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 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.
Production of the Studebaker Champion began in 1939 and continued for nearly twenty years, ending in 1958 when it was replaced by the Studebaker Lark. The Studebaker Champion was a very important model because at the time of its introduction the Studebaker Company was entered receivership. The Great Depression had taken its toll on the company and nearly forced it out of business. The success of the Studebaker Champion would determine the future of the Studebaker Company.
This was a new model for Studebaker. The design was new and did not borrow from any of its sibling automobiles; it was simple and clean. It was the work of Raymond Loewy. The selected amenities and components were appropriate. They had been chosen after doing research into what the public most desired in an automobile. Thought and planning continued into the automotive components which were rather advanced, from an engineering stand-point. Under the hood was a pushrod engine
which provided suitable power to the very lightweight automobile. It was given awards by Mobilgas for its superior fuel economy. During World War II when fuel was rationed, the popularity of the Studebaker Champion was highly sought after.
The Studebaker Champion carried a sticker price of just $660 at the close of the 1930's. This very low price made the vehicle even more attractive and would go on to become on the best selling models for the Studebaker Company.
A new design was being prepared for 1947. In 1946 the Champion carried the same bodyshell as those of the pre-war Champions. They were designated Skyway Champion models.
A very low-priced Champion model was introduced in 1957 called the Champion Scotsman. The vehicle was void of any extra amenities and all that was left was the bare-essentials. The purpose of the vehicle was to give customers a low-cost alternative and to better compete with the larger Automobile Manufacturers who were offering the same type of vehicle at a very low cost.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006