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View Full Version : Why did Studebaker make the Starliner/Starlight styling changes in 1955?



northern
11-24-2013, 09:22 AM
Just wondering if anyone knows the reasons for the styling changes made from 1954 to 1955, specifically for the Starliner and Starlight models?

The 1953 and 1954 Starliner and Starlight models received glowing reviews for their styling, and they continue to be regarded by many as one of the best automotive designs ever. Yet, Studebaker made major changes to the design for 1955.

The most obvious exterior changes included changing the grille and adding much heavier looking bumpers. That changed the entire look of the car. Did the Loewy Studio participate in those changes, or was this something Studebaker on its own?

DEEPNHOCK
11-24-2013, 09:25 AM
Reason?
Probably the '55 Chevy. '55 Ford, and '55 Dodge.....

raoul5788
11-24-2013, 09:27 AM
The way I heard it there were those in upper management that wanted to "keep up" with the big three, like Jeff mentioned.

41 Frank
11-24-2013, 09:30 AM
The trend in the industry by 1955 was towards more chrome so Studebaker simply did what everyone else was doing.

Flashback
11-24-2013, 09:30 AM
The powers that be won the battle of "bling". Somehow, the thought of the day was MORE, Chrome, bulk, and busy. We all know that was a mistake.

Chris_Dresbach
11-24-2013, 10:49 AM
Exactly what was said, the big wigs wanted more chrome because they thought it would sell better, which it didn't. Bob Bourke was very much so against the idea. So much so in fact that he went out with his own money and bought a '54 Commander and customized it to what he wanted to see produced for '55 and presented it to management. They turned down his styling ideas for that year in favor of chrome. Now Bourke's personal prototype is in the SNM.

Dick Steinkamp
11-24-2013, 11:04 AM
Exactly what was said, the big wigs wanted more chrome because they thought it would sell better, which it didn't.

Actually it did...

27,528 Cs and Ks sold in 1954
34,621 Cs and Ks sold in 1955

(John Bridges, Studebaker's Finest)

We could come up with a lot of examples in the car industry where the first of a new body style from years ago is considered the cleanest and most desirable today. Car makers do not design cars to please the public 50 years into the future, however. They design to sell as many cars as they can NOW.

PackardV8
11-24-2013, 11:05 AM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/1953-Buick-Special.jpg

IIRC, it was the success of the Buick which should take most of the blame. Buick posted the greatest sales increases in the price range Studebaker had to be sold in. The Stude management, with some bad advice from dealers, decided the tons-a-chrome look was the reason and put as much chrome and stainless as they could find surfaces to apply.

jack vines

northern
11-24-2013, 11:36 AM
That's a nice looking Buick; lots of chrome worked well on some cars. I had never noticed that, under all that glitter, the body shape looks much like the 1953-54 Chevrolet and Pontiac.

I do expect that many people preferred the look of the '55 Studebaker, as compared to the '53 and '54 design. It's a matter of personal preference.

Corley
11-24-2013, 11:37 AM
Face it, the '53-54 design was so good, that no matter what, they couldn't improve upon it, so they were doomed to fail when trying. Add chrome, remove chrome, change stuff, whatever, it was screwed. Still, to just leave it alone wouldn't have helped sales at all either. JMHO.

studegary
11-24-2013, 11:40 AM
The answer lies in posts #4-8.
Bob Bourke, the head of Loewy's South Bend Design Studio, was required to make a change like this. Bob was aganst it, but the change was dictated by Studebaker to make the car more like a Buick that the Studebaker was priced similar to.
This was near the end of Loewy's association with Studebaker with the exception of being brought back to work on the Avanti. Of course, the original Hawk (1956 model) cleaned up the C/K again and was also a Bourke/Loewy Studio design.
The 1953 Starliner was originally designed to be a show car and the 1955 was designed to be a car to bring money into Studebaker.

8E45E
11-24-2013, 11:47 AM
I'm tempted to ask you your age! The best reason 'why' is everyone EXPECTED changes to be made from one model year to the next at the time; even if it wasn't for the better.

Craig

warrlaw1
11-24-2013, 11:51 AM
Since I had my first 55 in the 70s, I see a lot of them still around. I'd love to bring back a 53/54, but I don't see as many decent candidates.

qsanford
11-24-2013, 01:26 PM
Some of us even find the '55s attractive! <G>

SN-60
11-24-2013, 01:41 PM
Some of us even find the '55s attractive! <G>

True!....The '55 President State Sedan is a much more attractive car than the '54 Land Cruiser ever was. (And those '55 President States sold pretty well!)

sactorandy
11-24-2013, 01:59 PM
I like the 53 and 54 cars but 55 is it for me.

StudeRich
11-24-2013, 02:06 PM
Jack is correct, in 1955, the name of the game was "catch the Buick". In '55 they actually got ahead of the # 3 Low priced leader Plymouth and took #3!

I can still remember hearing those NEW '55 Buicks rattling down the street now, they had some kind of loose exhaust system or something that always rattled! :( And everybody's Uncle had one! :mad:

63t-cab
11-24-2013, 02:11 PM
I am with you 110%,it's just that simple :)

Some of us even find the '55s attractive! <G>

WinM1895
11-24-2013, 02:20 PM
I had never noticed that, under all that glitter, the body shape looks much like the 1953-54 Chevrolet and Pontiac.

It looks the same, cuz it is the same. GM 'C' body: Chevrolet, Pontiac, Olds 88, Buick Special.

In the book "The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company" it says that Harold Vance HATED the looks of the 1953/54 Coupe and Hardtop, said it looked like a ******** *****!

Roscomacaw
11-24-2013, 03:13 PM
Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. That said, mine is that in this day and age - the age of sculpted soap bars and outright boxes - there's NOT an UGLY model Studebaker car - none. Some may be more pleasantly styled than others, but at least they ARE styled. I even lust after alot of brand X chromeboats as well.

StudeRich
11-24-2013, 03:40 PM
Actually it did...

27,528 Cs and Ks sold in 1954
34,621 Cs and Ks sold in 1955(John Bridges, Studebaker's Finest)

We could come up with a lot of examples in the car industry where the first of a new body style from years ago is considered the cleanest and most desirable today. Car makers do not design cars to please the public 50 years into the future, however. They design to sell as many cars as they can NOW.

I understand that no one can be RIGHT in the arm chair guess as to what happened years ago, but I partially disagree with the insinuation that maybe the styling especially the Front end, actually IMPROVED sales for "most" people.

For one thing, 1955 was a Banner year for Car sales which sold more Studes. along with the crowd of more powerful Cars, which was the beginning of a "more Performance Trend".

Studebaker gave it their best shot, so they thought by drastically improving the HP of their Engines, but it still fell way short.
They also tried with that Image by creating the sporty President Hardtop Speedster the ONLY car that I know of that Studebaker EVER built that came fully equipped with all options that most people could possibly want.

My take on the better desirability of the '55's was certainly NOT that ungainly Grille which was done strictly to keep up with the "Chrome Trend" and mainly to make it look New.

You will remember that in addition to adequate Horsepower, '55 was also the year of the "Color Keyed" Interiors with Dashboards, Door Panels, Seats pretty much everything coming in real Colors not just the dingy Mouse Gray and ho hum Tan like years past. Hmmm, what goes around comes around doesn't it? Todays Cars are back to that. :(

Then there were the "WILDER" Colors being used for Paint by all Cars in '55. :ohmy:

Not that many people would notice, but the Fit and finish of the body finally got the bugs out by '55, and the bodies were much better fitting and stronger by a lot from the '53 version.

There really ARE a LOT of factors at work affecting Sales in '55.
I remember that Dad could not get the Cars he could sell, because of the Steel Union Workers strike that shut down U.S. Steel who I believe was the sole supplier to Budd Corp. who make all of Stude's Bodys, Frames, and Wheels.

And if I remember correctly there was also a Auto Workers Union Strike at Studebaker that year. :ohmy: So it was a tough year to be a Studebaker Salesman, my Dad's first year with Studebaker.

Then there were in my opinion the MOST running changes throughout the year than any other, the biggest of course was the Ultra Vista Sedan & Wagon mid-year redesign but not the only one.

They "improved" a lot of parts; Engines, Oil Pumps some of many one-off changes.
This would have to take up a lot of time and slow Production also cause errors in Assembly requiring more time to fix.

Just think how much the tons of changes cost the Parts Depots around the World, and Tech. Writers!

Studebakercenteroforegon
11-24-2013, 03:41 PM
Jack is correct, in 1955, the name of the game was "catch the Buick". In '55 they actually got ahead of the # 3 Low priced leader Plymouth and took #3!

I can still remember hearing those NEW '55 Buicks rattling down the street now, they had some kind of loose exhaust system or something that always rattled! :( And everybody's Uncle had one! :mad:

I remember that sharp rattling sound on those Buicks. Seems like most of them had it. My Buick loving buddy from that era said it was something to do with the rear end or shock mounting.

61LaRk4dr
11-24-2013, 09:38 PM
I always thought the 1955 models looked a bit out of place (as if design moved backwards). I still like the radical colors introduced on the Speedster and I even like the interior patterns. However, I somehow think that Studebaker would have been better off introducing what would be the 1956 models in 1955. To me, the 1956 models run close (if not closest) to a GM product in overall profile as viewing a 1955 Chevy Bel-Air. If Studebaker was truly wanting to compete with the big three, that would have been a good start. Studebaker could then use the 1957 models for 1956 and who knows, maybe a different iteration before the "odd" models that we fondly know of today. Who knows, maybe Studebaker would have been successful enough to carry a full size line in 1959. We will never know, but if we were to speculate why Studebaker made those 1955 models it is anyone's best guess.

1962larksedan
11-24-2013, 10:25 PM
Add me to the list who's not a big fan of the 1955 'snout' either; the 1953 was the prettiest IMHO :)

1962larksedan
11-24-2013, 10:27 PM
I always thought the 1955 models looked a bit out of place (as if design moved backwards). I still like the radical colors introduced on the Speedster and I even like the interior patterns. However, I somehow think that Studebaker would have been better off introducing what would be the 1956 models in 1955. To me, the 1956 models run close (if not closest) to a GM product in overall profile as viewing a 1955 Chevy Bel-Air. If Studebaker was truly wanting to compete with the big three, that would have been a good start. Studebaker could then use the 1957 models for 1956 and who knows, maybe a different iteration before the "odd" models that we fondly know of today. Who knows, maybe Studebaker would have been successful enough to carry a full size line in 1959. We will never know, but if we were to speculate why Studebaker made those 1955 models it is anyone's best guess.

Excellent points but; the 1959-66 Lark types had essentially the same lower body center section as the comparable 1953-58 models but with much less overhang F/R; the width was the same though.

Lou Van Anne
11-24-2013, 10:37 PM
Well said, I agree.
Face it, the '53-54 design was so good, that no matter what, they couldn't improve upon it, so they were doomed to fail when trying. Add chrome, remove chrome, change stuff, whatever, it was screwed. Still, to just leave it alone wouldn't have helped sales at all either. JMHO.

PlainBrownR2
11-24-2013, 10:42 PM
This is Bob Bourke's personal '54 in the SNM if no one's seen it yet.....

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/South%20Bend%20Car%20Show%201/P1060129_zps26ffb162.jpg (http://s158.photobucket.com/user/PlainBrownR2/media/South%20Bend%20Car%20Show%201/P1060129_zps26ffb162.jpg.html)

That's not bad, not bad at all. Now, with that said, since I grew up on the '55's, I like 'em! :D The brightwork up there always reminded me of a metallic chiseled lower jowl. I also have my own tastes too. I'm not a fan of the 56-58's. It's like they said, "You know what? We need to go after the '56 Bel Air and Plymouth Belvideres of the world, so we're gonna take our streamlined non C/K lines, and inflate those automotive balloons so they resemble the cars that those guys have! Yep, we're turning them from the curvy automobiles that we have now into shoeboxes, just like what everybody else has!". For me, it's a "What the he** happened!" moment in there. Seriously, how they jumped from the lines of the 53-55, to the lines that they had in '56 is beyond me! :ohmy:

Bob Andrews
11-24-2013, 10:52 PM
Car makers do not design cars to please the public 50 years into the future, however. They design to sell as many cars as they can NOW.

Exactly right.

GThawkwind
11-24-2013, 11:46 PM
This is Bob Bourke's personal '54 in the SNM if no one's seen it yet.....

http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/South%20Bend%20Car%20Show%201/P1060129_zps26ffb162.jpg (http://s158.photobucket.com/user/PlainBrownR2/media/South%20Bend%20Car%20Show%201/P1060129_zps26ffb162.jpg.html)

That's not bad, not bad at all. Now, with that said, since I grew up on the '55's, I like 'em! :D The brightwork up there always reminded me of a metallic chiseled lower jowl. I also have my own tastes too. I'm not a fan of the 56-58's. It's like they said, "You know what? We need to go after the '56 Bel Air and Plymouth Belvideres of the world, so we're gonna take our streamlined non C/K lines, and inflate those automotive balloons so they resemble the cars that those guys have! Yep, we're turning them from the curvy automobiles that we have now into shoeboxes, just like what everybody else has!". For me, it's a "What the he** happened!" moment in there. Seriously, how they jumped from the lines of the 53-55, to the lines that they had in '56 is beyond me! :ohmy:
Honestly the 55 change made sense to me but the 56 change is also the one that gets me. My personal opinion is that they realized the C/K was too special to be the run of the mill studebaker car. So they made it a special model, that being the hawk series.

PlainBrownR2
11-24-2013, 11:51 PM
Yeah, usually when I tell people about Studebaker and the '55 that I'm working on, I tell that the C/K's from 53-55 were the predecessors to the Hawks, because those are the underpinnings for the Hawks! :cool:

jimmijim8
11-25-2013, 05:23 AM
I am offended by those that so openly offer critical commentary about the looks of the 55 coupes and hardtops when compared to the 53-54's. I had thought they were the epitome of styling till I read your remarks. . Now I got's to try and sell this beast. Hope I can recoup at least 1/2 my investment. What should I buy next? cheers jimmijim

Corley
11-25-2013, 08:11 AM
What should I buy next? cheers jimmijim Ever consider a Yugo? Just askin'...:lol:

raprice
11-25-2013, 08:21 AM
I will agree that the '53 & '54 Studes were incredibly beautiful. We have to keep in mind that the automobile business is extremely competitive. Studebaker needed to make changes to their design and that's what led to the '55s. I've read numerous negative comments about the '55s, but I, for one, love the '55 designs, especially the President Speedster. My wife, who isn't a car nut saw a '55 Speedster at the Lancaster Int'l Meet and told me that she would love to own one of those '55s. I had to agree. I've noticed that the prices of the '55s have escalated recently, so I guess they so have their admirers.
Rog

warrlaw1
11-25-2013, 08:23 AM
My first 55 was really a rat rod ahead of it's time. It was cobbled together but always started and ran. The bang for the buck was still there; people loved the styling. My current 55 was a nut and bolt rebuild and cost a whole lot more. In the 70s people still recognized them as Studes. In the new millennium I often have to explain. Still good bang for the buck as far as turning heads.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 08:49 AM
Restyling cars cannot be done overnight, it takes several years (*). When the '53's were introduced, Studebaker most likely had the restyled '55's all set and was well along on the '56's.

Harold Vance HATED the front end design of the low slung '53 C&K's. When a corporate prez doesn't like something, you can bet changes will be made ASAP.

The same thing occurred at FoMoCo when "The Deuce" viewed the upcoming 1970 Thunderbird's "beak" and obese 1971 Mustang & Cougar. By this time, it was too late in development to make any changes.

He HATED them so much, that he fired Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudsen, who he had hired away from GM in 1968 and who had approved the styling. "Bunkie" was FoMoCo prez for only a little over a year.

* Of course, there are exceptions, one being the Avanti, the other being the 1949 Ford. When The Deuce viewed the upcoming 1949 lineup in July 1947, he deemed the Ford too heavy, so a crash program occurred. Ford Division prez Ernie Breech was friends with stylist Dick Caleal, who worked for Raymond Loewy, and was one of the stylists of the 1950 Studebaker.

Breech hired Caleal "under the table" he styled the 1949 Ford in a month, baking the clay model in his wife's oven. The only FoMoCo change to his 'shoebox' design was changing the taillamps from vertical to horizontal. So when the 1949's were introduced, there was the all new Ford, the former Ford became the Mercury, the former Mercury became the 'baby' Lincoln, the Lincoln Cosmopolitan remained the same.

When Loewy found out what Caleal had done, he fired him.

Bob Andrews
11-25-2013, 10:35 AM
Restyling cars cannot be done overnight, it takes several years (*). When the '53's were introduced, Studebaker most likely had the restyled '55's all set and was well along on the '56's.

Harold Vance HATED the front end design of the low slung '53 C&K's. When a corporate prez doesn't like something, you can bet changes will be made ASAP.

The same thing occurred at FoMoCo when "The Deuce" viewed the upcoming 1970 Thunderbird's "beak" and obese 1971 Mustang & Cougar. By this time, it was too late in development to make any changes.

He HATED them so much, that he fired Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudsen, who he had hired away from GM in 1968 and who had approved the styling. "Bunkie" was FoMoCo prez for only a little over a year.

* Of course, there are exceptions, one being the Avanti, the other being the 1949 Ford. When The Deuce viewed the upcoming 1949 lineup in July 1947, he deemed the Ford too heavy, so a crash program occurred. Ford Division prez Ernie Breech was friends with stylist Dick Caleal, who worked for Raymond Loewy, and was one of the stylists of the 1950 Studebaker.

Breech hired Caleal "under the table" he styled the 1949 Ford in a month, baking the clay model in his wife's oven. The only FoMoCo change to his 'shoebox' design was changing the taillamps from vertical to horizontal. So when the 1949's were introduced, there was the all new Ford, the former Ford became the Mercury, the former Mercury became the 'baby' Lincoln, the Lincoln Cosmopolitan remained the same.

When Loewy found out what Caleal had done, he fired him.

It's gotten to where if I see you have responded to a thread, I make sure to see what you had to say. You must have an extensive automotive background. Thanks for sharing all this information.

hausdok
11-25-2013, 11:26 AM
I was waiting for someone to get to the meat of the matter. WinM1895 eventually got to it - it used to take 2 to 2-1/2 years to change an automotive design. When I was a kid I wanted to go to school to design cars. GM used to have a school - General Motors Institute. In order to get in you had to be sponsored by a dealer or some such. My dad got the local Olds dealer to get them to send me a packet. I used to spend hours poring over that little stack of pamphlets. One of the things it explained was the lag time between initial design approval and what finally got produced.

They didn't have emails, fax machines, CAD programs or computers back then. Everything was drawn out and then models were hand built. When the manufacturer planned changes in any piece of sheet metal it meant that new stamping dies had to be made for every new piece and new molds for every new casting. Designing the car was easy - changing all of that tooling was difficult and expensive and it took a lot of time.

Any response to consumer demand probably would have taken a year or two to implement. My guess is the demand for more bling began in '53. Remember when most folks would trade in their cars every 2 to 3 years? It was practically standing operating procedure because people would read about new designs so far ahead of their actual introduction that by the time the car actually rolled off the line orders were backed up and folks were desperate to see the new models in person. My father and his two brothers were always trying to out do one another. My dad would get a new car and his younger brother would buy one the following year - usually one that was more glitzy and more powerful. His other brother the year after that. By the time the third year rolled around my dad had those artsy fartsy water colored dealer pamphlets and interior design brochures lying around the house and was chafing at the bit for that model he'd been reading about for months to finally hit the street so he could "make Al crazy."

When the '53 hit the pavement they were probably already designing the 56 models.

8E45E
11-25-2013, 01:53 PM
Remember when most folks would trade in their cars every 2 to 3 years? It was practically standing operating procedure because people would read about new designs so far ahead of their actual introduction that by the time the car actually rolled off the line orders were backed up and folks were desperate to see the new models in person. My father and his two brothers were always trying to out do one another. My dad would get a new car and his younger brother would buy one the following year - usually one that was more glitzy and more powerful. His other brother the year after that. By the time the third year rolled around my dad had those artsy fartsy water colored dealer pamphlets and interior design brochures lying around the house and was chafing at the bit for that model he'd been reading about for months to finally hit the street so he could "make Al crazy."

Making the rounds to the car dealers to see the next-year's models every September is now a thing of the past. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?45906-Lost-Tradition

Craig

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 02:12 PM
Historically, new vehicle introduction time occurred in September, but this didn't always apply, especially to FoMoCo.

Spring 1963, 1963 1/2 Falcon Sprint, Galaxie fastback introduced as was the 427 engine. 1965 Mustang first shown to the public April 17, 1964 at NY World's Fair, went on sale nationwide April 23, 1964. FoMoCo called 'em 1965's from the get go.

New style Econoline intro'd February '68 as a '69. Continental Mark III intro'd March 1968 as a 1969, Maverick intro'd June '69 as a '70. Ranger intro'd Spring '82 as an '83, 2011 F150 intro'd November 2010, featuring the new 3.5L Eco-Boost & 5.0L Coyote.

Ford offered potential 'invited' customers a 2011 F150 drive event (at various venues across the US) vs Ram & Chevrolet, but no Titan's or Tundra's were present. Here in LA LA Land, the event took place at the SoCal AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, but it was not held on the track, but in the parking lot. :(

1962larksedan
11-25-2013, 02:29 PM
Historically, new vehicle introduction time occurred in September, but this didn't always apply, especially to FoMoCo.

Spring 1963, 1963 1/2 Falcon Sprint, Galaxie fastback introduced as was the 427 engine. 1965 Mustang first shown to the public April 17, 1964 at NY World's Fair, went on sale nationwide April 23, 1964. FoMoCo called 'em 1965's from the get go.

New style Econoline intro'd February '68 as a '69. Continental Mark III intro'd March 1968 as a 1969, Maverick intro'd June '69 as a '70. Ranger intro'd Spring '82 as an '83, 2011 F150 intro'd November 2010, featuring the new 3.5L Eco-Boost & 5.0L Coyote.

Ford offered potential 'invited' customers a 2011 F150 drive event (at various venues across the US) vs Ram & Chevrolet, but no Titan's or Tundra's were present. Here in LA LA Land, the event took place at the SoCal AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, but it was not held on the track, but in the parking lot. :(

Too; Ford offered the 1997 F150 ca. February 1996...........and built the 1996 F150 concurrently. In other words; some '1997's' were older than some '1996's'. :)

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 02:42 PM
1996 F150's sold in 1997 were called the Heritage, the same thing occurred with 2003's sold in 2004.

StudeRich
11-25-2013, 03:26 PM
1996 F150's sold in 1997 were called the Heritage, the same thing occurred with 2003's sold in 2004.

Did they have "Heritage" F-250, F-350's Bill?
I was all confused by the fact I would see Brand New paper plated Old Style F-250 3/4 Tons, called Super Duties running around LA long after lots of New Design F-150's were all around. :confused:

It was almost like they waited until 1997 or 1998 to update the larger than 1/2 Tons.

I happen to like the Old Square, boxy Cab design much better than anything that followed.

studegary
11-25-2013, 03:36 PM
For those that say that we are all guessing what took place, my input is based on many conversations with those that were there and made the changes, primarily Bob Bourke.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 03:47 PM
Rich, AFAIK, there were only the 1997 and 2004 F150 Heritages. The current F250/350 Stupor Duty dates back to 1999, has been restyled several times.

studegary
11-25-2013, 03:56 PM
Restyling cars cannot be done overnight, it takes several years (*). When the '53's were introduced, Studebaker most likely had the restyled '55's all set and was well along on the '56's.

Harold Vance HATED the front end design of the low slung '53 C&K's. When a corporate prez doesn't like something, you can bet changes will be made ASAP.


* Of course, there are exceptions, one being the Avanti, the other being the 1949 Ford. When The Deuce viewed the upcoming 1949 lineup in July 1947, he deemed the Ford too heavy, so a crash program occurred. Ford Division prez Ernie Breech was friends with stylist Dick Caleal, who worked for Raymond Loewy, and was one of the stylists of the 1950 Studebaker.

Breech hired Caleal "under the table" he styled the 1949 Ford in a month, baking the clay model in his wife's oven. The only FoMoCo change to his 'shoebox' design was changing the taillamps from vertical to horizontal. So when the 1949's were introduced, there was the all new Ford, the former Ford became the Mercury, the former Mercury became the 'baby' Lincoln, the Lincoln Cosmopolitan remained the same.

When Loewy found out what Caleal had done, he fired him.

I need to make some comments on this.

1956 models were not "well along" when the 1953s were introduced. Their design was not along the final path, after several false starts, until early in 1955 (January).

I know that it was Studebaker corporate that drove the chroming of the 1955, but I do not know if it was Vance.

Dick Caleal was going to lose his job at Loewy Studios. Bob Bourke, head of Loewy's South Bend Studio, liked the guy and worked with him at his home to design the 1949 Ford in order to get Caleal a job at Ford. The car was mostly designed by Bob Bourke. Neither Bob Bourke nor Caleal made the clay model of the Ford. Bob Koto was the modeler that worked with them on this project and also assisted with the design.
My input is based on discussions with those that were there. There have been a variety of erroneous stories written since then, particularly about the 1949 Ford. Of course any stories coming from the Ford camp have to credit Caleal because he is the one that Ford hired due to this design.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 04:03 PM
Most of my info came from an article I read by Michael Lamm inre to the 1949 Ford in Special Interest Auto's well over 20 years ago.

Harold Vance hating the 1953/54 C/K's front end design was taken from the book: "The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company" which I have a copy of.

studegary
11-25-2013, 04:11 PM
Most of my info came from an article I read by Michael Lamm inre to the 1949 Ford in Special Interest Auto's well over 20 years ago.



I question whether Michael Lamm ever met and talked with any of those involved.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 04:16 PM
I question whether Michael Lamm ever met and talked with any of those involved.
Did I say he did? No, only that he wrote the article. Prior to Special Interest Auto's, Lamm was the editor of Motor Trend.

I've been in this hobby for over 50 years, the only stylist I knew worked on the 1963/64 Galaxies. I met him in the mid 1980's after he had retired, owned an advertising agency in West LA.

And btw, I was an SDC member in 1970, maybe 1971, then went over to SOCA when Paul Gunder split from SDC. I was also a member in 2004.

I'm not all that versed on Studebakers, I'm mainly a Packard & Ford 'nut' but I may be one of the only members of this website that worked for three Studebaker dealers:

Simonson-Schactmeyer in Santa Monica/Frank H. Afton in Inglewood/Frost & French in Los Angeles, at the Western Av address.

studegary
11-25-2013, 04:36 PM
Did I say he did? No, only that he wrote the article. Prior to Special Interest Auto's, Lamm was the editor of Motor Trend.

I've been in this hobby for over 50 years, the only stylist I knew worked on the 1963/64 Galaxies. I met him in the mid 1980's after he had retired, owned an advertising agency in West LA.

And btw, I was an SDC member in 1970, maybe 1971, then went over to SOCA when Paul Gunder split from SDC. I was also a member in 2004.

I'm not all that versed on Studebakers, I'm mainly a Packard & Ford 'nut.'

I didn't say that you said that. I subscribed to SIA during its duration and have MT from 1949 and became a subscriber in 1964 (until current). I am just trying to clear some things up. I have nothing against you. You seem to have a good knowledge of the car world. I am a bit older than you and have been in the hobby longer and knew some of those involved (that are now gone). The written word (this Forum) can be a problem for me, particularly with those that do not know me personally. I was not trying to pick on you. I sometimes come across a little short/curt. I apologize if it seemed like an attack on you. I also rushed these responses because I have to leave in nine minutes to make two appointments and then go to a meeting.

EDIT: I purchased my 1958 Packard hardtop from an ad in MT, back when they had classified ads.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 04:46 PM
I was given a subscription to M/T for my birthday in 1951. I cancelled it in the 1970's...a reader wrote a letter to the editor asking about Studebakers. The clucks response was similar to this: "Why don't you do something constructive and collect string!"

:lol: I'm used to being picked on, had red hair and freckles when the TV show Howdy Doody aired. I took a lot of crap from fellow classmates.

But after waiting on idiots at parts counters for over 30 years, I'm now battle hardened, so very little fazes me.

8E45E
11-25-2013, 05:19 PM
Historically, new vehicle introduction time occurred in September, but this didn't always apply, especially to FoMoCo.

Before the '63-1/2 'Total Performance' additions, there was the Falcon Station wagons and Comet intro'd in mid 1960. And you forgot the 1971-1/2 Pinto Runabout hatchback, the 'age of malise' Gran Torino Elite in mid-1974, and the mid-1978 Fairmont 'Futura'.

On the other hand, GM was far less successful with mid-year releases than Ford ever was.

Craig

decappastubbie
11-25-2013, 05:20 PM
It was the Chrome War started by GM, Buick Olds and Cad.

1962larksedan
11-25-2013, 06:30 PM
Before the '63-1/2 'Total Performance' additions, there was the Falcon Station wagons and Comet intro'd in mid 1960. And you forgot the 1971-1/2 Pinto Runabout hatchback, the 'age of malise' Gran Torino Elite in mid-1974, and the mid-1978 Fairmont 'Futura'.

On the other hand, GM was far less successful with mid-year releases than Ford ever was.

Craig

1970 1/2 Chevy Camaro replaced the '1969' Camaro never mind the latter was built till February 1970. The 1994 and 1995 S10 Blazers were another example of the newer model year having some chronologically older 1995 SUV's vs. 1994 MY vehicles.

WinM1895
11-25-2013, 08:01 PM
The only stylist I knew :confused: worked on the 1963/64 Galaxies. I met him in the mid 1980's after he had retired, owned an advertising agency in West LA.
Geez, how could I have forgotten that not only did I know "Dutch" Darrin, but sold him a car. In the mid 1970's, I worked weekends at Automotive Classics in Santa Monica detailing engines, Dutch lived nearby in Santa Monica Canyon and was a frequent visitor.

I had acquired a one owner Moretti for about 30 bucks from the original owner, it only had about 500 miles on it when the engine blew. Dutch was looking for wide whites for a Fiat Jolly he owned, so I sold him the Moretti for 50 bucks, cuz it had the tires he wanted.

8E45E
11-25-2013, 09:42 PM
1970 1/2 Chevy Camaro replaced the '1969' Camaro never mind the latter was built till February 1970. The 1994 and 1995 S10 Blazers were another example of the newer model year having some chronologically older 1995 SUV's vs. 1994 MY vehicles.

Yes, and the Seville (1975) and the 1980 fwd X-cars were also mid-year intros.

Craig

1962larksedan
11-25-2013, 10:43 PM
Yes, and the Seville (1975) and the 1980 fwd X-cars were also mid-year intros.

Craig

2001 Dodge Ram 1500 came out ca. January 2000 I believe due to CAFE regulations...............

8E45E
11-25-2013, 10:54 PM
2001 Dodge Ram 1500 came out ca. January 2000 I believe due to CAFE regulations...............

Seems the only reason Chrysler had mid-year intros was because they were delayed to market. The Aspen/Volare and the Omni/Horizon were two examples and the early ones showed they were rushed to market.

Craig

clonelark
11-26-2013, 12:45 AM
Back to Studebakers especially 55's, What a beautiful chrome piece Studebaker put on the upper class cars (The butterknife). Chrome is what makes the 50's cars so sought after. Crown Victoria's, Speedster's, Nomad's, Fury's, People want em cause they had Chrome. Wish Studebaker would have added the butterknife to the Conestoga and added chrome strips to the tailgate.

jimmijim8
11-26-2013, 03:53 AM
Those were the good old days. cheers jimmijim
Making the rounds to the car dealers to see the next-year's models every September is now a thing of the past. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?45906-Lost-Tradition

Craig

northern
11-26-2013, 09:12 AM
Although I was too young to drive a car, I also remember those days. Any kid with an interest in cars could tell the exact year of the American made cars - especially of the big 3's products - in an instant. Some of the lower production models did not change as much or as often. C1 and C2 Corvettes, for example, usually had only minor changes for a few years in a row. (53-55, 56-57, 58-60, 61-62, 63-67). And the '55 to '57 T-Birds changed little.

Another example of a mid-year introduction is the '07 GMC and Chevy pickup. To make that one a little stranger, however, GM called both the old and new models '07s.

qsanford
11-26-2013, 09:47 AM
There were also two types of the 1970 Ford Falcon.

1962larksedan
11-26-2013, 10:42 AM
Back to 1955 Studebaker non C/K models: the early ones had '1953-54' style windshields whereas the 1955 1/2 had the wraparound unit.

Pat Dilling
11-26-2013, 11:36 AM
Back to Studebakers especially 55's, What a beautiful chrome piece Studebaker put on the upper class cars (The butterknife). Chrome is what makes the 50's cars so sought after. Crown Victoria's, Speedster's, Nomad's, Fury's, People want em cause they had Chrome. Wish Studebaker would have added the butterknife to the Conestoga and added chrome strips to the tailgate.

Thanks for the idea!