Studebaker - was an American wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the military.|
Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles, all sold under the name "Studebaker Automobile Company". Until 1911, its automotive division operated in partnership with the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio, and after 1909 with the E-M-F Company. The first gasoline automobiles to be fully manufactured by Studebaker were marketed in August 1912. Over the next 50 years, the company established a reputation for quality and reliability.
After years of financial problems, in 1954 the company merged with luxury carmaker Packard to form Studebaker-Packard Corporation. However, Studebaker's financial problems were worse than the Packard executives thought. The Packard marque was phased out, and the company returned to the Studebaker Corporation name in 1962. The South Bend plant ceased production on December 20, 1963, and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 16, 1966.
According to the official Studebaker history written by Albert R. Erskine, History of the Studebaker Corporation, South Bend, Indiana, published in 1918, "The ancestors of the Studebaker family first arrived in America at the Port of Philadelphia on September 1, 1736, on the ship Harle, from Rotterdam, Holland, as shown by the original manuscripts now in the Pennsylvania State Library at Harrisburg, and included Peter Studebecker, age 38 years; Clement Studebecker, age 36 years; Henry Studebecker, age 28 years; Anna Margetha Studebecker, age 38 years; Anna Catherine Studebecker, age 28 years. The last part of the name, "becker," was afterwards changed to "baker." The tax list of what was then Huntington Township, York County, Pennsylvania, in 1798-9, showed among the taxable were Peter Studebaker, Sr., and Peter Studebaker, Jr., wagonmakers, which trade later became the foundation of the family fortune and the corporation which now bears the name.
This history of Studebaker trucks is an attempt to bring together in one document a reasonably comprehensive chronology of Studebaker truck developments and production.
Four-wheel drive was available on 1/2 and 3/4-ton models Studebaker E-series truck beginning in 1957. Studebaker did not make the 4WD equipment themselves, but (in common with Chevrolet and GMC at the time) purchased the hardware from NAPCO (Northwestern Auto Parts Company).
The Studebaker-Packard Corporation was born upon the “consumation of the purchase by Packard Motor Car Company of the business and assets of The Studebaker Corporation on October 1, 1954”.
At the end Studebaker, actually Studebaker-Packard, was still turning out military trucks. This M35A1 was built by the company in South Bend, IN in 1962. A year later the company was gone. Author's photo from the 2014 MVPA Portland, IN gathering added 9-30-2014.
The Korean War triggered a requirement for new trucks for the Army and Marine Corps, and Studebaker proposed an all-new 2?-ton 6x6 military truck. Unfortunately, Reo’s bid won the competition. However, Reo was not able to meet the production targets, and sub-contracted with Studebaker to build trucks to Reo’s design. Studebaker ended up building 19,535 M34 and M35 2,5-ton, 6x6 military trucks in 1952, and another 9,898 in 1953. These were strictly assembly operations, with no Studebaker-unique content added. They did, however, help to keep the truck production line running.
The most notable anomalies were the quasi-famous U.S. Navy 4x4s.
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