Studebaker Car Club Of New South Wales Inc.



Studebaker Heritage



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Wanted: Articles for our website.


We're looking for;


All of those automotive, engineering, and technical "Firsts".


They can be; 'First in USA', 'First in World', 'First in ??' etc.

Many say that Studebaker was ahead of its time.

There is truth to it, and the motto "give them more than you promised" always

seem to fit well with the Studebaker philosophy and products.


Here are some of the innovations the company can claim, setting the pace for the automotive industry.


It's likely to be very debatable that some of these 'firsts' are worthy of mention.

In any case, it is interesting to see the creativity being put into practice.


If any of these 'firsts' are questionable, and if you are able to provide evidence that any are in fact not 'firsts'

we will be more than happy to make corrections.

This Studebaker info came from a Studebaker Drivers Club pamphlet at a meet in Vicksburg,

Mississippi in May of 1997, and Turning Wheels January 1996.

1913   First to cast six-cylinder engines in block.
1913   First to produce a car with crown fenders.
1913   First to produce a six-cylinder car to sell for less than $2,000.
1916   First to produce a seven-passenger four cylinder.
1916   First to produce a 40 horsepower touring car to sell for less than $1,000.
1919   First extensive use of pressed steel throughout.
1920   First to cast the intake manifold in the detachable head.
1920   First to use (and invent) the internal inlet manifold hot spot.
1920   First to use 20 inclined silent operating valves.
1921   First to develop and patent molybdenum steel and to produce a car in which it was used.
1925   First to use a hydrostatic gas gage.
1925   First to mass produce hardtop body (Duplex Roadster & Tourer).
1926   Studebaker was the first automobile manufacturer in the USA to open a controlled outdoor proving ground.
1927   First to use the mechanical fuel pump.
1928   First to use ball bearing spring shackles.
1928   First full power (straight-through) muffler.
1929   First to use rubber covered steel core steering wheels.
1930   First to use carburettor silencer.
1930   First to use thin steel-backed main bearings, adopted from aircraft design.
1930   First to use free wheeling--the greatest step forward in automotive history since the adoption of self starters.
1930   First to use the automatic spark control advance to improve fuel economy.
1930   First to use helical gears in transmission (high and second).
1930   First to use valve spring vibration dampers.
1933   First to use "heat-dam" pistons.
1934   First to use celeron spoke-type camshaft gear.
1935   First to use planar wheel suspension.
1936   First to use the automatic hill holder.
1937   First to use non-scratch piston rings.
1937   First to use Hancock rotary door latches.
1937   First to use the variable ratio steering gear.
1937   First to use direct acting shock absorbers.
1937   First to have double wall pickup bodies on trucks.
1938   First to use Climatizer - combination heater and ventilator under the front seat.
1940   First manufacturer to receive first place awards in all three divisions of Gilmore Economy run.
1941   First major production use of curved windshield (Sedan-Coupe)
1946   First to introduce post-war automotive styling, the "fender less" slab side design.
1946   First to use self-adjusting brakes.
1946   First to use "back-lighting for its instrument panel.
1947   First to pioneer all-around glass with curved rear windows of 180 degree for full vision.
1947   First in low-price field to use two-piece propeller shaft.
1948   First to use nylon upholstery.
1948   First to use instrument panel design for under-the-hood accessibility on trucks.
1948   First truck with enclosed cab step.
1950   First to use air cooled torque converter transmission.
1950   First to use automatic transmission anti-creep device.
1950   First to use inhibitors for "park" in automatic transmission.
1950   First to use no-rollback feature on automatic transmission.
1951   First to use filtered air to the automatic choke coil.
1951   First to use polythene rear spring liners.
1952   First to use mechanical power steering.
1953   First to use carburettor with hot air passage to prevent idle freeze-up.
1953   First to introduce modern American family sports car styling.
1953   First to use high efficiency filter paper type carburettor air cleaner.
1954   First to use self-centring, self energising brakes.
1954   First to use Sapphire super enamels, which need no waxing.
1955   First to demonstrate and announce interlocking safety door latches.
1956   First to use Safety-eye speedometer.
1956   First to use flared fin brake drums to minimise "fading" due to heat.
1956   First passenger car to  use acoustical sound deadening headlining.
1956   First complete line of sports-type family cars by an American auto manufacturer.
1956   First to bring large displacement, high compression engines to the low price field.
1956   First to install limited-slip or power-driving differential on trucks as optional original equipment.
1959   First to introduce totally new dimension in motoring with the Lark.
1960   First to introduce a complete line of body styles in the compact car field, including first convertible.
1961   First to have instrument panel safety padding standard equipment on all passenger car models.
1962   First US auto manufacturer to offer calliper type disc brakes on a full sized car (Avanti).
1962   First in the industry to install seat belt mountings for four belt installations in every car.
1962   First to introduce built in roll bar (Avanti).
1962   First to make transistorised ignition standard equipment (Avanti R3, R4).
1963   First to install seat belts in the front of every car.
1963   First to introduce sliding roof station wagon.


Studebaker engineers also tested, improved and were among the first to adopt;

Built-in windshield defroster.

Metal spring covers.
Electro-plated differential gears.
Non-spill battery.
"Stepped" cylinders for hydraulic brakes.

Safety glass as standard equipment.

Radiator grills as part of the front-end design.
Cast one-piece cylinder block and crankcase.

There are many theories on why Studebaker finally failed. Perhaps it was because of a reluctant public to accept such "innovations".

If there is truth in that, then Studebakers were in essence testing platforms for the other manufacturers of automobiles.


This page last reviewed 13th July 2009.

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