PDA

View Full Version : Zip Van Info - History



Sdude
11-18-2017, 01:20 PM
It is my understanding that the last Studebaker built in the USA was a Zip Van. When production ended for automobile manufacturing in South Bend, the government contract to build vehicles for the Post Office Department was not yet completed and that was done after Auto production was moved to Canada.

Am I correct and when did the last USA Studebaker leave the production line? Were the Zip Vans finalized in South Bend or was final assembly elsewhere?

Any information about this subject would be greatly appreciated.

gordr
11-18-2017, 04:57 PM
I am pretty certain that all Zip vans were assembled at the Mishawaka Avenue truck plant, and not in Canada. Bodies were made by a stamping firm in Pennsylvania. I don't know if assembled bodies were shipped from PA to South Bend, or just panels.

Sdude
11-18-2017, 06:24 PM
I knew they weren't assembled in Canada but I can't find a lot of information about them. I found that the total production was 4238 and that the bodies were made at Met-Pro in Lansdale PA. I couldnt find where the final assembly took place and I couldn't find when the production run was completed. Thanks for the info on the Mishawaka Avenue plant, can anyone confirm this since you weren't sure?

Any other information would be appreciated.

DEEPNHOCK
11-18-2017, 07:29 PM
There was an in depth TW article, which went into the early body production in PA and the later switch to SB.
Maybe one of the forum index guru's can look the issue up.

studegary
11-18-2017, 09:31 PM
Final assembly was in Indiana. They were all 1963 models, per the government contract, but many/most were assembled during what would normally be the 1964 model year.

dynolou2
11-18-2017, 09:40 PM
Jon, the issue of Turning Wheels that you need from July 1996, it has a picture of a Zip Van on the cover. The reason that I have it close by is that it has an article on post Studebaker Avanti's by Fred Fox. Lou Cote

Chris_Dresbach
11-18-2017, 11:26 PM
All body stampings were made by a company in PA and then shipped to South Bend via railcar. They were then assembled in building 47/48 on Lafayette street (aka the transwestern building). Production ended in 1964.

gordr
11-19-2017, 01:24 AM
Gary, the Zip van I recently got has a '64 serial number. 64FC****

studegary
11-19-2017, 10:06 AM
Gary, the Zip van I recently got has a '64 serial number. 64FC****

If it was made in calendar year 1964, and not just model year 1964, it may have had to have a 1964 S/N. I believe that they were still all considered to be 1963s to satisfy the US government contract (Skip may have something on this. As usual, I am working from memory.)

Skip Lackie
11-20-2017, 10:41 AM
If it was made in calendar year 1964, and not just model year 1964, it may have had to have a 1964 S/N. I believe that they were still all considered to be 1963s to satisfy the US government contract (Skip may have something on this. As usual, I am working from memory.)

According to George Hamlin's article in the July 1996 TW, Studebaker shipped the completed frame and drive train assemblies to Met-Pro in Lansdale, and the trucks were completed there. This makes sense, as the bodies were almost hand-built, a relatively small number at a time. I don't know when the first production unit was completed (a prototype had already been provided to the PO for approval), but production lasted through at least April 1964.

WRT to govt contracting, the request for proposals describing what the PO wanted would have been dozens of pages long, describing in exhaustive detail the required specifications and performance attributes of the desired vehicle. (It also could include any special credits for small/disadvantaged businesses, which is how Met-Pro got the contract.) Since the RFP was issued on 1 February 1963, it would have specified a 1963-model truck. The Studebaker proposal would have been even longer, and would have ID'd any proposed deviations from the RFP. The contract would have included all of the same specs and requirements. If Studebaker had not delivered a 1963-model vehicle, it would have violated the contract.