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2020 Automotive Heritage Awards

An account of Studebakers in competition at the Indianapolis 500 earned a Collectible Automobile® magazine author a gold medal and co-“Best-in-Category” honors from the third-annual Automotive Heritage Awards (AHA).

1951 Studebaker 2R6 Delivery Van, Des Moines Register Truck

1951 Studebaker 2R6 Delivery Van

Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2007 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

There’s an old and very common expression for describing someone who finds himself mired in difficult circumstances. He’s said to be “up a creek without a paddle.” That almost literally describes the situation in which George Hamlin found himself when he first laid eyes on the vintage truck featured here.

1960 Chevrolet Corvair Concept, Studebaker Design

1960 Chevrolet Corvair “what if” concept

By Frank Peiler

Studebaker introduced its Lark series of compact cars for 1959. Though fresh looking, the Lark wasn’t really as new as it seemed to be. Since Studebaker was strapped for cash, the company’s strategy with the Lark lineup was to update its six-year-old basic body structure with newly styled–and significantly shorter–front and rear sheetmetal.

1956 Studebaker Hawk, Classic Studebaker Ads

1956 Studebaker Hawk

Having been born in 1965, I am just the right age for certain elements of automotive history to be lost on me. Sadly, one of those elements is Studebaker.

1947 Studebaker Wagon Concept,

Studebaker almost offered a wagon for 1947. Here’s what it might have looked like…

By Frank Peiler

Just after World War II, Studebaker was readying its radical new postwar cars for introduction to a car-hungry public. There would be a nearly complete range of body styles available–from two-door sedans to convertibles–but no station wagons, even though a prototype four-door woodie wagon was featured in a LIFE magazine article.

2003 Studebaker XUV Brochure

This rendering exaggerates the length of a truck that, in prototype guise, was already very long. 

If you attended at the Chicago Auto Show back in 2003 or 2004, you might have seen a Hummer-like SUV with “Studebaker” stamped on the liftgate. Posed by some rugged-looking rocks in a small Avanti Motor Corporation display, this hulking behemoth was a Hail Mary attempt by struggling Avanti Motor to cash in on the then-booming mega-SUV market. How did such a bizarrely branded vehicle ever come to pass?

1963 Studebaker Gran Tourismo Hawk, gold

The Studebaker Gran Tourismo Hawk had a base price of $3095 for 1963.

Note: This article is reprinted from the August 2014 issue of Collectible Automobile

The Studebaker name persisted in new-car showrooms until 1966, but the end of automaking as the company had known it for decades really came in 1963. A steady decline from the production peak in 1950 had gained an unmitigated momentum by the time the Sixties dawned. When Studebaker lost $25 million on automotive operations in ’63, the corporation closed its main factory in South Bend, Indiana, and shifted assembly of only its highest-volume car line to a smaller, cheaper-to-run plant in Canada to live out the brand’s last few years. 


1947 Studebaker Gardner Special Roadster.

Note: This article is reprinted from the August 2013 issue of Collectible Automobile.

Nearly 65 years after it was created by talented but mercurial designer Vince Gardner, the Studebaker Gardner Special roadster was still turning heads. The latest owner of the low-slung two-seater, John Allen, of Naples, Florida, had been invited to enter it in the prestigeous 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California. This no doubt was the crowning moment for an automoble that had been to lots of places in its lifetime—including the junkyard.

1955 Chevrolet Drawings

1955 Chevrolet by AMC

Note: Frank Peiler is the publisher emeritus of Consumer Guide Automotive. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental.

The 1955 Chevrolet had it all. It was all-new from bumper to bumper with a new frame, new V8 engine, and new body.

The body design was a complete departure from previous Chevys. The hood was low, and the fender line was window-sill high. With a wide panoramic windshield and Ferrari-like grille, it looked like it was designed as a show car for one of the General Motors Motoramas. Here it is in hardtop form . . .


Note: The following story was excerpted from the December 2012 edition of Collectible Automobile magazine.

At a glance, it would seem Studebaker was on a roll during 1953, given that the company introduced completely redesigned cars, particularly the “Loewy coupes” that were styling sensations. All wasn’t rosy, though. Flexible frames and production problems delayed introduction of the ’53s from October 1952 until January. To compound the difficulties, the company couldn’t meet better-than-expected coupe demand while the not-as-stylish sedans weren’t as popular as the company projected. In the end, production for the model year came to 169,899, less than half the peak total of 343,164 just three years before.