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Did Studebaker's Bob Bourke copy the Tucker - or was it the other way around?

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  • Did Studebaker's Bob Bourke copy the Tucker - or was it the other way around?

    Would-be auto builder Preston Tucker died on 26 December 1956.
    The front of the Tucker Torpedo and the '50-'51 Studebakers are very similar. Who copied whom?

    https://56packardman.com/2017/12/26/...december-1956/

  • #2
    In Richard Langworth's book "Studebaker- the Postwar Years", I believe that Bob Bourke mentions in an interview that the so-called Bullet Nose design dated back to styling exercises done back in the early '40s. I don't have the book right in front of me here, but that's how I recall it. Others will respond here, I'm sure.

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    • #3
      Styling proposals for 1943-44 models had a bullet nose. Of course, these were not produced. There was also a 1945 design that had a bullet nose.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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      • #4
        Somehow, I have it in my mind that I read where Bob Bourke credited the influence of the P-38 Dual fuselage fighter, and the low oil cooler on other fighter aircraft of WWII era planes influenced his "airplane look" design. The 1950 being the most radical design and toned down a bit for the '51. On both bullet nose designs, the "nose" represented a "spinning propeller" as it would look in motion.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #5
          It seems more then a coincidence, to me, that pre war Studebaker design, the 1950 Stude and the 1949 Ford, that was credited by former Studebaker Robert Caleal, are strikingly similar. Bob Koto should have gotten most of the credit, and Bob Bourk doing the work on the front end, on the 1949 Ford design. The main thing is that the design had already been penned in the early 40's and rejected by Studebaker. I think that it is humorous, and ironic that Studebaker, infamous for "different by design," had to wait until after the design was first validated by Ford.
          https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hc...d/1281265.html - 189k

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          • #6
            Lots of designs, automotive and otherwise, are similar. The designer's mind collects shapes and ideas from all over. It is inevitable that various people come up with ideas that are similar. I don't think this is a conscious attempt to copy anyone else.
            "In the heart of Arkansas."
            Searcy, Arkansas
            1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
            1952 2R pickup

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            • #7
              I think the 50 stude is the purest front airplane look of them all.
              Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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              • #8
                Tucker's son, whilst working for Ford Motor Company, sued Studebaker over the '50-'51 cars. IIRC, Studebaker settled with him for around a cool mil.
                Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
                K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
                Ron Smith
                Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by t walgamuth View Post
                  I think the 50 stude is the purest front airplane look of them all.
                  I agree, and don't think the 49 Ford comes even close to the good design of the 50 Studebaker.

                  Last night I was reading the article in the September 1949 Popular Science about the 1950 Studebakers.
                  They mention the design team wanted the bullet nose in 1947, but the Studebaker bosses weren't ready for it, or didn't want it so soon.

                  BTW, a few years ago, twice in one day I was asked if my 50 Champion was a Tucker. LOL

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                  • #10
                    You wish....
                    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by studeclunker View Post
                      Tucker's son, whilst working for Ford Motor Company, sued Studebaker over the '50-'51 cars. IIRC, Studebaker settled with him for around a cool mil.
                      I have never heard of that. Got a link?
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                      • #12
                        One thing we may be overlooking, is how small a group (fraternity) that were involved in automotive design among the major manufacturers of the era. These design engineers, like "hired gunmen" of the old west, migrated from one manufacturer to the other. They attended car shows, professional seminars, etc., and often exchanged ideas, and influenced each other. Most, were dynamic personalities, who expressed their concepts in drawings, 3D models, and full size "mock-ups." Looking at today's vehicles, you could conclude that not much has changed from the resulting "group think."
                        John Clary
                        Greer, SC

                        SDC member since 1975

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                        • #13
                          It's kind of quirky at how the Bourke team at Studebaker saw the P-38 and got the Bullet-Nose while the Harley Earl team at GM saw the P-38 and got tail fins.
                          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

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                          • #14
                            Bourke was a face man, Harley was obviously an azz man.
                            Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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                            • #15
                              We spend a great deal of time characterizing a particular car by a single styling cue, when in fact that is only one feature of that car. It's how the cues are assembled that really make the car a classic, or which might relegate it as just another auto industry misstep. IMO the "bullet nose" was a design dead end. It's successful use ended in 1951.

                              To clarify, our stable of cars includes a 1950 Statlight coupe and 1951 four door. We love them for what they are, quirky and unique, and the history that they represent. However they are light-years removed from the classic 1953 C/K masterpiece, of Bob Bourk.

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