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What was Lark image back then?

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  • Studedude1961
    replied
    I remember asking my Dad and a good friend of his a few years ago about the car dealers in the little city I was born in, Sterling Colorado. Both men were interested in cars; my Dad's friend very much so, always bought new and traded at least once a year. Neither could remember the Studebaker or AMC dealership in Sterling in the late 1950s/early 1960s and neither had an opinion on Studebaker or AMC one way or another. In other words, Studebaker WAS off the radar screen, at least as far as these two car crazy men were concerned.

    The first Lark I remember was owned by the best friend of a teenaged girl who lived next door. This was circa 1969-1970 and rumor had it the girl cried (not for joy) when her Dad brought her "new" Lark home.

    One interesting point missed in the discussion of AMC's compact American: it lasted longer than 9 years. It was introduced by George Romney in 1958 as a stripper compact in a slow-selling recession year and the "new" American marked the first and, so far, the last time a manufacturer brought back an old design from the dead. The tooling for the 1958 American was a slightly remodeled 1955 Rambler. The American lasted 12 model years, from 1958 to 1969. It was facelifted in 1961 and an all-new American made its debut in 1964.

    Also of interest: The Big Three compacts certainly didn't hurt AMC, right away anyway. They continued to sell well throughout the early 1960s and brought the company great success.

    Leave a comment:


  • Studedude1961
    replied
    I remember asking my Dad and a good friend of his a few years ago about the car dealers in the little city I was born in, Sterling Colorado. Both men were interested in cars; my Dad's friend very much so, always bought new and traded at least once a year. Neither could remember the Studebaker or AMC dealership in Sterling in the late 1950s/early 1960s and neither had an opinion on Studebaker or AMC one way or another. In other words, Studebaker WAS off the radar screen, at least as far as these two car crazy men were concerned.

    The first Lark I remember was owned by the best friend of a teenaged girl who lived next door. This was circa 1969-1970 and rumor had it the girl cried (not for joy) when her Dad brought her "new" Lark home.

    One interesting point missed in the discussion of AMC's compact American: it lasted longer than 9 years. It was introduced by George Romney in 1958 as a stripper compact in a slow-selling recession year and the "new" American marked the first and, so far, the last time a manufacturer brought back an old design from the dead. The tooling for the 1958 American was a slightly remodeled 1955 Rambler. The American lasted 12 model years, from 1958 to 1969. It was facelifted in 1961 and an all-new American made its debut in 1964.

    Also of interest: The Big Three compacts certainly didn't hurt AMC, right away anyway. They continued to sell well throughout the early 1960s and brought the company great success.

    Leave a comment:


  • 53k
    replied
    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 would find it interesting to know your thoughts of the car back when it was originally introduced versus what you think of it today.
    I was in college when the Larks came out. Other than having been dazzled by a '53 Commander Starliner in '53 I hadn't paid much attention to Studebakers to that point. The Lark drew a lot of attention in my area (Manhattan, Kansas). The dealer ordered predominantly V-8s with three-speed sticks (not overdrive for some strange reason). He even sold some police versions to the local police department. They surprised a LOT of people (especially college students who were accustomed to eluding them before). I remember one evening chatting with a salesman at the dealership when a local cop stopped in. He raved about the car and then demonstrated how it would burn rubber when he pulled out. The first '60 the dealer brought in was a convertible for his son. They kept it on the showroom floor as long as they could (son was anxious). It was an absolutely fully equipped black/black/black with 4 bbl, duals, overdrive, TT, HH, radio, split recliners with headrests, HD suspension, HD clutch, etc. (a/c wasn't available on convertibles until '62). That car generated a huge amount of traffic. Anyhow, I had been looking a Valiants, Lancers, Falcons when I went to buy my first new car in '61. One ride in a well-equipped '61 Cruiser changed all that. It's build quality was so much higher and it was so quiet and quick (made my 318 '57 Plymouth look pretty sick).

    [img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/R-4.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64L.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64P.jpg[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/53K.jpg[/img=right]Paul Johnson
    '53 Commander Starliner (since 1966)
    '64 Daytona Wagonaire (original owner)
    '64 Daytona Convertible (2006)
    Museum R-4 engine

    Leave a comment:


  • 53k
    replied
    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 would find it interesting to know your thoughts of the car back when it was originally introduced versus what you think of it today.
    I was in college when the Larks came out. Other than having been dazzled by a '53 Commander Starliner in '53 I hadn't paid much attention to Studebakers to that point. The Lark drew a lot of attention in my area (Manhattan, Kansas). The dealer ordered predominantly V-8s with three-speed sticks (not overdrive for some strange reason). He even sold some police versions to the local police department. They surprised a LOT of people (especially college students who were accustomed to eluding them before). I remember one evening chatting with a salesman at the dealership when a local cop stopped in. He raved about the car and then demonstrated how it would burn rubber when he pulled out. The first '60 the dealer brought in was a convertible for his son. They kept it on the showroom floor as long as they could (son was anxious). It was an absolutely fully equipped black/black/black with 4 bbl, duals, overdrive, TT, HH, radio, split recliners with headrests, HD suspension, HD clutch, etc. (a/c wasn't available on convertibles until '62). That car generated a huge amount of traffic. Anyhow, I had been looking a Valiants, Lancers, Falcons when I went to buy my first new car in '61. One ride in a well-equipped '61 Cruiser changed all that. It's build quality was so much higher and it was so quiet and quick (made my 318 '57 Plymouth look pretty sick).

    [img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/R-4.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64L.JPG[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/64P.jpg[/img=right][img=right]http://www.frontiernet.net/~thejohnsons/Forum%20signature%20pix/53K.jpg[/img=right]Paul Johnson
    '53 Commander Starliner (since 1966)
    '64 Daytona Wagonaire (original owner)
    '64 Daytona Convertible (2006)
    Museum R-4 engine

    Leave a comment:


  • Stu63
    replied
    I got interested in Studes when I was in college during the 50,s. We found that they were the only OHV v-8 that you didn,t have to spend all week tuning to race on the week ends. I had a new 60 259 2bbl Lark that surprised many brand x-ers. A friend and I were test riding in a new Corvair when the salesman asked me what I drove. Told him a Lark when he laughingly said "did you ever have on of these pass you on the freeway?". My answer was only if I let them. I replaced the 60 with a 62 289 4spd Daytona that was even faster. During that era no one thought of Stude performance, just a slow economy run winner. I was fun driving sleepers. Hated to have to go over to Blue ovals, but stuff from the general was not for me.

    Butler, PA
    63 Avanti R1 R2899

    Leave a comment:


  • Stu63
    replied
    I got interested in Studes when I was in college during the 50,s. We found that they were the only OHV v-8 that you didn,t have to spend all week tuning to race on the week ends. I had a new 60 259 2bbl Lark that surprised many brand x-ers. A friend and I were test riding in a new Corvair when the salesman asked me what I drove. Told him a Lark when he laughingly said "did you ever have on of these pass you on the freeway?". My answer was only if I let them. I replaced the 60 with a 62 289 4spd Daytona that was even faster. During that era no one thought of Stude performance, just a slow economy run winner. I was fun driving sleepers. Hated to have to go over to Blue ovals, but stuff from the general was not for me.

    Butler, PA
    63 Avanti R1 R2899

    Leave a comment:


  • Lark289
    replied
    Thank you everyone for the memories and recollections about Larks "in their time". What a great lively discussion. As someone put: they were under the radar screen. That is why the V8s make such great sleepers (ala Plain Brown Wrapper).


    Ready for a trip to the beach!

    Leave a comment:


  • Lark289
    replied
    Thank you everyone for the memories and recollections about Larks "in their time". What a great lively discussion. As someone put: they were under the radar screen. That is why the V8s make such great sleepers (ala Plain Brown Wrapper).


    Ready for a trip to the beach!

    Leave a comment:


  • curt
    replied
    I was 17 when the Lark came out. The cars were sold so striped down. I remember the cars had no dome lights. I suspect dome lights were extra. Interior lights were not the normal thing missing in cars to be added on at extra expense. I liked the Larks. My father was a college professor, net result, we purchased a 1954 used Buick with 75,000 miles,Century with everthing except air for $600. One good car.My Daddy like the Larks but they were out of our bubget as a new car.

    Leave a comment:


  • curt
    replied
    I was 17 when the Lark came out. The cars were sold so striped down. I remember the cars had no dome lights. I suspect dome lights were extra. Interior lights were not the normal thing missing in cars to be added on at extra expense. I liked the Larks. My father was a college professor, net result, we purchased a 1954 used Buick with 75,000 miles,Century with everthing except air for $600. One good car.My Daddy like the Larks but they were out of our bubget as a new car.

    Leave a comment:


  • acolds
    replied
    My GFather was a Studebaker man having starterd buying new Studebaker in 1929 ending 1n 1962 with a Lark his favorite was 1932 St Regis coupe he favored the commanders or V8. He said Studebakers had good mechanical parts and bearings. I guess my fathers family were Studebaker men as his three brothetrs had Studebakers. A few Kaisers, Henry J's and Packards were in the mix during my memory, My first car was 1961 Studebaker Hawk. Most young guys that were car people wanted Chevy or Fords but I wanted a Hawk did look at 1960 lark 2dr sedan with 259 stick and overdrive but took Hawk instead.

    Leave a comment:


  • acolds
    replied
    My GFather was a Studebaker man having starterd buying new Studebaker in 1929 ending 1n 1962 with a Lark his favorite was 1932 St Regis coupe he favored the commanders or V8. He said Studebakers had good mechanical parts and bearings. I guess my fathers family were Studebaker men as his three brothetrs had Studebakers. A few Kaisers, Henry J's and Packards were in the mix during my memory, My first car was 1961 Studebaker Hawk. Most young guys that were car people wanted Chevy or Fords but I wanted a Hawk did look at 1960 lark 2dr sedan with 259 stick and overdrive but took Hawk instead.

    Leave a comment:


  • studegary
    replied
    I was old enough to drive and buy cars when the Lark came out.

    Churchill had the right idea. I believe that '59-'60 Larks saved Studebaker (one of the times they were saved). Larks were the correct car for the time, but the difficulty was in selling Studebakers. Studebaker Lark sales were gobbled up when the big three came out with their compacts.

    My family never owned Studebakers. When the Lark came out, my car was a customized '49 Mercury two door. I don't remember anyone in our neighborhood buying a new '59 Lark. When the '60 Lark came out, a neighbor bought a V-8 convertible for their son that was about to get his driving license. I remember him driving around the neighborhood before he got his license and then he drove the convertible to high school. Another neighbor had a 1957 Hawk that he bought new in 1957. I did not buy a Lark at that time, but I did buy a two year old '57 President Classic.

    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

    Leave a comment:


  • studegary
    replied
    I was old enough to drive and buy cars when the Lark came out.

    Churchill had the right idea. I believe that '59-'60 Larks saved Studebaker (one of the times they were saved). Larks were the correct car for the time, but the difficulty was in selling Studebakers. Studebaker Lark sales were gobbled up when the big three came out with their compacts.

    My family never owned Studebakers. When the Lark came out, my car was a customized '49 Mercury two door. I don't remember anyone in our neighborhood buying a new '59 Lark. When the '60 Lark came out, a neighbor bought a V-8 convertible for their son that was about to get his driving license. I remember him driving around the neighborhood before he got his license and then he drove the convertible to high school. Another neighbor had a 1957 Hawk that he bought new in 1957. I did not buy a Lark at that time, but I did buy a two year old '57 President Classic.

    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

    Leave a comment:


  • jnormanh
    replied
    As I remember, the Lark was seen as a car only someone's Mom would drive. Stodgy, slow and not cool. Even the Hawks weren't seen as being cool by very many, and, true or not, everyone I knew just KNEW that a 271 HP '57 Chev would outrun any Hawk ever built.

    Leave a comment:

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