View Full Version : An Ancient Mystery

03-02-2017, 11:58 PM
Look at the box in the lower middle part of this 1925 ad. In case you can't read it, the text says: "Truth in Advertising...A reader of the Saturday Evening Post wrote the editor questioning the truth of a Studebaker advertisement. Read our reply on page 71 of the current issue of The Post." I couldn't find issues of the Saturday Evening Post for 1925 online. If someone could find back issues at a library, all you would have to do is look on page 71 of all the 1925 issues until you find Studebaker's reply to the scurrilous charges laid upon them By this "reader". I am just curious about what sort of contrived controversy they tried to portray.

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc126/lotharhp/LowrySand1925.jpg (http://s213.photobucket.com/user/lotharhp/media/LowrySand1925.jpg.html)

03-03-2017, 01:38 AM
Cool Ad.

For those of you who love those old ads, check out: The Saturday Evening Post, American Cars, The Early Years, available at the news stand now.

It' chock full of some old articles written by automotive greats such as Winton, Ford, Duryea and Nash and page after full page of period ads that ran in the SEP. Unfortunately, John, no September 1925 Stude ad. Most of the ads are about brands that are long gone. Sure there are the obligatory ads for Fords, Chevrolet, Buicks, Chrysler and Studebaker, etc.; but there are many more ads of well-known-not-forgotten as well as not-so-well-known-and-long-forgotten marques such as Stutz, Packard, Chalmers, Reo, Elmore, Baker Electric, Maxwell, Hupmobile, Regal, Abbott-Detroit, Kissel Kar, Dodge Brothers, Overland, Willys, Franklin, Haynes, Auburn, Bethlehem, Templar, Lexington, Haynes, Marmon, LaSalle, Duesenberg, Graham-Paige and others.

Like Norman Rockwell? If so, you're going to love all of the old Norman Rockwell prints. I was sorry not to see the one of the Deputy Sheriff hiding behind a speed limit sign ready to jump out and stop speeders in order to earn a little cash for his municipality. The name of the town was changed in the painting, but Rockwell was in my hometown, Amenia, NY, when he was inspired to do that painting after an encounter with the town constable. So, besides being the home of the NAACP, Amenia, a tiny little hamlet with a greedy town clerk and only one street light and one major intersection, was immortalized by Rockwell because of speeders. Pretty appropriate, since I probably have one of the heaviest foots on the planet. Hee Hee.

You won't like the cost. I can't remember the last time I bought a magazine off the newsstand (It's so much cheaper to get a subscription). I was on my way home from an inspection. Dirty and exhausted from having just done a huge, very-tight crawlspace and with a mouth so dry I could feel Death Valley sand in my mouth, I decided to stop into a grocery market and grab a drink. I was standing in line at the register when I spotted that book, grabbed it and tossed it onto the belt. Then my total came up and I was like, "Whoa there fella. You've added an extra one on the price of that magazine!" He looked at me like the idiot I was about to be revealed as, pointed to the universal price code at the lower corner of the cover and said, "Oh yeah? Time to get your eyeglass prescription changed there, FELLA." I damned near fell over - $12.99 for a book full of old ads, some Rockwell prints and articles written nearly a century ago by ghosts? Are you friggin' kidding me? I didn't say it. I did consider telling the guy to cancel it and take it off the receipt, but he'd just eviscerated me in front of everyone within earshot, and when I glanced back at the line behind me and saw all of those women impatiently waiting to get through the register line in order to get home and prepare dinner for their ungrateful cretin-like husbands, guys just like me, I thought better of it; lest they pounce on me, knock me to the floor and then stomp on me until my corpse had the consistency of Jello. I dug around in my pockets, found a couple of extra bucks and managed to cover the cost and got out of there.

Have enjoyed reading it though. It's great for the little throne room. Definitely more interesting reading than the plumbing, HVAC, electrical and construction trade journals which are my usual throne room fare.

Love the ads. Sometimes I wonder why it is the ads written back in those days read like they were written by a British philosophy professor. Some of the words used and the syntax is as extinct as some of those marques. Reminds me of some of the "refined" accents I used to hear being used by wealthy folks when I was a tyke. Back then, I heard it so much I thought I was growing up in the real England instead of just outside of 'New' England. It gradually faded though; and, by the time I was in my twenties, the only folks that used those (what I felt were phony) 'cultured' accents were very rich and very old folks or folks who'd transplanted to the US from Britain.

Studebaker Wheel
03-03-2017, 01:56 PM

Glad to be able to assist in solving your mystery. The answer is in the form of the ad below. In summary a Mr. Walter F Cook of Larkspur, California took serious issue with an ad that appeared in the July 11, 1925 Saturday Evening Post in which Studebaker claimed that a 1919 Big Six touring could have traveled well over 400,000 miles in the relatively short span of 4 years...with a minimum of servicing of course. Not wanting to be embarrassed by the possibility of false advertising Studebaker in that Sept. 12, 1925 Saturday Evening Post ad provided evidence in the form of signed affidavits that the claims were indeed true and that the car could be viewed in the company's museum in South Bend, Indiana (where it still resides today!). Studebaker went so far as to issue a promotional folder showing photos of the car while in service and providing additional documentation. At that time in the mid '20s Studebaker was running an ad campaign that encouraged owners who had cars with 100,000 or more miles to write the company with details of their cars actual mileage and the owner's names and cities were published in national print ads. Those that did so were eligible to receive a license plate topper proclaiming the feat (image #3 below).

That is the "rest of the story." By the way the 100,000 mile club was reintroduced in the 1936-37 era and a different style topper was offered along with a membership card etc. More on this in a separate post at a later date.


03-03-2017, 02:52 PM
Hello Richard,
As always, thank you for all of the great Studebaker information.
So the in question 1919 Big Six is still in the Studebaker Museum today? That is amazing by itself!
I wonder how Studebaker acquired it?
Thank you again

03-03-2017, 05:07 PM
Thanks, Mr. Quinn. ONLY YOU would know the rest of the story of that obscure detail of "Ancient" Studebaker history! Your specificity of the date of the Saturday Evening Post ad also narrows down the time window for this ad, which was marked in our museum archives with just September 1925.
On a related note, those 100,000 mile club license toppers must be EXTREMELY rare items, yes?

Studebaker Wheel
03-03-2017, 05:15 PM
Thanks, Mr. Quinn. ONLY YOU would know the rest of the story of that obscure detail of "Ancient" Studebaker history! Your specificity of the date of the Saturday Evening Post ad also narrows down the time window for this ad, which was marked in our museum archives with just September 1925.
On a related note, those 100,000 mile club license toppers must be EXTREMELY rare items, yes?

Yes, the original 1920s version of the 100,000 mile toppers are very scarce. One of our club members (John Brichetto - Autosport Specialties) had them reproduced back in the 70s so you find those from time to time but very few originals.

03-03-2017, 06:00 PM
One wonders if the whole challenge and response wasn't generated in Studebaker's advertising agency.