The Studeblogger

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Great book.


I was into cars even before I became a teenager, and one of the ones I read early on (probably at age 12 or so) was Richard Langworth's Studebaker: The Postwar Years (reprinted in the '90s as Studebaker 1946-1966: The Classic Postwar Years), part of Motorbooks' series on American cars published in the late '70s. Both editions are sadly out of print, but can be had used from Amazon for about $40.

It's a slim volume, but the print is small :) In just under 200 pages, Langworth describes the incredible triumph of Studebaker's first new postwar design, spearheaded by the legendary Raymond Loewy. The dramatic Starlight Coupe with its wraparound backglass was something Americans had never seen the likes of before.

From there, Studebaker launched the beautiful 1953 Starlight designed by Robert Bourke under Loewy's aegis, an automotive icon that should've been a runaway hit - but instead was instrumental in starting the company on the long road to eventual shutdown. (Check out Popular Mechanix for a great overview on this beautiful car.)

Along the way, Langworth talks about the Hawks, the Larks, the supercharged record-setters, the amazing Avanti, and even the Studebaker truck line, complete with production numbers, body styles and original MSRP f.o.b. South Bend. It's a great read, and a must for anyone who's just discovering Studebakers.

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