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.
You could have omitted the final paragraph and held this for next April Fool’s Day! 😀
That’s what I was thinking before I read down to the comments…
Great minds think alike!
He could take off the plastic grille and bumper trim and get them sprayed with chrome paint and maybe put a studebaker emblem on the grille or bumper. A stepside bed with a chromed rear bumper and a tailgate with “studebaker’ stamped into it by a good bodyshop would help complete the illusion.
He can rerun it and none of us will remember!
This reminds me of a running joke I had with a friend who was a Nash enthusiast. When he got a Toyota 4runner to relieve his 53 Ambassador of daily driver duties I suggested he rebadge it as a Jeffrey Quad since that was the logical nameplate for a Nash SUV.
The engine would have to be a Chevy as Studebaker would never allow that much piston slap noise in one of their own!
That the “Studebaker” badge was placed on the ugly 1990-92 facelift of the originally-quite-attractive Chevy S-10 is somehow fitting. Bonus points ‘cuz the facelift was on a design dating to late 1981…