CC Outtake: It Pays To Advertise (With A Stude)

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There’s something about Studebakers that seems to make them excellent billboards. Take a look at these two Studebakers – one in New York, one in Brisbane – being used to advertise.

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New York Curbsiders may recognize this 1950 Studebaker Champion, used to advertise for Caliente Cab Co., a Mexican restaurant in the West Village.

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What fascinating looking cars! I’m not sure what substances Studebaker designers were ingesting when they cooked up this bizarre Roger Rabbit design. It is especially puzzling because just two years later, they launched the beautiful 1953 Loewy-designed coupe.

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The BMW steering wheel is a jarring addition to the otherwise original cabin. Apologies for the somewhat mediocre nighttime photos: I’m no Joseph Dennis.

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Decidedly less daring is this 1962 Lark used to advertise the stage show adaptation of Dirty Dancing. By ’62, the Lark’s styling had been nicely cleaned up and it was quite a handsome compact.

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I love the padded dash and logo in this Lark’s interior. I always do a double take when I see a Studebaker in Australia, but it’s easy to forget they assembled Larks in Melbourne from completely knocked down kits, from 1960 until 1966. I’ve actually seen a few Gran Turismo Hawks in Brisbane, too.

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The Lark was a very clever adaptation of the standard-sized Studebakers, and I have a lot of respect for the engineers that created it. Ultimately, it didn’t save Studebaker but it was a valiant effort. Of course, Chrysler had made a “Valiant” effort at the same time, as did Ford and GM. I probably wouldn’t have picked the Lark over a Corvair or Chevy II, and neither did a lot of people at the time, hence the company’s demise. Still, I can’t help but fantasize about an amalgamated Nash, Hudson, Studebaker and Packard.


Related Reading:

Design Analysis: 1951 Studebaker – Way Out, In Front

Curbside Classic: 1960 Studebaker Lark

Curbside Classic: 1953-54 Studebaker Commander Starliner Coupe