Studebaker was known for building reliable cars–because they built reliable wagons long before the dawn of the automotive era.

They worked within a very tight budget, but Studebaker created some interesting cars over the years like the supercharged Golden Hawks of the 50s and the Avanti of the 1960s.

Studebaker was a part of everyday life for years—before they weren’t. You didn’t see Studebakers in Chevy-like numbers on the street—but you definitely saw them. Some of them became stars.

One of them was the ‘Muppet Movie’ from 1979 where they featured a 1951 Bullet-nose Studebaker (they used two). Fozzie Bear owned this classic thanks to his uncle and here’s a spoiler alert–Fozzie didn’t drive it.

A little guy rode in the trunk and drove via a TV monitor plus the puppeteers crouched down.  My apologies if you thought Fozzie really did drive it.

There was another star Studebaker thanks to Aunt Bee from the ‘Andy Griffith’ TV show. Frances Bavier played Aunt Bee and she was a hardcore Studebaker fan.

Aunt Bee owned an Algonquin Green 1966 Studebaker Daytona Sports Sedan with a vinyl roof and a 6-cylinder. It was the last year for Studebaker, but Aunt Bee’s real-life car starred in the ‘The Mynah Bird’ episode a few years later on the ‘Mayberry RFD’ TV show. It turns out Aunt Bee knew how to double-dip on the production expenses.

The third great example of a Studebaker star is the 1902 wagon pulled by the Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

This wagon needs no introduction to beer drinkers, but it’s the perfect example of what Studebaker did in its pre-car building days. They built wagons like this for heavy hauling, so a giant load of beer was a day at the beach for a Studebaker. 

The fourth Studebaker star is the 1953 Studebaker Starliner from the movie ‘Back to the Future’.

This Starliner wasn’t a main star. It was more of a bit player, but it was first seen at the Statler Studebaker dealership, and it appeared in all three ‘Back to the Future’ movies. That’s better than most co-stars did in the series, plus the Starliner equaled the appearances of the mythical DeLorean—it just didn’t jump time.

The final Studebaker star was found in the movie ‘Mischief’.

It was a 1950 Studebaker Champion, and it demolished a 1955 Chevy convertible in a dual over the local prom queen. Chevy guys wouldn’t like the outcome because the sturdy old Studebaker came out of the fray looking a lot better than the bad guy’s Bel Air convertible. It was like coming up against a young Mike Tyson in a barroom brawl

What does this tell you about Studebakers?

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.