MAY 1, 2013: 100 YEARS OF STUDEBAKER: HOW A 1952 STUDEBAKER CELEBRATED THE OCCASION

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1952 was quite awhile ago in most people’s lives and it marked the 100th anniversary of the Studebaker as a part of the American transportation scene.

 

Studebaker purists will probably rough us up because it seems the actual 100th year was 1951, but it appears that Studebaker wanted to run with 1952 as its anniversary.

 

 

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The company was founded by two brothers named Henry and Clem Studebaker when they pooled their 68 dollars and build three covered wagons in their blacksmith shop. It was easier to figure out the horsepower in the 1850s because all you had to do was count the number of horses in front of the wagons.

 

Eventually the world of transportation evolved into internal combustion horsepower and the Studebaker company said goodbye to covered wagons. The 20th Century was the era of the car and there is still no indication that cars will be replaced anytime soon by something new, although the internal combustion engines may lose their place along the way.

 

Studebaker was never one of the big dogs on the block when it came to American cars and trucks. The little company from South Bend Indiana had to figure out ways to compete with the Big Three without the necessary resources to pull off that magic act.

 

But Studebaker worked within their tight budget to produce a sense of change even though they were largely working with the same vehicles. A good example was the 1952 Studebaker because it had a minor face lift to give the car a different look from the 1951 Studebaker.

 

 

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The 1952 Studie was given new front fenders and grille to differentiate the car from the 1951 Studie. The rest of the car was pure 1951, a year when the iconic bullet-nose Studebaker made its final voyage as the flagship of the company.

 

The ’52 Studebaker was given the name “shovel-nose” to celebrate the new look and the car was introduced to the automotive world. It was powered by the small block that was introduced in 1951 by Studebaker and it gave the car better overall performance.

 

We ran into a very well-preserved 1952 Studebaker owned by George Goodacre at a summer car show. The car had 70,456 miles on the odometer and it was an original car in every sense of the word, including the paint.

 

 

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We are always amazed when we find a car like George’s Studebaker at a show because so few cars of any make have survived 60-plus years in this quality of un-restored excellence. This car is a four-wheeled frozen moment in time that has existed unchanged since it left the plant in South Bend all those years ago.

 

We admired the car long enough to find George on his way back from looking at other people’s vehicles. It turned out that George had a soft spot for the Studebaker for one very good reason: his dad had one.

 

We never get tired of that reason because it means that a father and his car made a big impression on a young guy at a very impressionable time in his life.

 

 

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It also means that George bought this incredibly well-preserved 1952 Studebaker for all of the right reasons and we could not agree more with him.

 

 

Jim Sutherland

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