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View Full Version : Leonard Shepherd was right!



BobPalma
11-12-2007, 04:44 PM
:) In the thread concerning Leonard's 1964 convertible arriving safely home in Indiana, Leonard commented that many people didn't know what the car was when he took it to shows. They expected Studebakers to have fins or bullet-noses. He was right.

A local insurance agent sent a lady by today to have me write an appraisal on her nice, factory black 1955 Thunderbird...with working factory overdrive, too (Cool!) I told her to "come to the house north of the big Morton Building almost across from the library," since most people know where the library is. She arrived with no trouble.

Having examined the 'Bird, we got to talking. When she told me her maiden name, I knew the family were Ford people. So I mentioned having an original, 17,869-mile (as of today's short drive to winterize it!) 1973 Mustang Convertible, but that my primary interest was Studebakers. She was in her mid-60s and the mention of Studebakers seemed to get her attention [8)], so she asked if she could see the Studebakers [over in the other building]. Sure thing, so we went over.

I introduced her to my 1964 Daytona collection, now augmented by Leonard's previous convertible, freshly polished as of last Friday (and looking pretty natty if I do say so myself). Her reaction was a combination of disappointment and confusion...along the lines of, "No, I meant real Studebakers; you know, the ones with the pointy nose."

'Talk about a style so far out it's in: 1950 and 1951 Studebakers posed for the picture!

If Studebaker was in business today, wouldn't it be interesting to see if they might market a retro specialty car along the lines of the Volkswagen New Beetle or 2008 Dodge Challenger, with styling cues harkening back to the now-famous bullet nose? (It would have to have stronger cues than the recent 2-passenger Thunderbird incarnation, however; that styling wasn't retro enough to attract a sufficient market.) [^];) :D:D BP

Swifster
11-12-2007, 04:51 PM
I think a retro car probably would have done well because of the identity with the brand. As for the T-Bird, I think the problem was more of a power issue and cost issue than a styling issue. Many dealer marked up the price because there was a lot of initial interest.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/rollingpi.gif http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/01-01-05TheStartingPoint.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/07-17-07FrontClipRemoved.jpg

Swifster
11-12-2007, 04:51 PM
I think a retro car probably would have done well because of the identity with the brand. As for the T-Bird, I think the problem was more of a power issue and cost issue than a styling issue. Many dealer marked up the price because there was a lot of initial interest.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/rollingpi.gif http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/01-01-05TheStartingPoint.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/07-17-07FrontClipRemoved.jpg

showbizkid
11-12-2007, 05:12 PM
quote:Originally posted by Swifster

As for the T-Bird, I think the problem was more of a power issue and cost issue than a styling issue. Many dealer marked up the price because there was a lot of initial interest.

Totally agree with this. The dealers' overactive greed gland, coupled with the upper demographic of the potential buyers, did the car in.


[img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard
http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
www.studebakersandiego.com

showbizkid
11-12-2007, 05:12 PM
quote:Originally posted by Swifster

As for the T-Bird, I think the problem was more of a power issue and cost issue than a styling issue. Many dealer marked up the price because there was a lot of initial interest.

Totally agree with this. The dealers' overactive greed gland, coupled with the upper demographic of the potential buyers, did the car in.


[img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard
http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
www.studebakersandiego.com

BobPalma
11-12-2007, 06:05 PM
:) Strongly disagree, guys, although greed may have played a part early on.

[u]LOOK</u> at the side profile of a 1955-1957 Thunderbird. Among the most prominent features, if not the most prominent feature, is an unbroken peak line from the front tip of the headlight door ("rim") to the upper tip of the tail lamp assembly.

When they did the retro-bird, they rounded off the corners so it had no definition; hence, no identity to the original design! Sure, they put an egg-crate grille in it, but look what similar flimsy styling cues did to help sink the Holden-based GTO, despite it being a good performance car.

Ford even commented at the time that they didn't want the new 2-pass Thunderbird to be as "retro as the New Beetle". Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and not too many folks stuck a spoon in the new 'bird. It sold over sticker for maybe a month, but they had trouble giving them away after that.

They learned their lesson, though, with they did the retro Mustang and it became the sole bright star on Ford's dim horizon. [xx(] [8D]BP

BobPalma
11-12-2007, 06:05 PM
:) Strongly disagree, guys, although greed may have played a part early on.

[u]LOOK</u> at the side profile of a 1955-1957 Thunderbird. Among the most prominent features, if not the most prominent feature, is an unbroken peak line from the front tip of the headlight door ("rim") to the upper tip of the tail lamp assembly.

When they did the retro-bird, they rounded off the corners so it had no definition; hence, no identity to the original design! Sure, they put an egg-crate grille in it, but look what similar flimsy styling cues did to help sink the Holden-based GTO, despite it being a good performance car.

Ford even commented at the time that they didn't want the new 2-pass Thunderbird to be as "retro as the New Beetle". Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and not too many folks stuck a spoon in the new 'bird. It sold over sticker for maybe a month, but they had trouble giving them away after that.

They learned their lesson, though, with they did the retro Mustang and it became the sole bright star on Ford's dim horizon. [xx(] [8D]BP

showbizkid
11-12-2007, 06:25 PM
Hm - you make good points, Bob. Even though I liked the resurrected T-Bird and would drive one in a heartbeat (black on black, natch), your arguments makes me have to re-think my position on why it died.

The revived GTO should definitely serve as a cautionary tale of how not to revive a revered model, though. The GM execs thought that power alone would be enough to create a new legacy - but shroud that body that creates no visual excitement and you've got a niche model at best. Not to mention that GM Styling has, with few exceptions, been out to lunch since about 1979...


[img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard
http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
www.studebakersandiego.com

showbizkid
11-12-2007, 06:25 PM
Hm - you make good points, Bob. Even though I liked the resurrected T-Bird and would drive one in a heartbeat (black on black, natch), your arguments makes me have to re-think my position on why it died.

The revived GTO should definitely serve as a cautionary tale of how not to revive a revered model, though. The GM execs thought that power alone would be enough to create a new legacy - but shroud that body that creates no visual excitement and you've got a niche model at best. Not to mention that GM Styling has, with few exceptions, been out to lunch since about 1979...


[img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard
http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
www.studebakersandiego.com

lstude
11-12-2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks for affirming my opinion Bob, but I would rather be right on more positive topics!

I also agree with you about the retro T-Bird. Many people liked the car and a friend of mine bought one, but I think the proportions are a little off. the hood is too short and they rounded off all the details that made the original T-Bird so attractive.

Even though Studebaker may never come alive to make a retro car, some aftermarket firms have made bullet nose front ends for other cars & trucks and the "so called" 39 Studebaker version of the S-10 pickup keeps the Studebaker style alive.

Leonard Shepherd
http://leonardshepherd.com/

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/lstude1/MeatSouthBendsm1.jpg

lstude
11-12-2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks for affirming my opinion Bob, but I would rather be right on more positive topics!

I also agree with you about the retro T-Bird. Many people liked the car and a friend of mine bought one, but I think the proportions are a little off. the hood is too short and they rounded off all the details that made the original T-Bird so attractive.

Even though Studebaker may never come alive to make a retro car, some aftermarket firms have made bullet nose front ends for other cars & trucks and the "so called" 39 Studebaker version of the S-10 pickup keeps the Studebaker style alive.

Leonard Shepherd
http://leonardshepherd.com/

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p235/lstude1/MeatSouthBendsm1.jpg

JBOYLE
11-12-2007, 07:48 PM
Retro car?
One word. Avanti. Look at the post 2000 models.:D
As retro as the new Beetle or Mini.
Too bad they were so expensive & just rebodied Firebirds and Mustangs.

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

JBOYLE
11-12-2007, 07:48 PM
Retro car?
One word. Avanti. Look at the post 2000 models.:D
As retro as the new Beetle or Mini.
Too bad they were so expensive & just rebodied Firebirds and Mustangs.

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

Swifster
11-12-2007, 10:05 PM
Most problems with retro cars is usually related to price. The five retro styled cars that have done well are the VW Beetle, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper the Chevrolet HHR and the current Ford Mustang. None are exact replicas. All are competitively priced.

Others such as the Chevy SSR, the Plymouth Prowler, the T-Bird, the Viper and the Ford GT were all victims of dealer greed. The Prowler and T-Bird were also drivetrain victims. Only the Viper is still in production. I have a lot of concerns about the Challenger because of dealer greed. There is nothing wrong with the T-Bird that a 300 HP, DOHC 4.6 wouldn't cure, especially with a 5/6-speed. I know a few guys who worked on that program, and they had quite a few who wanted a performance option, but the bean counters won out. That little 3.9L V8 might be fine for a Jaguar S-Type or a Lincoln LS, but the T-bird begs for more power.

As for the GTO, the styling didn't kill it, price and the dealer network did. When you can get a fully loaded Mustang GT for $25K, or a base GTO for $33K (before the dealer added $4/$5K), what would you buy? For $25K, it would be a lot of car, but for $33K, I'd pass and buy a Mustang. I hope GM and Chrysler learned this so that the Camaro and Challenger sell well.

Those Studebaker kits look horrible. Unless it's on the right vehicle to get the proportions right, I'd rather they not bother.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/rollingpi.gif http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/01-01-05TheStartingPoint.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/07-17-07FrontClipRemoved.jpg

Swifster
11-12-2007, 10:05 PM
Most problems with retro cars is usually related to price. The five retro styled cars that have done well are the VW Beetle, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper the Chevrolet HHR and the current Ford Mustang. None are exact replicas. All are competitively priced.

Others such as the Chevy SSR, the Plymouth Prowler, the T-Bird, the Viper and the Ford GT were all victims of dealer greed. The Prowler and T-Bird were also drivetrain victims. Only the Viper is still in production. I have a lot of concerns about the Challenger because of dealer greed. There is nothing wrong with the T-Bird that a 300 HP, DOHC 4.6 wouldn't cure, especially with a 5/6-speed. I know a few guys who worked on that program, and they had quite a few who wanted a performance option, but the bean counters won out. That little 3.9L V8 might be fine for a Jaguar S-Type or a Lincoln LS, but the T-bird begs for more power.

As for the GTO, the styling didn't kill it, price and the dealer network did. When you can get a fully loaded Mustang GT for $25K, or a base GTO for $33K (before the dealer added $4/$5K), what would you buy? For $25K, it would be a lot of car, but for $33K, I'd pass and buy a Mustang. I hope GM and Chrysler learned this so that the Camaro and Challenger sell well.

Those Studebaker kits look horrible. Unless it's on the right vehicle to get the proportions right, I'd rather they not bother.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom - Valrico, FL

1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $1755.45)

http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/rollingpi.gif http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/01-01-05TheStartingPoint.jpg http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i280/Swifster/The%20Daytona%20File/Avatar%20Size/07-17-07FrontClipRemoved.jpg

8E45E
11-13-2007, 03:19 AM
quote:Originally posted by Swifster

Most problems with retro cars is usually related to price. The five retro styled cars that have done well are the VW Beetle, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper the Chevrolet HHR and the current Ford Mustang. None are exact replicas. All are competitively priced.



I would also have to agree that it was the price of them. A Ford salesman told me they were too high priced for what you got, the retro looks notwithstanding. The T-bird was only about 5K less than the 2-seat Mercedes Benz SLK, and you got a folding metal roof at the touch of a button, versus a lift off hardtop that is a two man job. The Thunderbird should have been a success and probably could have been for 10-15K less.

Craig

8E45E
11-13-2007, 03:19 AM
quote:Originally posted by Swifster

Most problems with retro cars is usually related to price. The five retro styled cars that have done well are the VW Beetle, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper the Chevrolet HHR and the current Ford Mustang. None are exact replicas. All are competitively priced.



I would also have to agree that it was the price of them. A Ford salesman told me they were too high priced for what you got, the retro looks notwithstanding. The T-bird was only about 5K less than the 2-seat Mercedes Benz SLK, and you got a folding metal roof at the touch of a button, versus a lift off hardtop that is a two man job. The Thunderbird should have been a success and probably could have been for 10-15K less.

Craig

BobPalma
11-13-2007, 05:25 AM
quote:Originally posted by Swifster

Most problems with retro cars is usually related to price. The five retro styled cars that have done well are the VW Beetle, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper the Chevrolet HHR and the current Ford Mustang. None are exact replicas. All are competitively priced.

Tom - Valrico, FL



:) Good point on the pricing, there, Tom. Probably the most successful of the group you cite is the PT Cruiser, and it wasn't even retro-styled to look like a Chrysler product, for Pete's sake! Don't most people think it kind of looks like a 1937 Ford, if anything? [:0][8D] BP

BobPalma
11-13-2007, 05:25 AM
quote:Originally posted by Swifster

Most problems with retro cars is usually related to price. The five retro styled cars that have done well are the VW Beetle, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper the Chevrolet HHR and the current Ford Mustang. None are exact replicas. All are competitively priced.

Tom - Valrico, FL



:) Good point on the pricing, there, Tom. Probably the most successful of the group you cite is the PT Cruiser, and it wasn't even retro-styled to look like a Chrysler product, for Pete's sake! Don't most people think it kind of looks like a 1937 Ford, if anything? [:0][8D] BP

Roscomacaw
11-13-2007, 01:46 PM
All this aside, I'm constantly amazed at how many folks (no small percentage of them, gearheads!) that will quiz me as to what sort of engine I decided to use over the original flatead six.:(

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle
http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/906179/2006/12/7/truckonhill3.jpg

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

Roscomacaw
11-13-2007, 01:46 PM
All this aside, I'm constantly amazed at how many folks (no small percentage of them, gearheads!) that will quiz me as to what sort of engine I decided to use over the original flatead six.:(

Miscreant adrift in
the BerStuda Triangle
http://images.andale.com/f2/115/106/906179/2006/12/7/truckonhill3.jpg

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe

studeclunker
11-13-2007, 04:08 PM
When I saw the first ads for the PT Cruiser, I beat tracks to the nearest Chrysler dealer to see the thing in person. Disapointment is an inadequate word to describe my feelings when I saw the little thing. Here's thirties styling and a little bitty car which is useless as a cargo vehicle. Besides the fact that one had better not be over six feet tall to drive the thing. Then add in the fact that it's largely plastic, why bother?

As to the Avantis? They ceased being Studebakers a long time ago... due to a really stupid decision by the management.[V] Something the Studebaker management team seems to have been good at.

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!
Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

studeclunker
11-13-2007, 04:08 PM
When I saw the first ads for the PT Cruiser, I beat tracks to the nearest Chrysler dealer to see the thing in person. Disapointment is an inadequate word to describe my feelings when I saw the little thing. Here's thirties styling and a little bitty car which is useless as a cargo vehicle. Besides the fact that one had better not be over six feet tall to drive the thing. Then add in the fact that it's largely plastic, why bother?

As to the Avantis? They ceased being Studebakers a long time ago... due to a really stupid decision by the management.[V] Something the Studebaker management team seems to have been good at.

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!
Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

rodnutrandy
11-20-2007, 08:44 PM
Look at the new Camaro, It looks nothing like a previous Camaro, and Gm and Chrysler (the Challenger ) both state they can't come in to price of the Mustang by at least $5000. What they all miss on the old look is that the Camaros, Challengers, AMX, and other past cars were not only sharpe and performance, they were resonably priced, Now if it is rectro with performance they want to tack on another $10000. And insurance companies still tax the performance cars. A 69 Dart 340 Swinger was $2995 and lacked the carpet ,buckets, power steering and other items , but could perform .Now a performance copy will push $40,000. That takes a lot of the fun out of owning one. I blew a 440 6Pk Cuda up in its day and had it back on the road in a week with another 440 in it. Today at their value it would be scarcy to take one for a drive, let alone take a chance of blowing it up..

Randy Wilkin

rodnutrandy
11-20-2007, 08:44 PM
Look at the new Camaro, It looks nothing like a previous Camaro, and Gm and Chrysler (the Challenger ) both state they can't come in to price of the Mustang by at least $5000. What they all miss on the old look is that the Camaros, Challengers, AMX, and other past cars were not only sharpe and performance, they were resonably priced, Now if it is rectro with performance they want to tack on another $10000. And insurance companies still tax the performance cars. A 69 Dart 340 Swinger was $2995 and lacked the carpet ,buckets, power steering and other items , but could perform .Now a performance copy will push $40,000. That takes a lot of the fun out of owning one. I blew a 440 6Pk Cuda up in its day and had it back on the road in a week with another 440 in it. Today at their value it would be scarcy to take one for a drive, let alone take a chance of blowing it up..

Randy Wilkin