No announcement yet.

Studebaker Pierce Arrow (SPA) a question on history?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Studebaker Pierce Arrow (SPA) a question on history?

    Studebaker began manufacturing commercial vehicles with the 1912 Flanders Delivery and then quite the commercial market after the 1917 model year. (Based on information from "Studebaker the Complete Story" Cannon/Fox.) They then moved back into the commercial market in 1926 with a bus line-up and then with buses , Funeral cars and Ambulance cars in 1927. This production + any 1928 models must have been carried out in Detroit as Studebaker did not move production to South Bend until late 1928. It was also about this time that Studebaker began to purchase controlling interest in Pierce Arrow. Although little information can be found on the internet, it is clear that Studebaker created SPA Truck which manufactured commercial vehicles in Buffalo New York, supposedly from 1929 to 1933 when it was liquidated due to the bankruptcy.

    So, now the question. Were all commercial Studebaker products manufactured at SPA from 1929 to 1933, which would include S series trucks and early T series maybe? Actually what I am really wanting to know is what Studebaker products were actually made at SPA. I know some Pierce Arrow trucks were made there, but can find little other information.

    If you have any sources I might use to research the SPA business, I am interested, as I think it might make a nice article for our Rock River Valley Chapter new letter "The Strato-Vue".

  • #2
    Jerry; SPA (and later SPAR) was created for legal reasons and separate from Pierce Arrow and Studebaker in a corporate sense. As for the trucks themselves all of the Studebaker branded trucks were engineered and manufactured in South Bend (except for a small number assembled in Walkerville). All Pierce Arrow trucks (larger than the Studebaker line) were engineered and built in Buffalo. So far as I know there was no sharing of components though I believe the Pierce blocks and cyl heads were likley cast in the Studebaker foundry (as they were for Pierce passenger cars). I do have specs for the Pierce trucks should you need them.
    Richard Quinn
    Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review


    • #3
      I believe SPA was created primarily to provide overall coordination of the production, sales, and distribution of the lighter-duty Studebaker trucks and the HD P-A trucks. This is from the Stude truck history (which Dick contributed to) on the main SDC web page:

      "By 1932, the Depression was in full swing, and Studebaker was in financial trouble. A complex series of transactions was developed to raise cash. These involved Studebaker merging with the White Motor Company, a major manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty trucks. This merger was blocked by some of White’s stockholders, and Studebaker was eventually forced into receivership in 1933. White took over Pierce-Arrow’s truck division; Pierce-Arrow itself went out of business in 1938. A total of 7538 S-series trucks were built between August 1930 and March 1934. The majority were built in South Bend, but a small number were also assembled at the Studebaker plant in Walkerville, Ontario in 1931 and 1932."
      Skip Lackie


      • #4
        Thanks Skip and Richard for the clarification. When you search "SPA Truck" on the internet, you get about five hits. Each one has nearly the same three paragraphs. There is one significantly misleading sentence as follows "While Studebaker plants were running at near capacity, executives planned on using Pierce-Arrow's unused excess capacity to handle truck production demand." While I suppose this could be true, I guess we don't actually know what management was thinking at the time, This statement is what lead me to think that Studebaker commercial (trucks) may have been built in Buffalo. Clearly if they were thinking about doing that, they never got around to it before SPA was dissolved.

        Thanks again for the clarification.