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  • Stude sales problems in '63...

    Just thinking...

    Not even bringing the '64 models, or the Avanti, into the equation...

    What does anybody think was the cause of the '63 models failing to sell, right off the bat?

    I have always heard that the '62's, despite pleasant Lark and awesome Hawk restylings, showed a large sales increase from '61, but there were quality-of-assembly and material declines from previous Studes (like almost instantly-separating vinyl seats).

    Do you think the not-great workmanship/quality of materials of the '62's got owners to spread the word out to stay away from Studes, or do you think the fact that '63 Wagonaires weren't very available when introduced hurt, or folks didn't like the '63 styling as much as the '62? I prefer the '63, except I don't know why you got white-accented full wheel covers despite any exterior color you chose. I think that was a mistake.

    Just wondering what others think.

    Bill Pressler
    Kent, OH
    '63 Lark Daytona Skytop R1
    Bill Pressler
    Kent, OH
    (formerly Greenville, PA)
    Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
    Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
    1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
    1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
    All are in Australia now

  • #2
    More, and better cars from the competition. like it or not, Studebaker was well behind in engineering by 1963. The brand X's got you more bang for the buck. Once the big three got in the compact market, the hand writing was on the wall.

    JDP/Maryland
    63 R2 SuperHawk (Caesar)
    spent to date $54664,75
    64 R2 GT (Sid)
    spent to date $62,439.30
    63 Lark 2 door
    51 Commander
    39 Coupe express
    39 Coupe express (rod)

    JDP Maryland

    Comment


    • #3
      More, and better cars from the competition. like it or not, Studebaker was well behind in engineering by 1963. The brand X's got you more bang for the buck. Once the big three got in the compact market, the hand writing was on the wall.

      JDP/Maryland
      63 R2 SuperHawk (Caesar)
      spent to date $54664,75
      64 R2 GT (Sid)
      spent to date $62,439.30
      63 Lark 2 door
      51 Commander
      39 Coupe express
      39 Coupe express (rod)

      JDP Maryland

      Comment


      • #4
        Good question, Bill. Some considered thoughts...

        1. Studebaker had little success recruiting new converts, so they wound up relying on loyal, repeat customers more so than other makes. The 1962 Studebakers were popular, as you say, which meant that many Studebaker buyers had stepped up to a '62 and, aside from the vinyl upholstery issue, had little to complain about; little reason to consider trading again so soon.

        2. The average Studebaker customer's age was advancing (unfortunately), pulling a few more out of the pool referenced in #1.

        3. To the man on the street, the 1963s looked little changed from '62s. Sure, they were dramatically changed in terms of greenhouse and all, but to the average joe, that wasn't readily visible. Studebaker probably never had such a poor return on restyling expenses as they did with 1963 Larks...1958 excepted, of course! (Fred Fox expanded on this nicely in his Turning Wheels feature article on the '63s a few years ago.)

        4. Early Wagonaires leaked badly and were in short supply, as you suggest.

        5. They were still dogged with the "They might be going out of business" syndrome. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!

        6. As nice as was the new greenhouse, it produced a car more prone to rattles and water/wind leaks. The thick old door frames of the '62s might not have been as stylish as the breezy '63s, but they were tighter and had fewer rattles and wind/water leaks.

        The above is the result of five minutes of thinking. I'll probably post again as this thread unfolds...it should be a good one! [}] BP

        We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

        Ayn Rand:
        "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

        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


        • #5
          Good question, Bill. Some considered thoughts...

          1. Studebaker had little success recruiting new converts, so they wound up relying on loyal, repeat customers more so than other makes. The 1962 Studebakers were popular, as you say, which meant that many Studebaker buyers had stepped up to a '62 and, aside from the vinyl upholstery issue, had little to complain about; little reason to consider trading again so soon.

          2. The average Studebaker customer's age was advancing (unfortunately), pulling a few more out of the pool referenced in #1.

          3. To the man on the street, the 1963s looked little changed from '62s. Sure, they were dramatically changed in terms of greenhouse and all, but to the average joe, that wasn't readily visible. Studebaker probably never had such a poor return on restyling expenses as they did with 1963 Larks...1958 excepted, of course! (Fred Fox expanded on this nicely in his Turning Wheels feature article on the '63s a few years ago.)

          4. Early Wagonaires leaked badly and were in short supply, as you suggest.

          5. They were still dogged with the "They might be going out of business" syndrome. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!

          6. As nice as was the new greenhouse, it produced a car more prone to rattles and water/wind leaks. The thick old door frames of the '62s might not have been as stylish as the breezy '63s, but they were tighter and had fewer rattles and wind/water leaks.

          The above is the result of five minutes of thinking. I'll probably post again as this thread unfolds...it should be a good one! [}] BP

          We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

          Ayn Rand:
          "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

          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


          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by JDP

            More, and better cars from the competition. like it or not, Studebaker was well behind in engineering by 1963. The brand X's got you more bang for the buck. Once the big three got in the compact market, the hand writing was on the wall.

            JDP/Maryland
            What John said...only the handwriting was on the wall by 1948! Nobody wanted to listen to George Mason of Nash, who described exactly what would happen if the four main independents didn't get together after WWII while they still had money and the flexibility that comes with it.

            George Mason was a brilliant visionary, "the man with the plan," but everyone else was busy guarding their little fifedom. By the time the handwriting was clearly visible, as JP suggests, it was too late for any of them individually, as history would prove. BP
            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

            Ayn Rand:
            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

            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


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by JDP

              More, and better cars from the competition. like it or not, Studebaker was well behind in engineering by 1963. The brand X's got you more bang for the buck. Once the big three got in the compact market, the hand writing was on the wall.

              JDP/Maryland
              What John said...only the handwriting was on the wall by 1948! Nobody wanted to listen to George Mason of Nash, who described exactly what would happen if the four main independents didn't get together after WWII while they still had money and the flexibility that comes with it.

              George Mason was a brilliant visionary, "the man with the plan," but everyone else was busy guarding their little fifedom. By the time the handwriting was clearly visible, as JP suggests, it was too late for any of them individually, as history would prove. BP
              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

              Ayn Rand:
              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

              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


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by BobPalma
                1. Studebaker had little success recruiting new converts, so they wound up relying on loyal, repeat customers more so than other makes. The 1962 Studebakers were popular, as you say, which meant that many Studebaker buyers had stepped up to a '62 and, aside from the vinyl upholstery issue, had little to complain about; little reason to consider trading again so soon.
                Ed Reynolds Sr. had mentioned the dealer organization was the weak link the sales chain by 1963. The Golden Opportunity had passed Studebaker by in 1959 when many of the prestigious 'big three' dealers took on the success of the Lark as a second line, and the company made no special efforts to KEEP them!! Apparently this was one reason Harold Churchill got the punt, even though the Lark did well the one year.

                Craig

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote:Originally posted by BobPalma
                  1. Studebaker had little success recruiting new converts, so they wound up relying on loyal, repeat customers more so than other makes. The 1962 Studebakers were popular, as you say, which meant that many Studebaker buyers had stepped up to a '62 and, aside from the vinyl upholstery issue, had little to complain about; little reason to consider trading again so soon.
                  Ed Reynolds Sr. had mentioned the dealer organization was the weak link the sales chain by 1963. The Golden Opportunity had passed Studebaker by in 1959 when many of the prestigious 'big three' dealers took on the success of the Lark as a second line, and the company made no special efforts to KEEP them!! Apparently this was one reason Harold Churchill got the punt, even though the Lark did well the one year.

                  Craig

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Added competition came in the form of an [u]all-new</u> Rambler. It won Motor Trend's Car of the Year award (which then meant something).

                    My dad bought a new Rambler Classic 770 with a V-8 and factory air (with real dash vents...not an add-on looking unit)and hard wearing cloth seats. It was very nice.

                    Compared to the Larks I've seen since joining the club...IMHO, the new design 63 Rambler was a lot more car for the money ( I believe my dads had a sticker of $2,300-2,500). Sorry to any Lark lovers out there.

                    Independent-minded (non big-3) buyers would have been sorely tempted by the Rambler.


                    63 Avanti R1 2788
                    1914 Stutz Bearcat
                    (George Barris replica)

                    Washington State
                    63 Avanti R1 2788
                    1914 Stutz Bearcat
                    (George Barris replica)

                    Washington State

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Added competition came in the form of an [u]all-new</u> Rambler. It won Motor Trend's Car of the Year award (which then meant something).

                      My dad bought a new Rambler Classic 770 with a V-8 and factory air (with real dash vents...not an add-on looking unit)and hard wearing cloth seats. It was very nice.

                      Compared to the Larks I've seen since joining the club...IMHO, the new design 63 Rambler was a lot more car for the money ( I believe my dads had a sticker of $2,300-2,500). Sorry to any Lark lovers out there.

                      Independent-minded (non big-3) buyers would have been sorely tempted by the Rambler.


                      63 Avanti R1 2788
                      1914 Stutz Bearcat
                      (George Barris replica)

                      Washington State
                      63 Avanti R1 2788
                      1914 Stutz Bearcat
                      (George Barris replica)

                      Washington State

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hadn't thought about the Rambler. If I remember correctly, the 770 was the top-line Classic. I'm surprised a V8, A/C Classic 770 would sticker only at $2300-2500.

                        The '63 Rambler sure was a styling leap forward from the '62...they no longer looked "goofy" IMHO. The '63 had curved side windows too. I think they screwed up the good '63 Rambler styling in '64 when they flattened out the front end.

                        Still, you could not get a two-door hardtop '63 Rambler Classic or Ambassador, or even a V8 Classic until mid-year. I used to laugh at the "123456789101112" speedometers when I was a kid. But I do think Ramblers of that period were pretty solid and reliable. A friend of mine, whose parents were better off than mine, was mortified that his Dad was still driving his '64 Rambler American 330 Station Wagon (their only car)in '72. The Dad used to say what a good car it (still) was! Body was still decent too if I remember correctly.

                        Bill Pressler
                        Kent, OH
                        '63 Lark Daytona Skytop R1
                        Bill Pressler
                        Kent, OH
                        (formerly Greenville, PA)
                        Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                        Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                        1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                        1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                        All are in Australia now

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I hadn't thought about the Rambler. If I remember correctly, the 770 was the top-line Classic. I'm surprised a V8, A/C Classic 770 would sticker only at $2300-2500.

                          The '63 Rambler sure was a styling leap forward from the '62...they no longer looked "goofy" IMHO. The '63 had curved side windows too. I think they screwed up the good '63 Rambler styling in '64 when they flattened out the front end.

                          Still, you could not get a two-door hardtop '63 Rambler Classic or Ambassador, or even a V8 Classic until mid-year. I used to laugh at the "123456789101112" speedometers when I was a kid. But I do think Ramblers of that period were pretty solid and reliable. A friend of mine, whose parents were better off than mine, was mortified that his Dad was still driving his '64 Rambler American 330 Station Wagon (their only car)in '72. The Dad used to say what a good car it (still) was! Body was still decent too if I remember correctly.

                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          '63 Lark Daytona Skytop R1
                          Bill Pressler
                          Kent, OH
                          (formerly Greenville, PA)
                          Currently owned: 1966 Cruiser, Timberline Turquoise, 26K miles
                          Formerly owned: 1963 Lark Daytona Skytop R1, Ermine White
                          1964 Daytona Hardtop, Strato Blue
                          1966 Daytona Sports Sedan, Niagara Blue Mist
                          All are in Australia now

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am one of those "Lark lovers" you're referring to; and I'm not bothered one bit!

                            I've only been a Stude fanatic for just less than 3 years. I grew up in the car business, and as a kid in the late 60s/early 70s I remember Studes when they were still fairly current as used cars. No used car dealers would touch any Studebaker with a 10-foot pole! My father had no axe to grind against the marque; but strictly from a business sense, NO ONE wanted ANYTHING that said Studebaker. In those days scrap metal wasn't really high, so they weren't even worth hauling in for junk! In those days, if Dad was forced to take one in a package of cars, they were never brought to the lot- they were either given away where they were, or taken to the city dump and just left. There were always buyers for anything comparable from the Big 3, and Dad had plenty of all of them. My memory of the business goes back to about 1967 or so, and while I have tons of memories over the years, I literally cannot remember Dad having even ONE Stude of any model at any time!

                            When I compare the Studes I have and have messed with today compared with my experiences with other makes from the 50s and 60s, it seems that the unpopular styling of some models is for whatever reason attractive to me today- but quality comparable to the Big 3 was very poor!

                            None of that matters to me today; I love the silly things! But from an historical perspective, I can see plenty of reasons that would lead to the demise of Studes.

                            Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                            Parish, central NY 13131


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am one of those "Lark lovers" you're referring to; and I'm not bothered one bit!

                              I've only been a Stude fanatic for just less than 3 years. I grew up in the car business, and as a kid in the late 60s/early 70s I remember Studes when they were still fairly current as used cars. No used car dealers would touch any Studebaker with a 10-foot pole! My father had no axe to grind against the marque; but strictly from a business sense, NO ONE wanted ANYTHING that said Studebaker. In those days scrap metal wasn't really high, so they weren't even worth hauling in for junk! In those days, if Dad was forced to take one in a package of cars, they were never brought to the lot- they were either given away where they were, or taken to the city dump and just left. There were always buyers for anything comparable from the Big 3, and Dad had plenty of all of them. My memory of the business goes back to about 1967 or so, and while I have tons of memories over the years, I literally cannot remember Dad having even ONE Stude of any model at any time!

                              When I compare the Studes I have and have messed with today compared with my experiences with other makes from the 50s and 60s, it seems that the unpopular styling of some models is for whatever reason attractive to me today- but quality comparable to the Big 3 was very poor!

                              None of that matters to me today; I love the silly things! But from an historical perspective, I can see plenty of reasons that would lead to the demise of Studes.

                              Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
                              Parish, central NY 13131


                              Comment

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