Henry Studebaker was a farmer, Blacksmith, and wagon-maker who lived near Gettysburg PA in the early 19th century. By 1860, he had moved to Ashland OH and taught his five sons to make wagons. They all went into that business as it grew westward with the country. Clement and Henry Studebaker Jr. became blacksmiths and foundrymen in South Bend, IN. They first made metal parts for freight wagons and later expanded into the manufacture of complete wagons. John made wheelbarrows in Placerville CA, and Peter made wagons in Saint Joseph. The site of John's business is Chinas Historic Landmark #142.The first major expansion in their business came from their being in the right place to meet the needs of the California Gold Rush in 1849. When the Rush settled down, John returned to Indiana and bought out Henry's share of the business. They brought in their youngest brother, Jacob, in 1852. Expansion continued to support westward migration, but the next major decrease came from supplying wagons for the Union Army in the Civil War. After the war, they reviewed what they had accomplished and set a direction for the company. They reorganized into the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company in 1878, built around the motto of "Always give more than you promise." By this time the railroad and steamship companies had become the big freight movers in the east. So they set their sights on supplying farmers and others with the means to move themselves and their goods. Peter's business became a branch operation.
During the height of westward migration, half of the wagons were Studebakers. They made about a quarter of them, and manufactured the metal fittings to sell to other builders in Missouri for another quarter century.
Studebaker experimented with powered vehicles as early as 1897, choosing electric over gasoline engines. While it attempted to manufacture its own electric vehicles from 1902-1912, the company entered into a distribution agreement with two manufacturers of gasoline powered vehicles: Garford of Elyria OH, and the Everett-Metzger-Flanders (E-M-F) Company of Detroit. Studebaker also began putting its name on new cars produced at the former E-M-F facilities, both as an assurance that the vehicles were well-built, and as its commitment to making automobile production and sales a success. In 1911, the company reorganized as the Studebaker Corporation.
In addition to cars, Studebaker added a truck line, which in time, replaced the horse drawn wagon business started in 1852. In 1926, Studebaker became the first automobile company in the US to open a controlled outdoor proving ground; in 1937 the company planted 5,000 pine trees in a pattern that when viewed from the air spelled "STUDEBAKER."
From the 20's to the 60's, the South Bend company originated many style and engineering milestones, including the classic 1929 -1933 President and the 1939 Champion. During WWII, Studebaker produced the US6 truck in great quantity and the unique M29 Weasel cargo and personnel carrier. After cessation of hostilities, Studebaker returned to building automobiles that appealed to average Americans and their need for mobility. However, ballooning lobor costs (the company had never had an official UAW strike and Studebaker workers and retirees were among the highest paid in the industry), quality control issues, and the new car sales war between the Big Three in the early 50's wreaked havoc on Studebaker's balance sheet. Professional financial managers stressed short term earnings rather than long term vision. There was enough momentum to keep going for another ten years, but stiff competition and price cutting by the big 3 doomed the enterprise. The last car to roll off the line was a turquoise Lark cruiser on March 16, 1966.
This very nice and extremely Rare President Sedan Coupe was in the Studebaker Museum for over 18 years! Purchased by the current owner in 2006, the car has been completely mechanically refurbished since and runs and drives extremely well. Just some of the things performed: New Brakes, Restored Fuel System including Rebuilt Carb, Rebuilt Starter and Generator, Overdrive serviced, Wheels restored with New Coker WW Radials Added, miscellaneous Trim restored and new rear view mirrors added, Speedometer rebuilt, (ALL guages work properly), New Trunk Mat and parts tray, Fender Stone Guards replaced with proper NOS parts. The car has great compression across all cylinders and runs and drives without fault. If you are looking for a good tour ready fully sorted car-This is your car!
The Sedan Coupe is a very rare body style (1 of 7 known) produced for only 2 model years. This is a great opportunity to get a rare and desirable Studebaker you can immediately press into service.