Studebaker in the early 1920’s

By 1921, the five Studebaker brothers 70-year-old wagon building enterprise had grown into quite an investment.

There were around 14,000 employees in the factories in the home town of South Bend, IN, plus Detroit, MI, and Walkerville, Ontario. Studebakers were being sold in all civilized countries in the world. When the bean counters got around to figuring it all up, the bottom line came to something like $70 million in real money.

1921 Studebakers
1921 Studebakers

That put the Hoosier folks right up there with some pretty good automobile companies, and Studebaker Corp. sailed forth with a line of motor cars which attracted solid folks of the middle class.

The Stude was a first-class, medium-priced, conventional vehicle, with models ranging from $1,485 to $2,750. Engines were solid, six-cylinder powerplants designed to get you there with a minimum of fuss and bother. The up-town crowd could opt for the long wheelbase Big-Six Series, while the economy minded were offered the Special-Six in a sedan, coupe, touring, and two or four-passenger.

The two-passenger Special-Six roadster passed for what the company considered its sporting model. At $1,750 f.o.b. the factory, the roadster was a handsome and comfortable auto. It may not have been the fastest car on the road, but it was a spiffy little job which featured torpedo-shaped cowl lights, a manual windshield wiper, a one-man tailored top, a transmission lock, and a tool kit in the driver side door pocket. It was powered by the 50-horsepower, 288.6 cubic-inch flathead six which possessed many fundamental design characteristics employed by Studebaker right up to the end of production. However, four-wheel brakes were still in the offing, and when roaring along the roadster was anchored solely by its two rear wheels.

The company was America’s fourth-ranked automaker in 1921 with calendar year sales of 69,863 vehicles. It was a time when it was good to be alive and in the Studebaker business, and they were a long way off from the day when Indiana’s last major automobile maker closed its doors 42 years later.

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