On this day in auto history – May 20th

Thu 20th May 2021

It was on this day in 1948 that the short-lived Playboy Motor Car Corporation went public, offering twenty million shares of common stock at $1 per share.

Unfortunately - coming so soon after a high-profile scandal of a stock fraud involving automobile entrepreneur Preston Tucker - the take-up failed to provide enough capital for full-scale production.

After a second stock offering issued two years later didn’t work either in addition to failed negotiations with industrialist Henry J Kaiser, Playboy Motor Cars was declared bankrupt in 1951.

Based out of Buffalo, New York, the company had been founded in 1947 by Lou Horowitz, a Packard dealer who saw the need for a new smaller car in booming post-war America which would be built for around $900 using outsourced parts.

In the event, less than 100 Playboy cars were ever made, around half of which are known to still exist today.