Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Exploring the Studebaker National Museum

 When Studebaker shuttered its doors and stopped manufacturing automobiles in 1966, it had a collection of 37 examples of its cars. These were donated to the city of South Bend, Indiana along with all of the company's corporate archives (which at the time included those of Packard, who had previously merged with Studebaker in hopes of keeping both firms afloat).
Studebaker had been such a big part of South Bend for so many years that the city wanted to preserve that heritage. So it created a not for profit organization to oversee the collection and create a museum. Donations and other acquisitions took place and the collection grew.

In 2005 the current state-of-the-art Studebaker National Museum (http://www.studebakermuseum.org/) was opened at the corner of Chapin and Thomas Streets. Two years later the Studebaker National Museum Archives opened across the street. The Archives holds all of those corporate archives as well as pictures and other literature about Studebaker.

The museum collection has grown to over 120 cars but only about 70 of which are on display at any given time. The cars and exhibits are rotated so that you are able to see something different every time you visit.

Included in the collection is the very 1927 Commander that David Ab Jenkins set a record with driving from New York to San Francisco (seen at the top of the blog). Also on display when I was there was a 1931 Six Roadster, a 1928 Commander Roadster, a 1924 Light Six, a 1925 Big Six Duplex Phaeton, a 1934 President, a 1910 E.M.F. 30 Touring (E.M.F. was a company Studebaker acquired in 1911, keeping the name only until 1913), an example of their entry level 1912 Flanders 20,  a 1927 Erskine, and a 1964 Daytona.

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