Studebaker
1946 - 1966

The post-war Studebaker Corporation enjoyed some success in some years, but they seemed to lack a consistent product plan. One big area of confusion in the marketplace was their cars were continuously being renamed year-to-year - often with several names for one model (such as the 1947 Studebaker Commander Regal DeLuxe 5-passenger Coupe!). While other manufacturers typically named models by body style, Studebaker would name models by the engine that powered the car, so there would be several different model names for a physical car model that had minor trim differences among the models, then they would use the same model name for very differently-styled sedans.

It probably didn't seem to be confusing at the time -- after all, the dealers and the buying public had a year to get used to the new product mix -- but, in hindsight, it's very confusing to accurately document the model changes, year-to-year.


1946

After WWII, Studebaker began building cars again, but they were basically the same as the pre-war models.   Here are some representative pictures of the 1946 Studebakers.

Coupe
Sedan
Convertible
Station Wagon
Picture Not
Available (yet)
Picture Not
Available (yet)

1947 - 1952

Studebaker introduced a distinctively new and modern body style in 1947 which they would continue through the '52 model year.   Available body styles were 2-door sedans, 4-door sedans (the rear doors were often called 'suicide' doors because they were hinged at the rear), a 2-door convertible, a 2-door business coupe (without a rear seat), and a dramatic new 2-door design they called a Starlight Coupe.   On the Starlight Coupe, the 4-pane rear window was formed in a half-circle, giving a wide panoramic view when looking out the rear of the car.

1947


Commander 4-door Sedan


Champion 2-door Starlight Coupe

1948


Champion Convertible

1949


Commander Starlight Coupe


Commander Starlight Coupe

The '47 through '49 models had a somewhat flat nose, but a 'Bullet Nose' design was implemented for '50 and '51.   The nose designs for the two years were similar, but not the same.   These pictures show the differences.

1950


Champion Starlight Coupe


Champion Business Coupe

1951


Champion Starlight Coupe


Champion Business Coupe

Studebaker retained the same basic body style through 1952, but redesigned the nose in '52 to give a hint at the major changes in store for the Studebaker line-up for 1953.

1952


Commodore Starlight Coupe


Champion Starlight Coupe


1953 - 1958

After a 6-year run, it was time for new styling, and Studebaker launched a dramatically redesigned line of automobiles for the 1953 model year. Stylish and streamlined, the cars were very modern-looking.   The new 2-door 'sport' coupe, designed by Raymond Lowey, received critical acclaim from every corner, and was frequently praised as one of the most beautiful cars ever produced.   It was long, and low, and looked like it would cut through the air like a hot knife through butter.

While they shared the same styling cues, the 2- and 4-door sedans did not receive such praise.   The measurements of the cars reveal the sedans (typically the larger cars when offered by other manufacturers) was shorter, narrower, and higher than the coupe, so the styling that was so beautiful on one car just didn't look the same on the other.   As the sales results for the '53 models came in, Studebaker officials were surprised to learn the demand for the Loewy coupes (referring to designer Raymond Loewy), outweighed the demand for the sedans by 4 to 1!

NOTE: On October 1, 1954, the Packard Motor Car Company purchased the Studebaker Corporation, creating the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.   Although Packard was the financially stronger company, the Studebaker name had precedence in the new corporation because of its broader product line and larger estasblished dealer network.   Packard automobiles were produced until 1958, but the ones from 56-58 were modified Studebakers.

Year
Coupe
Height: 56 1/2"
Width: 71"
Length: 202 1/4"
Wheelbase: 120 1/2"
Sedan
Height: 60"
Width: 69 1/2"
Length: 198 1/2"
Wheelbase: 116 1/2"
Station Wagon
Height: 62 1/2"
Width: 69 3/4"
Length: 195 1/2"
Wheelbase: 116 1/2"
1953
None Made
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958

1959 - 1966

The 1953 Studebaker bodyshells would be used for much longer than anyone ever imagined back in the early '50's.   Due to declining market share (and profits), Studebaker-Packard kept on using the basic 1953 coupe body on its Hawk series until 1964, a 12-year run.   The 1953 sedan body -- although heavily modified in the '60's -- was used until the demise of the company in 1966, a 14-year run.

In 1959, Studebaker-Packard Corporation launched what would become their last "new" car, the Lark series.   While at first glance the car seemed totally different from its predecessor, it really wasn't.   The front fenders, grille, and hood were new, and the rear fenders and decklid were new, but the 'stuff' in the middle (and the platform on which it rode) was carried forward from the 1953 design.

Year
Hawk Coupe
Height: 56 1/2"
Width: 71"
Length: 202 1/4"
Wheelbase: 120 1/2"
Lark & Daytona
Height: 60"
Width: 69 1/2"
Length: 198 1/2"
Wheelbase: 116 1/2"
Station Wagon
Height: 62 1/2"
Width: 69 3/4"
Length: 195 1/2"
Wheelbase: 116 1/5"
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964

1964 was the last year for the Hawk.
1965
None Made
1966
None Made


This page was developed by Herb Klug       Updated October 2, 2019       Contact me at herbk98 @cfl.rr.com