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"Our dealers are screaming for the cars" Sherwod Egbert 6-13-62

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  • "Our dealers are screaming for the cars" Sherwod Egbert 6-13-62

    Richard Quinn
    Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

  • #2
    GREAT stuff Richard, thanks a lot for posting that bit of historic data! Sherwood Egbert is my hero!

    He is one of the few people at Studebaker besides Mr. Harold Churchill that REALLY got things DONE!
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
    SDC Member Since 1967


    • #3
      Ugh. I wouldn't want to be the one licking the roll bar or windshield checking fixtures in the course of solving those problems. Those must have had a lot of germs on them. And what if you got some Sting-Ray body dust on your tongue, wafting over from another part of the plant?

      Sherwood certainly had it figured out. There was the attractive new Buick Riviera just out, and the Corvette was especially appealing...not to mention the luxo-Thunderbird.

      'No sense fiddling around waiting for that little Studebaker dealer to get the Avanti I ordered seven weeks ago...especially when my golfing buddy, the Buick dealer, said he has one Riviera not yet spoken for....

      At least the 1963 Chryslers were sufficiently ugly that the 300J wasn't much of a concern. <GGG> BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

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


      • #4
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975


        • #5
          From the tone of this letter it sounds as if heads were going to roll!!!!
          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


          • #6
            If we look at Avanti produiction statistics, Avanti production didn't hit its peak until January 1963...with 592 produced. That's still short of the 30 a day Sherwood wanted.
            Even if that rate could be maintained (and was necessary due to orders) that only comes up to 7200 a year.

            It would be fun to know what the Avanti's competition really was...the Corvette perhaps, but I think it's a different sort of car (no back seat) and one that seems a dif different than Avanti demographics (my car's name plate indicates its first owner was a woman) I'd guess not many Sting Rays were sold to women.
            The Riveria looks like a prime suspect, all new in 63, whereas the T-Bird was atthe end of its 61-63 design cycle.
            And who knows, some would be Avanti buyers may have got tired of waiting and taken a GT home.
            I suppose we'll never know.
            Last edited by JBOYLE; 10-28-2011, 02:35 PM.
            63 Avanti R1 2788
            1914 Stutz Bearcat
            (George Barris replica)

            Washington State


            • #7
              Originally posted by jclary View Post
              Picture a very grand old estate…built by the blood sweat and tears of generations gone by. The dutiful and faithful staff is busy in the kitchen, and other areas taking care of the daily chores as always, seeing that things are done.

              Meanwhile…the heirs (investors, etc.) have lost their vision, creativity, passion, and sense of appreciation for the legacy that the estate represents. Instead, while the staff dutifully works away, the heirs to the fortune are grabbing what they can, tearing down and selling off the walls, selling the gilded gates, and running off seeking greener pastures. Egbert, chief of the staff, is not only fighting for the future of the estate, but his own life, as things disintegrate around him. This letter along with the Lamberti papers, show the struggle.

              These documents are fascinating and historically important. I really appreciate you sharing them with us. However, they reveal a very sad situation in the history of a great American family and corporation.
              IF ONLY the original Studebaker family has some signifcant interest in the automotive division at the time! If anyone has been studying Bombardier, they would see the care and concern the Bombardier family still had for their grandfather's invention, the snowmobile. Like Studebaker, Bombardier over the years became a huge, multi-national publicly held company from what was a once humble family-run business. And like Studebaker in 1963, Bombardier in the 1990's, their most recognizable, original product became but a small player in a portfolio of consumer and non-consumer products. Bombardier, put the Recreational Products Division on the market in the early 2000's or thereabouts, and there was NO WAY the Bombardier family was going to see their grandfather's original entity get snapped up by a competitor, or some other foreign multi-faceted holding company, and the family promply bought the Recreational Products Division. It would have been most interesting if the Studebaker family in South Bend could have done the same in 1963.

              Last edited by 8E45E; 10-28-2011, 03:22 PM.


              • #8
                I wonder how things would have went for Studebaker had the Avanti been made out of steel instead of fiberglass.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by StudeMichael View Post
                  I wonder how things would have went for Studebaker had the Avanti been made out of steel instead of fiberglass.
                  My guess is poorly as the stamping dies cost would have bankrupt the corporation much earlier than the eventual collapse.



                  • #10
                    It's nice to think otherwise, but as Bob Palma has posted the company really had no hope of staying in the Auto business. Now, had better ideas been followed after the war instead of "Let's keep the workers sweet by giving them whatever they want" and money been invested on modernising their (or building a new) factory and attention been paid to getting the best out of their Dealers - then maybe a different result may have occurred.
                    John Clements
                    Christchurch, New Zealand


                    • #11
                      I've always read the Kennedy assassination put the nail in the coffin, sales went to nearly zero. Things happen in life, just like 911 killed my spring business, not that i couldn't make springs, Companies started going out of business and i had no more customers to sell big orders to. 95% of my business was companies. Also i was old enough to retire and was just making enough money to pay the bills, so i closed it down.
                      101st Airborne Div. 326 Engineers Ft Campbell Ky.


                      • #12
                        Thanks Bob, that was what BP had said. I think a better run organization would have been able to survive, but as things were they didn't and even the unions now (or some time, I recall a post once said) realized what they had done. Regardless we have a proud history of great (different at least) vehicles and this wonderful club and vendors like Ed Reynolds keeping us going.
                        John Clements
                        Christchurch, New Zealand


                        • #13
                          I don't remember exactly when, but some time in early '63 I was in a large (for Studebaker) dealership in Kansas City, MO where they had an Avanti on display. They were very unhappy about not being able to get Avantis. They already sold one taking a Mercedes Gullwing in trade and another taking a '63 Corvair Monza convertible in trade and they had taken an order from a distillery company for seven Avantis for their salesmen to drive. They couldn't fill the order and it was cancelled by the distillery. Sort of supports Sherwood Egbert's contention.
                          Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
                          '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine


                          • #14
                            Anyone wanna speculate what things would've been like if Avantis had flowed with ease from the factory? Would such have added another year or two?

                            Certainly the parallel has been made before, between the Avanti's debut and that of the '53 C-K cars. Each essentially a four-seater Gran Touring sorta creation. BOTH hexed by fit of body pieces. Kinda sad that the company found itself fighting to stave off the specter of: Never promise more than you can give.
                            No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


                            • #15
                              A detailed memo dated July 6, 1961 and sent to Gene Hardig (Engineering) from J. C. McMahon (Cost Accounting and Estimating) estimated the total program cost of producing the new model (then called the XSHE) in fiberglass at $1,921,000, in steel $4,611,000. The choice was obvious. Of course no one could have anticipated the difficulties that MFG would have since they had been successfully turning out the Corvette bodies for many years.
                              Last edited by Studebaker Wheel; 10-29-2011, 10:50 AM.
                              Richard Quinn
                              Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review