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Founded by brothers Henry and Clement, the Studebaker started as a blacksmith shop, building farm wagons in South Bend, Indiana. Over the years, this family-owned company progressed and was hired to supply wagons for the Union Army during the Spanish-American war. Not long after, Studebaker slowly transitioned into becoming the world's largest producer of buggies and wagons. When the younger Studebaker brothers joined the firm, they decided to change its name to Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company.
After 50 years of supplying wagons and buggies, Studebaker gave in to the changes brought by the new century and eventually tried its luck in the automotive business. By so doing, Studebaker took pride in being the only wagon maker that was able to successfully transition to vehicle production. Here are some of Studebaker's contributions to the automotive arena:
The company made its entry into the automotive industry through the Studebaker Electric. Besides its body that sported a buggy design, this horseless carriage featured unique Studebaker parts including a motor that's suspended from its body frame. With such setup, power is being transferred to the rear axle via a chain. With a single charge, Electric cars from Studebaker could travel from 30 to 80 miles on ordinary pavements.
The company's growth became even more unstoppable especially with the introduction of its vehicle lineup that's fitted with six-cylinder engine. The line up's deluxe model was called the Big Six. Deriving its power from a 60-hp engine, the Big Six was offered in sedan, tourer, or coupe body styles. Offered at a much lower price is the Special Six with its 50-hp engine. There's also the Light Sixes, which are obviously smaller than the first two variants. The cheapest in the lineup, the Light Sixes are powered by a 40-hp engine.
As its name implies, the President was the marquee's premier vehicle model that went into production in 1926 to 1942. It made a comeback in 1955 until the nameplate eventually retired in 1958. The Presidents that were manufactured from 1928 to 1933 became popular as they were able to set some land speed records that had not been outshined for 35 years. In the said model, Studebaker introduced some exceptional Studebaker car parts like the ovaloid. headlights, which were fitted in the 1931 Presidents. These oblong headlights became the President's distinguishing feature from its predecessors.
It was originally designed and fitted with heavy-duty Studebaker parts to be a snow vehicle but was later developed into a US military vehicle with M28 designation. Because of its questionable handling characteristics in snow, it was redesigned and given the M29 designation. The redesigned version worked exceptionally well on all types of terrains, and they become heavily used in Europe and the Pacific. With the military greatly relying on them even after the war, demands for Weasels were strong. In fact, Studebaker has made more than 15,000 units solely for military use.
This model lived up to its name of being the champ by becoming one of Studebaker's best-selling models. This is because of its powerful and durable engine, affordable price, reliable Studebaker performance parts, and superb styling. It was made from scratch without restriction but simply to stick to the principle weight is the enemy.. Its size also made the Champion one of the lightest vehicles at that time.
Launched after the war, Studebaker's 1947 Land Cruiser surprised the industry with its all-new styling. This styling leader became famous in 1950 due to its legendary bullet nose. styling. However, its being a styling icon didn't help generate enough sales to save the company's waning financial status.
Studebakers, if there are still any, are now collectors' items, so there may not be enough Studebaker parts online should there be a need for replacement.