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Automaker Studebaker had its roots in the 19th century, when the Studebaker Brothers created the Conestoga wagons used by the military, miners, farmers, and settlers who populated the American West. Before its closure in 1966, Studebaker made what are considered some of the most stylish and functional automobiles of the mid-20th century.

In the years leading up to World War II, Studebaker focused on producing cars to help it recover from the near financial collapse brought on by the Depression. During the war, the company dedicated its efforts to building cars, trucks, and cargo and personnel carriers for the U.S. military. Afterward, Studebaker returned its focus to building cars for everyday Americans.

A return to profitability notwithstanding, the company could not compete with the affordable vehicles being produced by Ford, Chevrolet, and Plymouth. That, coupled with poor decisions by a fickle management team, including an ill-advised merger with Packard and a too healthy appetite for corporate acquisitions, eventually led to Studebaker’s demise.

Quick Facts

  • In 2008, a 1932 Studebaker President Four Seasons Roadster sold at Gooding for $187,000, just above its high estimate
  • A 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk fetched $52,250 in September 2015 at RM Sotheby’s
  • In 2011 at Hagerty, a rare 1963 Studebaker Avanti sold for a bargain: $15,240

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