Studebaker Car Club Of New South Wales Inc.



Studebaker Heritage



Timeline Summary

  • 1736 - The Staudenbecker family migrate from Germany to Philadelphia, USA, aboard the "Harle".  The immigration clerks, unfamiliar with German pronunciations, recorded their names as "Studenbecker." Other records recorded their names as Studebaker, Studibaker, Studabaker and other variations.

  • 1799 - John Clement Studebaker was born (9th February) to Clement Studebaker Jr. in Adams County, Pennsylvania.  John C was the father of the brothers responsible for the Studebaker Corp.

  • 1820 - JCS married Rebecca Mohler and began to raise 13 children, with 3 passing away before adulthood.

  • 1830 - JCS purchased land adjoining his father's, where he built a house and the blacksmith shop.

  • 1831 - Clement Studebaker is born.

  • 1835 - JCS sells most of his possessions, paid off his debts and moved his family to Ashland, OH in three wagons constructed at this homestead.

  • 1850 - Clement moves to South Bend.

  • 1851 - John Studebaker and sons, including Clement, build a covered wagon.

  • 1852 - The company 'H. & C. Studebaker' begins 16th February, with Henry and Clement Studebaker buying a blacksmith shop in South Bend, Indiana, USA.  In their first year, they produced 2 full sized wagons.

  • 1857 - Studebaker produces first covered wagon.

  • 1858 - Brother John Mohler Studebaker went west looking for fortunes in the gold fields, and ends up making a small fortune building wheel barrows for the prospectors.  JM (Wheelbarrow Johnny) returns to Southbend with $8,000.00 and buys Henry's share who wants to go back to farming.

  • 1860's - Brothers Peter and Jacob join the company, with Peter in charge of sales, setting up the sales network across the country.

  • 1862 - Studebaker supplies wagon for the Union Army.

  • 1865 - Abraham Lincoln rides in a Studebaker carriage, owned by the White House, to Ford's Theatre.

  • 1868 - Henry and Clem Studebaker's blacksmith shop becomes the Studebaker Manufacturing Company, and becomes the largest wagon manufacturer in the world.

  • 1870s - The company suffered 2 disastrous fires and recovered to produce 75,000 wagons annually.

  • 1877 - JC Studebaker passes away aged 78.

  • 1878 - Studebaker wins silver medal for excellence at Paris Exhibition, for their wagons.

  • 1880s - Studebaker is Worlds Largest Manufacturer of horse drawn vehicles.

  • 1881 - Wagons now being exported to Africa.

  • 1885 - Another huge fire in South Bend.

  • 1888 - President Harrison orders Studebaker wagons for White House.

  • 1898 - Spanish-American War has Studebaker building 500 wagons in record time.

  • 1901 - Clement Studebaker passes away. Born: March 12, 1831, Pinetown, Pennsylvania, Died: November 27, 1901,  South Bend, Indiana, aged 70.

  • 1902 - First automobile (electric powered).  Electric power was chosen mainly due to JM not liking the smell, noise, or unreliability of the gasoline powered designs.

  • 1902 - The second Electric vehicle produced was purchased by Thomas Edison.

  • 1904 - First gasoline powered vehicle was joint venture with the 2 cylinder, 4 seat Studebaker-Garford tourer.

  • 1911 - Studebaker join with Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company of Detroit to form the Studebaker Corporation.

  • 1912 - Last Electric vehicle built.

  • 1913 - First all Studebaker vehicle.  Graduating from 2 cyl, to 4, then to 6 with the 'Big Six' in 1917.

  • 1914 - World War I, Studebaker supply wagons to England, France, Russia, and USA.

  • 1915 - Albert Russell Erskine made president of Studebaker.

  • 1917 - John Mohler Studebaker passes away.  Born: Oct 10, 1833, Adams County, Pennsylvania, Died: March 16 1917, South Bend, Indiana, aged 83.

  • 1920 - Horse Drawn vehicle manufacture ends.

  • 1920s - Building more than 100,000 vehicles per year under Company President Albert R. Erskine.

  • 1925 - Four wheel hydraulic brakes introduced to Studebaker range.

  • 1926 - First automobile manufacturer in the United States to open a controlled outdoor proving ground.

  • 1927 - Erskine automobile takes Studebaker into the 'downsized' market.

  • 1928 - Studebaker takes over Pierce-Arrow.

  • 1928 - Studebaker sets 160 speed or endurance records.

  • 1928 - Mickey Mouse created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio.

  • 1929 - Depression strikes hard, forces re-organisation and rationalization in 1933 after struggling to survive.

  • 1929 - President Roadster used for Indianapolis 500 pace car with George Hunt driving.

  • 1929 - Pikes Peak Stock Class winner - Studebaker President 8 Roadster. Ref image.

  • 1930 - First car radio developed by Motorola, installed and demonstrated in a Studebaker. Ref.

  • 1931 - Rockne vehicles introduced.

  • 1931 - Introduced free-wheeling drive train.

  • 1932 - Blaupunkt of Germany, fitted its first car "wireless" audio system into Studebakers in 1932. Ref.

  • 1933 - Studebaker enters a 5 car team in the famous Indianapolis 500, and finishes 3rd.

  • 1933 - Studebaker goes into receivership, undergoes management re-organisation and works it's way out of receivership in.  Albert Erskine suicides.

  • 1936 - Raymond Lowey begins working with Studebaker.

  • 1938 - Pine tree sign spelling STUDEBAKER planted. It took 8,259 seedlings. The living sign spans a distance of one-half mile. Each letter is 200 feet in width and 250 feet in length.

  • 1939 - World War II, Studebaker supply trucks to France, Belgium, Holland, Russia and USA.  Studebaker built engines powered the Boeing B-17 aircraft, and the Weasel personnel carrier.

  • 1940 - Champion used for Indianapolis 500 pace car with Harry Hartz driving, and Ab Jenkins passenger.

  • 1942 - War effort causes car production to cease, replaced by aero engines, bomber fuselages, Weasel troop carriers, and the tough 6x6 wheel drive trucks.

  • 1946 - Studebaker is first US company to introduce new vehicle after WWII.

  • 1947 - Raymond Lowey's design team introduce radical looking Champions, Commanders and the unique Starlight Coupe.

  • 1948 - Automobile manufacture begins in Hamilton, Ontario.

  • 1949 - Studebaker develops its own automatic transmission while working in conjunction with Borg-Warner of Muncie.

  • 1950 - The Bullet Nose hits the scene.

  • 1950s - Studebaker introduces V8 engine, self adjusting brakes, automatic overdrive and Hill-Holder system.  Studebaker is struggling financially to compete with the Big Three auto makers.

  • 1952 - Commander Convertible used for Indianapolis 500 pace car with P.O. Petersen (Exec VP of Studebaker) driving.

  • 1953 - Lowey Studios designed Starliner hardtop and pillared coupes.  The Starliner is generally hailed as one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and led to the finned Hawk line of cars in 1956.  The supercharged Golden Hawk of 1956-57 was one of the most powerful cars of the time with 275 horsepower V8.

  • 1954 - Studebaker merges with Packard in effort to bolster company profits, but creates more problems than it solved.

  • 1955 - Raymond Loewy departs Studebaker.

  • 1956 - The last true Packard is built, 25th June. Click >here< to see image

  • 1956 - The Hawk joins the long line of Studebakers.

  • 1958 - The last Packard is produced, but the name remains until 1962.

  • 1959 - The successful Lark was released as a down sized car, which led to the rush of 'compact' cars form other makers.  The Lark and Hawk range were locally assembled in Australia, with locally manufactured power brakes and interiors.

  • 1961 - Studebaker Corporation purchase Paxton Products. (Andy Granatelli, CEO of Paxton)

  • 1961 - Studebaker Corporation acquires STP (Scientifically Treated Petroleum).

  • 1960s - The Big Three caught up with their vast range of compacts, resulting in major loss of market share for Studebaker again.  The Lowey, fiberglass bodied Avanti was futuristic in design and technically advanced, it broke many performance records.

  • 1962 - The Avanti prototype R-3 (299 cid) driven by Andy Granatelli set land speed record of 168.15 mph (270.61 km/h) for the Flying Mile.

  • 1962 - Lark Convertible used for Indianapolis 500 pace car with  Sam Hanks driving.  Was intended to be the Avanti, but production problems prevented timely completion.

  • 1963 - Automobile manufacture at South Bend ends.

  • 1964 - The Lark was re-modelled and renamed as, 'Challenger', 'Daytona' and 'Cruiser' in a failed attempt to resurrect sales.

  • 1966 - After 114 years, Studebaker ceases manufacture and closes down.  The last vehicle rolls off the assembly in Hamilton, Ontario, 17th March.

At the time of closing in 1966, Studebaker was the oldest manufacturer of wheeled vehicles in the USA with 114 years of manufacturing.


Studebaker Corp continued business, after the vehicle manufacturing ceased in March 1966, with it's subsidiaries such as STP, Gravely, Clarke and Onan.

  • 1967 - Studebaker purchased the Wagner Electric Corp in mid 1967, then it amalgamated with Worthington Corp in November 1967 to be known as the Studebaker-Worthington Corp.

  • 1969 - Studebaker-Worthington Corporation dispose of STP.

  • 1979 - Taken over by McGraw Edison.

  • 1985 - Taken over by Cooper Industries of Houston in April 1985.

  • 1986 - Raymond Loewy passes away. Born: Nov 5, 1893, Parris, France, Died: July 14, 1986, Monte Carlo, Monaco, aged  92. 

  • 2006 - For the 2006 model year the Company took the opportunity to use a new Ford platform and its longer wheelbase liberated extra interior space whilst at the same time offering improvements handling and ride comfort. 

  • 2010 - Cooper Industries is still hanging in there...


Studebaker continues in the form of Avanti.  The forward styling of the Avanti has stood the test of time with the Avanti Motor Corp securing the rights to continue manufacture the 'Avanti II'.
Nathan Altman and Leo Newman purchased buildings and equipment from Studebaker and set about producing an exclusive vehicle using Corvette power plants. The rest of the vehicle is essentially was the same as originally built by Studebaker

  • 1982 - Here we go again, the Avanti Motor Corp was sold in October.  The new owner retained the company name but made a few changes, reverting back to 'Avanti' and a convertible was new for 1985.

  • 1986 - The Avanti Motor Corp was sold in 1986, being re-named to "The New Avanti Motor Corporation".

  • 1987 - Long wheelbase 2 door on a GM chassis and production moved to Youngstown, Ohio.

  • 1988 - Company sold and re-named "Avanti Automotive Corporation".

  • 1991 - Production ends, after manufacturing coupes, convertibles and 4d sedans.

  • 1999 - The remains of the company are obtained by consortium and raised from the ashes.

  • 1990s - In the late 1990´s Tom Kellogg, who had been a member of Loewy´s original design team that worked on the Avanti, was commissioned to design the next generation Avanti to be known as the AVX.

  • 2001 - Now in the full control of Michael Kelly, there are coupes and convertibles being produced.

  • 2004 - The Avanti continued to use General Motors platforms and engines until 2004, when they were replaced by Ford units.

  • 2006 - Avanti Motors hosted a gala celebration for more than 200 guests to inaugurate the company's all-new manufacturing facilities in Cancun, Mexico.  Based in Villa Rica, Georgia, the Avanti Motor Corporation limits production to less than 150 handcrafted motorcars each year.

  • 2007 - For 2007 the changes were largely under the skin targeting comfort, convenience and overall customer satisfaction making to current cars to best Avantis to date.

Information for the Avanti courtesy of Avanti Motors website.


This page last reviewed 26th December 2014.  Changes highlighted in yellow.


Compiled by S.King with references from;

Turning Wheels, Studebaker Driver's Club

The Antique Studebaker Review, Antique Studebaker Club

Studebaker Cars, Moloney

The Studebaker Century, Hall & Langworth

Studebaker Road Wagon


> SCCNSW Home <


* *