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Studebaker made its presence known in a BIG way at the Chicago World’s Fair in the early 30’s. They had built a huge plaster replica of the 1934 President Land Cruiser that was large enough to accommodate 80 people who could (for free) enter and watch Studebaker promotional films on the big screen. Outside the car/theater was an assemblage of normal sized cars that were available for examination (all painted canary yellow).
Off to one side was a series of tables with representatives selling small die cast promotional cars and trucks that were being cast on the spot. The cars were identical to the big Land Cruiser. These were available for purchase for the princely sum of .25c each. Available in an assortment of colors each came with a specially designed box. Later when the new ’34 Year Ahead models were introduced the big car, as well as the small miniatures, were modified to show the new design as well. So successful was this promotion that the company offered to send these out to dealers so they could use them as they saw fit for promotional purposes. All of the ’34 models had an imprint on the rear section “Replica of the Giant World’s Fair Studebaker.” Later 1935 versions were imprinted with the inscription “Studebaker” or “Studebaker Miracle Ride,” a reference to the new planar suspension.
The first photo above appeared in the April 17. 1935 issue of the dealer newspaper The Studebaker News. It illustrates the various models available to dealers that year. The smaller car is the ’35 Land Cruiser whereas the larger car is a ’35 President Cruising sedan. The large one is extremely rare easily bringing four figures if found in good shape.
I believe Studebaker was the first to offer die cast models for promotional purposes though I have seen some iron toys with the Chevrolet name on them.
I just happened to have one of each on my kitchen table recently and thought I would try to replicate the scene from the 1935 News. The smaller car is my original ’34 LC, the larger car is a restored original and the truck is an older reproduction done by Sam Miller back in the early ‘80s. The latter two belong to Bob Schmidt of Joliet, Illinois.