Thursday, July 9, 2009

1956 Studebaker President Classic Sedan

"Craftmanship with a flair . . . makes Studebaker the standout!"

Running full throttle on the way to Sancti Spiritus, Studebaker's top model for 1956 attracts our attention indeed, but not in the way it was intended by Studebaker's advertisement.

When Studebaker's new lineup was introduced for 1956, the company already was in disorder. Questionable management decisions about the model policy after the merger with Packard in 1954 had burned all the earnings of the successful years, and the tight financial background made fundamental changes impossible: since 1953 through 1961, all Studebaker sedans should share the same bodyframe on two different wheelbases.

For 1956, this body was restyled with a new front- and rearend, which gave the cars a more upright look. But the competitors became increasingly longer and lower, and so the Studebakers's proportions appeared already old-fashioned.

Cuban chofers like to call Studebakers "Es-tu-desgracia" which can be translated with "it's your bad luck". Here the cars don't have a good image, because most of them failed to pass the involuntary "long-term test" that the difficult economic conditions in Cuba demand. In fact, a President Classic in a shape as good as our pictured car, is a very rare sight in Cuba.

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