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  • engineering staff?

    I was wondering how big Studebaker's engineering staff was during their heyday and when they closed the South Bend factory? Or even the tail end in Canada?
    1963 Champ "Stu Bludebaker"- sometimes driver
    1957 Silver Hawk "Josie"- picking up the pieces after an unreliable body man let it rot for 11 years from an almost driver to a basket case
    1951 Land Cruiser "Bunnie Ketcher" only 47M miles!
    1951 Commander Starlight "Dale"- basket case
    1947 Champion "Sally"- basket case
    1941 Commander Land Cruiser "Ursula"- basket case

  • #2
    When Studebaker was going strong in SB the engineering department as a whole had hundreds of employees but everybody there had varying jobs. I don't know the exact numbers off the top of my head, but some of the different roles included draftsman, chassis engineers, body engineers, engine engineers, electrical engineers, engineers specializing in cars, engineers specializing in trucks, production engineers out in the plants to build vehicles in the most efficient way possible, skilled carpenters who would craft the bucks used to make stamping dies, and then test engineers out at the Proving Ground running cars and trucks through every test imaginable to make a better product.
    In other words, the umbrella term of "Engineering Department" was a big one. There were also stylists who weren't necessarily engineers but had to work closely with them to make drawings a reality.

    As for 1965 and 1966 in Canada, I don't know how bit their engineering department was but I'd assume that it was dramatically smaller than it was even in 1963 SB because they weren't creating completely new cars and new body styles every year and they knew that.
    Another lesser known fact is that Plant 8 remained open in SB until 1972 when Newman & Altman bought out the rest of their inventory. Plant 8 kept 10 (I think 10 but it could have been 12) "supplement engineers" on hand until they closed. Their job was to figure out how to interchange parts when they ran out of any particular item.
    Chris Dresbach

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    • #3
      Thank you Chris, very interesting...Mike
      Mike
      Fort Worth, TX


      1964 Avanti R2 #R-4986

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      • #4
        Plant 8 was I believe the original SASCO. I bought many parts from them through a local dealer.
        james r pepper

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        • #5
          When the new 183,000 square foot Engineering Building was opened in South Bend 1927-28 there were 508 employees in six departments. Another47 in Detroit. Total 555. Salaries for hourly employees ranged from .45c per hour to $1.10 (pattern makers). I am sure this number increased over the years. For what its worth I have the names and depts. plus salaries of all the 508 in South Bend.
          Richard Quinn
          Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
            Another lesser known fact is that Plant 8 remained open in SB until 1972 when Newman & Altman bought out the rest of their inventory. Plant 8 kept 10 (I think 10 but it could have been 12) "supplement engineers" on hand until they closed. Their job was to figure out how to interchange parts when they ran out of any particular item.
            Can anyone elaborate more on this interesting subject? Was it to supply parts for existing Studebakers..., or was it for Avanti production? It just seems interesting that a manufacture goes out of business, but, oh yea, there are still parts being made to the extent they need 10+ engineers to do so. When you count the years from a South Bend closing perspective that is 9 years (7 years for Canada).

            BTW, was Studebaker the last 'dead end' manufacturer? I mean AMC was taken over by Renault and Chrysler etc.. Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Mercury died within their parent companies. Studebaker seems to stand alone unless one considers the 'life support' existence of the Avanti. But even there that had its final, long drawn out day. Also, I'm not talking about the Studebaker Company and all its subsidiaries. I'm strictly talking as a car manufacture.
            '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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            • #7
              Adding on to what Chris has mentioned, Studebaker/Studebaker Worthington, through their SASCO division, continued to support their contracted service dealers for many years after the last car left the factory. They also continued to not only supply parts, but produce service letters too, just like when they were producing cars. I have a copy of a service letter from 1969, years after the last car was produced. Attached is a picture of SASCO plant 8, taken in 1971.
              Click image for larger version

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              Eric DeRosa


              \'63 R2 Lark
              \'60 Lark Convertible

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              • #8
                So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? Was this part of the (I believe law) that manufacturers had to supply parts 7 years after ceasing..., or is that an urban myth too? I remember something like that being an issue when the Corvair stopped production.
                '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wittsend View Post
                  So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? Was this part of the (I believe law) that manufacturers had to supply parts 7 years after ceasing..., or is that an urban myth too? I remember something like that being an issue when the Corvair stopped production.
                  Yes, some dealerships limped along on the CASO service and parts crumbs. Some took on other franchises. Some just became general automotive repair shops. Some just went out of business.

                  Slightly OT, but I remember McCormack Brothers Motor Car Company, Inc in Birmingham still servicing Packards and selling parts up into the early 1960s.

                  jack vines
                  PackardV8

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jpepper View Post
                    Plant 8 was I believe the original SASCO. I bought many parts from them through a local dealer.
                    The counter person, Dale Holt, was my brothers neighbor. I was able to purchase parts there.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wittsend View Post
                      So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? /Cut/
                      Studebaker Corp. and Dealers would have done that anyway, regardless of any stink'in "Law".

                      Yes that is definitely true, I worked in the Parts Dept. at one of them; Frost and French Studebaker Packard in Los Angeles in 1972.
                      They were still receiving Semi Loads of Parts every few Months from South Bend, IN.

                      Frost & French also became the West Coast SASCO Studebaker Parts Warehouse, buying out the SASCO Berlingame, CA West Coast Warehouse, and moving it complete with the Clark Forklift to L.A.

                      They remained a Used Car & Studebaker Service & Parts Dealer well into the '70's, and a Parts Dealer much longer into, I believe the late 1980's or the 1990's!
                      Last edited by StudeRich; 09-27-2017, 12:27 PM.
                      StudeRich
                      Second Generation Stude Driver,
                      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                      • #12
                        It really seems like a substantial benefit to the Studebaker community to have had (and still have) such resources. Is that common with other defunct auto manufacturers? I mean 50+ years after the last one rolled off the line significant parts are still available. Or, as I asked earlier that Studebaker was the last non-absorbed auto manufacturer to die off and they are in that way "Guinea Pigs" of an example to how long parts hang around.

                        Thanks for all the replies (I find it all very intriguing). As it regards Studebaker parts availability it is almost as if the sole wealthy relative in the family set up a perpetual trust that benefits one before they are even born.
                        '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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                        • #13
                          To further respond to wittsend, the last Studebaker (specifically, SASCO Division) parts depot price list was published on July 1. 1971. In early 1972, the company sold the whole parts depot operation, including building 69, to the newly created Avanti Parts Corp., which continued to honor dealer discounts and procure popular replacement parts (ie, V8 water pumps). Avanti Parts Corp was separate from Avanti Motors, though they shared some common owners (Newman and Altman families). Avanti Parts Corp was purchased by, and combined with, Newman & Altman Inc on December 1, 1986. N&A had been a retail outlet and had mostly had in its inventory parts that it had previous purchased as surplus.
                          Last edited by Skip Lackie; 09-28-2017, 04:24 AM.
                          Skip Lackie

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wittsend View Post
                            So, does that mean Studebaker dealers were still open post 1966 for Service (and perhaps sales of used Studebakers)? Was this part of the (I believe law) that manufacturers had to supply parts 7 years after ceasing..., or is that an urban myth too? I remember something like that being an issue when the Corvair stopped production.
                            The former service manager of Mills Motors in Edmonton set up his own shop after it closed, and continued to service Studebakers up until around 1980, after which he retired. I do know he ordered parts from South Bend on a fairly regular basis from both the original SASCO and Newman & Altman up until that time.

                            Craig

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                            • #15
                              I can remember setting in a seminar in the 70''s in South Bend where Otis Romaine was the speaker. Otis was in charge of truck engineering in the 60''s and he said the truck engineering department consisted of 2 people. He and another individual.

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