Friday, November 6, 2009

1959 Studebaker Lark

"Here's the car that's fun to drive. It's The Lark by Studebaker! What makes The Lark so much fun? It combines the most desirable qualities of handling and maneuverability of Continental machines with the spacious 6-passenger interior typical of much larger U.S.A. automobiles. In brief, The Lark provides you with satisfaction at the wheel."

With the 1959 Lark, Studebaker became once again a trend-setter, just like in the late 40s when they were "first by far with a postwar car." In 1958 and 1959, the sales of automobiles in the U.S. declined rapidly as a result of the economic recession. The "Big Three" had miscalculated the public demand, and came up with the biggest chrome-monsters of the 50s, such as the Oldsmobile Super 88. Only Studebaker could present a compact model in 1959. Ironically, the Lark was designed in the midst of an economic desaster caused by bad management, which had brought Studebaker close to bankruptcy. The receipe for this car was the same as for all Studebakers since the mid-50s: take parts of old models and mix them up to a new cocktail. At a closer look, the Lark's cabin is similar to the one of the older President. Shorter front- and rearends together with a shortened wheelbase formed the new and extremely successful "compact"-model.

With the launch of the Lark in 1959, the sales soared, and Studebaker wrote black numbers once again for the first time since years. Unfortunately, the blaze didn't last long: already 1960 the "Big Three" launched their compact models, too, and the Lark had to face a strong competition. Sales and customer's confidence declined continually, and finally Studebaker, the oldest carmaker of the U.S., became history in 1966.

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