February 16, 2005

Today in Automotive History 1852

Today in Automotive History

1852 The Studebaker is Born

Henry and Clement Studebaker founded H & C Studebaker, a blacksmith and wagon building business, in South Bend, Indiana. The brothers made their fortune manufacturing during the Civil War, as The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company became the world's largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages.

With the advent of the automobile, Studebaker converted its business to car manufacturing, becoming one of the larger independent automobile manufacturers. During World War II, Studebaker manufactured airplanes for the war effort and emphasized its patriotic role by releasing cars called "The President," "The Champion," and "The Commander." Like many of the independents, Studebaker fared well during the war by producing affordable family cars.
After the war, the Big Three, bolstered by their new government-subsidized production facilities, were too much for many of the independents. Studebaker was no exception. Post World War II competition drove Studebaker to its limits, and the company merged with the Packard Corporation in 1954.

Financial hardship continued however as they continued to lose money over the next several years. Studebaker rebounded in 1959 with the introduction of the compact Lark but it was shortlived. The 1996 Cruiser marked the end of the Studebaker after 114 years.

Posted by Quality Weenie at February 16, 2005 08:04 AM