Studebaker National Museum
South Bend, Indiana, USA

In late September, 2007, after the "Era of Exner Event", I visited the Studebaker Museum.

Studebaker Centennial Wagon

This wagon was specially built for an exhibition in Philadelphia, celebrating the Centennial of the United States of America.
Studebaker received a gold medal, and a First Award of Merit at the show.
Later, in 1895, the wagon was shipwrecked on the way from New York to Atlanta. The wagon stayed several days under water, but was recovered, in good condition.

Since 2005, the Studebaker Museum is placed in a new building,
the style looks similar to the old Studebaker factory buildings.

Studebaker Model C

This is the oldest gasoline powered Studebaker.
Actually, only the coachwork comes from Studebaker, the chassis, and engine (with 16hp) came from the Garford Company.

The first floor of the Studebaker Museum shows the cars from around 1900 to the late 1930's.

Flanders 20

From 1909 to 1912, Studebaker sold more than 30,000 Flanders automobiles.
The problems, for example with the rear axle, caused Studebaker to send out mechanics for fixing the cars. It cost Studebaker a fortune!

Founded in 1852, the Studebaker Company built carriages, but around 1900, they started the production of electric vehicles.
Later, they switched to gasoline powered cars.
Studebaker had a lot of dealers throughout the United States, but no know-how to build automobiles, so they started cooperations with several car-companies, like Garford, or E-M-F / Flanders.
Specially the E-M-F cars brought some trouble, because they weren't well engineered,
some people thought EMF stands for "Every Morning - Fix it!"

Studebaker Big Six Duplex Phaeton

The Duplex was the top-of-the-line, back in 1926. The car had a solid top, but curtains as side-windows, like an open tourer.

After all these problems, Studebaker started to produce real Studebakers,
most likely also because the business with carriages was dying...

Studebaker President Four Season Roadster

In 1931, a lot of people still had the idea that an automobile was a "toy", with this car, named "Four Season Roadster", Studebaker wanted to make a clear statement, that the car was able to be driven in every season.

In 1920, Studebaker stopped building carriages, and moved the automobile production to South Bend.
The 1920's saw Studebaker expanding more, and more, the mid-priced models were quite successful.

Studebaker President Convertible Coupe

The President series was restyled for 1932.

Erskine, and Rockne were car-makes owned by the Studebaker Corporation, created to expand in cheaper markets,
on the other hand, Studebaker acquired Pierce-Arrow, to step in the luxury-car-market.
Well, the Great Depression brought some financial problems, but Studebaker survived...

Studebaker Commander Roadster

An impressive convertible, in yellow...
The car rotates in a showroom-like window.

From 1936 to 1955, Raymond Loewy was responsible for the Studebaker design,
but Virgil M. Exner was chief-stylist for the company from 1938 to 1949.

photo taken at the "Era of Exner Event"

The 1949 Champion came from his drawing-board.
While the "Big Three" started post-war production with redesigned pre-war cars,
Studebaker brought a complete new designed car-series.

Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe

The famous bullet-nose design.
A similar car appeared in the first Muppet-movie, and is now waiting for restoration at the museum.

The 1950's started with the famous bullet-nose models.

Studebaker Commander Starliner

In 1952, Studebaker celebrated its centennial!
Here you can see a Hardtop-Coupe.

Later, Studebaker started the even more famous coupe-series,
still under the leadership of Raymond Loewy, but designed by Bob Bourke.

Studebaker Champion Starliner Hardtop

The design came from the bureau of Raymond Loewy, and is one of the most beautiful/famous Studebakers.
Mercedes complained about the star-emblem, so it was changed for later model-years.

The mid-50's brought again some financial trouble.
Packard, and Studebaker tried to solve this problem together, the Studebaker-Packard company was born,
but it didn't help.

Studebaker President Classic

For 1956, Studebaker decided to go back to a more classic styling for the sedan-series.

1956 Packard Predictor

Studebaker Hawk

The end of the tail-fin-era. 

The Hawk series was beautiful, and successful, but not successful enough.
Loewy designed the Avanti, but it was to late to save Studebaker, the production ended in 1963 at South Bend,
and in 1966, the last Studebaker was built in Canada.
The rights for the Avanti were sold, and the car survived in small production numbers for a very long time,
even four door sedans, and convertibles were built...

Studebaker Avanti

The Avanti should start a new era of Studebaker automobiles, but finally it was the last Studebaker.
The design was so exciting that it survived the Studebaker production for several years.

The post-war cars are located on the second floor of the museum, and shows a lot of nice, and interesting Studebakers.
There is also some space for non-Studebaker-cars, when I was there, it was a special exhibition of muscle-cars.


The Bendix Corporation, a supplier for the car industry, started to build this prototype in 1932.
There are some design similarities to the Chrysler Airflow, and some other aerodynamic designs of that era, so the car companies started even in the 1930's to create cars that looked almost the same...

The National Studebaker Museum is a MUST for every car-enthusiast,
whenever you will have the chance to see this fine collection, take it!

On first floor, there is also a nice museum shop, where you can spend some money for memorabilia,
like books, modelcars, postcards, or many other Studebaker related products.
(Next to all the books, and postcards, my favorites were the cinnamon candies!)

1969 Shelby GT500

Collectible Automobile, June 2012 (8 pages, 19 photos)

Here you will find the official homepage of the museum:

go to:
"Era of Exner Event, 2007"

Stutz homepage

other rare cars
Madle homepage