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Postwar Studebakers

1575860626380

Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    Oh, that's perfect, that's what I would pick. Nice wide whites, too.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Actually, that car's probably a pre-production model, as Avantis weren't built with wide whites, but with narrow-white Firestone 500's. My Daytona R1 was built with optional Firestone 500's too per the build sheet.

    "Avanti Turquoise" is probably my overall favorite Avanti color, with black being second.
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    edited January 2013
    The Motor Trend Magazine is dated July 1962, which means is was probably published in June based on information available in May. The rear view mirrior is not the one used in production either. Before production began Studebaker decided to glue a small one to the windshield, and others followed that idea. The magazine cover marks the point in time when wide white walls were becoming obsolete.

    It seemed that Studebaker was getting the early jump on the competiton with the early release of the Avanti, but with the early production problems, that advantage turned into a liability. It was a case of bad timing with the first Sting Ray and Buick Riveria being introduced the same model year. Avanti production did not reach its highest point until January-February 1963, and it was downhill after that.

    The Chrysler Airflow and Cord 810 had similar stories. Early introduction of a radically different car at a New York auto show, big publicity followed by few cars to sell. Ford did not make that mistake with the first Mustang introduced two years after the Avanti.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    I was thinking maybe Stude used wide whites late, as MB did - through model year 1964. But for something new and fresh like an Avanti, they had plenty of reason to adapt the new style.
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    edited January 2013
    I was thinking maybe Stude used wide whites late, as MB did - through model year 1964

    Sorry, but I don't think that happened. If it happened at all, it happened very early because I do not believe Studebaker delivered cars with wide white wall tires in 1963. I collected plenty of literature and factory photos of Avantis during my 45 years in the Studebaker Drivers Club, (I joined when I was 15 years old) but the only time I saw a wide white wall tires from the era when they were built was on the cover of Motor Trend Magazine. I have seen a few being shipped with black wall tires, but that was rare. Just Google "Factory images of 1963 Studebaker Avanti" and you will see Avanti’s almost always looking like this.

    image

    I believe that if you took an Avanti to a Studebaker meet with wide whitewall tires, the judges would take off points. What do you say Uplanderguy? I really like the look of those Avantis and am back to lovin' the round headlight covers.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    Stude's '62 Larks and Hawks and Champ pickups were the last to use the wider whitewalls. In '63 they went to a narrow band. Most of the U.S. industry went to narrow whites in the '62 model year.

    JL, I have a book with that very pic in it. I'd love to just saunter through that room with today's money and pick one out to bring back with me! I heard that when South Bend shut down (Dec. '63), there were new Studes of all models, body styles, and engines and options in storage lots around the city. How'd I love to pick an Avanti, Daytona convertible, Gran Turismo Hawk, Champ 1/2 ton long-bed pickup, and one-ton Diesel Transtar to bring back with me. Ah, it's sweet to dream! I was only 5 1/2 when that shutdown occurred, and my Dad never looked at Studebakers, that I know! ;)

    I'm convinced that at a Studebaker Drivers' Club meet, one would lose points in judging with an Avanti with wide whites.
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    edited January 2013
    This image of the Avanti was one of the earliest that was issued in Aptil 1962 to introduce the Avanti to the public. It is so early that the car has no rear view mirriors and the Avanti script on the front has been added to the image. Motor Trend got it wrong when they put the wide white walls on the Avantis on the cover of the magazine. It's just that simple.
    image

    I am adding this to my post. An expert can tell within a three or four month period of time when an Avanti was built by the location and size of the rear view mirrior stuck on the windshield. It started out too small and located too low, then the size increased, then they moved it higher, then they increased the size again and seemed to move it down a bit. I have seen so many variations. Mine was built in February 1963 and it had the larger mirrior but located too low to see out the back window very well. My friend had one that had a smaller mirrior and located even lower on the windshield.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    Oh yeah, I am not doubting the actual production car never wore wide whites - I was just saying if it did, it might be linked to the MB connection, as Stude and MB had their little connection back then. The car looks too modern for wide whites anyway, kind of like early E-types I have seen wearing them, it looks odd.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,279
    >within a three or four month period of time when an Avanti was built by the location and size of the rear view mirrior stuck on the windshield.

    That's interesting. I enjoy all the info about these cars.
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    JL, I have a book with that very pic in it.

    What is the name of that book? I must have missed that one. I just found that image today looking for factory photos with tires to show they were never wide whitewalls. I would like a book with more of those photos. I looked at that image quite a few times today still amazed at the beautiful lines of that car.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    It's called "Avanti--Studebaker and Beyond" by John Hull, and can be bought reasonably on Amazon.com. There are a lot of production line and factory photos of Studebaker Avantis in there.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    I think maybe we've talked about this before, but when you bought a '63 Stude with whitewalls that weren't Firestone 500's, you got a narrow whitewall that went right up to the wheel, and I think M-B used a similar whitewall:

    http://www.ritzsite.nl/63Stude/1963_Studebaker_Lark_Cruiser.JPG

    BTW, that's my favorite four-door Studebaker. If you got the optional broadcloth interior, the seat trim was right up there with Cadillac, although the exterior size and character were decidedly European.

    BTW, that dealer postcard was photographed out at the Studebaker Proving Ground, about 15 miles west of South Bend on Rt. 2. I can tell by the brick fenceposts, which are still there when you drive by.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Bosch now operates the track and buildings at the old Studebaker Proving Ground, and when I was last there in '07 they were testing some type of VW I had never seen before. They allowed us on the track with a Studebaker which was great fun.

    Amazingly, there are still Studebaker prototypes abandoned on the grounds there:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luOtiRTDf_g
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    I don't know if I have seen a MB whitewall just like that, but they did use a wider whitewall that went up to the wheel, which I guess is kind of unique. MB changed directly, no medium width either - in 1964 they were still using 50s looking tires, then in 1965, jumped right to the modern thin whitewalls.

    I think there is a definite MB influence in that Stude, too.

    Here's a company that sells correct tires for old MB - I might treat my car to a set of these this year, as the tires on it date to when Clinton was still in office.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 713
    European influence with aero body styling and glass covered headlights doesn't get more obvious than the Citroen DS. Aside from that I was pointing out that the U.S. market Merkur/Scorpio were variants of Ford's Sierra platform. The old square headlight Avanti had no more trendsetting influence in auto design than the 1939 Mopars I linked to.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    It's a matter of opinion of course, but I do think most would agree that the Avanti is more critically respected, and always has been, than a '39 Mopar...shown in art museums, owned by creator of James Bond and other celebs alike when it was a pretty low-production car built by an old, old U.S. company, and it did absolutely throw the USAC record book away when it was at Bonneville. This isn't just me, it's all documented stuff. The fact that Studebaker built demand when it couldn't produce nearly enough finished cars, plus the constant news reports that Studebaker was on its last leg, doomed it.

    No other U.S. car at the time had disc brakes, and I'm scratching my head trying to think of how many others at the time had a quadrant P-R-N-D-2-1 that permitted manual shifting of an automatic, too.

    I think the only U.S. car that might have beat it to curved side glass was the Lincoln Continental.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    There's definitely M-B influence in the '62 and '63 Larks and Cruisers, for sure I think. I clicked the link for the tire site and I see in '63, anyway, Stude even cribbed the white trim on the wheelcovers from M-B.

    Those tires are expensive, but not as bad as I thought. Sure gives you the authentic look.

    If your current tires are that old, I hope you're not doing too much highway driving! My '64 came to me with '94-dated tires, and they were hard as rocks even though they showed a lot of tread and no sidewall cracking. I've been scared enough by stories over the years, and advice from folks supposedly in the know, that I won't go over ten years on a set of tires on an old car anymore. My Skytop's tires were bought in '03 (back when I could find 195-75-15's locally; they looked great IMHO and were very, very close to original size) and for the last couple years (before I sold it), I was getting a side-to-side 'waddle' from the rears at low speeds.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,360
    I'm scratching my head trying to think of how many others at the time had a quadrant P-R-N-D-2-1 that permitted manual shifting of an automatic, too.

    That brought back a question that I wanted to ask. Did the '2' position lock the transmission in second gear or did it just lock out third gear? That is, if you came to a stop with the transmission in the '2' position would it remain in second when you started up again or would it start in first and shift into second but not into third? The reason I ask is during that period the Ford cruise-o-matic had two 'Drive' positions with one of them providing a start in second gear. It was advertised as being for starting on slippery surfaces. My dad's '64 Rambler he same thing.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    The grille and the greenhouse, while far from identical, are similar enough to not be pure coincidence. Makes sense with the partnership. Did Stude ever used body color coded hubcaps?

    I rarely take the old car on the highway much - a couple times a year, under an hour's drive - and it still concerns me. I'd like to take a small trip in it this summer, but not on the current tires. The car lives in a dry place and the tires are maintained, but age has to take its toll - and the fronts wear a little funny, likely due to some suspension component wear. I will have it inspected this spring, and hope to have new tires this summer. Radial wide whites are never cheap.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    My fintail, and MB for decades (maybe even your W126) have second gear start - I can select first with the kickdown button under the gas pedal, but it is not a smooth shift. The car can also be started up from the off position in second.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,360
    Mine starts in first. But that brings up a point relevant to my last post. The positions D-3-2-1 all start in first but lock out the gears above the selection.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • berriberri Posts: 4,207
    Citroen DS

    Still a very attractive looking car IMHO
  • berriberri Posts: 4,207
    '39 Mopar.

    Were they still making the Airflow models then? If so, maybe they get some attention because of the historical significance of those cars for their time? Personally, I look at cars like music, don't car about history, just what I like! Then again I like some weird ones like the 59 Impala or 62 downsized Mopars ;) . Maybe just because they were a little different, or maybe because they remind me of something, someone or sometime. I think enjoyment should drive these kind of decisions.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    Is your car able to be switched into second gear start? I had a 300SE that was second gear start only, as well. Euro models had a switchable unit.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    I'm relatively certain that the automatic floor-shift trans in the Avanti and optional on Larks and Hawks, could be held in whatever gear the selector was in (1 or 2) if desired. If put in "D", it started from a stop in second gear.

    My Lark had a bench seat and had the Flightomatic auto trans (P-N-D-L-R). It was also a three-speed automatic that started from a stop in second, although there was a way to get a 1-2-3 shift that involved shifting from L to D then back, which I was always somewhat scared to try.

    Studebaker six-cylinder automatics had first-gear start in "D".
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Did Stude ever used body color coded hubcaps?

    No, but the '63 Lark and Cruiser full wheelcovers had a broad band of white on them, no matter what exterior color the rest of the car was.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    Did Checker taxicabs use the old Studebaker wheelcovers?

    image

    They look a lot like the ones used on the Lark.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    Sharp eye, lemko! They did indeed use former Studebaker wheel covers.

    International also used Stude's '64 and '65 full wheelcovers (a favorite of mine) into the '70's:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1970-International-Pickup-Truck-Brochure-/350138831699

    Checkers are so goofy, I enjoy them too although they are rarely seen. They were made in Kalamazoo, MI.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,832
    There are a few Checkers hanging around my area, even a couple wagons. One of the wagons is pretty mint looking, and has to be restored.
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