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Packard wasn't the last to die under Studebaker

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  • Packard wasn't the last to die under Studebaker

    While we don't often talk about Studebaker after the end of automobile manufacturing in 1966, and when we do, it often looks like it was still a weak corporation, consider this:

    In 1964, ALCO (the locomotive manufacturer) was bought by Worthington (sound familiar?). In 1969 Derald Ruttenberg became the new president of the merged Studebaker-Worthington. Apparently by that time ALCO was considered a "financially unsound component" of the corporation and Ruttenberg saw to it that ALCO was closed down - after 121 years of continuous production. That also has a familiar ring to it.

    Actually, as a business, the corporation seems to have flourished under Ruttenberg (who died in 2004). By the time of the McGraw-Edison acquisition Ruttenberg was extremely rich. From the sounds of it he put the wealth of any former Studebaker president or CEO to shame.

    Also interesting is that he purchased a huge estate in Great Britain near a little town called...Edzell. I am not making this up.
    " the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

  • #2
    Yes. Alco was really the only steam engine manufacturer that truly successfully transitioned to diesels (sounds familiar), albeit for only about 25 years. Alco manufactured the engines, car bodies, and many other assemblies, but relied on GE for the motors and other electrical components. When GE decided to enter the diesel locomotive market themselves, Alco got pushed down to a minor #3 player, well behind GE and the Electromotive Division of GM. Alco's Canadian subsidiary, the Montreal Locomotive Works, hung on for another ten years building locomotives to the original Alco design.

    Skip Lackie
    Washington DC
    Skip Lackie


    • #3
      Also like Studebaker, ALCO and MLW were innovators. The "safety cab" design they pioneered for CN has become standard equipment on a large percentage of North American locomotives in the years since.


      Clark in San Diego
      '63 F2/Lark Standard

      Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |


      • #4
        And the similarities continue. The real estate assets and other non monetary holdings of ALCO were disposed of by none other that Ed Dunbar who presided over the sale of all Studebaker properties. He is still alive and residing in South Bend. I talk to him occasionally.

        Richard Quinn
        editor: Antique Studebaker Review
        Richard Quinn
        Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review


        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by Skip Lackie
          Alco manufactured the engines, car bodies, and many other assemblies,
          Alco did try their hand at road vehicles for a while, although unsuccessfully in the heavy truck market.



          • #6
            My love for Alco locomotives goes back to my childhood, even befor I knew what a Studebaker was!
            Alco was known for their styling (The PA-1 of the late '40s is considered by many to be the best looking diesel locomotive, EVER!) and their distinctive exaust note. (Four cycle when most competitors used two cycle. Sounded like a herd of old John Deere tractors!)
            My personal favorite locomotive came from the Richmond Works of Alco in 1901: Maryland and Pennsylvania #6, a 4-4-0 passenger engine that served between Baltimore and York up to '52.Both my parents grew up listening to her whistle!

            Charles Eck
            Essex, MD

            '57 Commander 4 door sedan
            '66 Ford F-250
            '66 Ford F-100
            '53 John Deere 50
            '41 John Deere H All-Fuel
            '41 John Deere B All-Fuel

            Studebakers were made to drive! (Besides, they don't get lost as easy in the Wal-Mart parking lot!)


            • #7
              For many (50-60) years, I had an ALCO piston that my father cut in half and made bookends out of for me.

              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer


              • #8
                Alco automobiles were built 1909 to 1913. About 5000 built in that time - then the company realized that they lost an average of $460.00 on EACH of those cars (and they sold for $6,000.00 or more!!), so they "pulled the plug". The Alcos were extremely and exceptionally well- built.
                You are very lucky (and wealthy) person if you own one.

                Roger "153624" Hill

                55 Champion
                47 M-5
                Izzer Buggy
                Junior Wagon
                Roger Hill

                60 Lark Vlll, hardtop, black/red, Power Kit, 3 spd. - "Juliette"
                61 Champ Deluxe, 6, black/red, o/d, long box. - "Jeri"
                Junior Wagon - "Junior"

                "In the end, dear undertaker,
                Ride me in a Studebaker"


                • #9
                  Since I have a love for the N&W(who in its early days were insane for ALCo, now GE), I'd say my favorite was the T-6. If I remember correctly they were a Transfer switcher, meaning they could make limited runs between yards. They had armies of these little guys around the years. They were 1000 hp yard switchers which like our own cars, literally had two "gears" they could operate in. One gave them a yard speed of 30 mph or so, and another allowed them to operate outside the yard between yards on the main or branch line, which I think was up to about 45 mph or so. The only problem with these was they had to operate in pairs or more than pairs, particularly in trying to leave the hump yards, as they were something of a lightweight as a single unit.
                  From a railfan, there is humor around an ALCo diesel. ALCo's have a reputation for trying to become a steam engine again, as when they really bear down on a grade or when they start up, they have a tendency to send up a large cloud of black smoke before they really get moving(It's the nature of the beast). It does make for a great photo though... [}]


                  1964 Studebaker Commander R2 clone
                  1963 Studebaker Daytona Hardtop with no engine or transmission
                  1950 Studebaker 2R5 w/170 six cylinder and 3spd OD
                  1955 Studebaker Commander Hardtop w/289 and 3spd OD and Megasquirt port fuel injection(among other things)