A 1953 Starliner. Image credit: The Studebacker Drivers Club
A 1953 Starliner. Image credit: Studebacker Drivers Club

The Studebaker is one of the best forgotten oldies of the automobile world. Historically, they have been known, not for “fins and chromes” or for winning races, but for reliability and good gas mileage. They are built by one of the oldest vehicle manufacturing companies in the USA. The modern Studebaker company is currently raising funds to bring new concept vehicles from the drawing board to reality. Will they succeed? Let’s find out.

The Studebaker Museum

As you can see, Studebaker has been making cars for quite a long time. The museum’s archives include more than 50,000 images related to Studebakers and the company that manufactured them, as well as blueprints, motion pictures and production orders. If you are ever in the vicinity of South Bend, Indiana, be sure to give them a visit or visit the museum’s website to learn more.

The History Behind The Studebaker

The Studebaker Office. Image credit Studebaker Museum
The Studebaker Office. Image credit Studebaker Museum

The first Studebakers weren’t cars at all, but wagons and buggies. Their founders, Henry and Clement Studebaker opened their first blacksmith shop in 1852, well before Americans had ever seen a “horseless buggy.” In 1868, the Studebaker company was incorporated as the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company and, by 1887, annual sales went over $2,000,000. That was quite an impressive sum in the late 19th century.

In 1902, the Studebakers produced the first electric cars, one of which was purchased by Thomas Edison. In 1904, Studebaker added gasoline cars. By 1920, cars had become Studebaker’s main product and they discontinued their horse-drawn vehicles. As the company grew, they acquired the Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company and then merged with Packard. During World War II, they produced several military vehicles and equipment, including engines for the B-17 Flying Fortress and the amphibious “Weasel”.

During the 1950s, they introduced an overhead-valve V8 engine, the Starliner model and the popular compact Lark with impressive success. In the 1960s, however, they ran into financial difficulties. Production stopped in 1966 and the Studebaker Corporation donated its collection to the city of South Bend.

In the modern day, Studebaker Corporation aims to introduce a modernized version of its trademark cars with new models. The lineup will include cars, trucks, motorcycles and scooters. You can find out about their proposed vehicles or email the company for investment opportunities at The Studebaker Website.

Fun Fact
John Glenn is the only Mercury astronaut who actually drove a Studebaker while most of his colleagues raced around in flashy sports cars. He liked the good gas mileage the Studebaker got.

A Classic Studebaker Commercial

No high-pressure sales guys shouting at you in this commercial! Take a look at the “new” features in the Studebaker 61 Lark.

Fun Fact
September 8 is National Drive Your Studebaker Day. If you have an old but still working Studebaker, be sure to drive it around on this day.

Studebaker Resources

Connect with other Studebaker enthusiasts to share your memories of this classic car.
Take a tour of classic Studebakers. Doing some research? Take advantage of the archives stored in this museum.
Can one of the oldest automobile companies become the newest breakthrough in the automobile world? Stay tuned to find out!