Studebaker stopped making cars in 1967 but they left a huge legacy of innovative and distinctive vehicles which have been captured by the model world.
The third generation Champion model of 1947 pioneered three-box car design with what we now think of as a traditional saloon or sedan rear end in place of the flat or tapering backs that regular cars had up to then.
The Starlight Coupe also had a very unusual wrap around rear window. Yat Ming, Neo and BoS and Atlas have all made very good examples of these in 1:43,1:24 and 1:18 scales.
My favourite is the 1953 Commander Starliner Coupe which is stall an absolute stunner, compare it with the new Corvette from the same year, their styling looks a decade apart. French Dinky modeled this car albeit the 1955 face-lifted version in several two-tone colour schemes and recently Atlas reproduced it and they are an absolute steal at less than £20 on eBay at the moment.
Another of their novel ideas was the Wagonaire station wagon with a retractable roof panel, handy for carrying your new electric refrigerator home from the store. Both Matchbox and Husky/Corgi reproduced this model with its trademark feature in full working order although the rather flimsy plastic panel on the Husky/Corgi broke the first time a child got hold of it so they reworked it to be fixed in the half open position.
They also came up with the very pleasing camera car version with a movable top half of a man with a tv camera sticking up out of the back. It was also offered as an Ambulance with a stretcher moulded into the rear.
The transition from Husky to Corgi means there are many variations of wheels and colours to collect.
Matchbox’s much more durable model only came in blue with quite a variation in shade, but it did come with either a body colour or a light blue roof panel.
The Avanti of 1962 landed like a space ship with styling and performance to match, this was a glass fibre bodied 4 seat coupe that looked like nothing else and a standard car managed to hit 170.78 mph ! at Bonneville whilst smashing 29 speed records. That is only 1 year after Jaguar’s E Type rocked the world with its 150-mph top speed.
Problems with making the bodies and financial woes killed the Avanti in 1963 but it was put back into limited production by another company and they produced bespoke variations of it until 2006. Yat Ming Road Legends produced a very smart and affordable 1:18 scale Avanti in a range of colours.
I have only mentioned a fraction of the models that are available, they made trucks as well so get looking, there really is a Studebaker to suit any taste.
And finally …it isn’t just me who knows about how great Studebakers are, check out our friend and diecast Legend Mac Regan, recent Facebook post on the subject of Real Toys 1958 Golden Hawk!
Are you a Studebaker fan? Got any in your collection? Let us know..fill in the comments at the bottom of the page!