Studebaker Classic Cars for Sale
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The American automobile manufacturing company Studebaker was founded by Clement Studebaker in 1852. Based in South Bend, Indiana, the company began manufacturing cars after the turn of the 20th century and would go on to produce both electric and gasoline vehicles, developing a strong reputation for reliability and quality.
Studebaker in the early years
The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was initially involved in the manufacture of wagons, but made its way into the automobile market in 1902 with the production of its first car, the Studebaker Electric; a battery-powered electric vehicle. These vehicles remained in production up until 1911 and the second electric car ever made by the company was purchased by Thomas Edison. In 1904, Studebaker entered into a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Garford and in 1908, a similar partnership was formed with E-M-F in Detroit, providing Studebaker with a gateway into the gasoline vehicle market. In 1911, the company was refinanced and incorporated, becoming known as the Studebaker Corporation. The same year, the company discontinued its electric vehicle line to focus fully on gasoline cars. Some of the notable early models included the Studebaker Speedster and the Studebaker Light Four
Studebaker's successes and struggles
Beginning in 1918, the company focused on six-cylinder models and enjoyed success throughout the 1920s, with models such as the Studebaker Big Six and the Big Six President selling well. Then in 1928, the eight-cylinder Studebaker Commander was released to great acclaim. Despite the success, however, the business was hit hard by the effects of the Wall Street Crash and entered receivership in 1933. Eventually, Vice Presidents Harold Vance and Paul Hoffman were appointed receivers and the pair guided the company back to profit. In 1939, the Studebaker Champion was released and the first generation sold extremely well, helping the company to double its profits from the previous year. During the Second World War, Studebaker also dabbled in the production of military vehicles, such as the amphibious M29C Weasel.
Post-war Studebaker styling
The company was ahead of the curve in anticipating post-war demand for automobiles and established itself as a style leader with the 1947 release of the Studebaker Starlight coupe 2-door body style, available for both its Champion and Commander models. The style innovation continued in 1950, as new models were introduced with what would become a trademark design, dubbed the 'bullet nose'. However, throughout the early 1950s the company struggled to compete with the likes of Ford and General Motors, eventually leading to a merger with Packard in 1954. Unfortunately, the Studebaker-Packard brand continued to struggle and the Packard element was removed in 1962, with the company once again becoming known as the Studebaker Corporation. The 1960s saw a few new models, including the sporty Studebaker Avanti, but sales remained poor. In 1963, the South Bend plant was closed and the final remaining production facility, located in Hamilton, Ontario, was shut down in 1966.