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What if Studebaker, AMC and Checker had merged?

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  • #16
    quote:Originally posted by 56H-Y6
    Now, if a new Studebaker were available in the late '80's, even into the '90's, would you have bought one?
    Steve
    Absolutely.

    'Reminds me of a reflection several years ago when leaving The 2003 Newport IN Antique Auto Hill Climb.

    Rain had threatened, so I had driven my daily beater 1990 Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon and had parked in the general parking lot. Ted Harbit had driven his new Impala and had parked nearby.

    At day's end, Ted and I were walking back to the parking lot.

    I felt obligated to comment, "You know, Ted, if someone had told us in 1962 that we would be walking out to a parking lot from an automotive event in 2003 to get in our mutual Chevrolets[xx(], we would have told them they were nuts!"

    Ted chuckled, "Boy, that's the truth!" BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

    Comment


    • #17
      I don't see how Checker could have been much help in a merger with Studebaker or AMC. In Checker's best years, they never built more than about 8,000 cars per year and often it was less than that. And only a small portion of their production was non-taxi models. Their dealer network was nil, and the Checker was, mechanically, made up from components sourced from elsewhere. All Checker made was the lousy stuff, like the body, fenders, etc. That said, I passed my driver's test in a 1963 Checker Station Wagon that my Dad purchased new, and despite the car's faults, our family still remembers it with great fondness.

      Dave Bonn
      '54 Champion Starliner

      Comment


      • #18
        quote:Originally posted by edpjr
        In the long run, the Avanti outlasted AMC. [8D]
        Kindasorta....
        If you don't count the Blake bankruptcy and and late 80s switch to a Chevy frame.
        By the end of the first Kelly era (pre-pony car platforms) all that remained of the original car was its body molds.

        63 Avanti R1 2788
        1914 Stutz Bearcat
        (George Barris replica)

        Washington State
        63 Avanti R1 2788
        1914 Stutz Bearcat
        (George Barris replica)

        Washington State

        Comment


        • #19
          Must you resort to 1970s Sat Night Live skits? And so what if Supe had been on the Axis side in WWII, we knew his weakness was kryptonite. Besides we had Capt America, Wonder Woman, the Submariner, the Human Torch, Green Lantern, Batman and Sgt Fury, among others on our side.

          quote:Originally posted by Son O Lark

          What if the unions took a large cut in the early fifties? What if....? What if Eleanor Roosevelt could fly? What if Superman aligned with the Axis powers?
          edp/NC
          \'63 Avanti
          \'66 Commander

          Comment


          • #20
            You missed the point. You can play the "what if" game. I don't see the point of it. It's like Monday morning quarterbacking. It does no harm but doesn't accomplish anything either. So why waste the time speculating on something no one has control over. What if GM bought Stude out? What if Mayflower movers took them over? It's all nonsense.[}][B)]

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            • #21
              In reflection, I shouldn't have even answered your "what if" question. Next time I'll just pass them by without wasting time reading them. I'm sorry.

              Comment


              • #22
                No offense taken at all. Lots of people like to speculate and consider how things (not just Studebaker) might have changed under a different set of circumstances. I've certainly learned some historical facts from the responses to this post. And I've been studying Studebakers since 1973. But, since you have no interest in these speculative matters, it's probably best that you avoid them.

                quote:Originally posted by Son O Lark

                In reflection, I shouldn't have even answered your "what if" question. Next time I'll just pass them by without wasting time reading them. I'm sorry.
                edp/NC
                \'63 Avanti
                \'66 Commander

                Comment


                • #23
                  quote:Originally posted by Son O Lark

                  You missed the point. You can play the "what if" game. I don't see the point of it. It's like Monday morning quarterbacking. It does no harm but doesn't accomplish anything either. So why waste the time speculating on something no one has control over. What if GM bought Stude out? What if Mayflower movers took them over? It's all nonsense.[}][B)]
                  And what is not a waste of time? Everything that we do form birth to death is merely a passage of time. Think about it, golf? Waste of time. Football? Waste of time? Yardwork? Waste of time.

                  So, why can't what if be in the same category as anything else? Or for that matter typing in this box? Or working on old cars or even new cars? It's all a matter of perspective.

                  To the original point, if the merger would have taken place, we would have supercharged taxi cabs so that we could get places faster when traveling to some waste of time location where we didn't have another means of transportation.

                  ========================
                  63 Avanti R2, 4-Speed, 3.73 TT
                  Martinez, CA

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Mr. Palma, I wrote my former rant off the top of my head (this one as well), and acknowlege your accurate rebuttal. You are right that Packard was in much better financial standing than Stude, but as we now know, the merger exacerbated their problems. They were unaware of the real tightrope Stude was on.
                    Packard in 52-3 was bleeding money, nevertheless. The 110 and Clipper may have saved them before the war, but it had reduced Packard to a builder of upper-medium cars selling to an audience buying on the cache of "Packard". "Hotpoint Jim" attempted to return Packard to Cadillac territory, but it was too late. Frankly, like all the independents, Packard mustered by on war-time profits and the clamorous post-war buyers market.
                    James Nance was similar to Stude's Egbert Sherwood in the building of fresh, exciting cars that, nonetheless, failed to sell in volumes to save the companies. The handsomely restyled 55's, however had feet of clay. Problems with the Torsion-aire suspension and push-button gear selector, not to mention the mismatch of the wonderful new V-8 and the Ultramatic dogged Packard and the 56's suffered greatly. Let's point out that 55 was a banner year in car sales, but you would't know it by any of the independents sales figures; likewise, 65, another banner year, is the same story.
                    Convince me otherwise, if I'm wrong,but were the Packardbakers offered to satisfy dealer obligations?
                    On your second point, yes, you are correct, diversification had begun much earlier.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      At the risk of being drummed out of the SDC let me weigh in. I believe that Studebaker's demise was primarily caused by Management
                      inattention to the marketplace. Their marketshare simply was'nt large enough to support their being a "full line" company like the big three. I believe that if they had jettisoned the entire truck line and had used the Govt. Contract money to obtain Jeep instead of letting Kaiser steal it they would still be here. Open Jeeps have now been in production for 68 years requiring only modest updates from the parts bin. Chrysler proved you could build on Jeeps reputation to market family cars etc.; Its arguably Chrysler's best asset and is produced in 12 countries right now.

                      I wrote "Studebaker's Requiem" on this subject and it can be viewed on my Website listed below.

                      BTW, I think the Studebaker P/U are very cool but werent even close to making money and the large trucks were essentially built at a Buggatti pace.

                      Happy Trails, Murray

                      http://sites.google.com/site/intrigu...tivehistories/

                      http://studebakerspeedster.blogspot....s-new-v-8.html

                      Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain !

                      http://sites.google.com/site/intrigu...tivehistories/

                      (/url) https://goo.gl/photos/ABBDQLgZk9DyJGgr5

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        quote:Originally posted by autocrat
                        James Nance was similar to Stude's Egbert Sherwood in the building of fresh, exciting cars that, nonetheless, failed to sell in volumes to save the companies. The handsomely restyled 55's, however had feet of clay. Problems with the Torsion-aire suspension and push-button gear selector, not to mention the mismatch of the wonderful new V-8 and the Ultramatic dogged Packard and the 56's suffered greatly. Let's point out that 55 was a banner year in car sales, but you would't know it by any of the independents sales figures; likewise, 65, another banner year, is the same story.
                        Convince me otherwise, if I'm wrong,but were the Packardbakers offered to satisfy dealer obligations?
                        On your second point, yes, you are correct, diversification had begun much earlier.
                        A good comparison, Nance and Egbert. The 1955 Packards would have been a hit if they could have built them, and built them well, but all the production problems plus all the new technology, doomed them to poor sales despite good acceptance because they couldn't build them for whatever reason, exactly like Sherwood Egbert and the Avanti.

                        Remember, my father was a Packard dealer in 1955, when I was 9 years old and hanging around the dealership all I could. It's true; they simply couldn't get cars! It was late January or early February 1955 before they got their first, first!, 1955 Packard of any type. How many Buicks and Cadillacs do you suppose the Paris IL Buick and Cadillac dealer had delivered from October 1954-January 1955? Ouch!

                        Dad knows positively of one sale they lost over Christmas 1954. A previous customer came in to buy a 1955 Clipper and Dad had none to offer, couldn't get any, and didn't have a promise of when he would. Before that customer's college-age kid went back to college after Christmas break, Dad saw them driving around town in a new 1955 Buick. That hurts. [xx(]

                        The 1957 Clippers undoubtedly were rushed into being to keep dealers from suing due to lack of cars, but 1956 had been so dismal many fell off before the 1957 model year arrived. (Dad and his brother went out of business August 1, 1956.) BP
                        We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                        Ayn Rand:
                        "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                        G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I admire the V8 Packards, despite the teething issues. It seems like the '51-54 Packards were durable cars, but I remember reading that in the '54 model year, Packard was down to 27,000 sales...yikes!

                          I do think (unscientifically) that Packard was in a way-better cash position than Studebaker at the time of the merger. I think some (not all) of that has to do with the fact that it seems like Studebaker spent more on post-war product (new cars for '47, new trucks for '49, V8 engine in '51, Automatic Drive pretty early on, '53's which were really two different lines of cars, etc.) than did Packard up 'til that time.

                          That said, I could enjoy a '56 Four-Hundred Hardtop!

                          My hometown Stude dealer actually also sold Packard starting in '41. Around '50 they dropped Packard, or were dropped by them, but picked them up again for the '55 model year. They later picked up Benz in late '57 according to their dealer contract card in the SNM. This last item is very surprising to me given the general blue-collar state of that town in the '50's, but then we had plant managers, Thiel College professors, and doctors in town too I guess.

                          I can only remember one Checker in town, when I was a teenager. It was a russet or copper-colored sedan with small hubcabs and blackwalls. It was owned by a rather eccentric older guy who did like to talk about it when asked. It was at the oldest a '73 'cause it had the big bumpers. He liked to tell how he had to go to Kalamazoo, MI to pick it up at the plant. A few years later I saw it in the back "make us an offer" lot at the local Pontiac dealer.

                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          '63 Lark Daytona Skytop R1
                          '64 Daytona Hardtop
                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          (formerly Greenville, PA)
                          Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                          Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                          1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                          1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                          All are in Australia now

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            "Remember, my father was a Packard dealer in 1955, when I was 9 years old"

                            I wish I could have seen them new! Did your Fathers store dual with anything else? In 1955 my Dad brought home a near-new yellow 54 Commander Conestoga. I was three, but I can remember.
                            My first car was a yellow/white 56 Clipper Custom 4 door, 70,000 miles, rust-free, original paint, original intact black/white interior. Loved the way it smelled! There was a small curb scrape on the passenger side rear fender. Engine ran good. The power steering only operated in one direction, the power antenna was stuck down, and the Ultramatic shuddered after the 1-2 shift. $50.00 bought her in 1969, when I was 15. I had no license, my future brother-in-law drove it home.
                            Today, that would be like bringing home a 1996!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              quote:Originally posted by autocrat

                              "Remember, my father was a Packard dealer in 1955, when I was 9 years old"

                              I wish I could have seen them new! Did your Fathers store dual with anything else? In 1955 my Dad brought home a near-new yellow 54 Commander Conestoga. I was three, but I can remember.
                              My first car was a yellow/white 56 Clipper Custom 4 door, 70,000 miles, rust-free, original paint, original intact black/white interior. Loved the way it smelled! There was a small curb scrape on the passenger side rear fender. Engine ran good. The power steering only operated in one direction, the power antenna was stuck down, and the Ultramatic shuddered after the 1-2 shift. $50.00 bought her in 1969, when I was 15. I had no license, my future brother-in-law drove it home.
                              Today, that would be like bringing home a 1996!

                              Cool beans, Autocrat! Yes, by 1969, a 1956 Clipper Custom 4-door was only worth $50, I'm sorry to say...and that's if it ran!

                              Dad and Uncle Milt started out in Paris IL with Packard alone on June 15, 1953. Within the first year, they added Willys to get the Jeep truck line because they were in a farming community and added Nash to get the little, low-priced Rambler and lower-middle-priced Statesman series.

                              They finally merged with the Studebaker dealer to get his larger facility. So, by June 1955, they had every independent except Hudson! BP
                              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                              Ayn Rand:
                              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                              G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Hi

                                Bob, I love to read your recollections of your family-owned dealership, however briefly it existed. It sounds like an experience I wish I had had as a youth.

                                On the causes for the inopportune delay in availability of the '55 Packards, the blame can be layed squarely on management and at the door of the Connor Avenue plant when complete assembly was moved from East Grand Boulevard at the end of 1954 production.

                                Here's why, Chrysler purchased Briggs Manfacturing in 1953 upon the death of Walter Briggs. Briggs has been Packard's sole sources of bodies since 1941. Chrysler agreed to supply Packard with bodies but only to the end of the '54 model run.

                                Within Nance's staff, there was a movement to have Packard assembly placed in a modern, one story assembly complex, with attendant cost reductions and streamlined operations.
                                As it happened, Connor Avenue was a one story factory, and Chrysler agreed to a five year lease of the plant to Packard. Sounds good so far, here was the problem:

                                East Grand Boulevard Plant: 3,000,000 plus square feet
                                Connor Avenue:................759,749 square feet

                                Previously, Connor Avenue had been completely occupied by body production, then management crammed complete chassis and final assembly operations into this cracker box space!

                                Load this disasterous move onto assembling a more complex and unfamiliar new model in tight quarters.......delays, quality problems, higher unit cost.

                                While the purchase of Studebaker is frequently blamed for the financial difficulties, the move to Connor Avenue should be recognized for contributing as much or more to the financial Waterloo that occurred a little more than a year later.

                                Steve

                                Source: "Connor, Briggs and Chrysler: Trends and Fate" by John M. Lauter, [u]</u>The Packard Cormorant[u]</u> Spring 2007 Number 126

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