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DougHolverson
09-26-2017, 02:30 PM
I was wondering how big Studebaker's engineering staff was during their heyday and when they closed the South Bend factory? Or even the tail end in Canada?

Chris_Dresbach
09-26-2017, 11:15 PM
When Studebaker was going strong in SB the engineering department as a whole had hundreds of employees but everybody there had varying jobs. I don't know the exact numbers off the top of my head, but some of the different roles included draftsman, chassis engineers, body engineers, engine engineers, electrical engineers, engineers specializing in cars, engineers specializing in trucks, production engineers out in the plants to build vehicles in the most efficient way possible, skilled carpenters who would craft the bucks used to make stamping dies, and then test engineers out at the Proving Ground running cars and trucks through every test imaginable to make a better product.
In other words, the umbrella term of "Engineering Department" was a big one. There were also stylists who weren't necessarily engineers but had to work closely with them to make drawings a reality.

As for 1965 and 1966 in Canada, I don't know how bit their engineering department was but I'd assume that it was dramatically smaller than it was even in 1963 SB because they weren't creating completely new cars and new body styles every year and they knew that.
Another lesser known fact is that Plant 8 remained open in SB until 1972 when Newman & Altman bought out the rest of their inventory. Plant 8 kept 10 (I think 10 but it could have been 12) "supplement engineers" on hand until they closed. Their job was to figure out how to interchange parts when they ran out of any particular item.

Silverplate
09-27-2017, 06:23 AM
Thank you Chris, very interesting...Mike

jpepper
09-27-2017, 11:27 AM
Plant 8 was I believe the original SASCO. I bought many parts from them through a local dealer.

Studebaker Wheel
09-27-2017, 12:03 PM
When the new 183,000 square foot Engineering Building was opened in South Bend 1927-28 there were 508 employees in six departments. Another47 in Detroit. Total 555. Salaries for hourly employees ranged from .45c per hour to $1.10 (pattern makers). I am sure this number increased over the years. For what its worth I have the names and depts. plus salaries of all the 508 in South Bend.

wittsend
09-27-2017, 12:32 PM
Another lesser known fact is that Plant 8 remained open in SB until 1972 when Newman & Altman bought out the rest of their inventory. Plant 8 kept 10 (I think 10 but it could have been 12) "supplement engineers" on hand until they closed. Their job was to figure out how to interchange parts when they ran out of any particular item.

Can anyone elaborate more on this interesting subject? Was it to supply parts for existing Studebakers..., or was it for Avanti production? It just seems interesting that a manufacture goes out of business, but, oh yea, there are still parts being made to the extent they need 10+ engineers to do so. When you count the years from a South Bend closing perspective that is 9 years (7 years for Canada).

BTW, was Studebaker the last 'dead end' manufacturer? I mean AMC was taken over by Renault and Chrysler etc.. Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Mercury died within their parent companies. Studebaker seems to stand alone unless one considers the 'life support' existence of the Avanti. But even there that had its final, long drawn out day. Also, I'm not talking about the Studebaker Company and all its subsidiaries. I'm strictly talking as a car manufacture.

2R2
09-27-2017, 12:53 PM
Adding on to what Chris has mentioned, Studebaker/Studebaker Worthington, through their SASCO division, continued to support their contracted service dealers for many years after the last car left the factory. They also continued to not only supply parts, but produce service letters too, just like when they were producing cars. I have a copy of a service letter from 1969, years after the last car was produced. Attached is a picture of SASCO plant 8, taken in 1971.
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wittsend
09-27-2017, 01:14 PM
So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? Was this part of the (I believe law) that manufacturers had to supply parts 7 years after ceasing..., or is that an urban myth too? I remember something like that being an issue when the Corvair stopped production.

PackardV8
09-27-2017, 02:35 PM
So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? Was this part of the (I believe law) that manufacturers had to supply parts 7 years after ceasing..., or is that an urban myth too? I remember something like that being an issue when the Corvair stopped production.

Yes, some dealerships limped along on the CASO service and parts crumbs. Some took on other franchises. Some just became general automotive repair shops. Some just went out of business.

Slightly OT, but I remember McCormack Brothers Motor Car Company, Inc in Birmingham still servicing Packards and selling parts up into the early 1960s.

jack vines

DieselJim
09-27-2017, 02:38 PM
Plant 8 was I believe the original SASCO. I bought many parts from them through a local dealer.
The counter person, Dale Holt, was my brothers neighbor. I was able to purchase parts there.

StudeRich
09-27-2017, 03:19 PM
So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? /Cut/

Studebaker Corp. and Dealers would have done that anyway, regardless of any stink'in "Law". :rolleyes:

Yes that is definitely true, I worked in the Parts Dept. at one of them; Frost and French Studebaker Packard in Los Angeles in 1972.
They were still receiving Semi Loads of Parts every few Months from South Bend, IN.

Frost & French also became the West Coast SASCO Studebaker Parts Warehouse, buying out the SASCO Berlingame, CA West Coast Warehouse, and moving it complete with the Clark Forklift to L.A.

They remained a Used Car & Studebaker Service & Parts Dealer well into the '70's, and a Parts Dealer much longer into, I believe the late 1980's or the 1990's!

wittsend
09-27-2017, 03:53 PM
It really seems like a substantial benefit to the Studebaker community to have had (and still have) such resources. Is that common with other defunct auto manufacturers? I mean 50+ years after the last one rolled off the line significant parts are still available. Or, as I asked earlier that Studebaker was the last non-absorbed auto manufacturer to die off and they are in that way "Guinea Pigs" of an example to how long parts hang around.

Thanks for all the replies (I find it all very intriguing). As it regards Studebaker parts availability it is almost as if the sole wealthy relative in the family set up a perpetual trust that benefits one before they are even born.

Skip Lackie
09-27-2017, 04:38 PM
To further respond to wittsend, the last Studebaker (specifically, SASCO Division) parts depot price list was published on July 1. 1971. In early 1972, the company sold the whole parts depot operation, including building 69, to the newly created Avanti Parts Corp., which continued to honor dealer discounts and procure popular replacement parts (ie, V8 water pumps). Avanti Parts Corp was separate from Avanti Motors, though they shared some common owners (Newman and Altman families). Avanti Parts Corp was purchased by, and combined with, Newman & Altman Inc on December 1, 1986. N&A had been a retail outlet and had mostly had in its inventory parts that it had previous purchased as surplus.

8E45E
09-27-2017, 05:08 PM
So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? Was this part of the (I believe law) that manufacturers had to supply parts 7 years after ceasing..., or is that an urban myth too? I remember something like that being an issue when the Corvair stopped production.

The former service manager of Mills Motors in Edmonton set up his own shop after it closed, and continued to service Studebakers up until around 1980, after which he retired. I do know he ordered parts from South Bend on a fairly regular basis from both the original SASCO and Newman & Altman up until that time.

Craig

studeguy54
09-27-2017, 07:51 PM
I can remember setting in a seminar in the 70''s in South Bend where Otis Romaine was the speaker. Otis was in charge of truck engineering in the 60''s and he said the truck engineering department consisted of 2 people. He and another individual.

Cowtown Commander
09-27-2017, 08:28 PM
Richard your data on personnel and their duties would be very interesting. Car manufacturing was shifted from Detroit to South Bend after WWI so there would have a huge shift in personnel / responsibilities from Detroit to South Bend. It would be interesting to know what Harold Churchill (who I think started in Detroit) was doing. Were Roy Cole and Sparrow employed at this time, and if so what were they doing? Was Otto Klausemeyer in engineering or production at this time. I find it ironic that the "Commander" 6 was designed by and independent consulting firm for Willys (was Cole involved with that) and not the 555 engineers they has on "staff".

Ed Reynolds Sr told me he was the last Employee of the engineering dept - he and a secretary spent the time from Dec 63 to 65?? Shutting down Engineering and sorting and saving engineering drawings and records that would be needed for parts and service while discarding all other engineering records tests etc. it seems Randolph Guthrie chairman of Studebaker (and head of New York law firm) was afraid of a lawsuit where Studebaker's engineering could be requested and used against Studebaker so he wanted it all destroyed.
Studebaker may have had some engineers as consultants to be used if needed but I do not believe they had any on staff in South Bend after production and ended but perhaps Stu Chapman or others with Studebaker at this time could provide definite informaton

Stu Chapman
09-27-2017, 09:13 PM
Richard your data on personnel and their duties would be very interesting. Car manufacturing was shifted from Detroit to South Bend after WWI so there would have a huge shift in personnel / responsibilities from Detroit to South Bend. It would be interesting to know what Harold Churchill (who I think started in Detroit) was doing. Were Roy Cole and Sparrow employed at this time, and if so what were they doing? Was Otto Klausemeyer in engineering or production at this time. I find it ironic that the "Commander" 6 was designed by and independent consulting firm for Willys (was Cole involved with that) and not the 555 engineers they has on "staff".

Ed Reynolds Sr told me he was the last Employee of the engineering dept - he and a secretary spent the time from Dec 63 to 65?? Shutting down Engineering and sorting and saving engineering drawings and records that would be needed for parts and service while discarding all other engineering records tests etc. it seems Randolph Guthrie chairman of Studebaker (and head of New York law firm) was afraid of a lawsuit where Studebaker's engineering could be requested and used against Studebaker so he wanted it all destroyed.
Studebaker may have had some engineers as consultants to be used if needed but I do not believe they had any on staff in South Bend after production and ended but perhaps Stu Chapman or others with Studebaker at this time could provide definite informaton

Harm Arnold, a South Bend engineer, became Resident Engineer in Hamilton while still spending working time in South Bend.

Harm worked closely with Bill Moeser, our VP Manufacturing and Jim Holloway, General Manager Parts and Service, on engineering matters since both were qualified engineers. Harm also worked directly with Bob Marcks and President Gordon Grundy on design matters.

Stu Chapman

8E45E
09-27-2017, 10:20 PM
Ed Reynolds Sr told me he was the last Employee of the engineering dept - he and a secretary spent the time from Dec 63 to 65?? Shutting down Engineering and sorting and saving engineering drawings and records that would be needed for parts and service while discarding all other engineering records tests etc. it seems Randolph Guthrie chairman of Studebaker (and head of New York law firm) was afraid of a lawsuit where Studebaker's engineering could be requested and used against Studebaker so he wanted it all destroyed.

He also mentioned that in the conclusion of his six-part autobiography that was published in Car Classics magazine, 1973/4:

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5828/21513895516_e54ebc9736_o.jpg

Craig

t walgamuth
09-28-2017, 06:10 AM
My Dad was on the Studebaker Rifle Team. A lot of the shooters were Engineers. Dad got to know some of them. He was good enough to get a letter from the olympic committee to try out for the olympic shooting team. One of his regrets in life to not have tried out for it. I've got his shooting stuff including a lot of medals.

studegary
09-28-2017, 03:12 PM
He also mentioned that in the conclusion of his six-part autobiography that was published in Car Classics magazine, 1973/4:

Craig

Craig - Thanks for posting this.
It does start out with an error. The first years of Avanti IIs utilized a 327 engine, not the 350, as specified in the article. I do not know if there are other errors of memory in the article.

8E45E
09-28-2017, 05:04 PM
Craig - Thanks for posting this.
It does start out with an error. The first years of Avanti IIs utilized a 327 engine, not the 350, as specified in the article. I do not know if there are other errors of memory in the article.

That is correct.

He made an error in a previous installment where he incorrectly stated the Lark convertible was introduced in mid-1959, not 1960. Admittedly, his errors are very few and far between for his going mostly by memory in the detail in which he did, spanning nearly 20 years.

Craig

Chris_Dresbach
10-02-2017, 11:39 AM
Can anyone elaborate more on this interesting subject? Was it to supply parts for existing Studebakers..., or was it for Avanti production? It just seems interesting that a manufacture goes out of business, but, oh yea, there are still parts being made to the extent they need 10+ engineers to do so. When you count the years from a South Bend closing perspective that is 9 years (7 years for Canada).

BTW, was Studebaker the last 'dead end' manufacturer? I mean AMC was taken over by Renault and Chrysler etc.. Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Mercury died within their parent companies. Studebaker seems to stand alone unless one considers the 'life support' existence of the Avanti. But even there that had its final, long drawn out day. Also, I'm not talking about the Studebaker Company and all its subsidiaries. I'm strictly talking as a car manufacture.

As it's been stated, their job was just supplying parts for Studebaker vehicles, not Avanti motors. Back when I was working at Sasco/SI, I felt with "supplemental part numbers" every once in a while. Let's say you need a part number 1356789 and that particular part wasn't in stock. There are books in the back room from Plant 8 that are typical body/chassis books but with part numbers scratched out. So if I looked up part 1356789 it may say something like "supplement part 1398765". Those supplements could be something simple like a fender stamped out for a certain badge that ran out. Another fender that's the same shape but not punched out for a fender badge would call for a different part number. It's the same fender, just would need drilled to mount a fender badge.
Or another one would be using 1960 Lark grilles in 1959 cars.
That was those engineers jobs, and for the record those supplement books aren't for sale.

Skip Lackie
10-02-2017, 03:31 PM
As it's been stated, their job was just supplying parts for Studebaker vehicles, not Avanti motors. Back when I was working at Sasco/SI, I felt with "supplemental part numbers" every once in a while. Let's say you need a part number 1356789 and that particular part wasn't in stock. There are books in the back room from Plant 8 that are typical body/chassis books but with part numbers scratched out. So if I looked up part 1356789 it may say something like "supplement part 1398765". Those supplements could be something simple like a fender stamped out for a certain badge that ran out. Another fender that's the same shape but not punched out for a fender badge would call for a different part number. It's the same fender, just would need drilled to mount a fender badge.
Or another one would be using 1960 Lark grilles in 1959 cars.
That was those engineers jobs, and for the record those supplement books aren't for sale.

Glad to hear those books are still around. I remember Dennis Lambert showing me some corrections/additions to the 7E-8E truck parts book that listed all the changes and extra parts used on the USMC 8E40 flatbeds. Lots of nifty add-ons. In my post #13 above, I noted that Studebaker's last price list was published on July 1, 1971. That one, and all previous ones, listed all the recent part number consolidations and supersessions. Once the company stopped building cars, they tried to avoid ordering new parts, and consolidated a lot of part numbers for the reasons cited.

Blue 15G
10-03-2017, 08:28 AM
I looked at a '61 V8 Lark for sale early in 1972. It needed some parts and I wanted to see what was still available before I bought it. At the time I was still in high school and although I liked Studebakers, I didn't know much about parts availability for them, etc. I went to see A.B. Zellsmann, the former Studebaker dealer in Butler, PA who by then was successfully selling Datsuns (now Nissan). He still had his Studebaker parts books, looked up the part number of what I was interested in, then went over and pulled a cord on the attic door to bring the fold-down steps down. We climbed up into his attic and he had quite a few Studebaker parts still there. He told me that he was still getting parts from the "factory" on a regular basis at that time. I think that quite a few former Studebaker dealers kept servicing the cars even after car production stopped.

Stude-Preferred
10-03-2017, 04:37 PM
Stewart Jones Motors
925 - 5th Ave. No.
St. Petersburg, FL

My Grandfather was a successful Studebaker Dealer from 1939 thru 1966. He continued to service Studebakers until the Dealership was sold in 1973.

You must remember that in the mid 50's Studebaker was afraid of Dealer "desertion" and was trying to keep them happy, by having a product to sell.
So in 1957, Studebaker got the rights to be the North American Distributor for Mercedes Benz. My Grandfather also became one of the first Mercedes Benz dealers in America, thanks to Studebaker.

Link to a photo of my Father & Grandfather @ Stewart Jones Motors in St. Petersburg FL.
http://theoldmotor.com/?p=33657

So when Studebaker ended Automotive production in March 1966, (remember Studebaker Corporation survived) they continued to thrive selling Mercedes. They added a Volvo franchise to replace Studebaker in 1967.
Steward Jones Motors continued to service Studebakers until my Grandfather retired @ 73 years of age, selling the Dealership was in 1973. At the time, I was a 10th Grader working at the dealership, washing / prepping new cars for delivery. He still had a vast Studebaker Parts Inventory, but the new owner was not interested in servicing Studebakers.

So my Grandfather GAVE his Studebaker parts inventory to the still existing Tampa Dealer, Chaires-Fellows Motor Company, Inc. That was the way it was back then, most Dealers didn't know what they had, thinking their parts weren't worth much.

The new owner went bankrupt in the late 70's and the dealership burned to the ground shortly after it was vacated. At least I know the Studebaker Inventory was safe & long gone from the building.


Keeping Studebaker alive

Stude-Preferred

Atlanta, GA

6753467535

StudeRich
10-03-2017, 05:22 PM
VERY interesting History Ken, thank you very much for posting this. :cool:

HAWK64
10-03-2017, 09:14 PM
Looking at the attached images, Stewart Jones Motors was indeed a great looking Dealership. Thanks for your story Ken.

Stude-Preferred
10-08-2017, 07:27 PM
Guys, thanks for the nice reply.
I am very proud of my Grandfather's and Dad's success with Studebaker and get upset, when Factory Workers try to lay blame with Studebaker's failure, on the Dealer Network.

Here is some information I posted about the Studebaker - Mercedes Benz link. In case you didn't scroll down & see it.
http://theoldmotor.com/?p=33657


Kenneth S Jones · March 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm (http://theoldmotor.com/?p=33657#comment-10571)
The photo of the 190 SL shows my Father, Gilbert R. Jones and Grandfather, Stewart I. Jones. They were a successful Studebaker Dealership and in 1957 became associated with Mercedes Benz, through Studebaker. The dealership location was 925-5th Ave. North St. Petersburg Florida. It was not the building, that still stands with the 1920’s Studebaker logo, in St. Petersburg. Even today, when I mention my Grandfathers dealership, they ask if it is the building located at 600 4th Street South.

My Grandfather sold the dealership in 1973 & retired. My dad & uncle did not want to carry on the legacy. They were still a Mercedes dealer, at the time of the sale. Later, the purchaser fell on hard times and during the 70’s closed their doors. The vacant building burned down, in the late 70’s. A medical arts building resides in the location today.

A little background to the ’57 photo. My Dad said they had him sit on phone books, so his face would show unobstructed, in the picture. That explains why he is taller than the windshield.

I wish I had those banners on the wall. In 1973, I was working at the dealership part time over the summer. I did save some memorabilia, but there were no banners present.
In 1976 as a Senior in HS, I purchased a 1960 Studebaker Lark as my 1st car. That car was sold new by my father, at Stewart Jones Motors. I still own that car today. However now it is supercharged, like a 1957-58 Golden Hawk.
Thanks for posting the photo.
Ken Jones


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