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  • Just Thinking

    The late 50s and early 60s are considered by most to be the apex of automotive style. I've always considered the 59/60 GM land yacht convertibles to be some of the most beautiful cars ever made. Harley Earl was at his best IMHO. And the Mopars from the late 50s were spectacular too. They had a way with fins and colors. Virgil Exner was doing great until he lost his mojo from 60 to 62. (what was up with those cars?) And can you imagine what the 59 and 60 Packard Carribean convertibles would have looked like if they had continued on with their styling from 1956?

    Which leads me to Studebaker. At the risk of offending the 57 and 58 guys, it looks as though the executives bound and gagged their stylists and locked them away in the closet while they penned the new designs themselves. Very sad.

    Much has been said about this time period in Studebaker history and why Studebaker couldn't afford to make the changes necessary to compete with the big guys. And in defense of the sylist of this period, they did some pretty cool things with what they had to work with. Never-the-less, it is sad that there are no big Studebaker convertibles from that era.

    Studebaker had some great stylists and I was just wondering what they could have produced if they didn't have their hands tied behind their backs.
    Jon Stalnaker
    Karel Staple Chapter SDC

  • #2
    Interesting topic...
    One could say the same about the mid thirties, also..
    Struggling car company...Limited budgets...
    How do you gussy up a pig on the cheap?
    Sometimes I wonder about the recycling of styling talent within the industry.
    What was copied? What was stolen?
    What came with the new guy that was just fired from the other guy?
    Cheaper to buy a design from a hired gun than put designers on the payroll?
    Good food for conversation.
    Jeff
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

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    • #3
      I guess it depends from what time frame: Before Studebaker 'merged' with Packard, or after. If one uses the 3-year new model development time frame as was done post-merger, there are some 1957 proposals around based on an all-new body that would have been shared with Packard Clipper. The 1957 senior Packard line would have been based on the Predictor as has been documented in several places. (September 1984 Collectible Automobile has a great article on that.) I can't say I've seen any pre-merger 1957 styling studies myself, but it would be interesting to see what Studebaker on would have done on its own had there was no 'merger' with Pacakrd.

      Craig
      Last edited by 8E45E; 11-11-2011, 11:25 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
        I guess it depends from what time frame: Before Studebaker 'merged' with Packard, or after. If one uses the 3-year time new model development time frame as was done post-merger, there are some 1957 proposals around based on an all-new body that would have been shared with Packard Clipper. The 1957 senior Packard line would have been based on the Predictor as has been documented in several places. (September 1984 Collectible Automobile has a great article on that.) I can't say I've seen any pre-merger 1957 styling studies myself, but it would be interesting to see what Studebaker on would have done on its own had there was no 'merger' with Pacakrd.

        Craig
        Actually, I had the Parkard concept cars in mind when I was speculating on what a 59/60 Packard convertible could have looked like.

        From what I've read, Studebaker spent all the money Packard brought to the mereger and did little to keep up Packard's reputation as an upscale car. I wouldn't blame Packard for the weak styling of the 57 and 58 Studebakers. But the problems with mis-management at Studebaker Corporate went all the way back to Albert Erskine. IMHO
        Jon Stalnaker
        Karel Staple Chapter SDC

        Comment


        • #5
          That we have ANYTHING after the 56s to fawn over or wish upon is a miracle. You can talk about mis-management, but there was fancy footwork in keeping the doors open in the tough years of 57 & 58. If I were 25 years younger, I'd love to take a 60 ragtop tub and merge it with a '57 two door sedan. Actually, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't be the first to do that, but it would be with me til I croaked.
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sdude View Post
            Which leads me to Studebaker. At the risk of offending the 57 and 58 guys, it looks as though the executives bound and gagged their stylists and locked them away in the closet while they penned the new designs themselves. Very sad.
            I'll give you '58, but there is NO WAY 1957 should be mentioned in that sentance...
















            Just sayin'
            StudeDave '57
            US Navy (retired)

            3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
            SDC Member since 1985

            past President
            Whatcom County Chapter SDC
            San Diego Chapter SDC

            past Vice President
            San Diego Chapter SDC
            North Florida Chapter SDC

            Comment


            • #7
              You guys think so deeply.
              I was just thinking "should turn this heat pad off, get off the couch and do something? or should I just stay in my jammies and watch tv? "
              "why is my dog crowding me on the couch? oh it is gloomy and she hates gloomy weather, that is why" "what is on TV" "what do I want for lunch?".....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by StudeDave57 View Post
                I'll give you '58, but there is NO WAY 1957 should be mentioned in that sentance...
















                Just sayin'
                The 57 is a boring preruuner to the spectacular 58's..........just sayin'

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 5859 View Post
                  The 57 is a boring preruuner to the spectacular 58's..........just sayin'
                  Yup- and I own one of the best '58s made~





                  StudeDave '57
                  StudeDave '57
                  US Navy (retired)

                  3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                  SDC Member since 1985

                  past President
                  Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                  San Diego Chapter SDC

                  past Vice President
                  San Diego Chapter SDC
                  North Florida Chapter SDC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Having owned a '58 Commander for a couple of years, and now a '57 President, I find that I prefer the styling (and about everything else) to be more tastefully done on the '57's.

                    I think it was Art Unger that once said, "GM could've sold a lot of these."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have to agree, Jon. Talk about terrible direction Makes it amazing to think what a Hail Mary the radical Lark really was...

                      Of course, we love 'em today, but boy, I bet they were dogs in their time :yawn:
                      Proud NON-CASO

                      I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

                      If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

                      GOD BLESS AMERICA

                      Ephesians 6:10-17
                      Romans 15:13
                      Deuteronomy 31:6
                      Proverbs 28:1

                      Illegitimi non carborundum

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You need to keep the time frame in mind.
                        Loewy Studios left Studebaker in 1955. I believe that the 1956 Hawk was their last work for Studebaker (until the Avanti).
                        Studebaker wanted to make the 1956-1958 models more USA mainstream in order to compete with GM and Ford. I think that the plan backfired. If people wanted a GM or Ford, they would buy one. They bought Studebakers because they were different or they had brand or dealer loyalty.

                        StudeDave57 - Do you know anything about that turquoise and white 1957 President Classic, such as the owner or when or where the picture was taken? The car is either my first Studebaker or a twin to it and the car in the picture appears to have New York plates.
                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        SDC member since 1968
                        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by studegary View Post
                          StudeDave57 - Do you know anything about that turquoise and white 1957 President Classic, such as the owner or when or where the picture was taken? The car is either my first Studebaker or a twin to it and the car in the picture appears to have New York plates.
                          Gary~ All I can tell you is that I found that picture on eBay. It looks like I saved it and the other photos of the car I have in September of 2004. I normally save all the information from the ad as well, but I didn't in this case. Either that or maybe it was before I started to do so...? Sorry 'bout that.
                          The plates are from New York, btw.





                          StudeDave '57
                          StudeDave '57
                          US Navy (retired)

                          3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                          SDC Member since 1985

                          past President
                          Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                          San Diego Chapter SDC

                          past Vice President
                          San Diego Chapter SDC
                          North Florida Chapter SDC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by StudeDave57 View Post
                            I'll give you '58, but there is NO WAY 1957 should be mentioned in that sentance...
                            Just sayin'
                            I do agree that the 57 was no where near as bad as the 58, and I knew I would take some heat from you guys. Like I said earlier, The stylists did what they could with the parameters that they were given. I was just speculating on what they COULD and WOULD have done without the restrictions. If only they had the money the other guys had.....
                            Jon Stalnaker
                            Karel Staple Chapter SDC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sdude View Post
                              I was just speculating on what they COULD and WOULD have done without the restrictions.
                              The 1958 Packard Hawk comes to mind.... It wasn't called the "Hurley Hawk" for nothing!

                              Craig

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