Thomas Edison, left,
purchased the second electric car produced by Studebaker.
Studebaker eased their way
into the automobile market after the turn of the century,
introducing an electric car in 1902. Gasoline-powered Studebakers
came in 1904, produced by the Garford Company in Ohio, marketed
under the name Studebaker-Garford. In 1911, Studebaker would join
forces with Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company of Detroit to form
the Studebaker Corporation. Studebaker sold automobiles under the
EMF and Flanders names until 1913; from thereafter, all new cars
carried the Studebaker name. Studebaker was still producing
wagons, and would do so until 1920, at which time automobile
production was moved from Detroit to South Bend.
The 1931 President Roadster
During this time, Studebaker
built automobiles in the medium-price-field. In 1927, Studebaker
introduced the Erskine; a small car designed for the European
market, and purchased luxury automaker Pierce-Arrow. The Great
Depression, combined with questionable management decisions lead
to Studebaker going into receivership in 1933. They would emerge
from receivership under Studebaker Vice-Presidents Paul Hoffman
and Harold Vance.
Throughout his career at
Studebaker, Raymond Loewy produced many of the revolutionary
designs that Studebaker was famous for.
Raymond Loewy's relationship
with Studebaker began in 1936. Raymond Loewy Associates held the
Studebaker account from 1936-1955, with the first RLA designs
being the 1938 models. RLA would also style the successful 1939
Champion, which marked Studebaker's first successful foray into
the low-priced field.
The Amphibious Weasel was
used widely by the United States in World War II.
Defense contracts during
World War II had Studebaker building B-17 Flying Fortress engines,
US6 6x6 military trucks, and the M29 and M29C "Weasel".