Monday, March 23, 2009


There's been a lot of talk lately about disappearing car marques, including Pontiac, Saturn, and now Saab. If they are erased from the market it wouldn't be the first time a shakedown in the auto world has killed off venerable brands. Studebaker was one of the old manufacturing companies in the U.S., starting as a wagon maker in 1852. As World War II ended Studebaker seemed poised to be a leader in the auto sales race, preparing well in advance with new models and innovative designs. Indeed, one of their advertising slogans was "First by far with a post-war car." But the 1950s brought cut-throat competition in the industry as Ford and General Motors dominated sales. Numerous car companies failed during this period, including Nash, Hudson, Packard (which merged with Studebaker in 1954), and Crosley. Ironically, Studebaker was a victim of some of the same ills afflicting Detroit's "Big Three" today: high labor costs, high pension costs for retirees, quality control problems, and strong competition from other producers.

Studebaker Transtar pickup truck, V8 logo, rusting away in Vermont. Sennelier 9.5" x 4.5" landscape paper, 140 lb., watercolor, pen & ink.

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