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Thread: Studebaker "Sparrow"

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    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    Question Studebaker "Sparrow"

    A few days ago I got to talking Studebakers (there's a shock ) and one of the things mentioned was a "new" Lark that was never produced. It was supposed to be powered by the Flat Four engine (Now in the SNM) and was supposed to be called the "Sparrow". (The idea was scrapped by Egbert with the Flat Four and never produced). If I have my facts somewhat straight, it was supposed to look something like the lark prototype in the basement of the SNM. (The BLACK LARK with the angled grille, next to the "Sceptre". I don't mean the rear engine lark). I know that the flat four exists, but has anybody ever heard of the "Sparrow" prototype???
    Thanks.
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    I know that the flat four exists, but has anybody ever heard of the "Sparrow" prototype???
    Thanks.
    Yes, and the only design element that survived the axing of the project by Egbert were the wheel covers which appeared on the 1964's & '65's.

    Craig

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    And good looking wheel covers they were.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Yes, and the only design element that survived the axing of the project by Egbert were the wheel covers which appeared on the 1964's & '65's.

    Craig
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    This One?:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Scott Rodgers
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    President Member silverhawk's Avatar
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    Thank goodness they didn't build that.......
    Dylan Wills
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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    The 'Before Egbert' 1962 proposal was a Lark on two different wheelbases, 100" and 108". The doors would have been common to both models. The shorter one would have had the flat four engine and probably would have been named 'Sparrow'.









    Craig
    Last edited by 8E45E; 10-05-2010 at 06:19 PM.

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    President Member starliner62's Avatar
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    The short one sure favors a Rambler at the rear quarter.
    Jamie McLeod
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    Silver Hawk Member Bob Andrews's Avatar
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    LOL! Whenever I see the first one in Craig's pictures I always think of that mean baby with the unibrow on The Simpsons

    Neither one was very attractive. Which of course means if they had built them I'd be all over them today
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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the pics, I think both concepts look great. The side styling reminds me of small imports that came here in the 1960's and early 1970's. The only complaint I have is the cantilevered grill, but otherwise very nice. Leaves me to wonder if they would have remained in the automobile business longer had they funded this project rather than the Avanti project, but I suppose they would have charged too much to be competitive with the imports due to Studebaker's high labor costs.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    President Member Sdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milaca View Post
    Leaves me to wonder if they would have remained in the automobile business longer had they funded this project rather than the Avanti project,....
    A world without the Avanti!!!!! BITE YOUR TONGUE
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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sdude View Post
    A world without the Avanti!!!!! BITE YOUR TONGUE
    Yeah, I guess things worked out for the best. On second thought, too bad they didnt spend the funding for this project on the Champ pickups. It could have been an awesome looking truck had they designed a fleetside bed for it along with other updates.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    Chief Cat Herder showbizkid's Avatar
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    I've always thought that the first pic, the one with the angled grille, looked much like an early '70s Volvo 140. The smaller one, with the more Lark-like grille, reminds me of a Datsun 510 in the greenhouse and fender area.

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    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott.rodgers View Post
    This One?:
    That is the exact car! That photo appeared in Turning Wheels a few years ago and I recognised it as a "Sparrow", it just didn't say "Sparrow".
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

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    1952 Model N prototype in pieces
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    1953 Sunroof prototype (Recovered from the proving ground graveyard in 1969)
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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    That is the exact car! That photo appeared in Turning Wheels a few years ago and I recognised it as a "Sparrow", it just didn't say "Sparrow".
    I think your're just testing our Studebaker knowledge, Chris.

    Craig

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    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    I think your're just testing our Studebaker knowledge, Chris.

    Craig
    Not testing, just a second opinion. "Proof of a thought."
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

    1940 Champion two door sedan "Ely"
    1952 Model N prototype in pieces
    1963 "Turtle" prototype
    1953 Sunroof prototype (Recovered from the proving ground graveyard in 1969)
    1960 Lark 2dr sedan
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    Quote Originally Posted by starliner62 View Post
    The short one sure favors a Rambler at the rear quarter.
    True. And I was thinking that the front fenders looked like they were used on the 1962 Chevy II!

    Bill Pressler
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    President Member studeclunker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by showbizkid View Post
    I've always thought that the first pic, the one with the angled grille, looked much like an early '70s Volvo 140. The smaller one, with the more Lark-like grille, reminds me of a Datsun 510 in the greenhouse and fender area.
    Ah, you fellas beat me to it! I was going to say early Datsun as well. I wonder if the company sold the design to them?

    Another thing I noticed was the two-piece type doors. They look like the '63-6 type doors with the large wing windows.

    Also, is it me, or does the smaller car appear to have fourteen inch rims? The wheels definately look smaller. ...Which actually looks good with the design.

    One last thing, did these end up in the 'boneyard'?
    Last edited by studeclunker; 10-06-2010 at 10:52 AM. Reason: I had a thought... and it hurt too! #;-P

  18. #18
    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    One last thing, did these end up in the 'boneyard'?[/QUOTE]

    No. These cars were destroyed. Only a select few that were snuck out of engineering or had other pourposes (like how the Bourke prototypes went to Bourkes collection). The "newest" car in the graveyard is a '55.
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

    1940 Champion two door sedan "Ely"
    1952 Model N prototype in pieces
    1963 "Turtle" prototype
    1953 Sunroof prototype (Recovered from the proving ground graveyard in 1969)
    1960 Lark 2dr sedan
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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]

    No. These cars were destroyed. Only a select few that were snuck out of engineering or had other pourposes (like how the Bourke prototypes went to Bourkes collection). The "newest" car in the graveyard is a '55.
    Did you check EVERY ROOM in that Engineering Building? They could still be well hidden under some tarps and other debris in there!!

    Craig

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    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Did you check EVERY ROOM in that Engineering Building? They could still be well hidden under some tarps and other debris in there!!

    Craig
    Yup, every last corner of that building. Every once in a big while a prototype part or pieces would turn up but that was rare. If any complete prototype cars were ever in the engineering building by the days of SASCO, they would have been on the first floor or the courtyards because the freight elevator was no longer strong enough to get a car on the second floor! Of the five or six cars that were there, they were all in the garage in the back of the building or in the front courtyard. The only prototype parts other than the complete Turtle found there were some clay car bases made of wood (I have that now) and some later model Lark parts that were prototype (But I won't go into details about them without Eds permission. )
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

    1940 Champion two door sedan "Ely"
    1952 Model N prototype in pieces
    1963 "Turtle" prototype
    1953 Sunroof prototype (Recovered from the proving ground graveyard in 1969)
    1960 Lark 2dr sedan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    One last thing, did these end up in the 'boneyard'?
    No. These cars were destroyed. Only a select few that were snuck out of engineering or had other pourposes (like how the Bourke prototypes went to Bourkes collection). The "newest" car in the graveyard is a '55.[/QUOTE]

    What you refer to as Bourke's prototype in Bob's collection was not a Studebaker prototype. That car was Bob's personal 1954 Commander Starliner that he made modifications to.
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    One last thing, did these end up in the 'boneyard'?
    No. These cars were destroyed. Only a select few that were snuck out of engineering or had other pourposes (like how the Bourke prototypes went to Bourkes collection). The "newest" car in the graveyard is a '55.[/QUOTE]

    What you refer to as Bourke's prototype in Bob's collection was not a Studebaker prototype. The car was Bob's personal 1954 Commander Starliner that Bob made modifications to.
    Gary L.
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    The new small "Lark" was known internally as the B-62, 62B, 621 and the 622. It used an independant front suspension with ball joints, rather than Studebakers traditional kingpins. The upper A arm was of the conventional type (but different than the standard Stude issue) but the lower arm had a single inboard pivot and used a strut to control fore and aft movement. The lower arm arangement is similar to the early Mustang, although the spring acted on the lower suspension arm whereas Fords acted on the upper arm. The rear suspension was also independant and used swing axles.
    There were approxamately 12 engines built and at least one car prototype running when Sherwood Egbert took over as President and killed the project. I was told by a reliable witness that there was also a Champ pickup running around with the flat four in it for development miles. 2 engines, 2 sets of NOS pistons and some Engineering drawings are all that have survived of the project. Everything else was destroyed.

    The car was going to be offered in the W-F-J-D-and P body styles.
    Last edited by R2Andy; 10-07-2010 at 08:04 PM.
    R2Andy

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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Rumor has it that the Sparrow prototype is parked in the underground tunnel near the engineering building, but the entrance is filled in with dirt....at least that is the rumor I am trying to start.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    R2 Andy,

    Thanks for such detailed information. I had no idea Studebaker had engineered a more modern suspension system for the baby Lark. I assume the larger Lark would continue to be built on the current, 108" chassis (complete with kingpins), true?
    From a historical standpoint, this was an interesting proposal. Except for the base Chevy II, no american manufacture offered a four cylinder engine in the '60's - only the growing number of imports.
    This would have been an interesting (and heavy, I would think) small car, as Studebaker would have had a small, yet traditional body on frame construction.
    Eric DeRosa

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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2R2 View Post
    From a historical standpoint, this was an interesting proposal. Except for the base Chevy II, no american manufacture offered a four cylinder engine in the '60's - only the growing number of imports.
    One might consider International Harvester's Scout SUV as it had a V8 engine cut in half lengthways for a four-cylinder engine option. It continued as an option until the late 1970's. It is a shame that the Sparrow car wasnt produced as it may have brought about many innovations. Even more sad is that the prototype didnt remain in existance to be displayed in the museum.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2R2 View Post
    Except for the base Chevy II, no american manufacture offered a four cylinder engine in the '60's - only the growing number of imports.
    This would have been an interesting (and heavy, I would think) small car, as Studebaker would have had a small, yet traditional body on frame construction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Milaca View Post
    One might consider International Harvester's Scout SUV as it had a V8 engine cut in half lengthways for a four-cylinder engine option. It continued as an option until the late 1970's. It is a shame that the Sparrow car wasnt produced as it may have brought about many innovations. Even more sad is that the prototype didnt remain in existance to be displayed in the museum.
    The Pontiac Tempest beat the Chevy II by one year and International by a few months to the market with a four cylinder engine. Like the International, Pontiac's four was '1/2 a V8'-based at 155 cubic inches.

    Craig
    Last edited by 8E45E; 10-07-2010 at 10:47 PM.

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    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    No. These cars were destroyed. Only a select few that were snuck out of engineering or had other pourposes (like how the Bourke prototypes went to Bourkes collection). The "newest" car in the graveyard is a '55.
    What you refer to as Bourke's prototype in Bob's collection was not a Studebaker prototype. The car was Bob's personal 1954 Commander Starliner that Bob made modifications to.[/QUOTE]

    Not exactly, other cars. I think he also had the white Wagonare prototype and the black Lark with the angled grille.
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

    1940 Champion two door sedan "Ely"
    1952 Model N prototype in pieces
    1963 "Turtle" prototype
    1953 Sunroof prototype (Recovered from the proving ground graveyard in 1969)
    1960 Lark 2dr sedan
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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    What you refer to as Bourke's prototype in Bob's collection was not a Studebaker prototype. The car was Bob's personal 1954 Commander Starliner that Bob made modifications to.
    Not exactly, other cars. I think he also had the white Wagonare prototype and the black Lark with the angled grille.[/QUOTE]

    Those are the Brooks Stevens cars, Chris! How many times have you mentioned that in your previous posts??

    Craig

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    President Member Chris_Dresbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Not exactly, other cars. I think he also had the white Wagonare prototype and the black Lark with the angled grille.
    Those are the Brooks Stevens cars, Chris! How many times have you mentioned that in your previous posts??

    Craig[/QUOTE]

    Stevens, Bourke... Yeah, that sounds the same ya know.... lol
    Oops.
    Chris Dresbach. South Bend, IND.

    1940 Champion two door sedan "Ely"
    1952 Model N prototype in pieces
    1963 "Turtle" prototype
    1953 Sunroof prototype (Recovered from the proving ground graveyard in 1969)
    1960 Lark 2dr sedan
    Michiana Chapter Secretary
    Moderator

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    Those are the Brooks Stevens cars, Chris! How many times have you mentioned that in your previous posts??

    Craig
    Stevens, Bourke... Yeah, that sounds the same ya know.... lol
    Oops.[/QUOTE]

    They don't sound the same to those of us that knew both of them <G>.
    The Bob Bourke 1954 Starliner was his personal car.
    The Brooks Stevens cars were Studebaker owned prototypes that Brooks "liberated" from Studebaker and then his estate sold what should have belonged to the SNM to the SNM.
    Gary L.
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  32. #32
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
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    I had a fellow give me one of those Chevy II four cylinder engines (it was a 235 six cut down more or less) when I was in college and working construction in the summer. I had thoughts of putting it in my Bugeye sprite. I sat the chevy engine on the ground and pulled the sprite up next to it. The engine was so tall that even sitting on the ground it was clear it would have stuck up through the hood by a long shot! I don't remember what I did with it. Scrapped it I think. I suppose it also would have weighed at least twice what the little sprite four did. The sprite displaced 950 CC or about fifty some cubic inches. The chevy would have been about 2800 cc I suppose if it were 2/3 of the 235....about 162 ci.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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    I remember seeing the article in Turning Wheels that Chris described. I just had to wonder how successful that "Sparrow" would be. In my mind I try to speculate what the car would look like in "person." I really thought the design was quite clever, utilizing interchangable doors in order to save money. The article was terrific anyway.
    Rog
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    i thought the car looks a little like the humber super snip from the uk about the same time 63,64. a roots group company
    rawise

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