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  • The actual difference...

    I've seen several stories about the designing of the '47 Studebaker.

    The story goes that Roy Cole, engineering VP, gave Raymond Loewy incorrect dimensions for the new car because he didn't like Loewy. But he gave Virgil Exner, one of Loewy's associates (who also didn't care for his boss), the 'correct' dimensions. "Ex" then proceeded to design the car in his basement.

    Interesting story but what were the "wrong" dimensions? And, since "Ex" was working on the Loewy design in the day time but his own design at night, that meant he was KNOWINGLY sabotaging the Loewy design. How did he get away with that during the time he was doing it?

    I have never read the WHOLE story of this industrial espionage saga. Is there somewhere it is spelled out in detail?

    John
    Last edited by Johnnywiffer; 08-16-2011, 08:07 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Johnnywiffer View Post
    I've seen several stories about the designing of the '47 Studebaker.

    The story goes that Roy Cole, engineering VP, gave Raymond Loewy incorrect dimensions for the new car because he didn't like Loewy. But he gave Virgil Exner, one of Loewy's associates (who also didn't care for his boss), the 'correct' dimensions. "Ex" then proceeded to design the car in his basement.
    That is reportedly correct, and when the design was unveiled, Loewy promptly fired Exner. The design difference is VERY apparent on the '47 to '49 Champions. I posted a factory photo of the side view of a '47 in this thread: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...light=mismatch

    Craig
    Last edited by 8E45E; 08-16-2011, 10:09 AM.

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    • #3
      I have heard of industrial espionage, but; in your own corporation!?!
      1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

      "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

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      • #4
        The August, 1994, issue of Collectible Automobile has a Richard Langworth article discussing this very thing.
        Tim-'53 Starlight Commander Custom in Yuma, AZ
        jimsrodshop.com/project/53-resurrection

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        • #5
          In “The Great Book of American Automobiles”, (MBI Publishing Company, 2002) it states,

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          Which says Loewy fired “Ex” when he found out that “Ex” had undercut him. However, in
          Studebaker The Complete Story” by William Cannon and Fred Fox, it seems to indicate that he was hired by Cole prior to Loewy's learning of his duplicity.


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          I wonder which it is? And I also wonder, how could “Ex” have worked on the Studebaker model in the day and his own model at night, without SOMEONE at Studebaker (other than Cole) knowing about that clandestine skullduggery? Did “Ex” have no friends at Studebaker? Or he DID have friends but they were sworn to secrecy?

          As Yul Brynner said in “The King and I”, “IS a puzzlement!”

          John
          Last edited by Johnnywiffer; 08-17-2011, 12:39 PM.

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          • #6
            A quote from: The Reminiscences of Virgil Max Exner, Jr Page 39/40 which can be read in it's entirety at

            http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu/De..._interview.htm

            "Q: Had that been traditional from early on?
            A: Yes. Also, the green light was given to the Loewy group to go ahead and develop the post-war car, especially by 19421'43, and there were a lot of proposals made. My father was encouraged by Roy Cole to even take a team of a couple of modelers and work on it at home in our basement. Meanwhile, the other guys were developing the car up right in the studio, so they had their own designs.

            Q: Now this has been [described] as one of Cole and Vance's ploys to drive a wedge between your father and [Loewy].

            A: I would say that there was a wedge developing there, anyway. However, it was promoted by Roy Cole because even my father had trouble getting Loewy out from New York to take a look and make any kind of com­mitment to the post-war car development. He would show up and make rambling non-decision decisions and take off and soak Studebaker with an expense account. But, literally, he just was going to milk them for everything he could for years. That's what it amounted to, as far as contracts are concerned, so he didn't care how fast or how slow things developed. And he put my father in a position of being in the middle bet­ ween a faction of just letting things go as long as possible before we do anything, and Studebaker management wanting to, "Hey, let's get going so we are able to get a car out here just as fast as we can for right after the war."
            So they commissioned him, in effect. Roy Cole said, "Let's not put up with your doing this through your styling section. You go ahead and start to work on this at home."

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            • #7
              And in the same place, Page 47-48,

              "And it's kind of interesting also that he says: "to get down to a genuine selection. Studebaker said, "Hey, we're going to have this design set by Mr. Loewy. He's going to have to be here. We're going to select a model." Mean­ while, my father was working on his model at home, not in different dimensions, as has been reported. They were all working under the same dimensions to begin with. I don't know where the different dimensions business set in, because I have a letter from my father to whoever wrote about that that it absolutely was not true. There was never a different set of dimensions, and my father never gave a different set of dimensions to his own people that were working on these other models.

              How it came about that one or two of the other models were wider than they should have been, was strictly their own doing. My father's own model, which he'd done in the basement, was the same dimension as were many of the other models. But I don't know who claimed that there was a difference in dimensions. "

              So, I wonder, what was the REAL story? As Alice said, (Alice in Wonderland) "Curiouser and couriouser!"

              John

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              • #8
                Hi

                I don't recall the source just now, but I recall reading the main design philosophy conflict that developed between Loewy and Exner was that Loewy favored a diving, down-sloping front end whereas Exner designed the blunt, high hood line that was eventually approved.

                Cole recognized that while Loewy had the name and brought first tier design talent with his contract, it was hideously expensive for a company Studebaker's size. He also preceived correctly that Exner, Bourke et al could be put directly on Studebaker's payroll, developing their own in-house design department, much in the model of the GM styling powerhouse under Harley Earl. As styling became a major factor in car sales and marketing, any company that failed to develop a styling department up to the challenge would soon find itself in trouble.

                As far as Exner's loyalty or lack thereof to Loewy, that wasn't unusual in that business, one of gigantic egos and over-arching ambition. Poor ethics? Perhaps, but no one can fault Virgil for his design genius! Or the automotive design heritage he gave us.

                Steve
                Last edited by 56H-Y6; 08-17-2011, 03:10 PM.

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                • #9
                  The book "Bob Bourke's Designes for Studebaker" talks about this in good detail.
                  Chris Dresbach

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                  • #10
                    Yes, very interesting. AND it says nothing about Loewy having been given incorrect specs. I'm wondering how that idea came about?

                    John

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Johnnywiffer View Post
                      Yes, very interesting. AND it says nothing about Loewy having been given incorrect specs. I'm wondering how that idea came about?

                      John
                      Hi

                      The idea that incorrect dimensions were given may be an assumption after the fact, developed as a plausible explanation for the events and outcome. If any primary source was still available, he could be interviewed, even oral recollections of events reviewed. Though, even these sources are subject to coloring by personal perception.

                      Steve

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 56H-Y6 View Post
                        ... Though, even these sources are subject to coloring by personal perception.

                        Steve
                        NAAAAAAW!

                        John

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