View Full Version : I don't get it?

02-19-2011, 02:04 PM
If people think that a 55-57 Chevy is pretty,(?) then why didn't Studes sell like hot cakes from 56-57?
I'd personally take a President Classic over a 4dr BelAir any day of the week!

02-19-2011, 02:11 PM
Because of their low production, Studebaker was always about 10%-20% more expensive than the equivalent Bel Air and wasn't as well finished or as well made.

jack vines

02-19-2011, 03:50 PM
People often mistake my 57 2 dr. Champion for a Chevy. Boy, do I get irate over that!!!

Bob Andrews
02-19-2011, 03:56 PM
One problem was image at the time- Chevy had their 'new' (2 years) V8 engine, while Stude was still running the engine from a stodgy old '51. Most buyers don't care about specs as much as perception, and Chevy's small-block V8s were pretty powerful with relatively little tinkering. Also, two years in it was widely known what an excellent design the Chevy V8 is, and the mountains of potential therein. They were already 283 cubic inches, as opposed to the most common Stude 8 (259), and in a small block! THAT'S what the guys wanted to show off when the neighbors asked to see what's under the hood of the new car...

I also think size made a difference. The '57 Chevy was bigger and roomier- or at least appeared that way. In that era, bigger was better. And don't forget, the biggest sellers were always the 4-doors. Put a '57 Chevy 4 door against a comparable Stude, and I'd guess that at the time the Chevy was most always preferred. Combine that with what Jack said and you have your answer.

It should also be noted that in '57 Ford outsold Chevy by a mile. Interesting how the Chevies have proved much more popular as collector cars. In that arena, I suspect engine popularity being the biggest factor there as well.

02-19-2011, 04:04 PM
I never really cared for the GM line all that much. The 1956 Chevrolets were probably my favorites.. I would still rather own and drive a 1956 Studebaker for sure .

Chris Pile
02-19-2011, 04:21 PM
Park a '57 Silver Hawk and a '57 Chevy next to each other - the Hawk is sexier, hands down!
The lines are more graceful, the styling less cluttered.

02-19-2011, 04:27 PM
IIRC one of the generic collector car magazines once ran an article on the 56-58 non-Hawk Studebakers sub-titled "GM could have sold a lot of these cars".

02-19-2011, 05:28 PM
My first Studebaker was a 1957 President Classic that had been used for one year. Depreciation rate was/is a big factor in new car sales (just the opposite for used cars). Most new car buyers, at that time, kept their new car for one to three years (purchase or lease) [I know there are exceptions, I am referring to the vast majority]. This depreciation hurt the sale of new Studebakers but aided their used car sales.

02-19-2011, 06:40 PM
I think by 57 Studebakers were considered unacceptably narrow, didn't compare well to a Ford or Chev.

02-19-2011, 06:59 PM
It should also be noted that in '57 Ford outsold Chevy by a mile. Interesting how the Chevies have proved much more popular as collector cars. In that arena, I suspect engine popularity being the biggest factor there as well.

I am glad you pointed that out! I was about ready to post that. I think alot of it is the image associated with that time period. Looking back, people see that finny 57 as the embodyment of the 50's, and the nostalgia associated with it. To me, it seems more retrospective. Partly because of the image, and partly because everyone knew someone who drove a Chevy. Think of it: if, somehow in the course of history, Studebaker and Chevrolet had somehow miraculously been swapped. (Stude selling a ton, Chevy being an independent...I know its a long shot, but work with me!) Then don't you suppose that perhaps a 57 Studebaker would be the fifties "icon" as opposed to a Chevy? If not for any other reason than the fact that it was more readily visible to the public eye. I dunno, I think it is not so much the styling as it is the nostalgia. Personally I think the 57 Chevys are, while not ugly, aren't the best looking chevys at all. I think Hemmings Classic Car had a few things to say on this topic as well, and even did a write up about a 57 chevy Vs a 57 Desoto, and the Desoto was the better car. But the Desoto also sold exponentially less, thus the wide-spread connection to fifties popularity wanes in comparison to the Chevy. Again, not because of style or function, but because of visibility to the public eye. I hope my odd ramblings are making any sense!!

02-19-2011, 07:50 PM
I think by 57 Studebakers were considered unacceptably narrow, didn't compare well to a Ford or Chev.

Sorry Don, but I have to TOTALLY disagree on that one! :(

1959 was the BIG Car year! The big whale with picnic tables in the rear for fins, Chevy, the Wide Track Pontiac, the bulbous Ford and Mercury and the ugliest ever Plymouth's and Dodges!
What they all have in common is their WIDTH! :rolleyes:

Prior to '59, they were all Studebaker width.

I remember riding in my college buddy's '57 Star Chief 2 dr. Hardtop, it was a 347 with a THREE speed that he added a floor shift to, it was pretty fast, but I remember feeling claustrophobic inside that tiny cramped passenger compartment, I am sure there is no way a Commander Sedan is any narrower than those Pontiac's, probably wider on the INSIDE where it matters.

By 1959 Studebaker was out of the BIG Car race, so it made sense that their Compact Larks were a sensible, maneuverable width, and a way more logical length than the competition.:)

02-19-2011, 08:10 PM
I've never been a fan of the front styling of the 1956-57 Studebaker non-Hawk-type cars, however I really like the front styling of the 1957 Packards. As for the 1957 Chevies, I think they are a great looking car.

02-19-2011, 08:29 PM
Let's also not forget about the amount of dealerships. In Michigan where I grew up, you could kick over a rock and find a GM or Ford dealership. The nearest Studebaker dealer was in a small town 20 miles from any decent town.

You would even pass a couple of Chrysler dealers to get there.

Hard to sell cars under those limitations and I'll bet if you park a Studebaker next to a Ford or Chevy of the same era in most non-Studebaker centered areas the Brand X would be the predominate choice.

GM and Ford knew what the general public wanted style wise and built them.


02-19-2011, 11:28 PM
When you sell a million cars vs 60,000, the public will come to expect that all cars "should look like" the popular sellers. Even tho GM had their fit and finish problems, you never hear of those issues because they sold so many of the friggin' things!!

02-20-2011, 12:14 AM
StudeRich, you are right (I am not surprised!) From what I could find quickly on Google, a 57 Scotsman is 2 in. wider than a 57 Chev. I've always thought they looked narrower. There goes my theory.

02-20-2011, 07:35 AM
"GM and Ford knew what the general public wanted style wise and built them."

In fact, GM & Ford practically TOLD the general public what they wanted. And, the public believed it. A popular phrase in those days was "As GM and Ford go, so goes the country." Most folks want to pick a winner, and they were the big winners back then. Let's not forget, by 1957 Studebaker was being perceived as a company in trouble. And, while I personally like the styling of the 57 Studebaker, I'm a little biased due to being a fan of the marque. The fact that they were different is what attracts me to them. The tri-five Chevies were in the third year of their most popular design ever, and everyone had reason to think their star would be on the rise for many more years. We have to contrast this with the perceived outlook for Studebaker. The 57 design was still based on the cabin section of the original 53 model. And, while the coupe/hardtop versions of the 53 design were generally well received, the 4 doors were not. The original 53's were noted for quality control issues such as doors flying open, weak frames, etc. Maybe these issues had been addressed by the second year of the design, but taken in combination with the death knell rumors floating around, it should be no wonder for anyone that 57 Chevies are perceived as being superior in nearly every way to 57 Studebakers. Is this fair to Studebaker? Well, maybe not, but by this time, Studebaker was perceived as having an array of models that were, with the possible exception of the Hawk line, seen as generally unappealing

02-20-2011, 04:13 PM
I'm not really a fan of finny cars, for instance i prefer the 55 and 56 to the 57 chevs.
I seem to be in the minority with that opinion tho.
That being said i think the 57 Chev is better looking than the finned Studes, they just don't work for me.
Also as previously noted,there was the 283, which was THE engine to have.