This little Studebaker was in sorry looking condition when I bought it a few years ago. The paint was bad, the seats were torn and the headliner was coming down in places. It ran, however, and didn't need much mechanical work to get it running nice. I put all new brake parts on it, new bumpers and new wheels and tires. Now I can drive it just about anywhere.
Studebaker built wagons back in the 1800's. They built their last automobile in 1966. Having been out of business for 40 years, you might think a Studebaker would be difficult to find parts for. The truth is, a Studebaker is easy to get parts for! Anyone considering buying a Studebaker should look at this Internet site first. Studebaker Driver's Club. This site will introduce you to the world of Studebakers and you will be impressed!
The Studebaker Lark, was a model introduced in 1959. The Lark was a very successful car, and sold more copies than any Studebaker had for years! But Studebaker was a small company and didn't have the financial resources that the "big three' automakers did. So, instead of bringing out exciting new models every year, Studebaker had to be content with slight modifications and updates to their few cars. The public, however, was not content with this policy. By 1963, Larks looked tired, people wanted bigger cars, and Studebaker was about bankrupt. Studebaker quit building car in the USA at the end of 1963. So my Lark is one of the last Studebakers built in this country. 1964 to 1966 Studebakers were made in Canada.
All USA made Studebakers had Studebaker built engines (contrary to what some people may think). In 1963, they had a 170 cubic inch straight 6 cylinder overhead valve engine. There were two v-8 engines too, a 259 and a 289 cubic inch. By the 1950's a 289 cubic inch engine was getting "small". Other companies were building 300 and then 400 plus cubic inch engines. Studebaker really didn't have the money to make a new big engine, so they put a supercharger on the 289. This was a good powerful engine and a Studebaker was light weight, so Studebakers were actually able to beat a lot of other supposedly fast cars, and embarass quite a few Ford and Chevy owners during the street races "back in the day".
Studebaker made engines in the USA, so when the USA plants closed down, the Canadian Studebakers started using Chevy engines (a 230 six and a small block Chevy v-8). This has promoted the myth that all Studebakers had Chevy engines. The truth is, just the Canadian built (last) ones did.
Driving a Studebaker 6 is an experience! When I was growing up, I thought Studebakers were ugly and clunky. But somehow, today they are apparently one "cool car!" ...since I hear people yelling that at me whenever I drive the Lark. My Lark is a very cheap and basic model. It has manual drum brakes, manual steering, manual (3 speed) transmission ...and even the interior light has to be turned on manually when you open the door! The Lark 6 is and economical car to drive by yesterday's standards. Gas mileage can be 25 to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. By todays' standards, however, a Lark 6 is underpowered. It's not the car you want to drive at 75 MPH down the expressway ...at least not without the (optional) overdrive unit. I understand that the eight cylinder cars are very quick and fun to drive ....and are still reasonably good on gas. My Lark is not the smoothest riding car, but it drives pretty easy ...better than you'd think, for no power steering or brakes. It is a very easy car to work on.