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Thread: Studebaker on scene of only fatal reactor accident in USA - Jan 3, 1961

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    President Member edpjr's Avatar
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    Studebaker on scene of only fatal reactor accident in USA - Jan 3, 1961

    If you watch this short clip you'll see a white '60 Lark at the site of the SL-1 reactor disaster in Idaho Falls. This version shows what appears to be a Studebaker owned by the old Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). Some of the longer, more detailed SL-1 movies available on the internet, also show the local constable driving a Lark police car.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pGDWMXmXzI
    edp/NC
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    President Member j.byrd's Avatar
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    edpjr, the AEC 9 and a couple other places ) in Oak Ridge, TN had a few Larks, with some of them being the sedan deliveries. I tried to get one, but too young and no money kinda' got in the way, ha !

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    When Studebaker started losing a lot of money in the mid-1950s, rumors began circulating that the company would go out of business. The Eisenhower Administration became concerned, and rigged some government vehicle contracts to ensure that Studebaker would win the bid. As a result, Studebaker supplied a lot of cars and trucks to the Federal govt during that period. These vehicles all ended up being sold through GSA surplus sales in the late 1960s and early 70s. In some cases, GSA considered the value of these vehicles to be so low that, instead of selling them individually, they put them together into lots of 5 or 6 vehicles -- designed for scrappers. Several Potomac Chapter members still own ex-govt Studebakers purchased from GSA.

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Never could understand the low sales in the 50's. With the 53/54 C/K models, Speedsters, and Hawks, it seems the sales should have been red hot.

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    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    I still have my father in law's 63 four door Lark, that he bought at a GSA auction. I believe that it was a Forest Service vehicle. It had a spartan interior,with a 259, and three speed without OD. It ran like a fine swiss watch, and he drove it for years. The one thing he used to like to show people, was how clean the oil would stay. We would be out in a parking lot some where, andhe would raise the hood, and pull the dipstick out. It always looked as if it was dipped into a new can of oil. I didn't know the term CASO, back then, but it fit him to a tee.

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    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWChamp View Post
    Never could understand the low sales in the 50's. With the 53/54 C/K models, Speedsters, and Hawks, it seems the sales should have been red hot.
    Some of that can be explained by the actions of Ford and Chevrolet. They started a "war" and pushed cars onto their dealers, often sending the dealers more cars than the dealers had ordered and the dealers pushed the cars on customers by lowering the prices. At one point, the chairman of GM said he could make a Studebaker for $300 less than Studebaker could.

    The Factories occasionally had to pour lots of money into modernizing the assembly process and tooling. Studebaker got ahead of the curve by modernizing in the thirties, but by the fifties, their factories were obsolete. Ford and GM modernized later, so their factories were more efficient in the fifties than Studebaker. Plus, Studebaker paid their workers more than Ford and GM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    Agree with Roy, but would like to add the following. Studebaker had the highest production costs of any US auto maker. This was due to a number of reasons, including (as Roy said) obsolescent facilities, and the fact that the company had had many years of sweetheart salary deals with UAW local 5.

    And as lovely as the 53/54 C/K models were, the Loewy styling did not translate as well to the humdrum 4-door sedans, which (IMHO) look a bit ungainly and un-integrated. Check the production figures for mid-1950s 2-doors (any model) versus 4-doors for any make. The Greatest Generation were having kids (that's why those born 1946-60 were called Baby Boomers) and they needed 4-door cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsenecal View Post
    I still have my father in law's 63 four door Lark, that he bought at a GSA auction. I believe that it was a Forest Service vehicle. It had a spartan interior,with a 259, and three speed without OD. It ran like a fine swiss watch, and he drove it for years. The one thing he used to like to show people, was how clean the oil would stay. We would be out in a parking lot some where, andhe would raise the hood, and pull the dipstick out. It always looked as if it was dipped into a new can of oil. I didn't know the term CASO, back then, but it fit him to a tee.
    Most federal govt-owned vehicles got very good, regular servicing in those days. They were retired to the GSA surplus sales system because of age, not mileage. It was not uncommon to find sedans and pickups with only 30-40K miles on them.

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    Silver Hawk Member Guido's Avatar
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    I bought a 1963 8E28 out of Berkley Springs, WV at least 15 years ago. It was a GSA truck that was used at the Government Printing Office. It was bought at a government auction in the spring of 1970 by the train master at Union Station and taken to his farm in WV. At the time it had about 9K on it, when I bought it 30+ years later in had 16.2K. His shed was not deep enough and the cab got rusted. I hauled it to York around 2010 and sold it to Rob Bishop.

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