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 April 18, 2014  
 Timeline   
Studebaker History Timeline

1736 -  Members of the Staudenbecker (later Studebaker) family of Solingen, Germany arrive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1799 - John Studebaker born in Getty's Town (later Gettysburg) Pennsylvania.

1820 - John Studebaker marries Rebbecca Mohler. They eventually have 5 sons - Henry, Clement ("Clem"), John Mohler ("J.M."), Peter and Jacob, and five daughters, and move to Northwest Ohio.

1831 - South Bend, Indiana founded.

1850 - Clem Studebaker moves to South Bend.

1851 - John Studebaker and his sons build a covered wagon, and move the family to South Bend.

1852 - H & C Studebaker blacksmith shop established in South Bend by brothers Henry and Clem Studebaker. The first Studebaker vehicle, a farm wagon, is built.

1853 - J.M. Studebaker, with fifty cents in his pocket, trades a wagon for passage to Hangtown, California in search of gold.  He doesn't find it, but he finds plenty of work making wheelbarrows and pick axes, repairing stagecoaches and harnesses, and shodding horses.

1857 - Studebaker produces its first carriage. The first Studebaker "repository" (dealership) opened in Goshen Indiana by Peter Studebaker.

1858 - John Mohler returns to South Bend with $8,000 to invest in the Studebaker family business.

1860 - H & C Studebaker has a manufacturing shop, a paint room, a lumber yard, an office, 14 employees (in addition to the Studebaker brothers) and an estimated net worth of $10,000.

1862 - Studebakers begin supplying wagons for the Union Army.

1868 - Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company is incorporated in Indiana.

1870 - Jacob Studebaker joins the company.

1872 - A massive fire almost destroys the company's South Bend manufacturing facilities. It is quickly rebuilt.

1874 - Another large fire destroys two-thirds of the Studebaker factory. Again it is rebuilt.

1877 - Annual sales exceed $1,000,000. Clem Studebaker travels to Europe to open up European markets for the company.

1878 - Studebaker wagons are exhibited and win awards at the Paris Exposition.

1885 - The Studebaker Repository is built in Chicago. It later became a fine arts building housing the Studebaker Theatre and the Studebaker Playhouse. The South Bend factory is again nearly destroyed by fire, but rebuilt in record time.

1888 - President Benjamin Harrison orders Studebakers for the White House.

1891 - Frederick S. Fish, a prominent corporate lawyer from New Jersey, marries J.M. Studebaker's daughter Grace.

1896 - Studebaker begins experimenting with powered vehicles.

1897 - Peter Studebaker dies at age 61. Frederick Fish elected chairman of Studebaker's executive committee.

1898 - Studebaker supplies wagons for The Spanish-American War.

1902 - The Studebaker Electric automobile is introduced.

1903 - Clem Studebaker's sons purchase bankrupt Columbus Watch Company and found the South Bend Watch Company.

1904 - Studebaker begins production of gasoline powered cars in conjunction with the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio.

1908 - The Everitt-Metzger-Flanders (E-M-F) Company incorporated in Detroit Michigan. E-M-F enters into sales agreement with Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company.

1910 - Studebaker purchases E-M-F, the second largest automobile manufacturer in Detroit, entering the automobile industry on a large scale. Walter Flanders named general manager of automotive operations.

1911 - The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company is reorganized as the Studebaker Corporation. Albert Russel Erskine joins the company.

1912 - Studebaker discontinues the electric automobile. Walter Flanders resigns from Studebaker to rejoin Everitt and Metzger at the newly formed Everitt Motor Car Company.

1914 - Studebaker begins supplying Britain, France, Russia and eventually the U.S. with wagons for World War I.

1915 - Albert Russel Erskine named president of Studebaker. In cooperation with Commercial Investment Trust, Studebaker becomes the first automaker to offer wholesale and retail financing.

1919 - Automobile production is moved from Detroit to South Bend.

1920 - Horse-drawn vehicle operations are discontinued.

1925 - Studebaker introduces four-wheel hydraulic brakes.

1926 - Detroit manufacturing facilities closed. Studebaker proving grounds opened west of South Bend.

1927 - The Erskine brand introduced, named for Studebaker president Albert Russel Erskine.

1928 - Studebaker acquires luxury car manufacturer Pierce-Arrow.

1931 - The Rockne brand introduced, named for legendary Notre Dame football coach  Knute Rockne.

1933 - Studebaker forced into receivership. Frederick Fish and Albert Erskine resign. Harold S. Vance appointed chairman of the board, Paul G. Hoffman named president. Erskine commits suicide.

1935 - Studebaker successfully emerges from receivership. Studebaker Pacific Corporation established in Los Angeles.

1936 - Raymond Loewy Associates contracted to design new Studebaker cars.

1939 - Studebaker begins supplying the Allies with equipment for World War II. First trucks, then eventually airplane engines and the Weasel personnel carrier. Enters the low-priced automobile market with the all new Champion.

1941 - The U.S. Government establishes quotas significantly restricting the production of passenger vehicles for civilian use. Pearl Harbor attacked, United States enters World War II.

1942 - Passenger car production suspended to devote entire manufacturing capacity to the war effort.

1945 - World War II ends.

1946 - LIFE magazine publishes a 10-page article on Studebaker, the first company to produce a postwar automobile.

1948 - Production begins at Studebaker of Canada in Hamilton, Ontario.

1950 - Studebaker "bullet nose" design introduced.

1952 - Studebaker Centennial.

1953 - The "Loewy coupe" is introduced.

1954 - Packard Motor Car Company acquires Studebaker to form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.

1956 - Introduction of the Hawk line.

1958 - Packard nameplate discontinued.

1959 - The Lark is introduced.

1962 - Studebaker introduces the Avanti in May at the Indianapolis 500. The pace car for the race is a 1962 Lark. Avanti sets 29 new national stock car records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, earning it the title "World's Fastest Production Car." The Studebaker Drivers Club is formed.

1963 - Automobile operations in South Bend shut down.

1965 - Avanti Motors of South Bend introduces the Avanti II, hand-built in former Studebaker factory buildings.

1966 - The last Studebaker rolls off the assembly line in Hamilton, Ontario.

1967 - Studebaker acquired by Wagner Electric. Subsequent merger with Worthington Corporation forms Studebaker-Worthington.

1979 - McGraw-Edison acquires Studebaker-Worthington.

1982 - Stephen Blake purchases Avanti Motors.

1985 - McGraw-Edison purchased by Cooper Industries, which sold off its auto-parts divisions to Federal-Mogul some years later. Studebaker-Worthington Leasing Corp. survives to this day.

1986 - Avanti Motors files for bankruptcy. Assets purchased by Michael Kelly.

1987 - Avanti Production moved to Youngstown, Ohio.

1988 - Kelly sells his share of Avanti to partner John J. Cafaro.

1991 - Attempt to reorganize Avanti fails. Production ceases.

2001 - Avanti Motors resurrected in Villa Rica, Georgia. A restyled Avanti based on the Pontiac Trans Am is produced.

2004 - Next generation Avanti built on a Ford Mustang platform.

2006 - Avanti production moved to Cancun, Mexico. On December 22 company chairman Micheal E. Kelly was arrested in Florida and subsequently charged with operating a Ponzi scheme defrauding investors out of more than $400,000,000. He was jailed without bond, effectively ending the operation of Avanti Motors.

2008 - Studebaker-Worthington Leasing Corp. sold by State Bank of Long Island to Main Street Bank of Kingwood, Texas.

 
 
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