(originally posted 8/31/2011) The early 1960s produced some beautiful cars and saw an increased offering of models and sizes, but was an extremely conventional time in terms of body styles. Other than the 1961 Lincoln 4 door convertible, the industry produced a steady diet of sedans, hardtops, wagons and convertibles, just as it had ten or twenty years earlier. Studebaker, however, was not like other car companies. “What if we take a station wagon, give it a sunroof, and make it like a pickup?” “Great idea. Build it.” And here it is.
Is there a single car company who has ever squeezed so many unique and fascinating products out of so little money as Studebaker in the 1960s? By 1961, Studebaker had spent the previous 8 years lurching from one disaster to the next, each time coming closer to insolvency. But this was the year that Studebaker got a new president in the hard charging Sherwood Egbert, who was not ready to go down without a fight. Studebaker’s last 2 years in South Bend produced a whirlwind of activity not seen in years, with the Avanti and the Gran Turismo Hawk being the most noteworthy new products. But there was another new product that was noteworthy as well – but in a different way. How about a station wagon with a sliding roof?
Studebaker had a very small styling department and an even smaller budget. But Egbert knew that sales of the bread and butter Lark were starting to wane, and he had to do something about it. He contacted Wisconsin industrial designer Brooks Stevens, whom he had known from his work at McCulloch during Egbert’s time there. In 1962, Stevens created some prototypes for a new line of standard Studes, including a wagon he called the Skyview. the car sported a partially retractable rear roof, allowing the car to carry tall cargo.
Unfortunately, there was no money available for a new car, so Stevens drew up some ideas to update and modernize the Lark on a tight budget. Stevens pushed for the retractable-roof wagon, and Egbert gave the go-ahead. Thus was born the Wagonaire.
Does anyone else see a resemblance between the Studebaker Wagonaire and the early Jeep Wagoneer? Other than the name, I mean. Both were products of Brooks Stevens’ fertile imagination. The Stude FINALLY got some modern thin door uppers for 1963, about 6 years too late.
In the fall of 1962, the ’63 Studebakers hit the showrooms. Every Lark station wagon would be a Wagonaire. A brilliant idea, actually, which nobody else in the industry was offering. Need to tote a refrigerator? Need to pick up some trees from the garden center? Do you have a den of Cub Scouts who won’t sit down? The Wagonaire was the car for you! The car actually sold fairly well (by Studebaker’s standards, anyhow), moving about 11 thousand units during the model year. Unfortunately, this was much less than the volume that management hoped for.
I just love these cars, and for multiple reasons. First, I have a thing for station wagons in general. Also, I still carry a soft spot in my heart for Studebakers, having spent a lot of time around them during my childhood. But most of all, there is just something about that sliding roof that makes me want to own one of these. This car is just cool, that’s all.
So, knowing my biases, you can imagine my reaction when I saw one of these drive through an intersection in front of me a week or so ago. “Quick”, I said to my daughter, who was driving, “turn right and follow that car” And she did. Actually, it was quite an adventure for her, getting driving hours for her learners’ permit with Dad. They did not cover “Follow That Car” in drivers’ ed. But she hung with it, and a few miles later the Stude turned into its driveway.
Barry McPhearson was happy to talk about and to let me photograph his car. A longtime member of the Studebaker Drivers’ Club, he was very knowlegeable about the car. He is amassing a supply of parts to refurbish the old wagon, but meanwhile, he drives it regularly. With a 259 V8 and an automatic, the car is remarkable in that it has just 81 thousand miles under its belt. For an original Stude in Indiana, they don’t get much more rust-free than this.
Discerning viewers will also note that this is the top-of-the-line Daytona version.
Unfortunately, I could not ask for a demonstration of the roof because all of the seams are taped over to keep the inside of the car dry. This was a problem with these cars from birth. Barry explained that the drainage tubes were never of sufficient size and would be overwhelmed by any good rainstorm.
A view of the inside shows that the roof’s opening mechanism is a simple pair of tracks that allow the panel to slide forward right below the headliner for the front section. This view also shows the extra height built in for clearance.
Barry says that this car starts a lot of conversations, including some from younger folks who have never heard of a Studebaker.
Barry reports that, surprisingly, there are scads of parts available to keep these old Studes on the road, and that the world’s largest Studebaker parts supplier sits one county away.
It is not surprising to me that the Wagonaire was a failure. The sliding roof was a great idea by a failing car company that did not have the money or time to work the bugs out of it, or to affix it to a newer, more modern station wagon. Actually, the ’64 model got some new lower sheetmetal to go with the new roof, but it was a case of too little too late.
The Wagonaire appears to have stayed in the catalog during the last two years of Canadian production. I think that the square-shouldered 1964-66 cars carry the Wagonaire roof a little better than the pudgier-looking ’63, but doesn’t our featured car just shout “Hey, look at me! I’m a Studebaker!”
At first, I wondered why, in nearly 50 years, no other carmaker has ever tried to develop the idea further. Come on, guys – a smoked glass rear roof panel, a switch on the console to make it slide electrically – what’s not to like here? Or maybe I’m just getting carried away with Studebaker-love. Don’t answer that.
But wait! I had completely forgotten about the 2004-05 GMC Envoy XUV until my brother in law Bill reminded me about it. A little more ambitious than the Wagonaire, it also featured a sliding rear roof. GM solved the leak problem by making the cargo area weatherproof. Also, like the Wagonaire, GM sold about 12 thousand in the vehicle’s first (and only) full year. Maybe the lesson here is that in any given year, there may be 11 to 12 thousand people in the U.S. who like a sliding roof wagon enough to buy one. The sliding roof wagon maintains its perfect record – it has now failed to save TWO mortally wounded car companies.
Anyway, it may be small consolation to any surviving ex-Studebaker people, but a chance encounter with this car and its dedicated owner brought the biggest smile to my face all week. As an added bonus, maybe my daughter is starting to get the Curbside Classic bug. As we were leaving to go back home, she said “that was fun. Can we do it again?” You betcha, kiddo.
Related reading: Selling the 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire also by Jim Cavenaugh
What an awesome car, and great pics too.
I always wondered if the Wagoneer shared any parts with the Wagonaire. The taillights definitely look the same, and strike me as something from the J.C. Whitney catalog.
Virtually nothing was in common….except the execution of design. The body parts of the Wagoneer were proprietary. Taillights, door panels, instruments. Drivelines were outsourced, except for the initial Jeep offering of an OHC six…but the other engines were AMCs and later Buicks.
The ONE exception, oddly enough, was the steering column. Jeeps used a steering column and horn-button hub interchangeable with the last-generation Studebaker. I don’t know if they were using Stude columns or if both were buying them from outside suppliers.
I didn’t know this, until I was in the Studebaker museum in South Bend. There, on the 1966 final Stude…was a column identical to pre-AMC Wagoneers. Only the decorative insert in the horn button was different.
The Jeep columns were Saginaw like virtually every non-Ford from that era.
Beg to differ.
After 1973, they were Saginaw…like all AMCs; and with the same wheel and hub insert, only flipped upside down for the Jeep.
But the utilitarian steering post, with a brushed-chrome PRND2L selector on the top…I’ve never seen that in any GM vehicle, or any vehicle other than Jeep. And, as it turns out, Studebaker.
Here’s a Jeep of that era:
And a Studebaker:
One final thought: That same steering column, continued to be used in late 1970s AM General Postals. It replaced the old CJ column about that time That type was used up until the final order, where they got a padded AMC steering column.
If Saginaw made it, it was obviously for industrial orders only.
The Chrysler columns don’t look like the Saginaw columns put in GM cars either but they are. Back then GM didn’t want the other guys to have columns but that looked like the ones in their own vehicle but they still wanted the business.
FWIW…there’s a heavy similarity between the Wagoneer and 1961-64 GM full-size wagons as well. The rooflines are almost identical. Yet there was nothing going on between South Bend, Detroit and Toledo…just a general consensus that the design, wherever it originated, was good.
Amazing! The first thing I thought of was the similarity to the Jeep Wagoneer as well! I had no idea these ever existed, while I see several GMC Envoy XUV’s around town.
Come to think of it, in the St. Louis area where I grew up, there never seemed to be many Studebakers of any type, and when one appeared, it stood out head and shoulders above most other vehicles around it.
Is it me, or is Curbside Classic getting better every day?
Zackman, I share your thoughts in the last sentence – a very rich site with one of the friendliest, most informative discussion forums (sans the drama of so many) on the web.
The Wagonaire was interesting but not a terribly useful body style for most people. Sales increased slightly for 1963 and then collapsed.
Stevens misjudged what could be accomplished with the aging Studebaker wagon body. It was too obsolete to be maintained as a competitive passenger car, but it would have been a viable carlike alternative to the Jeep Wagoneer if Studebaker had offered a 4WD variant.
Even the Wagonaire nameplate seems rather presumptuous for such an old design. The best name Studebaker used in the late-50s was Conestoga, which hinted at Studebaker’s history as a wagon maker prior to the advent of the automobile.
Yes it is getting better and a big reason is the variety that comes from the guest contributors. It was very good at the start. Shows what happens when you throw a bunch of articulate fans together and let them have a go at it.
When I see the name studebaker I think of my first car. Then I think of the studebaker larks that the Dodge City police department favored starting in 1960 I think. They seemed to have a homing instinct for 1953 fords. They did for mine anyway. They made leaving for the Navy an attractive proposition. I wish that studebaker had survived. They (and Hudson) seem to have a special place in my memory. Being able to remember when there were good cars to choose from that were made in America and not affiliated with ford/chev/chrys is making some of us unique. Well maybe thats just old, not unique.
Keep of the good work.
Variety is the spice of life, and has become the lifeblood of CC. I’m certainly enjoying it a whole lot more; I like reading about old cars and other folks’ finds at least as much as writing about them!
I Couldn’t agree more! Its Great to see new stuff every day too. Thanks Gang!
Can you get Murilee to post his ’66 Impala series here? It’d be interesting for the uninitiated.
Great story – I can’t believe that one of these is still a daily driver.
Anyone remember the blue/light blue Matchbox version of the 1964 model, complete with the plastic hunter and dog? Those were so common when I was a kid.
I wonder if a big problem was that, even in 1963, people realized that carrying a tall load in the cargo area wasn’t all that safe. I can’t imagine wanting to carry a refrigerator upright in this car.
I recall the matchbox car very well, although I think that it was a ’64. I may still have mine somewhere. It’s probably in about the same condition as today’s CC car.
As I look at these pictures more, it occurs to me that the car really reminds me a bit of a 3/4 sized International Travelall. The roof on this car is much taller than I had remembered them, although I cannot honestly say that I ever remember seeing a ’63 in real life. Maybe Studebaker just did a good job with its art and photography angles to make the car look lower than it was.
Also, thanks to all for the encouraging words. I love finding the unusual stuff, and have a blast sharing it with everyone here.
I still have my 2 tone blue MB as well. I wonder How many of the Matchbox were Produced?
Probably more during the morning shift of the Lesney plant than Studebaker made during the entire model run!
I’ve never seen one in the metal… my Subaru wagon with dual sunroofs is as close as I got in full size. My Matchbox version is in my case on the garage wall. I loved the idea of it from the second I first saw the (toy) car in a friend’s collection. I traded him for it, though I don’t remember what the exchange was.
He also had a 59 Impala coupe, but unfortunately he wouldn’t part with that.
I have the Matchbox version, still complete with the plastic hunter and dog.
I’ve still got mine. That sliding roof was so cool!
Somewhere (and there’s probably a photo of this car out there) there’s a Studebaker enthusiast who owns one of these with the license plate “FUN ROOF”.
All the fascinating (and perhaps dubious) ideas seem to come from car companies who are in the midst of going down the tubes, which makes sense considering the profitable companies don’t see a need to go for broke.
The engineering problems associated with the roof were tremendous. The roof leaked – greatly; and the retracting assembly cut into headroom.
Enough people were put off that the company re-introduced a fixed-roof model wagon, which initially had been axed in the move to Canada.
Fun Roof was a model of Ford Fiesta/Mazda 121 featuring a full length sliding canvas roof insert.
JP above mentioned the International Travelall – wasn’t this offered with a retractable roof as well?
Down the street from where I grew up the late Mr. Polk owned a 1960s-era travelall-type vehicle (up into the early 2000s), and I’m 99% sure that it had a retractable roof on it (I remember seeing a refrigerator sitting in the back of it standing upright). I know for sure that it wasn’t this vehicle as it was boxier and taller.
Or am I imagining things?
Boy, I don’t remember this one. I grew up in Fort Wayne where they built all of the Scouts, and there were a lot of Travelalls around, but I never saw one of these.
But I keep on being surprised at what comes up…it’s possible.
It might have been an aftermarket thing, too.
Nope no sliding roof T-all though in the 70’s they produced the Wagonmaster for GM to later ape with the Avalanche.
Wow. I have never, ever seen one of these. Did they make, like, 9 of these?
I remember those marketed in Popular Mechanics and other utilitarian men’s magazines. They were to cash in on the new popularity of fifth-wheel trailers…but Popular Science tested one with a trailer, and found that the required position of the fifth wheel, far back of the rear axle, caused handling problems.
Probably why it never caught on.
No they made quite a few I know at least 20 guys that have them and they rust much worse than the regular Travelall.
No they weren’t really to cash in on the new 5th wheel trailers. They weren’t really designed for any specific market, the marketing dept just figured out they could sell it that way too. According to a noted IH historian, who worked in the plant back in the day, it was “designed” by the assembly line workers. The story goes that at the end of the day a couple of the guy who put the bodies together got the idea. They set a Travelette roof on a partially assembled T-all and then the next morning they showed it to one of the higher ups in the plant. They then got the permission to put one together. So again after hours they hand trimmed a pickup cab rear wall and Travelall quarters and put one together. Once it ran through the assembly line they showed it to management. All told they don”t really use many truly unique pieces. The bodies were pretty modular, which facilitated other un-common Traveall versions. The ambulance, which used the Travelette short bed frame with a Travelall body stretched with fixed panels between the 2 doors making up the extra 30″. The Stageways 10 door Airporter. It also makes it very easy to make your own 6 door T-all or T-ette. The T-all is the easiest since the back doors are 30″ the difference between the T-all and short bed T-ette frames.
Never heard of these! They’re look 50 years ahead of their time, with the crew cab/short bed proportions so popular in todays pickups.
The front end of these Stude’s is eerily similar to those of the early 60’s Mopars, the Valiants in particular.
I am also of the opinion that IH never built a Travelall with an opening roof.
Again the timing is rather surprising. Just a couple of days ago I was reading the back issues of Pop Sci on Google books and in the what’s new from Detroit mixed in with all the Brand A, C, and F will be introducing their Wankel “next year”, there was mention of GM intending to offer a sliding roof station wagon “next year”. It went on to say that no it’s not what we call the calm shell today. It’s an “entirely new concept” where the roof slides forward to carry tall cargo. Hard to believe that Pop Sci or at least that editor had forgotten the Wagonaire less than 10 years ofter it’s intro.
“The press if they mentioned Studebaker at all might have just as an after thought like Road & Track in 1966 saying in a new car issue that “Studebakers are still being built”, or like another publication “Doing everything but turning over”. There were no North American auto publications willing to lend a hand to the oldest vehicle maker in the world, save the Canadian Track and Traffic…”
The buff books and auto press were obviously drawing the Iron Curtain of Silence over Studebaker…maybe in response to their canceling advertising. Studebaker was advertising Gravely and STP in the men’s handyman books, but not their cars.
And the magazines, rebuffed, ignored it. I was, like Paul, a little-kid auto buff at the time…but aside from an occasional Studebaker in the church parking lot, driven by a little old lady, there was NO public notice that they existed.
Years later, I was surprised to learn that they had continued to exist until 1966. I was more surprised when someone attending my college had a ’66 Stude two-door…very rusty by that time, but I thought it was a good-looking car for being so tall and upright.
All this Wagonaire stuff is wonderful. What a site.
The taillights remind me of the marker lights on a speedboat.
It is tempting in hindsight to think of one of these with 4×4 done like the AMC Eagle ten years later. But was full-time 4WD even practical in a mass-market car back then?
Even so, it would have met the same fate as the Eagle did almost 20 years later. In the sixties, we Americans were going all long and low, to enjoy our shiny new interstate highways. It was only when they started falling apart due to lack of maintenance in the eighties and nineties that the off-road-fantasy SUVs came in.
AWD Subarus came in then too, at least in the Pacific Northwest and New England. For some reason Subarus have always vaguely seemed like Studebakers to me. I can’t put my finger on why.
If only Studebaker could have found some profitable niche to survive in. It wasn’t for lack of trying.
“For some reason Subarus have always vaguely seemed like Studebakers to me. I can’t put my finger on why.”
Well, there was the BRAT, and then the Baja after that…weird vehicles from a niche player in the market (although apparently a more profitable one).
My wife and I bought an Outback wagon in 2003, just as the 2004s were coming out (so we got a closeout deal); we still have it. We came back to the same dealer late the next summer (’04), kicking around the idea of getting a second Subaru, and looking for a bargain. Still sitting in the showroom was a 2003 Baja that had been there the entire time. The dealer was willing to give us a great price, but in the end it was just a little too strange for us. One interesting feature was the hatch that let you pass through long items from the cargo area to the interior when the seats were down (an oddity like the Wagonaire’s roof that I would have thought was handy at the time, but which I haven’t missed for a second since).
Try again – not my day on picture insertion. Oh well, everyone knows what an 09 outback looks like
The end of the last generation of Outback had a grille that always reminded me of the fishmouth of the ’55 Studebaker.
You had something to say?
We had a ’55 Champion when I was a kid. Never liked that fishmouth, a sad fate for the classic ’53.
Interesting, wings in the mouth on both cars. Better looking on the Subie.
Some of those Studebaker publicity photos posted nearby look just like Subaru’s outdoorsy ad fantasies.
Studies and Subies– they ain’t what you’d call racy, but they dare to be different!
Wonderful write up and since googling the clue yesterday Ive been racking my old brain trying to remember where I saw this before PopularScience/Mechanics or matchbox it is familiar Its also a good idea done now in 4 door utes with removeable fibreglass canopies Great find though there cant be many left, Glad to see your daughter likes hunting old cars JPC my 10 yr old has sharp new eyes and likes spotting old cars for me to photograph she knows where the pics go.
Earlier this summer, my daughter was with friends at an ice cream shop. They went to leave and there was a restored mid 50s Eldorado convertible. She found the owner and asked if she could take a picture and texted it to me. It was a hoot, and she enjoyed talking to the old folks who owned if for a few minutes.
And they would’ve loved it!
Sigh, great car and great writeup…
My grandfather had a ’63. It didn’t leak until some ditz in a Pontiac backed into the side of it. It leaked like a sieve after that.
Interesting how that front end of the Skyview prototype reminds me of a the 1964 Chrysler.
As an aside MR ED is currently shown on the MAORI Language channel in New Zealand dubbed in Maori but with no Studebaker ads.
But they were the best part!
Nice car, and it’s good to know the owner can easily get parts for it. I like Studebakers and I’m old enough to remember seeing them on the road in the late Sixties and early Seventies. I always stop for a look if I see one. They had a very trim, almost European styling to them unlike most American cars of the era that just got bigger and uglier. A friend of my dad’s had a Hawk back in the Fifties, and apparently he was hard on cars and couldn’t keep a transmission in it. I saw an Avanti at a car show several years ago and used up my last few frames of film getting some shots. If I had the money and the space I’d definitely look for a Studebaker.
At the SDC show in Tallmadge, Ohio at the end of August, there was a weaponized Wagonaire with a supercharged Avanti R2 V-8 in the engine bay.
material used in sliding roofs also can be used in cars and it really make the look excellent and fabulous.
Of course, one might plausibly expect a sliding roof to say that. Nothing wrong with that.
What would a `61 Wagonaire with the small block V8 be worth nowadays, High $ to Low $?
While Studebaker might get an ‘F’ for execution, you have to give them an ‘A’ for effort (well, maybe a ‘B+’). But I suppose that’s a pretty common thread with any, once successful, failing car company on its last legs. In their final throes, rather than riding peacefully off into the sunset, they all turn to desperate, hail Mary passes and, unfortunately, none of them ever seem to pan out enough to save the company.
The sliding roof Wagonaire is a great example. It ‘sounds’ like a good idea, but, in actual practice, not so hot. While interesting, there just aren’t that many times when the positives of the feature outweigh the negatives.
When I was a youngster, one of my favourite die casts was a Corgi 1966 Wagonaire Ambulance. Corgi die casts were quite popular in Canada besides their native United Kingdom. I don’t know if they were marketed in the United States. In the 1970s, a family friend owned a medium blue 1965 Wagonaire. And I thought it was pretty neat at the time. Though I don’t recall seeing the roof open. I haven’t seen a Wagonaire since that time.
They were marketed in the US, and were quite popular too. I used to love them when I was a kid,and I had a nice collection. Also had a Mercedes ambulance-a “heckfloose” in red like the one in the James Bond movie “Thunderball”.
What an awesome car… built in an awesome year 😀 (I’m a 1963 model too). Always have had a soft spot in my heart for Studies,,, seeing as the first car I ever rode in was a 1960 Lark :D.
I grew up in northeast IN, Studebakers were very common, and one of our neighbors worked on the line in South Bend for many years, buying two new Larks (one a well-equipped Cruiser) when he retired (he also had an older Golden Hawk for week-end use). What I found amazing about Studebaker in the 60’s is that we all knew they were dying and in their final decade and yet they kept bringing out all of these interesting cars – the credible and competitive Lark, the very handsome Gran Turismo Hawk, the Avanti, this cool Wagonaire. Icing on the cake of independents’ week – many thanks.
Loved this the first time around, still love it the second. Man, to find one of these in the wild. To think this lurks somewhere in my town!
They did sell Corgi cars here and a buddy of mine had quite a collection. I don’t remember that Wagonaire ambulance though. That is far out!
My dad and mom drove us kids around in their red Lark, we had so much fun making as much noise as we wanted, flying down the road backwards in the rear facing way-back seats,,I was 6 or so about 1965, Billings Montana. Now that I am looking at it as an adult it looks,,well, pretty unattractive,,but, noththeless, unforgettable!
as a boy i always thought studes were odd cars not to mention they always rusted down the sides of the front fenders no other cars ever did that!
Unbelievably, that front fender rust was a problem from at least 1959 to 1966 (might have been from 1953, but we never had many of those). Why they never figured out a fix for it is something no one could figure out. Even here in Southern California I’ve seen Studebakers with traces of rust in those front fenders. There’s a seam where the fender bolts to the body, open to the front, that catches everything the front tires throw up, and they always, always, rust there. You would think they could have welded a filler in there to stop it.
I’m from Germany – I’d like to say first. The first contact with the Wagonairs was this light blue Matchbox thing. As a child I loved this sliding roof. It was one of my favorit toy. When I was around 18, I saw a red 1964 Studebaker once at the Swizerland border to Germany. The only one I saw in my life. But from this day on it is my “dream car”. I always wanted such a piece of automobile history. I became a big fan of the Wagonaire. I love it because it is rare and had good ideas for a Wagoon. I love the sliding roof anyway.
Now I turned 42 and still have no Stude. It is quite not easy to find one in the US and then to get to Germany. It will be a dream forever.
Thank you for your pictures and story!
I loved the article and the comments. I first saw the sliding roof Wagonaire watching Mr Ed back in the day as a kid. I thought it was a neat SW. I think what a lot of people miss it was built with idea that you could move large bulky items once in a while. Trying to move a refrigerator especially a used one other than upright is the quickest way to kill it. And it was not made to go 70 mph down the freeway with one. Think the occasional tall, bulky item that you moved at 30-35 mph in and urban or suburban setting and not at speed or very often. For this scenario it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately it had problems with leaks and was based on basically an early 50’s platform.
I love watching old “Mr. Ed” episodes, more for all the Studebakers than the show itself. Someone in South Bend evidently decided sponsoring Mr. Ed was a better use of scant funds than fixing the leaky Wagonaire roof.
Those Stude engines were something else. A little reverse engineering, on the ’49 Cadillac engine, but a smaller block. Forged crankshaft, connecting rods, and a gear driven camshaft.
I’m always amused at how each year Studebaker found new ways to muck with the side trim to best disguise the drooping character line that starts in front and ends about half way back. For 1963, they went with the 1961 Impala look.
Brooks Stevens really did a great job of making these 1953-vintage bodies still look fresh in the mid-sixties. Once the new front sheetmetal was appended in 1964, the resulting car looked almost unrecognizable from the 1962 version, much less ’53 or 58. He managed to get reasonably close to the Skyview concept car with the 63-64 facelifts that created the Wagonaire. This car was most fun with the rear-facing third row seat beneath the open roof, accessible from the drop-down tailgate with a fold-out step. In order to scoop away enough room for the extra seat, the spare tire was deleted and Goodyear Captive-Air run-flat tires were used instead. For some reason, the third row option was dropped in 1966.
Years before GMC, Honda used a Wagonaire-style sliding roof on the Model X show car, which was the concept version of Element that appeared two years later; unfortunately the slide-away roof didn’t make production. Coincidentally, another company would eventually sell a crossover also called the Model X that just like Honda’s version had a portal that cut deeply into the roof. Only difference was that it was on the sides rather than in back. Well that and it opens a bit differently too…
That Skyview concept is awesome!! Looks like the front end they put on in 1964 (?)
My Southern California uncle ordered a Studebaker Wagonaire. By the time his was produced, it was a Canadian-built car. It had its problems. It leaked. It did not handle well no matter what he did with tire pressures (it had a 1953 suspension, so I suppose that was to be expected). It leaked. Again. He traded it for a 1964 Ford.
I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere, but was a rear-facing, folding third row seat available on the Wagonaire? If so, I can’t imagine a cooler place for a kid to ride around in during the summer.
And, if not, it was definitely just another missed opportunity for Studebaker.
Yes, it was. It is in the next post, about Studebaker Wagonaire advertising, in the second ad image (mentioned but not visible, as the ad says it’s folded down.
Why would Studebaker show the open backseat with the roof ‘closed’? Or, even worse, without a couple of happy kids back there? Smh.
it was definitely just another missed opportunity for Studebaker.
Can’t recall ever seeing one on the road.
About a decade ago the boys and I went to the South Bend museum and had a good time seeing the history.
In the back of the property there was/is another car museum. I don’t remember what is was called. The people there were very nice and let us sit in a few of the cars. This was one, looking much like the Matchbox car. Also, a Bricklin SV1 and a Checker Marathon we got to explore in depth. My son loved it because the Bricklin was his favorite car.
All the big money Mopar stuff wasn’t as interesting because those were always at car shows. Plus we couldn’t get near those.
I was into rebuilding and customizing 1/64 cars at the time, and foolishly worked over a clean Matchbox Wagonaire until I ruined it. Didn’t keep it original as I mostly do now. Used to drive my son crazy as he, as young as three, had a strong urge to keep old things original. He would wince when he’s see me drill into a classic Matchbox, paint it, renew it, etc. To me I was making it better, and technically was. Eventually I came around after improving/ruining dozens of little cars. Still have most of them.
Paul N. and he would get along great with their mutual appreciation of original, authentic patina.
Yes, it was. It is in the next post, about Studebaker Wagonaire advertising, in the second ad image (mentioned but not visible, as the ad says it’s folded down.
Pretty cool .
A friend of mine in California had one of these some years back, it was nice too .