Automotive Oddities: 1958 Studebaker Diesel, Powered by Mercedes – The Germanic Scotsman. And The 1963 Production Lark Diesel

(first posted 4/15/2017)     In doing a bit of research, I stumbled into this scanned article from DieselPower, posted at the, about Studebaker’s experiments with swapping in a Mercedes 180 diesel engine into one of their fleet-oriented Scotsman cars. The little 1.8 L diesel made all of some 46 hp (40 hp DIN) so performance in the heavier Studebaker was bound to be even slower. But for city taxi use, where speed is not that much of a factor, and economy is, it was considered adequate. But the cost of the Mercedes engine and anticipated modest sales kept it from being offered as an option.

But in 1962-1963, when the energetic Sherwood Egbert was desperate to find niches for Studebaker to exploit, like the Avanti, he got on a diesel kick and installed GM’s DD 3-53 and 4-53 diesels in his medium and heavy-duty trucks. And a Perkins four cylinder diesel was  adapted to the Lark, and perhaps about 20 or so were actually built, a couple of which are still around.

Something seems a bit off in that section about gears, as the Studebaker had 4.09;1 rear gears compared to the 180D’s 3.70:1, yet the Studebaker is shown with higher speeds per gear. Either the chart is wrong, or the Studebakers 15″ wheels were a lot bigger than the Mercedes’.


Here’s the Perkins diesel four as it was installed in some lark sedans and wagons. A HD taxi chassis was used for these, as well as a HD automatic.


That appears to be the same DIESEL badge that Studebaker affixed to its diesel trucks. Needless to say, Egbert’s diesel experiment did not amount to much either, in both trucks and cars. As was often the case, Studebaker was just ahead of the times.

More on the Studebaker diesel trucks:
Vintage Trucks: 1962 – 1964 Studebaker Big Diesel Trucks – Extreme Rarities