View Full Version : How Successful was the V-8?

09-02-2009, 10:32 AM

Ran the numbers out of curiousity.

How successful was the V-8 engine for Studebaker?

Analyzing the production total by year from 1951 through 1958 reveals some surprises:









Note the percentage of total sales for V-8 models from 1951-53 stays almost constant, drops 7% in 54. For 1955, with the re-instated President, V-8 engine models take the lead through 57. The Commander sales rebound in 55 then taper off for each year 56-58 but the President sales are consistent for 55-57 then succumb to the 58 recession conditions, volume retreats to the percentages of 51-53.

Note how the sales of Sixes drops for 52-53, flattens in 54-55, drops again in 56 and stay flat through 58. Analyzing the Sixes for 57 and 58 shows the following:




Although the Scotsman sold well, it appears as if it primarily succeeded at the expense of Champion sales. Although the volume was welcomed, the Scotsman had a smaller unit profit than the Champion. Scotsman sales helped Studebaker survive through 1958 in order to bring the Lark to market.

Note also the total 1958 production was just 20% of the 1951 total, amazing the company was able to stay in business.

Source for the production figure is [u]Standard Catalog of Independents, The Struggle to Survive Among Giants,</u> Edited by Ron Kowalke, copywrite 1999, Krause Publications, inc.


09-02-2009, 01:02 PM
Interesting. Those figures seem to confirm what notions I'd developed about numbers (6s vs V8s) I've seen thru the years.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1963 Cruiser
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President two door

Warren Webb
09-02-2009, 01:16 PM
Studebaker advertized fuel economy heavily in those years which is no doubt why 6 cylinder production was always greater, but having a V-8 in the lineup added to the appeal. Without those numbers, Studebaker would have no doubt gone down a year or two perhaps after the fall of Kaiser, if not sooner.

60 Lark convertible
61 Champ
62 Daytona convertible
63 G.T. R-2,4 speed
63 Avanti (2)
66 Daytona Sport Sedan

09-02-2009, 05:04 PM
Do the counts include V8 Hawks?

thnx, jack vines


09-02-2009, 05:56 PM

Yes, the totals include C, K & Hawk models. My initial curiousity was what affect the re-instatement of the President model had on sales.

Clearly, the availability of V-8 engines went a long way toward keeping Studebaker competitive. The most telling percentages are for the '55-'57 years when the V-8 models took the sales lead. And interesting how the Champions and Commanders lost ground but the most expensive models President models held their percentages until '58. One would think the highest priced models would have dropped first.


09-03-2009, 01:01 AM
Thanks Steve, that was very interesting...[^] Wish I had the money for that '53 Champion for sale in Minnesota...[:p] Speaking of mileage, overdrive, and sixes.

I remember my parents talking about sixes and eights. Dad favoured the six over the eight, however, by '56 the big sixes were no longer available... well... maybe it was '61 when he bought his pickup. Yeah, that must have been it. 'Cause Dad did want a six in the truck. He said they were better for work, though he did conceed that the eight was faster on the Highway.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

09-03-2009, 09:51 AM
quote:'Cause Dad did want a six in the truck. He said they were better for work, FWIW, both being stone age designs, Commander six and the crash box T9 4-speed were made for each other. Very low speeds in off-road/field work was the norm back in the pre-pavement farm days. Since the T9 was a pain to shift up or down and the Commander made torque from idle on up to 2500 RPMs, thus it didn't require as much shifting in a low speed "work" environment. When roads were paved and speeds were higher, the Commander screamed its' bearings out in short order when held at high revs for long highway trips.

thnx, jack vines