Ice Storm Outtake: Hark! There’s a New Lark In My Neighborhood!

Look who’s moved into the neighborhood! And a most welcome addition at that; I’m not aware of another. So is it a 6 or an 8?

Aha; an VIII!  And with quite the outside rear-view mirror too.

Needless to say, the availability of a V8 version in a “compact” was quite a big deal in 1959. But then the Lark were Studebaker’s only sedans with the transformation of their front and rear end chops, so it only made sense to offer a V8 version. And the Lark VIII wasn’t just a Lark VI with the 259 CID V8 stuffed under its stubby hood; it had substantially different underpinnings too. The suspension was beefier, as were the brakes, axles, and just about everything else. it even had a totally different steering box than the VI, with less friction.

That might have helped to offset the extra weight some, but it didn’t fully ameliorate the Lark V8’s front-heavy understeer. That’s just the reality with all of these smaller American cars with V8s; there’s a price for the extra performance. And the V8 Lark could scoot: 0-60 in just under 10 seconds, as compared to 16 or so seconds for the six.

I didn’t get a look inside due to the ice coating, so I don’t know whether this is a a manual or automatic transmission car. I’ll have to come back and get a proper introduction some time.

Here’s my in-depth CC on the ’59 Lark