It is not well known that one of Studebaker’s final projects was a proposal for a compact pickup to replace the Champ. Internally identified as the Studebaker S series, at least one prototype was assembled for testing before the company closed its doors in South Bend. The whereabouts of that lone vehicle has been a mystery until now.
The S series pickup was a vehicle incredibly ahead of its time (like every other Studebaker). With a 4 cylinder engine most likely to be sourced from Chevrolet, Studebaker conceived the modern compact pickup that eventually became commonplace in the 1980s.
It has always been well known among Studebaker aficionados that photos of the Studebaker S series prototype served as the design inspiration for Chevrolet’s S-10, and the surviving truck shows the uncanny resemblance. It is amazing how Brooks Stevens early 1960s design translated so smoothly to the much later Chevrolet.
OK, I’m kidding. Barry McPhearson, the owner of the 1963 Wagonaire featured in today’s CC (here) got his hands on the hood trim from a 1950s era Studebaker pickup and found how well it fit the hood of his S-10, making this the final Chevy-powered Studebaker. Now that he has some badge-engineering experience under his belt, he may be considering some freelance work with some of the Detroit 3. It is a shame that his portfolio of proposals for future Mercurys will never see production.