Hudson Motor Car Company (founded 1909) was doing well with its big Super-Six Hudsons of the mid-'teen years, and so it was decided to launch an additional companion brand in 1919: the four-cylinder Essex.
Hudson and Essex did quite well in the early and middle 1920s, after they popularized closed cars by bringing the prices of their coaches (two-door sedans) down to the level of open-car prices. For the first time, closed cars began outselling open cars as their prices came down.
In 1924, the rugged little four-cylinder Essex was replaced by a new six-cylinder model. The first sixes were troublesome, but after a few months they were improved.
Hudson and Essex made occasional midseason changes. For example, the early-1928 Essex (as illustrated) was available during the latter part of 1927. After the calendar year of 1928 began, improvements were made: four-wheel brakes, vertical radiator shutters instead of horizontal, etc.
Essex's only major drawback was the low-geared differential, giving it the ability to climb many hills in "high," but overworking the engine at highway speeds (45 to 55 miles per hour in those days).
During 1932, Essex became Essex-Terraplane, and during the following year, the "Essex" prefix was dropped altogether.
Note the 1928 movie list. One that should also be included is Laurel and Hardy's "Two Tars," a car-related story in which two sailors take a pair of girls for a ride in a Ford Model T and get caught in a traffic jam, which ends in a gigantic road-rage feud, with everyone literally tearing each other's cars apart.