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unclemiltie
07-21-2017, 08:58 AM
I had my 50 Commander radiator at the radiator shop for a checkout and repair of a loose brace. This radiator has never been out of the car.

The radiator shop owner pointed out something interesting to me. He said, look at the Studebaker radiator with the "Dutch" seam on the top tank, look at the brass overflow tube and feel the weight. He then had me look at a 50 Chevy radiator he had in for repair. He said instead of the dutch seam they had a seam prone to leaking, the overflow tube was steel and rusted, and the weight was around half.

I then went over to look again at his restored 50 Chev pickup that his grandpa and dad had used in the business and now is used for advertising.

Mike
07-21-2017, 10:22 AM
Woody Guthrie wrote a song about fishing, and pulling up "a Ford radiator and a Chevrolet coupe", as though they were about the same weight.
Mike

DEEPNHOCK
07-21-2017, 11:06 AM
Kind of a misleading question...
Yes, Studebaker was the #4 automaker when they stopped producing vehicles.
But Studebaker, just like all the automakers, purchased components from vendors.
Sometimes, the product specifics (like the seam you mention) could be totally different, but acceptable,
as long as the product met the engineering and bid spec's.
I find it a tad ludicrous to toss the whole company (any company) into one pot because of one vendor items lack of quality, or failure.
Not a slam.... Just an opinion...

Mike Sal
07-21-2017, 12:22 PM
As much as we love our Studebakers, we have to face the fact that they were not the best built cars, especially the later years, in the eyes of the general public. The examples I always hear:
Flimsy bumpers (how many 66 chevy's do you see with bent up bumpers (from the jack) compared to a late Studebaker.

Water leaks (how many other brands depended so heavily on seam sealer (I think it was called dum dum back in the day) to plug the gaps & holes).

Oil consumption (when I was a kid, Studebaker had stopped making cars & every used one in my area smoked like crazy....it was the running joke that if you saw blue smoke down the road, it was a Studebaker (now my opinion is the root cause of the smoke was owner abuse....trying to drive a car designed for ecomomy beyond it's limits....).

I'm not knocking our brand, I'm just expressing what I think were poor cultural decisions made by management (people trade every three years, don't they....why put more effort into the integrity of the car???).

I may be all wet, but these are my thoughts. I have worked in the automotive industry most of my career. I can tell you there used to be a significant difference between the big three brands in the amount of research & development time & money put into new vehicles & engines. I can extrapolate these observations down stream to imagine how much (little) money Studebaker engineers had to execute their tasks.
Mike Sal

SScopelli
07-21-2017, 03:15 PM
It was not the lack of quality, but the lack to progress in quality. If its not broke, don't fix it attitude.

A car company that had brake and clutch pedals going through the floor in 63, and the gas pedal still through the floor until they closed, when every other did away with that in 56!

A horrible door latch system with four catch points opposed to others 8 catches, and that door strike that last about two years.

Fuses? What are those?

And lastly, king pins.

But I still enjoy them. The idea you take parts from a 55's Studebaker and put them on your 64 is quite a bragging right ( I guess..)

Guido
07-21-2017, 03:27 PM
Kind of a misleading question...
Yes, Studebaker was the #4 automaker when they stopped producing vehicles.
But Studebaker, just like all the automakers, purchased components from vendors.
Sometimes, the product specifics (like the seam you mention) could be totally different, but acceptable,
as long as the product met the engineering and bid spec's.
I find it a tad ludicrous to toss the whole company (any company) into one pot because of one vendor items lack of quality, or failure.
Not a slam.... Just an opinion...

Studebaker would have been the number 5 producer behind GM, Ford, Chrysler and American Motors.

53k
07-21-2017, 03:37 PM
Many years ago I was talking to a long-time Studebaker dealer about the cars. He had seen the writing on the wall and took on a Ford franchise in addition to his Studebaker franchise. He told me that his warranty and new car preparation costs were much higher for Fords than for Studebakers.

Skip Lackie
07-21-2017, 03:48 PM
Studebaker would have been the number 5 producer behind GM, Ford, Chrysler and American Motors.

Agree. However, in 1955-56, S-P used to advertise that they were the fourth biggest American manufacturer of cars and trucks. At the time, AMC did not build trucks. A fine distinction.

Commander Eddie
07-21-2017, 03:55 PM
In the 60's I spent over a year parking cars in Hollywood at fancy restaurants that had valet parking. I had an opportunity to drive thousands of cars, albeit short drives. I drove Studebakers and Packards in those days. I was often appalled at the poor quality of other makes compared to what I drove. Headlight switches that came off in my hand on Lincolns, poor fit and finish on Cadillacs, Fords that would pop out of park and roll away, GM cars that rattled, etc. It always felt good to go home at the end of the day in my Studebaker. Just my experience.

bezhawk
07-21-2017, 04:20 PM
It was not the lack of quality, but the lack to progress in quality. If its not broke, don't fix it attitude.

A car company that had brake and clutch pedals going through the floor in 63, and the gas pedal still through the floor until they closed, when every other did away with that in 56!

A horrible door latch system with four catch points opposed to others 8 catches, and that door strike that last about two years.

Fuses? What are those?

And lastly, king pins.

But I still enjoy them. The idea you take parts from a 55's Studebaker and put them on your 64 is quite a bragging right ( I guess..)Stude actually went to a suspended gas pedal mid 65. Avantis have fuses. Corvette still used king pins until after the 62 model. I agree, that the door latch probably did them in!:ohmy:;)

Corvanti
07-21-2017, 04:31 PM
fuses? my newer vehicles have fuses.:ohmy:

and didn't Studebaker "borrow" the Mercedes-Benz superior door latch design for Avantis?:eek:

Swifster
07-21-2017, 08:00 PM
How ca you tell if a Studebaker has been restored? It has good panel gaps...

dpson
07-21-2017, 08:00 PM
My dad always believed Studebaker's were poorly made cars because the front fenders would rust out (along the rear seam) in about two years (his words) up here in salt country.

When I showed him my newly purchased 1951 Commander his first comment was, "I don't know what you bought one of those for", implying they weren't very good cars. However after taking a few trips in the 51 he finally said to me "you know these are pretty good cars".

There's a well known quote from an airline executive (Tom Peters "In Search of Excellence") that "Coffee stains on the flip-down trays mean that we do our engine maintenance wrong". Likewise rusty fenders implied poorly built cars. Sadly Studebaker didn't take action to fix the problem and the damage was done.

lumpy
07-21-2017, 10:00 PM
Sometimes i like to compare cars to the bikes we rode as kids... I would not call studebaker a schwinn , but i certainly would not call it a Huffy.:!!:

BRUCESTUDE
07-21-2017, 11:16 PM
Quality control back in the '50s and '60s was inconsistent on all makes of cars, owing to typical mass production methods and human behavior on the line. Studebakers were increasingly perceived as future orphans thus resale values plummeted; so Studes were often driven into the ground especially the cheaper models. Actually many makes of used cars became clunkers as they were available for little money and why spend money on oil changes when the car cost $50?

Kurt
07-22-2017, 12:27 AM
I would bet a higher percentage of Larks survived than other early 60's compacts. When as the last time you saw a 1960 falcon? They built way more of those than Larks.

i don't think they were any better or any worse than their competitors. Studes were dated by the 1960's and many models from 56 to the end were face lifted on the cheap and it showed......

still love them though

bensherb
07-22-2017, 12:56 AM
Agree. However, in 1955-56, S-P used to advertise that they were the fourth biggest American manufacturer of cars and trucks. At the time, AMC did not build trucks. A fine distinction.

AMC wasn't even formed until 1954. By 1957 the auto makers it was formed on Nash and Hudson were defunked, but their Rambler brand was gaining acceptance. by 1960 Rambler was #3, it eventually "morphed" into AMC which went under in 1988. A mere 24 years after inception.

By the way, VW used king pins until 2004, and many other makers still do, especially on trucks.

Noxnabaker
07-22-2017, 02:58 AM
In Sweden Studebakers was considered winner cars, especially if you were a rocker & the reason why they ended up on the scrapyards was because of very rough use.
When I read about old US cars in US in the 50-70's I realize they must have been poorer put together than the Europe ones, especialy the Scandinavian ones.

As for the other brands compacts, I've had early Nova's (good cars!), early Falcon's (horrible roadholding!) & early Valiants (easily the best in every way!) & I think exept for the Falcon they're just as good.

& about pedals & such, it's alsmost a fashion thing just as the Volvo Amazon that had a long (nicer calm feeling) gear stick untill the end 1970 while other makes had short sticks, but you still see Amazon's on the roads while Opel & Taunus are long gone...

Hallabutt
07-22-2017, 05:23 AM
I have always believed that it's near impossible to characterize the quality of sixty five years of Studebaker automobile production, as though it never changed. I've always thought that the quality of pre-war Studebakers to be among the best in the industry. Although some of the engineering might have seem a little strange or even quirky, quality seemed pretty consistent. I think that from top management who were really trying to produce a good product, to the workers who seemed to take pride in their work, the cars that they produced were really pretty good.

I've always found post-war quality spotty at best. With the exception of the 1953, I've always been reasonably pleased by the early post war cars 1946-55. After 1955 there was a general drop off in quality and uniformity. It could vary from day to day, week to week, year to year, and even model to model. The sixties could be especially lousy as far as paint quality and fit and finish. One consistent I have observed is that the uniformity in quality of the Vernon plant was always demonstrably better then that of South Bend.

Skip Lackie
07-22-2017, 06:59 AM
AMC wasn't even formed until 1954. By 1957 the auto makers it was formed on Nash and Hudson were defunked, but their Rambler brand was gaining acceptance. by 1960 Rambler was #3, it eventually "morphed" into AMC which went under in 1988. A mere 24 years after inception.



Right. I shoulda said that Nash and Hudson did not build trucks (though they did build a handful of wreckers for dealers). Willys/Kaiser-Jeep did arguably did build both cars and trucks, but they were an even smaller producer than S-P.

56H-Y6
07-22-2017, 08:33 AM
Hi

As company finances become distressed, cost-cutting through material and labor reduction is one of the quickest ways to lower unit production costs. This was reflected increasingly in the mid-later 1950's production. In addition to leaving the fender rust issues unaddressed and technological updates deferred, simple things such as few paint applications, lower durability upholstery materials, less assembly time allowed for each operation occurred in an effort to produce cars of acceptable initial quality but whose impression on the public longer-term will be one of comparatively lower quality.

I discovered one such example which wasn't readily obvious to new buyers: looking up under the dash in the 1957 President Classic I had, the underside of the upper cowl areas were surface-rusted bare metal, no trace of even primer paint. This explained why I was finding cars with rust holes in the upper cowl, something rarely seen on other makes.


Steve

bensherb
07-22-2017, 05:36 PM
Right. I shoulda said that Nash and Hudson did not build trucks (though they did build a handful of wreckers for dealers). Willys/Kaiser-Jeep did arguably did build both cars and trucks, but they were an even smaller producer than S-P.

Hudson made pickup trucks, really cool looking ones. Here's a '46, '39, '37, and '35
65816658176581865819

So did Nash. 6582065821

studeclunker
07-23-2017, 12:19 PM
I love Hudsons! Even more now that I know they built such beautiful trucks!