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A Good Read: Stu Chapman's My Father the Car

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  • #16
    As someone who was there at the time Bob, do you think we could have continued production anyway, if financing had been A) available and B) the company had been willing to expand Hamilton say so Trucks and Hawks and Lark types and Avantis could have been redesigned or were we really behind the 8-ball regardless - even had unlimited funds - new factory etc???
    John Clements
    Christchurch, New Zealand

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    • #17
      Originally posted by avantilover View Post
      As someone who was there at the time Bob, do you think we could have continued production anyway, if financing had been A) available and B) the company had been willing to expand Hamilton say so Trucks and Hawks and Lark types and Avantis could have been redesigned or were we really behind the 8-ball regardless - even had unlimited funds - new factory etc???
      Well, John; I wasn't exactly "there" at the time, but I was probably as good a repository for all things Studebaker among people still in their teens ('turned 20 in early 1966).

      In retrospect, Studebaker's skids were probably too well-greased by 1953 to remain a serious player in the market after then, much less 1965. Their costs of building a car were just too far out of line by then and they lost the price competitiveness that volume had permitted in the immediate postwar economy. The 1959 Lark was brilliantly conceived and executed when "just enough" board members were still seriously interested in the automobile business.

      Momentum is a wonderful thing. It carried Ford Motor Company through with obsolete products into the late 20s, and again until the 1949 Ford was introduced, and it certainly helped Studebaker in the mid-1950s, but just barely.

      The other two factors that pulled Studebaker through into the 60s were having a truck line and a good V8 engine. Without those, they would have died with Packard, Nash, Hudson, Willys, Kaiser, and all the others in the 1950s. (Yes, I know Nash survived as American Motors, of course, but not as a brand name.)

      As I said earlier, Stu does a wonderful job of delicately balancing Hamilton executives' enthusiasm with what was really going on in Studebaker's corporate boardroom by late 1963, having begun in 1960. (IMHO, of course.)

      My heart has always ached for Studebaker people like Stu, Sherwood Egbert, and countless others, who really enjoyed what possibilities they perceived for Studebaker products despite the Board's obnoxiousness, to be quite frank. Some of the things on the drawing board for 1965, like four-link, coil-spring rear suspesnion and the 340 V8, were really "cool" and reflected a sincere interest in being the best they could be on four wheels.

      A tip of the old Stetson to them for doing their level best...and better! BP
      Last edited by BobPalma; 12-22-2012, 05:25 PM. Reason: corrected IRS/coil spring error
      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.

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      • #18
        That's OK. At my age, by the time the book gets here and I read it, I'll have forgotten your post. lol
        Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
        No, he didn't. It was Byers Burlingame and Associates. BP
        sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
        1950 Champion Convertible
        1950 Champion 4Dr
        1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
        1957 Thunderbird

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        • #19
          Thanks Bob, are there articles on the IRS and 340 V8? I have to hand it to Stu and his associates - they made us go out in great style.
          John Clements
          Christchurch, New Zealand

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          • #20
            Originally posted by avantilover View Post
            Thanks Bob, are there articles on the IRS and 340 V8? I have to hand it to Stu and his associates - they made us go out in great style.
            There are probably some articles, John, but I don't know where they are. I'm reporting from actual, original engineering blueprints and proposed part numbers and release dates I've seen in The Studebaker National Museum archives. Fascinating stuff, what they had planned to do for model year 1965 and forward. 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.

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            • #21
              Cheers Bob, will have to get top SB some day.
              John Clements
              Christchurch, New Zealand

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              • #22
                IRS

                Originally posted by avantilover View Post
                Cheers Bob, will have to get top SB some day.
                What is the reference to IRS,I have not heard of it before other than paying taxes.
                NEIL G.

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                • #23
                  Independant rear suspension?
                  Originally posted by Neil View Post
                  What is the reference to IRS,I have not heard of it before other than paying taxes.
                  sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                  1950 Champion Convertible
                  1950 Champion 4Dr
                  1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                  1957 Thunderbird

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    That would be it, shame it never happened.
                    John Clements
                    Christchurch, New Zealand

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                    • #25
                      That is correct: Independent Rear Suspension, but I was wrong. I meant to say coil-spring rear suspension! OP corrected. 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.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        You were half right Bob as I doubt that happened either. I gather the proposed 340 engine remained as just blueprints with the shafting of one and all by our Board of Directors. Still, as you said earlier, Studebakers were too costly to make, so another year or so at SB with these new innovations likely wouldn't have made any difference to the ultimate closure.
                        John Clements
                        Christchurch, New Zealand

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                        • #27
                          Is the car on the front cover our last ever Studebaker?
                          John Clements
                          Christchurch, New Zealand

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by avantilover View Post
                            Is the car on the front cover our last ever Studebaker?
                            Yes, AFAIK. I'm sure Stu will weigh in if it is not! 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.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
                              Yes, AFAIK. I'm sure Stu will weigh in if it is not! BP

                              You are correct Bob. It sure is.
                              Stu Chapman

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                              • #30
                                Thanks Guys, am looking at it now (Book not car alas). Appears to be a computer processed image. Stu standing by it in the museum with a background of Hamilton factory (Vale). Then again it may just be the young Stu at Hamilton in 1966. A good way to go out, lovely vehicle.
                                John Clements
                                Christchurch, New Zealand

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