One cannot summon the goddess. She just appears from time to time, when the stars line up fortuitously. Or is it when the lines start lining up fortuitously? As is her mysterious way, those appearances may be in more than one place at at time. And express themselves somewhat differently depending on the local culture. But wherever and however she appears, she is inevitably recognized.
Ever since I was a kid, I couldn’t help but see a distinct similarity between the 1955 Citroen DS, called “Goddess” because that’s what the French pronunciation of DS (“Déesse”) is, and the ’53 Starliner. And a highly suitable name, of course. Although the coupe-to-sedan comparison may be just a bit off, wait ’till you see the Chapron coupe version; how does one say Starliner in French?
Chapron made a number of custom variants of the DS, including several coupes. But his first one, called le Paris, has a decidedly Starliner-esque posture. Of course, its rear wheels are even further back than the Studebaker. Needs some photoshopping!
The “le South Bend” may share certain progressive styling cues with the Citroen, but technically they couldn’t be more dissimilar. The Citroen was as advanced, or more so, under its skin, with fwd, hydropneumatic suspension, and high-pressure hydraulics for disc brakes and steering. The Studebaker was dead-conventional, with its old-school frame, and traditional drive train, etc.
But the clean sloping hood, and delicate air intakes on the front have a decided resemblance. Well, then, let’s not forget that Raymond Loewy was French.
Chapron also made the famous “Decapotable” convertible version of the Goddess.
Studebaker did make one prototype Starline convertible, but the structural challenges of the willowy frame and the lack of cash for its proper development led to it being a one-off. That hasn’t stopped plenty of American-Chaprons from building their own.
The prototype is still around, and here’s a picture of Loewy’s daughter Laurence with it.