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I've heard that Studebaker's downward spiral started with a marketing botch of the 1953 models. They expected their volume to be something like 75% of the more upright sedan/wagon models, and only 25% of the low-slung, Lowey coupes. But, the public demanded just the opposite, as those coupes were a hot item for awhile. Unfortunately, by the time Studebaker could adjust production capacity to pump out more coupes and fewer sedans, it was too late.Studebaker was pretty clueless. They never came up with anything much that people really wanted in the 50s and 60s----except maybe the Lark for a few years. All their other offerings were simply not mainstream products.
A Lark V-8 convertible with 4-speed transmission would be fun---with some mods.
Ford tends to get credit with coming out with the first personal luxury coupes...first the 1956 Mark II, but then especially with the 4-seat Thunderbird for 1958. But I think the '53 Studes pretty much nailed the idea of what would ultimately surface as the likes of the Monte Carlo, Cutlass Supreme, Regal, the smaller cheaper T-bird, etc.
As for later years, I think it was more a lack of money and resources, rather than being clueless. The Lark, as you mentioned, was a good idea and popular for a few years. However the market was soon flooded with compacts, and, well, the Lark got kinda old.
Weren't those Larks actually fairly large inside, for a compact? They were based on the older 1953-58 cars, as Studebaker didn't have the money to come up with something truly new. But that might have worked in their favor, if you wanted a smaller car with more interior room. Even though Ford came out with the first "mid-size" cars for '62 with the Fairlane and Meteor, I wonder if the Lark was sort of an "accidental" midsize.
They were also pretty strong cars for a compact, with good towing capacity. At least, I saw one once, pulling a horse trailer on "Mr Ed" :-p
We're in the process of finally, after nearly 30 years, getting a traffic light put up where a 4-lane divided road cuts our street in half. It's not functional yet, and so far, only two poles are up.
Well, this morning, as I'm going to work, I noticed the police had the intersection blocked off, so you couldn't go straight across or make a left turn. I was okay, as I make a right turn at that intersection. Anyway, it was blocked off, because an '08-12 Malibu was getting winched up onto a rollback wrecker. it had a huge cave-in at the back door, one that seemed to fit the shape of one of those traffic light poles.
So, either it managed to hit one of the poles, or whatever hit it was already towed away. Kinda makes me wonder though, if this new traffic light is going to kill more people than it saves?
About 5 1/2 years ago, I went to a community meeting where they had a county official there to give a dog and pony show and answer questions. The subject of traffic safety in general came up. He was hemming and hawing about a lot of issues, and I finally got fed up, stood up and asked "So, how many people DO have to die at an intersection before you finally put in a traffic light?!" He got mad and tried to sidestep the question, but it actually stirred up the crowd a bit, and some of them applauded me.
Oh, and when I went home for lunch today, I saw that someone had clipped one of the reflector poles along the road in front of my yard, that are there to keep people going into the ditch. The pole was bent back at about a 45 degree angle, and there was some black plastic and a piece of chrome plastic from a car's fascia. I couldn't tell what kind of car it was from, though. Anyway, it wasn't there when I went to work. Oh well, at least it kept them out of the ditch
The Skyliners always have a good turnout at the Ford show in Carlisle, PA. Here's a '58 that I snapped a pic of back in 2006...>
I asked because the '57 Skyliners are rare. I've seen one at the car shows that I recall. I've seen 4-5 '59s. Don't recall any '58s.
I just noticed; I've gotten really lazy about uploading my old car pics. I haven't uploaded Ford show pics since 2008! :o
Anyway, from what I remember, the '57 and '59 both seemed to have a good showing of Skyliners, and fewer for '58. The 1957 had the highest production, but the '57 Ford in general was poorly built, so a lot of them rusted away. The '58's weren't much better, and sold in much fewer numbers. In 1959, Ford had a pretty big resurgence in sales, but the Skyliner fell off again. However, the '59's were better built, so I think they have a better survival rate than the '57. I think a lot of people really go for the more formal, Thunderbird-inspired look of the '59 as well.
As for production figures, it looks like they made 20,766 Skyliners in 1957, 14,713 in 1958, and 12,915 in 1959.
All things considered, I think the Skyliner was pretty inexpensive, when you factor in how complicated it was. In 1957, a Skyliner started at $2942, compared to $2505 for a regular Fairlane 500 convertible. Of course, with options the price went up fast. My grandparents bought a '57 Fairlane 500 4-door hardtop, which had a base price of $2404, but I remember Granddad saying that sucker was around $3500, optioned up.
I think the Skyliner came with a standard 272 V-8, whereas the other models would have had a 223 6-cyl standard. So, part of that increase in price was having a standard V-8 engine. I believe a 292 and then a 312 were optional.
My only beef with this is calling it "Redesigned". Is it really redesigned? Or is it just a facelift with new engines and powertrains, shoved into the existing body? But yeah, rigs like this do have their place. Actually, if Dodge would make something like this, say, bring back the Ramcharger nameplate, and base it off the Ram, I'd consider one.
In the past, I'd always been a car guy, although I've had my Granddad's old '85 Silverado around as a spare vehicle since 2002. But, about two years ago I bought a leftover 2012 Dodge Ram, and it's my daily driver now. It's real easy to get accustomed to the higher seating position, improved view, etc, but then when I go back to a car, even a big car, it just feels awkward. At 230+", my Ram is a pain to park in tight spaces, so if I go into DC, for example, parking can be a bit of a pain. But, if you spend most of your time in the suburbs, these bigger rigs aren't that bad to handle.
If I had to drive a lot for my commute, I don't think I'd have one of these monsters for a commuter car. But, I'm only logging about 7,000 miles per year, so the ~14.5 mpg average isn't killing me too bad. And if I had a long commute, with highway driving, that would definitely improve.
So, I'll give Ford credit for trying to improve the fuel economy on these things. I'm a bit leery, of relatively small, high-tech engines trying to move a lot of bulk, though. I have a feeling they won't age well. And is the EcoBoost V-6 going to be the only engine in the extended version, as well? That really seems like it's going to be pushing it.
BTW, does Ford (or did Ford) ever offer the Expedition XLT in 3/4 and 1-ton versions, like GM has done with the Suburban? I know for awhile, Ford had the Excursion for the 3/4 and 1-ton market.
@stever said: (I suspect the '69 C20 was the main reason people recognized you - there's probably a running bet on when it'll finally die. Sort of like the ice classic - when will it go out).
I still get that, occasionally, when I drive my Granddad's old '85 Silverado, which has been in the family since it was new, and spent most of its life in the area. The only exception was from around 1997-2002...Grandmom gave it to my Mom in Southern MD, and then she sold it to me.
I'll have people say to me "Is that Jesse's truck", or "Isn't that your Grandfather's truck". Although, it's happening less and less, as Granddad died in 1990. So most of the people who would remember him have either passed on, themselves, or moved away. But, because we kept the truck for so long, for awhile, I think people thought Granddad was still alive.