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View Full Version : From the archives #100 (1955 model intro seen by 57,000!)



Studebaker Wheel
04-26-2012, 02:33 AM
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee285/studeq/newsgroup/55rallynotredame.jpg?t=1335425217

This rally held at Notre Dame stadium on Sunday, September 26, 1954 and it had a two fold purpose. First to present the new Studebaker passenger car line up and 1954 Packards (see below) but also to meet the new President James Nance. The crowd was estimated at 57,000 and the corporation spared no expense in providing a good show that included entertainment from the likes of Bob Hope, Jerry Colonna, Terry Moore, Gloria DeHaven and Les Brown (and of course his band of renown). Besides Nance, Paul G. Hoffman and Harold S. Vance were on hand as well as local and state politicians. Others who briefly were the President of Local 5, Father Hesburg - President of Notre Dame and even the Secretary of the Air Force! This photo shows a BEV taken by a helicopter rented for the occasion by The South Bend Tribune. A new 1955 President hardtop was given away as was a “new” Packard. Actually it was a ’54 model since the ‘55s were late arriving. All in all a glorious day. Too bad the model year did not end as gloriously as it began!

BobPalma
04-26-2012, 06:22 AM
Great photo, Dick. I assume BEV means Bird's-Eye View?

I, too, was immediately struck by the 1954 Packards! This in an era when the next-year's models were the thing; what a faux pas...but, as you say, 1955 Packards were simply not available as of that day. In fact, they would have been hard-pressed to produce a suitable 1955 prototype for the day's adventures, much less a spray of the colorful, innovative 1955 Packard line.

That has to be one of the first public viewings of The Speedster, no? (Assuming the car in the middle of the upper "S" loop is a Speedster, and it appears to have the earmuff over the backlite.)

'Had to read the sentence twice to understand Father Hesburg was not also the President of Local 5, however! <GGG>

Neat photo...and 57,000 people to boot! Woo-hoo; what a great day. (I'll have to check to see if Purdue beat Notre Dame that year in the annual football rivalry, preferably in South Bend. That game is normally scheduled for mid-to-late September, at least since the mid-1960s; possibly earlier. That would have been the frosting on the cake! More <GGG>) BP

EDIT: Indeed, it was a good year! Purdue defeated Notre Dame 27-14 October 2, 1954...but at Purdue, not the Notre Dame Stadium above. Oh, well....back to Studebakers, Packards, and the brand-new Studebaker-Packard Corporation.

stratovue
04-26-2012, 07:05 AM
I was pretty little but was there. My father took some home movies of the cars being driven onto the field.

Ed Reynolds

2R5
04-26-2012, 08:20 AM
Boy .....those musta been the days !

8E45E
04-26-2012, 08:28 AM
Neat photo...and 57,000 people to boot!

And I wonder how many pulled out their chequebooks and bought one in the coming weeks!! Unfortunately, not enough!

Craig

clonelark
04-27-2012, 03:14 AM
The Studebaker hardtops sure looked a lot sleeker than those Packards, probably cheaper too.

BobPalma
04-27-2012, 08:44 AM
The Studebaker hardtops sure looked a lot sleeker than those Packards, probably cheaper too.

Roger that, Bob.

The 1954 Packard Clipper Panama was Packard's lowest-price 1954 hardtop. It's MSRP was $3,125. Craig Parslow just posted a photo of one this morning in this thread:

http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?61218-Orphan-of-the-Day-04-27-1954-Packard-Super-Clipper

By way of comparison as to MSRPs:

1954 Packard Clipper Super Panama: $3,125

1955 Studebaker Commander Regal hardtop: $2,282

1955 Studebaker President State hardtop: $2,456

1955 Studebaker President Speedster: $3,253

Only the Speedster was priced more than the lowest-priced 1954 Packard hardtop, but that's only when you compare 1954 Packard Prices to 1955 Studebaker prices.

Surpisingly, for 1955, the MSRP of a new Packard Clipper Super Panama, now with a V8 engine, was lowered to $2,776! BP

warrlaw1
04-27-2012, 10:23 AM
Cool! I paid $2000 for a basket case 55 Commander HT in 2007. ...and I stayed in a doggie motel just across the street from Notre Dame in 2009 and 2010. My 55 was a South Bend car, but produced some months after that picture was taken. Thanks, Dick and Bob.

8E45E
04-27-2012, 01:37 PM
Surpisingly, for 1955, the MSRP of a new Packard Clipper Super Panama, now with a V8 engine, was lowered to $2,776! BP

I'd like to think that was due to Economies of Scale that merger was supposed to bring to both companies, but I somehow think NOT!

Craig

BobPalma
04-27-2012, 01:39 PM
I'd like to think that was due to Economies of Scale that merger was supposed to bring to both companies, but I somehow think NOT! Craig

You got that right, Craig! BP

kurtruk
04-27-2012, 09:08 PM
Here's an AP photo of same event:

SN-60
04-27-2012, 10:39 PM
Could someone ask one of the band members to get the serial number off that Speedster? Thanks!