As I was talking to my daughter on the telephone, looking at the emails she had just sent, the conversation went something like this…
Eileen: Dad, I found an old car. I found myself taking pictures of it like you would. That was scary.
Me: Well, I am pleasantly shocked you took them. Thank you. That’s a 1960 Studebaker Lark. Did you notice the Lark VI badge? That means it has a six-cylinder engine.
Eileen: I saw that and had wondered as much. It sure is tiny in comparison to all the cars around it. But it is kind of cute.
Me: It is. Thanks again for the pictures. This really makes my day.
There is no need to worry about the next generation in regard to the automotive world. I think we are in good shape.
Taken by ECS, June 21, 2002, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
1960 Lark VIII convertible by Joe Dennis
1960 Lark VIII wagon by PN
1960 Lark two-door hardtop by Jim Grey
such a nice-looking car
wheels/tires look so much better than what the Falcon and Valiant had, they had relatively small wheels
maybe because the Lark was a downsized model, with the front and rear shortened
The Lark along with the senior Ramblers and Wide-Track Pontiacs were the few domestic ’59 models to avoid the elephant on roller skates look the rest of the industry had gotten to with ever-increasing overall width draped over a “standard tread” that had been settled on in the early days of the automobile to fit the ruts made by Conestoga wagons.
What’s interesting is that Studebaker changed to 14 inch wheels in 1958, but reverted to 15s when they cut the car down into the Lark. I have always wondered why, but I agree that the hefty 15s are a good look.
Me too. It certainly went against the grain at the time.
And the new Tempest had 15″ wheels too, compared to the 13″ ones on the F-85 and Special. I suspect that was done possibly to reduce camber changes on its swing axle rear end, but I’m not sure.
And said Conestoga wagons were probably made by Studebaker.
Man, the Lark parked between the two (compact?) German SUVs really hits home as to how big and bloated new, modern vehicles have become.
That aside, that’s one sweet looking Studebaker. It would fit right in with the other cars at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend. It’s such a shame that the Lark’s days were numbered after just one year by the new compacts from the Big 3.
It’s also pretty cool that a daughter cares and knows how much pics of a nice, old car would please her old car enthusiast dad.
I think the Audi’s one of the bigger ones, and the Benz is an original-size ML, the biggest until the GLA.
I sometimes hear from my daughter about unusual cars she’s seen, but mostly without photos which is kind of disappointing. Sometimes she reads badges to get an ID, but sometimes I’m left wondering, wishing I’d been there.
I suspect she enjoys the car part more than she wants to admit. But her sending these pictures was great. Made my day in more ways than one.
Nice car, excellent pix. The German connection is strong because Studie dealers were selling both Mercedes and Audi (DKW) in 1960. So the Lark naturally found descendants of its old nestmates.
I wonder what’s more/less comfortable – sitting in the middle row of the Lark front and rear bench seats, or sitting in the third row of a compact crossover….
The car has stood the test of time well. It blends in better than, say, a 1961 Mercury or Dodge would.
Larks had a pretty huge transmission hump in the front seat, even without foot wells to make it relatively higher. Comparing the third row of one vehicle with the first and second row of another is obviously apples and oranges. Compact SUVs like a Forester or CR-V don’t have third rows, and for the smallest SUVs with a third row it would obviously be for the kids that would previously typically be rolling around in the way back of a two row station wagon. Or, as was sometimes the case, all the kids rolling around past the front seat.
Such a pretty little car.
Echoing what rudiger said, these photos really highlight just how large vehicles have grown. I do realize that the Mercedes and the Audi are no doubt considerably more crash-worthy than the Lark (I guess?). But I also wonder if it would have been possible over the past 60 years to find some way to safety engineer a vehicle so that it could be safer without all of the bulk.
Certainly. My xB is 30″ shorter than the Lark, and is massively more roomy inside, except possibly a smaller cargo/trunk area. And even smaller kei vans in Japan are bigger yet on the inside, although a bit narrower.
Modern cars like these aren’t big primarily because of safety considerations; buyers like…bigger. Bigger houses, cars, burgers, soft drinks…just about everything. Big sells.
Both generations of Smarts passed crash tests that the Lark would no doubt fail badly. Other small but not quite as small modern cars did too. Same thing with glass area: glassy cars like Honda Fits and Subaru Foresters also pass crash tests.
My childhood best friend’s mom had one just like this, only it was white and an VIII. She drove it until 1972, and I accompanied them on many an errand in the back seat. One of these would be a great hobby car, though I would insist on the Regal trim which made for a pretty nice interior.
My daughter has taken a few shots for me over the years, but never a Stude. Your kid has excellent taste!
And she has also discovered the only way to make a Lark look svelte – photograph it between two modern SUVs. These always look pudgy parked around Mustangs and chargers. 🙂
Thank you. She certainly surprised me by taking these pictures.
Nice, but can it carry a harp? Might need the Wagonaire with sliding roof panel.
My daughter is more cognizant of old cars than my son, which is expected because she’s the engineering student. She just took our 5-speed Focus back to Ottawa for a few weeks, so now that she’s becoming proficient at manual transmission I should really get the VW back on the road..
Can it carry a harp? Maybe a smaller one, but certainly not one of any size – which is many of them.
You really need to get the VW back on the road. Easy to say, not so easy to do, I know.
It looks like the Lark’s front and rear bumpers are identical/interchangeable? It would explain the holes (for a license plate) in the center of the rear bumper…
Did they come this way from the factory?
A nod and a wink to early 1950s Studebakers? “You can’t tell if they’re coming or going.”
Good call. The front and rear bumpers on all of them indeed appear to be identical. Not surprising given Studebaker’s lack of money. However the rear bumper shouldn’t have the license plate bolt holes – it must be a former front bumper replacement for a wrinkled rear one.
The weird thing I never noticed and I guess they figured no one would is that there is a spot carved out in the sheet metal for the rear license plate and also the flat spot for the front plate on normal Lark rear bumpers.
This example has optional bumper guards. Luxury!
I like the car, but more than that, congratulate you on your daughter. Well done, J!
Thank you. She is a never-ending source of fun.
I like everything about this post. The car and its source. Nice to know that our old car recognition isn’t a dying art. My 15-year old daughter likes to point out old cars to me as well. My other two kids don’t seem to have that interest.
Thank you. The nice thing is her doing this shows that I have rubbed off to a degree. So of all possible habits to acquire, this is a good one.
In military school in the 1960s Miss Hill was our spinster Librarian. She drove a Lark just like that and she would bring the mail and any packages for us each day. So we would crowd around the car and help Miss Hill with the parcels. Her Lark looked just like this one. I believe she traded in a 1955 Studebaker and believe her Lark was a 1964 or 1965. It was very plain with a column shift and no radio. She lived for quite a few years as I saw her 20 years afterwards.
My daughter has often sent pics of old cars to me asking what’s this including a Wolseley 680 lawn ornament behind her first rental house there was also a nearly dissolved Honda Civic on the other side off the yar but she isn’t interested in junk like that. She learned to drive in my turbo diesel manual Xsara hatch I later gave to her but now has her first automatic Toyota
Great pictures and story – and to find a Studebaker in the wild is quite an accomplishment!
One of my daughters is always on the lookout for old cars, and it’s fascinating to see what interests someone born in 2007. Big American cars are massively fascinating to her – not too much interest in sports cars or smaller cars in general. It’s not unusual for her to go for a bike ride, and come home with a bunch of pictures of a Lincoln Town Car.
And one final thought here… that beige/cream/sand color is the pinnacle of Midwestern frugality!
The color of this Studebaker is certainly among those that doesn’t endear itself to a maximum number of people.
I love that the tradition has been passed on! Good on Eileen for sharing this fine, old Studebaker Lark with you to share with the rest of us.
Thanks. She has certainly made life easier by sending me something she saw.
A nice, clean Lark for sure. Yet, also one of the most fuddy duddy cars ever made. Would appeal to only those with their prominent trait being practical which eliminates many of us. Of course, 62 years later it is still fuddy duddy but also a classic.
Interesting. I have always seen the early Larks as a rather handsome affair, looking purposeful and efficient. They somehow wear their snubbed nose and tail well, to me. The only caveat is that these cars (1959-61) do take on the look of a slightly awkward puppy with too-big paws when wearing modern sized radial tires. My own ’62 originally came with 6.70-15’s, and that’s what I’ll be putting on it when I get to that point.
I’m not old enough to relate these to spinster teachers and librarians, so there’s no stigma attached… and they pack a pretty reasonable punch when equipped with a V8. A kid I went to high school with had a 1962 Lark with a 289 and automatic, and it acquitted itself well against what most of us high school kids were stuck driving in those days. That helped solidify my earlier formed views, and might have even played a small part in my ending up with a V8 Lark in the “fleet”.
Alert for fall of 2022. They are making a movie about the Boston Strangler case from the early 60’s. I had the pleasure of driving my family’s 65 Buick Special Convertible in the movie. Nobody seemed to care that one scene would have taken place in 1962. So I was driving a car from the future. The producers didn’t seem to care about the years of the cars. “Old car, good enough”. This is the stuff that drives us car people crazy. The movie includes a Studebaker in this exact color, but with 4 doors. I did two scenes in the movie. It stars Keira Knightley and should be out around November of 2022.
Alright, so I’ll definitely go see that, for a number of reasons not to mention the CC connection.
Pray tell how do you managed to become connected to that?
I live in the Boston area. I saw a car carrier in Belmont Ma carrying a 58 Chevy, a 59 Dodge and a 62 Ford Fairlaine. All were dark blue with white tops and signs that said “Cambridge Police” on the side. I figured it had to be a movie. So I did some googling about movies and I found it. I emailed and registered.They were pretty far into production and didn’t need me. In January, it snowed and people cancelled the cars they were supposed to bring. So on two days notice, I was selected. They asked me NOT to wash my car. The production guy said “”You car guys scrub your cars to within an inch of their lives. I want cars that look like ordinary cars driving through the 1960’s, not an antique car show”. Most cars brought by people were spotless. But in the first day of shooting, a scene from 1962, they had a car from 1940 in flawless condition, a 66 Ford in terrible condition. Other cars were a 65 Ford Fairlane, a 50 Chevy Pickup, a 64 Oldsmobile and a 61 Chevy Corvan, used as a coroners van. Most of the cars could not have existed in 1962. The second day of shooting was in a western suburb that was taking the place of Michigan. This location had the 60 Studebaker and a 56 Chevy as well as by Buick. In both locations, my car was chosen to drive while others were background. Keira Knightley’s character drives a 62 Ford Falcon. A suspect drives a 61 Corvair Wagon. The story is that Albert DiSalvo was not the Boston Strangler. Maybe it was the guy in the Buick Special Convertible who keep driving though scenes.
Great story. It does seem like sort of sloppy production…”Car from the Future” 🙂 But you got to have a cool experience anyhow.
I too live in MA and it’s neat to see so many film productions coming to the state. I think that there are several production services companies in Devens, near where I live. They’ve shot several movies in my town over the past couple of years. Unfortunately slim pickings for car spotting since the films have all been situated in the 19th century (which my town seems particularly suited for).
I live near Devens also. There is a full production studio there that I knew nothing about. It opened in 2014. They produced this entire movie there, not just some outside shots.
Have one 1960 lark two door post.posi. track v8 three on the tree..27,000 actual miles.same color