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Studebaker is one of those very few car brands we wish would come back to life. It was a brand known for reliability, innovation, and having a touch of class that would make most people turn a little green with envy. Though it died after Henry Ford personally went after the company, Studebaker lives on as a name associated with collector cars and more.
During its time as a car manufacturer, Studebaker left a mark that many other brands simply didn't. Think you know your Studebaker trivia? These things you didn't know about Studebaker will prove you wrong.
Studebaker is way, way older than you think.
Most people assume that Studebaker is one of those extinct car brands that was made in the 30s but died out in the 60s. This assumption isn't just wrong, it's laughably bad.
One of the many things you didn't know about Studebaker was the company's age. Studebaker was around since 1852. The company started off making wagons for farmers, then quickly started to tinker with "horseless carriages" once technology improved.
This makes Studebaker one of the oldest car companies in history. Wild stuff, right?
Their first cars weren't gas powered.
Like many classic car companies, Studebaker was a manufacturer that had toyed with electric car production. The thing you might not suspect about Studebaker, though, is how much work they did to further electric car production.
The very first cars they made were powered by electricity. However, as gas became more popular, Studebaker eventually switched over to fossil fuels.
Their purchase of the Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company was what got them their first factory.
Back in the early days of car manufacturing, car companies had to make serious moves in order to be able to stay in business. Companies were buying each other up left and right, with many of them seemingly going out of business overnight.
The biggest goal of many car companies back then was to have a factory in Detroit. Studebaker obtained theirs by buying out the Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company.
Studebaker was a presidential brand.
One of the things you didn't know about Studebaker was how upscale their cars were prior to the 20th century. The company once boasted the world's largest vehicle house in the world after they rebuilt their main company house in 1874.
The brand was so well-regarded, President William Henry Harrison ordered a full set of Studebaker carriages and harnesses for the White House.
The brand's quality reputation didn't translate over to automobiles too well, though.
Their union with the Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company proved to be pretty disastrous when it came to quality. Studebaker was in charge of marketing the cars, while E-M-F was meant to make them. Sadly, E-M-F's quality was very unreliable.
To get a better reputation, Studebaker sent out mechanics to fix all of E-M-F's problems.
Studebaker was hellbent on trying to get a better reputation. After the debacle that came with their first foray into car manufacturing, executives came up with a plan to re-establish their name. They sent out mechanics to disgruntled customers and ordered them to fix all the problems in those cars.
This order came to the tune of $1 million—nothing short of a jaw-dropping fortune at the turn of the century.
Ford loathed Studebaker.
During the price wars of the 20s, Studebaker was the third-largest producer of cars—and that straight up terrified Henry Ford. Ford, in his quest to remain America's largest car company, sparked a massive trade war with other car manufacturers.
The price war shook Studebaker, but surprisingly, wasn't the nail in the coffin.
Studebaker's lucky number was six.
Six was a number that became very strongly tied to Studebaker's brand name. During the World War II era, the company was known for the Light Six, Special Six, and Big Six models. The reason why six was so prevalent actually didn't deal with luck; it was the number of cylinders the cars' engines had.
One of the things you didn't know about Studebaker is that they also had a thing for naming cars after birds. The Studebaker Hawk series and the Studebaker Lark are two of the most popular examples of this trend.
You can see Studebaker's proving grounds from space.
Studebaker's proving grounds were the talk of legend during the 20s and 30s. They were where all the biggest car models were tested, and where all the bigwigs of the company would meet.
To ensure that future generations would enjoy the Studebaker name, 5,000 trees were planted and arranged to say "STUDEBAKER" from an aerial view. These trees are still around today and are regularly the subject of drone photography.
Studebaker's downfall was actually due to a series of bad partnerships.
Believe it or not, what ended up killing Studebaker wasn't necessarily the price wars. Rather, it was poor management decisions—including a merger with the already-ailing Packard and a botched partnership with yet another ailing company.
Though they've been out of business for over 50 years, there's still a car community devoted to them.
When Studebaker went out of business in 1962, the price of their cars plummeted. One of the things you didn't know about Studebaker, though, is that Studebaker devotees bought them up by the thousands, and continued to promote them throughout the world. Multiple car clubs started to crop up, devoted to driving a Studebaker, including the Studebaker Drivers Club and the Antique Studebaker Club.
Currently, over 15,000 members exist in these car clubs. This makes them one of the most widespread antique car communities in the world.