The Champion was an automobile of the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. Production for the model began at the beginning of the 1939 model year and continued until 1958, when the model was phased out in preparation for the 1959 Studebaker Lark. Prior to that time, Studebaker had been placed under receivership, and the company was trying to return to a profitable position.
Success of the Champion in 1939 was imperative to Studebaker’s survival following weak sales during the 1938 model year.
Unlike most other cars, the Champion was designed from a "clean sheet"; that is, having no restrictions caused by necessarily utilizing older parts or requiring the subsequent use of its components in heavier vehicles. Careful market research guided the selection of features, but a key principle adhered to was the engineering watchword "Weight is the enemy." For its size, it was one of the lightest cars of its era; its main competitor in this respect, the Willys Americar, did not go through as thorough a design process. And the engineering was good; its compact straight-6 engine was maintained to the end of the 1964 model year (with a change to an OHV design in 1961).
The Champion was one of Studebaker's best-selling models by virtue of its low price (US$660 for the two-door business coupe in 1939), durable engine and styling. The car's ponton styling was authored by industrial designer Raymond Loewy who had been under contract with Studebaker for the design of their automobiles. Champions won Mobilgas economy runs by posting the highest gas mileage tests. During World War II, Champions were coveted for their high mileage at a time when gas was rationed in the United States. From 1943-1945, the Champion motor was used as the powerplant for the unique Studebaker M29 Weasel personnel and cargo carrier, which also used four sets of the Champion's leaf springs arranged transversely for its bogie suspension.
In 1946, Studebaker built a limited number of cars based on their 1942 body shell in preparation of its new body and design roll out in 1947. All Studebakers built in 1946 were designated Skyway Champion models.
In 1957, the Champion Scotsman, a stripped down Champion, was introduced by Studebaker in an attempt to compete with the Big Three and Nash in the low price field. Shortly after its introduction, the car was redesignated the Studebaker Scotsman.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Studebaker Champion Coupe Delivery
The Coupe Delivery was an aftermarket conversion kit to turn your Champion coupe into a pickup truck.
As you can tell, the PMCC returned to Bruce's house for our meeting this month, and based on how popular the original Studebaker week was back in February, he invited me to take more pictures. So I present, the second Swifty's Garage Studebaker Week. This one is entirely comprised of Shrock Brothers models.