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bullet nose and pop nostalgia

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  • bullet nose and pop nostalgia

    It's interesting on how the Bullet-Nose became the pop culture image of Studebaker. It's a two year only styling gimmick that's a bit atypical for a company that made a lot of blunt and boxy vehicles. 

    But, I confess that seeing an old '51 around being nine years old in 1970 is what originally planted the seed that got me into Studebakers and by extension Googie style. "Oh, wow! That car looks like a rocket-ship! That's so cool!"
    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
    Totally agree! That’s what hooked me in 76. Salmon pick starlight headed into Newport, OR. Ask my Dad what it was because it was the most beautiful/ weird vehicle I had ever seen. 6 weeks later I owned one in central CA, just to be called to active duty the day after I drove it home from Rio Vista, CA. Collected parts for 4 years and now it’s in my garage and my avatar.

    Mark

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    • #3
      I wouldn't call it a "styling gimmick". It was in keeping with the hot item of the time - jet planes. I believe that you had to be old enough in immediate postwar (WW II) America (when these cars were styled) to understand this phenomenon.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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      • #4
        Until 3-4 months ago, I only knew Studebaker cars for the bullet nose. I was up on the trucks as I am more of a truck guy then a car guy.
        I think a bullet nose has to be my second Studebaker I buy....

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        • #5
          I grew up with Studebakers starting in the very early '50s. My dad owned a '50 Champion Starlight and then a '51 Land Cruiser. Honestly, I never cared for the bullet nose style. My first car was a '55 Commander Starlight Coupe and that was always the style I liked the best. That being said, after a long break from Studebaker, the first one I bought when I jumped back in was a '50 Commander Sedan and I found the style really grew on me. I have a much better appreciation for this break from the styling norm. You can see my car to the left. Unfortunately, I sold it to purchase my '55 President State Sedan. I wish I had been able to keep the '50. I really miss it.
          Ed Sallia
          Dundee, OR

          Sol Lucet Omnibus

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          • #6
            As a kid growing up, my life's desire was to own a '50 Stude, a '54 Kaiser, and a '57 chevy. I have the 1rst two, but never did own a '57.....
            Mike Sal

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            • #7
              In 1969 when I was 9 we were on x-mas holiday in Israel & one day I saw the weirdest car ever & I asked my dad what that grey car was & he said (with a dreamy voice full of respect for the family's favorite car-brand) "it's a Studebaker..." it took me quite some time to understand, since my Studebaker experiance so far had been mostly Hawks & our Lark.
              (I was kinda in love with -57 Chevies too as a kid, then sudenly in the late 70's they were everywhere & I got bored...)
              sigpic

              Josephine
              -55
              Champion V8
              4d sedan

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              • #8
                1949, 1950 Ford had a bullet nose grille.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mike Sal View Post
                  As a kid growing up, my life's desire was to own a '50 Stude, a '54 Kaiser, and a '57 chevy. I have the 1rst two, but never did own a '57.....
                  Mike Sal
                  Of the three, you own the best two!!
                  sigpic
                  Dave Lester

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                  • #10
                    For me, as a child, we lived in a rather remote area, dead end road, as we say around here...down in a holler. We didn't even own a car until 1953, so seeing any car was not a daily thing until we got one and were able to venture out more frequently. A Studebaker was rare in my little part of the south. Seeing one was a visual treat for me. I loved to draw things, and the Bullet Nose Studebaker was a fun thing to try to recreate with a pencil and paper. Especially the Starlight Coupe. I would not only try to draw it accurately, but played with making it even more radical than it was. In the Auto Manufacturing world, the 1947 through 1949 post war Studebaker's probably had the most impact on post war car design. But for the public in general, I believe it was the radical bullet nose that stuck in their minds. I have met folks that thought the only Studebakers ever made were the bullet nose models. Totally ignorant of the rich history of the company, and the contributions made to the industrial/corporate structure for so many years.

                    My real education into all things Studebaker...didn't really begin until I bought my Studebaker truck. (IN 1974) And then, I bought the truck because I could afford it, not because it was a Studebaker. Every Studebaker I have owned has elicited the question..."What is that?" from people of all ages.

                    However, with my 1951 Bullet Nose, almost every age, except for the very youngest...instant recognition... "IT'S A STUDEBAKER!"
                    John Clary
                    Greer, SC

                    SDC member since 1975

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by harry View Post
                      1949, 1950 Ford had a bullet nose grille.
                      There's a story about how Fords got the bullet nose before the Studebakers.
                      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
                        There's a story about how Fords got the bullet nose before the Studebakers.
                        According to Richard Langworth:
                        "Styling for the '49 (Ford) was a competitive operation, as Ford solicited ideas from freelance designers as well as from its own design department. One of the competitors was George Walker, who employed a young stylist named Dick Caleal. The Walker team developed a package incorporating integral fenders. However, as the deadline approached, Caleal ran into trouble with the front and rear styling. According to Robert Bourke, then chief designer for the Lowey Studios at Studebaker, Caleal approached Bourke and his assistant Bob Koto for help. The Loewy people agreed to lend their friend Caleal whatever expertise they could on their own time. Late-night sessions at the Caleal home in Mishawaka, Indiana found the three men concocting a smooth-looking clay model with a bullet or spinner-type grille reminiscent of the later '50 Studebaker. According to Bourke, the quarter-scale was submitted to Walker, who put it under his arm and took it to Dearborn. It was accepted almost without alteration. The only significant change was in the taillights: horizontal lenses were used instead of the vertical taillights the team had planned. The design, of course, had none of the Studebaker's radical lines."
                        KURTRUK
                        (read it backwards)




                        Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kurtruk View Post
                          According to Richard Langworth:
                          "Styling for the '49 (Ford) was a competitive operation, as Ford solicited ideas from freelance designers as well as from its own design department. One of the competitors was George Walker, who employed a young stylist named Dick Caleal. The Walker team developed a package incorporating integral fenders. However, as the deadline approached, Caleal ran into trouble with the front and rear styling. According to Robert Bourke, then chief designer for the Lowey Studios at Studebaker, Caleal approached Bourke and his assistant Bob Koto for help. The Loewy people agreed to lend their friend Caleal whatever expertise they could on their own time. Late-night sessions at the Caleal home in Mishawaka, Indiana found the three men concocting a smooth-looking clay model with a bullet or spinner-type grille reminiscent of the later '50 Studebaker. According to Bourke, the quarter-scale was submitted to Walker, who put it under his arm and took it to Dearborn. It was accepted almost without alteration. The only significant change was in the taillights: horizontal lenses were used instead of the vertical taillights the team had planned. The design, of course, had none of the Studebaker's radical lines."
                          I remember Bob Bourke telling me about this with slight variations. Caleal was going to be laid off from the Loewy Studio in South Bend. Caleal applied to Ford. Bourke liked Caleal and wanted to help Caleal out. Bourke and Koto worked on the proposed design at night on the Caleal kitchen table. That design is what got Caleal hired by Ford. Ford used the design with a change in the tail lights (I think the vertical light looked better.).

                          Many that worked for/with Bob Bourke at Loewy Studios at Studebaker went on to work at major international firms.
                          Gary L.
                          Wappinger, NY

                          SDC member since 1968
                          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                          • #14
                            Bob Bourke interview is at http://wwwe.autolife.umd.umich.edu/D..._interview.htm
                            Ford reference starts page 19.

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