14 Ford touring car which I enjoy very much and have been thinking about a second brass era car, just not another Model T as I also have a '24 Ford coupe. Thank your for your time and input.

Bill Harper
Keene, NH

Re: Hupmobile Model 20, Real Tour Car or Just a Parade Car

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:35 am
by Trimacar
Well, I've owned my 1910 Model 20 for almost 40 years, and though I love the way it looks, and it's fun to drive on a sunny day, I've taken it on exactly one tour in that time.

The Model 20 is a well built car, and at the time (1909-1911) offered a great deal for the money. It does have some weaknesses, however. One is the two speed transmission. This is fine on flat land, but when you get to hills you sure wish you had that middle speed. Model T gets away with it somewhat, but the Hupp is a pain going up a hill; low gear is too low, high gear is too high. The next is the flywheel/fan that's connected to the front of the crankshaft. A driver of a Model 20 learns one of two lessons, how to clutch then brake, or how to fix a snapped crankshaft.

As far as power, the runabout has plenty, keeping in mind the comment about hills above. On flat land, mine will easily go 35-40 mph, and a little faster if you feel brave. It's a little interesting at higher speeds, since the rack and pinion steering is very, very quick, less than one turn lock to lock. Thus at speed, if you sort of THINK about going right or left, you're heading there. I once tried to buy a touring, they're much less common than the runabout. A good friend of mine told me it was a shame I missed getting the car, as a touring would give me two more people to help push!

When I look at survival rates of 1909-11 Hupps versus same year Model T's, I have to think that the Hupp was a great around town car, but didn't make enough long trips to wear out. There are hundreds and hundreds of Hupp 20's still in existence, probably 5 times or more the number of same year Model T's. The T's got used and worn out, the Hupp's were used around town and then garaged, that's my reasoning to survival numbers.

So, my opinion is, you won't find a much cuter/prettier little car than the Model 20 Hupp, but if you're talking a lot of touring, no, not the car for you. Someone may bring up the one well known Model 20 runabout that's toured extensively, but I've looked at that car, and while it's a beautiful car and very reliable, it's had a lot of mechanical modifications to make it more road worthy.

Re: Hupmobile Model 20, Real Tour Car or Just a Parade Car

Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:36 pm
by Bharper
Thank you so much for your insight and candor. I did think that the Hupp was well built but suspected that they were more of a short haul ice cream getter. I have liked the look of them for quite a while; still do but am think more of a touring vehicle. I really like my Model T and wouldn't part with it. There are times though when I do think about having a second tour worthy car.

Again, thank you for your response.
Take Care,

Re: Hupmobile Model 20, Real Tour Car or Just a Parade Car

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:00 pm
by hillslee
Hi all,
As a New Zealander I am at a loss to just what you refer to as a Tour.
My Hup 20m has been on several tours locally which we have enjoyed covering from 80 to 150 miles a day. We would consider greater distances. The car travels well averaging between 35 &40 mph. Yes uphill & downhill can be challenging but is part of the adventure . Regarding tours we have just completed a tour in Australia from Adelaide to Darwin a distance of approx 4500 KLM. Over 23 days 53 cars completed the tour mostly one & two cylinder cars. We were part of a team driving a 1909 2 cylinder Darracq. We made the distance with one puncture.
Regards Roger

Re: Hupmobile Model 20, Real Tour Car or Just a Parade Car

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:40 am
by FullerMetz
I have never owned a Hupmobile, which somewhat limits my opinion. However, remember that in 1911, a Hupmobile 20 touring went on an around-the-world tour that lasted about a year. They may not be a fast car, even by 1910 standards. But based on several I have known about, they do seem to make decent tour cars, even today.
I did try to buy a 1911 Hupmobile touring over fifteen years ago. I just couldn't get the seller to commit, I and bought something else instead. I sometimes wish I had gotten that Hupp.

Re: Hupmobile Model 20, Real Tour Car or Just a Parade Car

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:25 pm
by Max Burke
G,day to all. I would not recommend a Hup 20 for long tours because there is so limited space, for carrying your goods and chattels that is. Even with the wicker basket on the rear it tends to be full of essentials. If the tour has a baggage truck well and good, or if in the form of a hub tour were the Hup is trailored to the interstate or distant venue take the 20 by all means. Hup 20s are prone to boiling on hot days and there is a need to carry water. Up hill is slow once low gear is selected Down hill is fast but the brakes are imaginary at best . Use both together unless yours is one of the last of them with the wide shoes .Still we have only been towed up one steep hill and that was because we were bauked by others blocking all the road Fourteen were towed to the top. Winter time rallys in flat country are perfect for Hup 20 but carry engine oil and check the standpipes about every 1 1/2 hours. Don't be fooled, some oil will always run out, don't be fussy about the drip feed as it varies greatly by the temperature of the oil box Although we have a roadster with all weather protection kit and a touring Model D long tours of say 300 to 400 Klm a day are more comfortable in a Hup 32 or a model N. Max Burke Nulkaba 2325 Australia