Studebaker established a manufacturing facility in South Bend, Indiana (USA) to manufacture wagons. Incorporated in 1868 as the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company by the 5 Studebaker brothers, it would enter the automotive business in 1897, then to manufacture electric vehicles. The first gasoline Studebakers would not be manufactured until 1913, although it was the 1929 to 1932 Studebaker President, along with the 1939 Studebaker Champion that really established the marque and its enviable reputation.
During World War 2 the company manufactured countless Studebaker US6 trucks, along with the very unique M29 Weasel cargo and personnel carrier. After the war the company again turned its attention to the manufacture of automobiles. The price-cutting war between Ford and General Motors took a heavy toll on the smaller US car manufacturers during the 1950’s, many knowing that survival depended on their finding other suitable auto manufacturers with which to merge. In 1954 the company was acquired by Packard Motors of Detroit, Michigan, becoming a division of the Studebaker Packard Corporation from 1954 until 1962, it then reverting back to its previous name.
Studebaker would struggle on until 1966. Today models such as the Commander Starliner, Avanti, Hawk, Wagonaire and Lark based Cruisers, along with Commander and Daytona convertibles are all highly prized by collectors. It was the Lark that helped stave off the receivers for a time, however the inevitability of the dominance of the “Big Three” would eventually take its course.
1939 - 1958
The success of the Champion in 1939 was imperative to Studebaker’s survival following weak sales during the 1938 model year. Unlike most other cars, the Champion was designed from a "clean sheet", and had no restrictions caused by necessarily utilizing older parts or requiring the subsequent use of its components in heavier vehicles. Market research guided the selection of features, but a key principle of "weight is the enemy" was used. More>>
1957 - 1959
To this day the Studebaker Hawk series has intrigued car enthusiasts. Are they really sports cars, or did the beautiful Continental lines cover just another sloppy old Detroiter? The Silver Hawk was a simplified version of its Golden cousin. Externally the car featured the then popular fins and wrap-around details, but they were subtly blended into a shapely whole. More>>
1962 - 1963
Built at the direction of Studebakers then president Sherwood Egbert, the Avanti Coupe was manufactured between June 1962 and December 1963. After the demise of Studebaker, the Avanti would go on to gain iconic status with enthusiasts, and underwnet ongoing custom production by a succession of entrepreneurs. More>>
1962 - 1964
The idea for the Studebaker Super Hawk was born at Bonneville in January 1963 when Andy Granatelli, Studebaker Corporation vice president in charge of the Paxton Products Division, put an R-2-powered GT Hawk through a series of high-speed runs over the salt that netted a top mark of 140.23 mph for the flying mile. More>>