Studebaker Tail Fins

Studebaker Tail Fins – The Studebaker name goes back to 1852 when five brothers begain building American wagons in South Bend, Indiana. In 1902 Studebaker built its first American automobile at the wagon factory in South Bend. The first Studebaker automobiles were electric because one brother did not like gas powered automobiles and called gas powered cars clumsy, dangerous, noisy and a public nuisance. The first gas powered cars were made by the Studebaker-Garford Company. By 1912 gas powered Studebakers were built in South Bend. After years of great cars but lots of financial problems Studebaker merged with luxury automaker Packard to form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. In 1963 the last Studebakers were built in South Bend. But not before they build some great 1950s tailfins.


1950 Studebaker Tail Fins
1950 Studebaker Tail Fins

For almost 40 years studebakers of the 1930s and 1940s displayed rather conventional styling. That was until the famous “bullet nose” appeared and the small tailfins. The body style resembled the nose of an airplane.


1951 Studebaker Tail Fins
1951 Studebaker Tail Fins

The new look was very popular but also controversial. Studebaker sales went from eleventh to eighth over night selling over 320,000 units in 1950. However, just a quickly as they had risen Studebaker fortunes soon began to sink.


1952 Studebaker Tail Fins
1952 Studebaker Tail Fins

Small hoods over the top of the taillights and a new grille identified the 1952 Studebakers. Gone was the popular bullet nose, replaced by a wide tooth like “clam digger” grille. A 1952 Studebaker Commander was the pace car in the ’52 Indianapolis 500.


1953 Studebaker Tail Fins
1953 Studebaker Tail Fins

All Studebaker’s were redesigned in 1953. Features include a sloped hood and straight through rear fenders and tailfins. New styling in 1953 earned Studebaker the “Fashion Academy Award” gold medal for outstanding design and styling. This is a 1953 Studebaker Starlight pillared Coupe.


1954 Studebaker Tail Fins
1954 Studebaker Tail Fins

This 1954 Studebaker Starliner hardtop was even sleeker than the Starlight pillared coupe above and cost $161.00 more. Both were offered with Champion and Commander lines. The Starlight coupe and Starliner hardtop were designed by Raymond Loewy and Bob Bourke.

In 1954 Studebaker and Packard merged to form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. The Studebaker-Packard merger was suposed to be a prelude to a Studebaker-Packard-Hudson-Nash merger intended to create a company similar to the Chrysler Corp and GM.


1955 Studebaker Tail Fins
1955 Studebaker Tail Fins

In a year when most automakers built cars with a new look, Studebaker did not. However, the best of the 1955 Studebaker’s was the $3253.00 Speedster hardtop coupe. It was equipped with a 259 cubic inch V-8 that developed 185 horsepower. Featues included wild two tone paint and quilted leather seats.


1956 Studebaker Tail Fins
1956 Studebaker Tail Fins

New for 1956 was this Golden Hawk, the top trim level Studebaker coupes. It was equipped with a powerful 352 cubic inch V-8 that was rated at 275 horsepower. Other coupes were named Sky Hawk, Power Hawk or Flight Hawk. Only 69,593 Studebaker’s were produced in 1956.


1957 Studebaker Tail Fins
1957 Studebaker Tail Fins

1957 was the year of the tailfins at Studebaker. Apart from the tall tailfins Golden Hawks could be identified by a long bulge in their hoods. Only 4,356 of the $3182.00 Paxton supercharged Golden Hawks were sold in 1957.


1958 studebaker Tail Fins
1958 Studebaker Tail Fins

New for 1957 and 1958 was four door Studebaker wagons with different grilles and tail fins. Studebaker’s 1958 restyled car looked quite good featuring some awesome tailfins, quad head lights and wrap around grille.


1959 Studebaker Tail Fins
1959 Studebaker Tail Fins

Studebaker dropped its big cars in 1959 and produced the compact Lark, without tailfins. Golden Hawk hardtops and pillared Silver Hawks were available in 1959 with very little restyling.


1960 studebaker Tail Fins
1960 Studebaker Tail Fins

Studebaker continued to build the Hawk in 1960 with its tall tail fins. It was only slightly altered from the 1959 Studebaker Hawks. The Hawk was always known as a unique family sports car.


1961 Studebaker Tail Fins
1961 Studebaker Tail Fins

The Studebaker Hawk was slightly revised for 1961. Features included new two tone paint just below the fins on the rear fenders and a optional four speed transmission. Only 3,117 Studebaker Hawks were built in 1961. What came next for Studebaker – the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk.