With the history of car manufacturing Until the mid-1700s, the Studebaker Corporation began building gasoline-powered delivery trucks beginning in 1911. The company flourished during World War II, aided by to win the war for the Allies in the process—and for a few years afterward—but then struggled as GM, Ford, and Chrysler began to undercut the smaller American manufacturers with increasingly sophisticated (yet affordable) products. Still, the famed South Bend, Ind., company didn’t give up on the pickup market, even when the walls closed in, so the new generation of Studebaker pickups in showrooms for the 1960 model year. It was the championand I found such a truck a self-service boneyard in northeastern Colorado.
Studebaker pickups were used same cab design since the late 1940s, and this taxi seemed huge at the dawn of the 1960s, space exploration boomedand thermonuclear weapons reached the 50 megaton threshold. Studebaker, which merged with Packard in 1954, didn’t have the money to design a new cab from scratch, but the first half. the Lark it was the right size to fit a Studebaker truck frame. With a little bit of cutting and pasting, a Lark based pickup cab was developed and it looked pretty good.
In fact, the new Champs looked just as modern as theirs rivals from Ford, Chrysler and GM. The cheapest possible 1960 Champ pickup started at $1,875 (about $19,051 in 2022 dollars). Dodge offered its cheapest pickup that year for $1,812 ($18,411), while a Chevy pickup started at $1,991 ($20,230). The cheapest ’60 Ford Flareside was $1,956 ($19,875).
In 1962, the half-ton Champ started at $1,870 (about $19,001 today).
They were flathead engines Seriously obsolete by the 1960sand so it was good news when Studebaker finally offered one upper valve straight-six in the Champ for the 1961 model year (Chrysler still sold some flathead Dodge trucks well into the decade, though most of the later ones were for military use only).
It’s a 170 cubic inch (2.8 L) plant based on Studebaker’s. respectable flathead design, rated at 110 horsepower and 156 lb.-ft. A Studebaker 289 cubic inch V8 was also available as an option. A variety of transmissions were available, including the “Flightomatic” automatic; this truck came with the base three on the tree column shift manual.
The decorative speaker grill gone, but the original AM radio speaker remains. Imagine US Route 36 From Denver all the way to Indianapolis with it Hank Snow’s latest hit blares from this speaker every half hour!
Pickups of this era did not go for fancy switches or instruments.
I can still find it the occasional discarded Studebaker under my junkyard travels, but Studebaker was on the ropes financially by the 1960s, so vehicles from the latter years are rare. 1964 was the final year for the Champ (and for all US-made Studebakers). Studebaker car manufacturing It continued in Canada until 1966.
Studebaker didn’t seem to do a lot of TV commercials for the Champ, so here’s a ’62 Lark commercial.