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Shades of South Bend II

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  • Shades of South Bend II

    An interesting dissertation, here. The baseball game analogy toward the end is insightful.

    Thanks to Frank Ambrogio for the link:
    Last edited by BobPalma; 11-30-2010, 09:10 AM.
    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.

  • #2
    So the problem was that NONE of Studebaker’s CEOs in the ‘50s or ‘60s had the foggiest idea what was going on down at the field? Even if they didn’t, the scoreboard (sales) told a pretty negative story, so they knew SOMETHING of what was happening. That leaves us with the “what ifs”

    What if Henry Ford had not wanted to outsell Chevy? What if Studebaker hadn’t spent the money on the “Ultra Vista” models and instead, used it to improve the car—or better advertising? What if Nance HAD gotten the financing for a REAL Packard—or gotten Ford to agree to let him use the ’56 Lincoln bodies? Or, lacking that, what if he’d instead accepted the offer from Ford (at 3 times his salary of the moment) and let a younger person take the reins? (Churchill wasn’t exactly fresh blood.) What if Egbert hadn’t died? What if the Lark had been able to actually COMPETE with GM, Ford and Chrysler? What if…What if…what if….

    An old TW attempted to forsee just such possible scenarios. January 1988 had an article by Raymond E. Scott II. In it, while he prognosticated a rosy future for S-P, he didn’t attempt to tell how that might have happened. So the question still remains, What if JUST ONE of the “what ifs” above had happened?

    But I guess it’s similar to, What if the door to Lincoln’s box at the theater had been locked? Or what if Oswald had never met Manny Carcano? Or what if I just stop typing this drivel and get to work? J



    • #3
      The most scary and insightful part of the article, to me, was how the author closed the article....

      " one, seemingly, with the foggiest idea what to do about it."

      Imagine a gang of mice in a feeding frenzy at a disappearing block of cheese... busily celebrating and munching away while ignoring a slow steady horde of hungry cats... gathering in the shadows.

      Our nation needs to stop morphing towards "mouse-dom" before there is no industrial backbone remaining to sustain our strength.

      John Clary
      Greer, SC

      SDC member since 1975


      • #4
        Originally posted by Johnnywiffer View Post
        [B][COLOR=blue][FONT=Comic Sans MS]So the problem was that NONE of Studebaker’s CEOs in the ‘50s or ‘60s had the foggiest idea what was going on down at the field?
        I tend to disagree with that. The Lark attests to Harold Churchill's insight how much compact cars would take over the market, and moved very fast to fulfill the demand a year ahead of the Big Three. Sherwood Egbert also read the market by moving the Lark upmarket and making it longer like the Big Three compacts inevitibly did.



        • #5
          Well, it was A QUESTION, not a statement.

          And you're right, they did SOME, even MANY things correctly. Tho I feel they COULD have solved the rust problem, the downfall was obviously NOT the correct things they did. It may well have been in the things over which they had little or NO control--the problem with initial '53 production, the price war between Chevy and Ford, the Big 3 entry into the compact field, the Avanti problems, labor probs, bank problems, dealer problems. All in all, just too many outside influences and seemingly unsolveable problems conspired against them.

          I was straightening my office today (an impossible job!) and wound up reading a book, "Studebaker, Less Than They Promised".

          In May, after the closing of the SB plant, a furloughed worker stood at the Broadway gate, looking up at the empty plant. He is reported to have said to a companion, "That last day, just before I checked out, I went up to the 2nd floor and walked along the empty assembly line. Everything was still in place and I thot, 'We could start production tomorrow.' I couldn't believe there would never be a tomorrow."

          But in my opinion, if we continue to export our businesses overseas, he won't be the only one finding there is no tomorrow.



          • #6
            John C,

            It seems to me that our solid industrial base has already been eroded to an almost non-existent level. If you look at all of the product labels in the stores today most are made outside of the US. Shucks, even our food is coming from outside. back during the Cold War we could have fed the entire world. The gov't was paying farmers not to produce milk, we hand plenty for ourselves and we were selling the excess to the Soviet Union. And the Arab extremists, in the late seventies, actually threatened to bring the fight to our shores. A threat which the made good on. Talk about CEO's asleep at the wheel, where were our elected representatives?
            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