Studebaker - An Auto Review book by Rod Ward (Auto Review No.144)

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Here we have the story of a firm which built vehicles for over a century. Studebaker was the leading maker of horse-drawn wagons and carriages in 19th century America. Turning to motor vehicles in the early years of the 20th century, Studebaker had its ups and downs, having to recover from receivership in 1933. Profitable contracts during the Second World War, making aero engines, US6 trucks and Weasel carriers were followed by exciting new car and truck designs in the immediate postwar period. This promised a healthy future for the company from South Bend, Indiana, but Studebaker was too small to compete with the ‘Big Three’ US auto makers, and a merger with Packard in 1954 did not provide the hoped-for remedy. A last gasp of advanced styling in the GRP-bodied Avanti sports car came too late. In 1964 the company closed its US factory, just continuing limited production in Canada until 1966. Studebaker executives had foreseen the inevitable, and they had already diversified into other manufacturing sectors, so the Studebaker Corporation did not die when car production finished; it merged with other firms and the name continued to be seen for a few more years; but not on cars.

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