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  • #46
    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.

    Comment


    • #47
      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.

      Comment


      • #48
        quote:Originally posted by Studedude1961

        (CUT)...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.
        BUT, don't forget that the one-off body style, puny little American was no match for the 6 body style 6 or 8 cyl. "full-sized" compact LARK!! [^] The Rambler Classic was in the Lark's class.

        Also I believe that the Scotsman pickup in 1957 was the first "resurrected" vehicle style! It also was a very mildly warmed over, old model (1949)! [:0]

        Just about the only significant change was the Windshield, Hood and dash! There was an "invisible" change; the 185 cu. in. stroked engine.

        StudeRich
        Studebakers Northwest
        Ferndale, WA
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

        Comment


        • #49
          quote:Originally posted by Studedude1961

          (CUT)...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.
          BUT, don't forget that the one-off body style, puny little American was no match for the 6 body style 6 or 8 cyl. "full-sized" compact LARK!! [^] The Rambler Classic was in the Lark's class.

          Also I believe that the Scotsman pickup in 1957 was the first "resurrected" vehicle style! It also was a very mildly warmed over, old model (1949)! [:0]

          Just about the only significant change was the Windshield, Hood and dash! There was an "invisible" change; the 185 cu. in. stroked engine.

          StudeRich
          Studebakers Northwest
          Ferndale, WA
          StudeRich
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner

          Comment


          • #50
            The TIME magazine archives have some interesting perspective. Here's a couple of articles:

            http://tinyurl.com/2wxpgn
            http://tinyurl.com/2ndvwt
            http://tinyurl.com/2ljqyt

            In 1959, people LOVED it. In 1961, the bloom was off the rose, but the image was still OK. By 1963, the Lark was yesterday's news.


            [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

            Clark in San Diego
            '63 F2/Lark Standard
            http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

            Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #51
              The TIME magazine archives have some interesting perspective. Here's a couple of articles:

              http://tinyurl.com/2wxpgn
              http://tinyurl.com/2ndvwt
              http://tinyurl.com/2ljqyt

              In 1959, people LOVED it. In 1961, the bloom was off the rose, but the image was still OK. By 1963, the Lark was yesterday's news.


              [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

              Clark in San Diego
              '63 F2/Lark Standard
              http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

              Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #52
                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.

                TIA,

                Jeff
                I was a teenage High School student in the early '60s and was absolutely nuts about Studebaker's, all of 'em.
                There were still a lot of the '47-'52 models in daily use at that time, and they were well respected for their economy of operation and maintenance, but rather in spite of their "Buck Rogers" styling (which I being an innocent youth thought was just fantastic, and the way all cars ought to have been styled
                I recall the very first time that I "cruised" Main Street, it was in a friends (folks) two-tone green 1957 President, which I thought was far more "cooler" than all of the more popular but so "common" rides.
                The Hawks, (and the '53-'55 coupes) were very rare in my area as they were not at all considered to be very practical as family cars.

                And thereon hangs this little tale, I and a few of my buddies that were staunch defenders of our iconic automotive underdog, In 1963 we sat through a Science class, where our teacher, a member of the "older generation" expressed his opinions about "modern automobiles" and how uncomfortable he found their seating positions to be, specifically referring to "Studebaker's", and to the '58 Plymouth that he presently owned.
                After class we stayed behind to "educate" him as to the merits of all of those Studebaker models that he was evidently so unfamiliar with.

                Now the point that I am trying to get across here, is that the stylish and well known Studebaker coupes (though I, and "we", loved 'em dearly) besides not selling well (relatively), created a public perception of all later Studebaker products in general that had a lingering negative effect on the sales of the more practical and conventionally styled vehicles that were the company's bread and butter in its final years.
                In the case in point, this teacher exemplified the mind-set of an entire generation of prospective new car buyers.
                Studebaker, because of its identification with the radical styling of a few models, had effectively removed itself from any recognition or consideration by these buyers.
                Remember, this took place in 1963, and yet for this individual, (and the point)and to many, many others of that generation, the LARK was simply and totally off the radar, out of sight, an unknown.

                My family bought new Lark types every year right up to the end of production in '66, we drove them, loved 'em, praised them, and promoted them. (I still currently own 4)
                But owner loyalty was not enough, because there were not enough owners, and the opinions of the non-owners (public at large) brought about the Company's demise.

                Comment


                • #53
                  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.

                  TIA,

                  Jeff
                  I was a teenage High School student in the early '60s and was absolutely nuts about Studebaker's, all of 'em.
                  There were still a lot of the '47-'52 models in daily use at that time, and they were well respected for their economy of operation and maintenance, but rather in spite of their "Buck Rogers" styling (which I being an innocent youth thought was just fantastic, and the way all cars ought to have been styled
                  I recall the very first time that I "cruised" Main Street, it was in a friends (folks) two-tone green 1957 President, which I thought was far more "cooler" than all of the more popular but so "common" rides.
                  The Hawks, (and the '53-'55 coupes) were very rare in my area as they were not at all considered to be very practical as family cars.

                  And thereon hangs this little tale, I and a few of my buddies that were staunch defenders of our iconic automotive underdog, In 1963 we sat through a Science class, where our teacher, a member of the "older generation" expressed his opinions about "modern automobiles" and how uncomfortable he found their seating positions to be, specifically referring to "Studebaker's", and to the '58 Plymouth that he presently owned.
                  After class we stayed behind to "educate" him as to the merits of all of those Studebaker models that he was evidently so unfamiliar with.

                  Now the point that I am trying to get across here, is that the stylish and well known Studebaker coupes (though I, and "we", loved 'em dearly) besides not selling well (relatively), created a public perception of all later Studebaker products in general that had a lingering negative effect on the sales of the more practical and conventionally styled vehicles that were the company's bread and butter in its final years.
                  In the case in point, this teacher exemplified the mind-set of an entire generation of prospective new car buyers.
                  Studebaker, because of its identification with the radical styling of a few models, had effectively removed itself from any recognition or consideration by these buyers.
                  Remember, this took place in 1963, and yet for this individual, (and the point)and to many, many others of that generation, the LARK was simply and totally off the radar, out of sight, an unknown.

                  My family bought new Lark types every year right up to the end of production in '66, we drove them, loved 'em, praised them, and promoted them. (I still currently own 4)
                  But owner loyalty was not enough, because there were not enough owners, and the opinions of the non-owners (public at large) brought about the Company's demise.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    quote:Originally posted by Studedude1961

                    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.
                    I disagree with that one! Car manufacturers have been doing that for years, and still do to this day!! After a current body style runs its course here in North America, the dies get shipped to South America, or Australia, and become recycled 'new cars' to those markets. And the Eurpoeans do it as well. Probably the best known recycled car would be the Hindustan Ambassador, still sold in India, that started life in England as the 1954 Morris MO series Oxford. That car no doubt holds the record for having the oldest body stampings in the industry. In China, Shanghai Automotive Corporation bought up the MG and Rover assembly lines and parts from bankrupt Rover Group and shipped all over there. Now they are recycling the Rover 75 and MG-F models...

                    Craig

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      quote:Originally posted by Studedude1961

                      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.
                      I disagree with that one! Car manufacturers have been doing that for years, and still do to this day!! After a current body style runs its course here in North America, the dies get shipped to South America, or Australia, and become recycled 'new cars' to those markets. And the Eurpoeans do it as well. Probably the best known recycled car would be the Hindustan Ambassador, still sold in India, that started life in England as the 1954 Morris MO series Oxford. That car no doubt holds the record for having the oldest body stampings in the industry. In China, Shanghai Automotive Corporation bought up the MG and Rover assembly lines and parts from bankrupt Rover Group and shipped all over there. Now they are recycling the Rover 75 and MG-F models...

                      Craig

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        My favorite example of "overseas second life" is Kaiser Argentina, which produced what was essentially the 1951 Manhattan, renamed the Carabela, all the way through 1962.


                        [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                        Clark in San Diego
                        '63 F2/Lark Standard
                        http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                        Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          My favorite example of "overseas second life" is Kaiser Argentina, which produced what was essentially the 1951 Manhattan, renamed the Carabela, all the way through 1962.


                          [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                          Clark in San Diego
                          '63 F2/Lark Standard
                          http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                          Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            I too was a teenager in the mid 1960's, and I seem to recall one of my old-maid High School math teachers drove a Lark. And that was the problem as far as we knew then--Lark's just weren't cool. Now today, with everything Retro being in style, I see them restored and cruising around town fairly frequently. It's good to see them out and still running too.

                            1953 Chev. 210 Convertible, 261 6cyl w/Offy dual intake (But I always did love Studebakers!)
                            1995 Dodge/Cummins Pickup, 250 HP, 620 Ft. Lbs. of Torque, ATS trans.
                            1953 Chev. 210 Convertible, 261 6cyl w/Offy dual intake (But I always did love Studebakers!)
                            1995 Dodge/Cummins Pickup, 250 HP, 620 Ft. Lbs. of Torque, ATS trans.
                            Robert Rausch

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              I too was a teenager in the mid 1960's, and I seem to recall one of my old-maid High School math teachers drove a Lark. And that was the problem as far as we knew then--Lark's just weren't cool. Now today, with everything Retro being in style, I see them restored and cruising around town fairly frequently. It's good to see them out and still running too.

                              1953 Chev. 210 Convertible, 261 6cyl w/Offy dual intake (But I always did love Studebakers!)
                              1995 Dodge/Cummins Pickup, 250 HP, 620 Ft. Lbs. of Torque, ATS trans.
                              1953 Chev. 210 Convertible, 261 6cyl w/Offy dual intake (But I always did love Studebakers!)
                              1995 Dodge/Cummins Pickup, 250 HP, 620 Ft. Lbs. of Torque, ATS trans.
                              Robert Rausch

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Reg Hillary (the 1961 winner) of the Shell 4000/ Trans Canada Rally recently spoke at our swap meet. He said that the Larks handled very well. However, they wore out the tires on the roads, and they had to be replaced at a gas station at the (then) prohibitive cost of $48 each, when Studebaker only paid $5 per tire. Since they won, it was apparently dropped as an issue.

                                1964 Larks were Motor Trends(?) "Car of the Year".

                                Roy O'Hallohan a successful 50s and 60s stock car driver in Ontario (not sure of spelling) liked the Larks for their handling. He was sponsored by a local dealship. (Gallinger?)

                                Larks are a nice, zippy car, and fit in with the best produced - even today.

                                Paul R

                                Comment

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