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  • What was Lark image back then?

    The Lark represented one of the first small cars put out by Detroit when it was introduced in 1959. I am too young to know how a Lark would have been perceived back then.

    Was anyone was around at the time that can share their thoughts about the image that the public had in the car in terms of styling, performance and image? I would find it interesting to know your thoughts of the car back when it was originally introduced versus what you think of it today.

    TIA,

    Jeff



    Ready for a trip to the beach!


  • #2
    I was 14 years old when the Larks came out and my Mother had just bought a new 58 Silver Hawk. My friends all thought the Hawk was really cool and couldn't believe that my mother had bought it. They knew I really liked Studebakers, so a couple of my friends asked me what I thought of the Lark. They thought it was too boxy. I agreed with them although I really thought it was kind of cute and an improvement over the 58 sedans.

    It wasn't until my mother traded the Hawk for a 61 Lark 259 2 bbl, automatic , that I really could convince my friends of what a fun car it was. I also convinced myself, as I was at first disappointed. My best friend and I spent almost every Friday and Saturday night racing cars from the stop lights.
    All my friends were very impressed at how fast it was. Actually I think it was faster off the line than the Hawk with a 289 and 4 bbl.

    One night we beat an older guy from the light and he caught up with us at the next light. I thought he was going to lecture me, but he yelled out the window "How do you like your Lark? I told him that I loved it and he said that he had just bought stock in the company (poor guy!)

    I took the Lark to college and I would occasionally lent it out to friends. They all couldn't believe how quick it was.



    Leonard Shepherd
    http://leonardshepherd.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      I was 14 years old when the Larks came out and my Mother had just bought a new 58 Silver Hawk. My friends all thought the Hawk was really cool and couldn't believe that my mother had bought it. They knew I really liked Studebakers, so a couple of my friends asked me what I thought of the Lark. They thought it was too boxy. I agreed with them although I really thought it was kind of cute and an improvement over the 58 sedans.

      It wasn't until my mother traded the Hawk for a 61 Lark 259 2 bbl, automatic , that I really could convince my friends of what a fun car it was. I also convinced myself, as I was at first disappointed. My best friend and I spent almost every Friday and Saturday night racing cars from the stop lights.
      All my friends were very impressed at how fast it was. Actually I think it was faster off the line than the Hawk with a 289 and 4 bbl.

      One night we beat an older guy from the light and he caught up with us at the next light. I thought he was going to lecture me, but he yelled out the window "How do you like your Lark? I told him that I loved it and he said that he had just bought stock in the company (poor guy!)

      I took the Lark to college and I would occasionally lent it out to friends. They all couldn't believe how quick it was.



      Leonard Shepherd
      http://leonardshepherd.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        The Lark was so far below the "image" radar, it might as well have been a submarine. I always loved Studebakers, but no one at the time wanted to talk about them. Just look at the sales figures. If Studebaker had had the guts to make the Lark a hot compact and advertise it as such, they would have gotten what John DeLorean always said, "you can sell an old man a young man's car, but you can't sell a young man an old man's car." It took GM a while to figure it out and segue the Corvair into the Monza Spyder Turbo. There was literally no downside to marketing peformance, but Studebaker choked at every opportunity until it was too late and the Avanti came along. At least we had it, but it was no faster than the Lark would have been four years earlier.

        thnx, jack vines

        PackardV8
        PackardV8

        Comment


        • #5
          The Lark was so far below the "image" radar, it might as well have been a submarine. I always loved Studebakers, but no one at the time wanted to talk about them. Just look at the sales figures. If Studebaker had had the guts to make the Lark a hot compact and advertise it as such, they would have gotten what John DeLorean always said, "you can sell an old man a young man's car, but you can't sell a young man an old man's car." It took GM a while to figure it out and segue the Corvair into the Monza Spyder Turbo. There was literally no downside to marketing peformance, but Studebaker choked at every opportunity until it was too late and the Avanti came along. At least we had it, but it was no faster than the Lark would have been four years earlier.

          thnx, jack vines

          PackardV8
          PackardV8

          Comment


          • #6
            I was a teenager when the Lark came out, but I lived in South Bend and we called Studebakers "South Bend vibrators," or "Polish Caddys " so you might want to look elsewhere. Studebakers were not the "cool car" in South Bend. If you looked at my high school year book, you'd only see a few Studebaker's, although they were big sellers to the public.

            JDP/Maryland


            63 GT R2
            63 Avanti R1
            63 Lark 2 door
            62 Lark 2 door
            60 Lark HT-60Hawk
            59 3E truck
            58 Starlight
            52 & 53 Starliner
            51 Commander

            JDP Maryland

            Comment


            • #7
              I was a teenager when the Lark came out, but I lived in South Bend and we called Studebakers "South Bend vibrators," or "Polish Caddys " so you might want to look elsewhere. Studebakers were not the "cool car" in South Bend. If you looked at my high school year book, you'd only see a few Studebaker's, although they were big sellers to the public.

              JDP/Maryland


              63 GT R2
              63 Avanti R1
              63 Lark 2 door
              62 Lark 2 door
              60 Lark HT-60Hawk
              59 3E truck
              58 Starlight
              52 & 53 Starliner
              51 Commander

              JDP Maryland

              Comment


              • #8
                [quote]Originally posted by Lark289

                The Lark represented one of the first small cars put out by Detroit when it was introduced in 1959. I am too young to know how a Lark would have been perceived back then.

                Was anyone was around at the time that can share their thoughts about the image that the public had in the car in terms of styling, performance and image?

                I've had acquaitences and school mates in my younger days whose parents drove new, or near-new Larks in the 1960's. Going by memory as to why they bought a Studebaker had to do with the company giving a well-timed answer to a question a great number of the public were asking in the late fifties/early sixties. (The sales record for 1959 is proof of that). Only one of my neighbors at the time was a tried & true Studeaholic. He had a '64 Daytona sedan (which I now own), and a '65 Wagonaire. To others, it was 'just a [second] car [for mom]' and of course, in time, these Larks got traded in by the late 60's early 70's. In other words, they had no Studebaker sentiments; once it served its purpose for a few years, off it went. My observations in my area was aside from my neighbor's, was a Lark most often served as a second car. Dads drove a full size car like an Oldsmobile to work everyday, and moms drove the Lark for its sensible size and price.

                Craig

                Comment


                • #9
                  [quote]Originally posted by Lark289

                  The Lark represented one of the first small cars put out by Detroit when it was introduced in 1959. I am too young to know how a Lark would have been perceived back then.

                  Was anyone was around at the time that can share their thoughts about the image that the public had in the car in terms of styling, performance and image?

                  I've had acquaitences and school mates in my younger days whose parents drove new, or near-new Larks in the 1960's. Going by memory as to why they bought a Studebaker had to do with the company giving a well-timed answer to a question a great number of the public were asking in the late fifties/early sixties. (The sales record for 1959 is proof of that). Only one of my neighbors at the time was a tried & true Studeaholic. He had a '64 Daytona sedan (which I now own), and a '65 Wagonaire. To others, it was 'just a [second] car [for mom]' and of course, in time, these Larks got traded in by the late 60's early 70's. In other words, they had no Studebaker sentiments; once it served its purpose for a few years, off it went. My observations in my area was aside from my neighbor's, was a Lark most often served as a second car. Dads drove a full size car like an Oldsmobile to work everyday, and moms drove the Lark for its sensible size and price.

                  Craig

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:I was a teenager when the Lark came out, but I lived in South Bend and we called Studebakers "South Bend vibrators," or "Polish Caddys " so you might want to look elsewhere. Studebakers were not the "cool car" in South Bend. If you looked at my high school year book, you'd only see a few Studebaker's, although they were big sellers to the public.

                    JDP/Maryland
                    Gee, JDP, I got a different impression of South Bend from this post card my cousin sent me in 1962.





                    Leonard Shepherd
                    http://leonardshepherd.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      quote:I was a teenager when the Lark came out, but I lived in South Bend and we called Studebakers "South Bend vibrators," or "Polish Caddys " so you might want to look elsewhere. Studebakers were not the "cool car" in South Bend. If you looked at my high school year book, you'd only see a few Studebaker's, although they were big sellers to the public.

                      JDP/Maryland
                      Gee, JDP, I got a different impression of South Bend from this post card my cousin sent me in 1962.





                      Leonard Shepherd
                      http://leonardshepherd.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No question that Studebaker's were big sellers in South Bend, but their "image" was not that great in my hometown. If you worked at Studebaker as many did you bought one and many others did, but it was not on a teenagers hot list. I'd guess they were the number one sellers within the city proper. I did own 2 or 3 during my high school years because they were so damn cheap.

                        JDP/Maryland


                        63 GT R2
                        63 Avanti R1
                        63 Daytona convert
                        63 Lark 2 door
                        62 Lark 2 door
                        60 Lark HT-60Hawk
                        59 3E truck
                        58 Starlight
                        52 & 53 Starliner
                        51 Commander

                        JDP Maryland

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          No question that Studebaker's were big sellers in South Bend, but their "image" was not that great in my hometown. If you worked at Studebaker as many did you bought one and many others did, but it was not on a teenagers hot list. I'd guess they were the number one sellers within the city proper. I did own 2 or 3 during my high school years because they were so damn cheap.

                          JDP/Maryland


                          63 GT R2
                          63 Avanti R1
                          63 Daytona convert
                          63 Lark 2 door
                          62 Lark 2 door
                          60 Lark HT-60Hawk
                          59 3E truck
                          58 Starlight
                          52 & 53 Starliner
                          51 Commander

                          JDP Maryland

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I asked my father about this same thing a year ago. His response was that Studebaker wasn't even on his radar around 1960. About that time or little later he did have a 1953 Commander which he said made everything else look really outdated.
                            "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I asked my father about this same thing a year ago. His response was that Studebaker wasn't even on his radar around 1960. About that time or little later he did have a 1953 Commander which he said made everything else look really outdated.
                              "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

                              Comment

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