For 1947, Studebaker featured a new look from the Raymond Loewy Studios that included a wood-bodied station wagon. A prototype was built and was displayed at several automobile shows - then pulled from production. A wood-bodied station wagon was included in the initial model lineup for Studebaker in 1947. However, it was dropped just before production began. This prototype station wagon was kept by the engineering department as a run-around vehicle until around 1955 when the body was removed and left to the elements. The body was discarded in the infield of the companies test track, a usual procedure in those days.
In 1980, a team of Studebaker Drivers Club members retrieved the body. The Studebaker National Museum eventually took possession and a complete restoration was undertaken. It was a long, painful restoration but it was finally completed in 2012.
The Champion model was a mainstay in the Studebaker lineup. The Wagon idea was an interesting extension of Studebaker's history. After all, the company began by selling wooden wagons in 1852. However, just before this was to go into production, the company management changed their mind.
Studebaker's history is indeed interesting. They built their first electric car in 1902. Early on, the automobile production was done in Detroit, while the horse and buggy business stayed in South Bend. During the 1920's, the company began shifting car production to South Bend. In the 1930's, the company hired Raymond Loewy and his design team to revitalize the company. The Champion, Starliner, Avanti, Starlight, and Bullet Nose all came from the Loewy design house.
In 2008, the Studebaker Museum received accreditation from the American Association of Museums. The collective history of the company is now housed in a magnificent building in South Bend, Indiana for all to see. The prototype is one of many interesting cars in the collection.