1963 was really Studebaker’s last full year as a full-fledged automobile company. Sure, the marque would go on through the 1966 model year, but ’63 was really the last chance for the South Bend, Indiana-based company’s relevance in the auto market.
A full line of Larks, the Avanti, the Gran Turismo Hawk, pickups, heavy-duty trucks (with diesel engines, even) were included in South Bend’s board of fare. Factory built police and taxi packages were available as well.
Every stop was pulled to eke out one more order, one more car, one more truck. And so in mid-1963 Studebaker introduced the Standard, a bare-bones Lark with power nothing, zero chrome and a low, low price.
Of course, it was a Lark, but it sported no Lark badging on the exterior, just a “Studebaker” script on the front fender where the L-A-R-K letters would be on fancier models. There was no side trim either, just the chrome door handles, aforementioned logo and hub caps instead of full wheel covers.
It was available as a two-door sedan, four-door sedan and Wagonaire. The Standard four door had a base price of $2040 with the six cylinder engine, $2175 with the V8. Sedans and wagons sat on a 113″ wheelbase, while the two-doors were a little shorter at 109″. While you could get a V8, options were naturally not common, as the whole point of this model was thrift. But this particular black over rose sedan still looks pretty sharp, even with a radio blank-out plate. In 1963, even the low line, rock-bottom priced cars could be had in multiple color choices, in and out.
Available options included back-up lights at $8.00, tinted glass at $32, and a Climatizer heater/defroster for $80-88, depending on the model. But the Studebaker Standard defined plain Jane. They clearly were meant to appeal to fleets, judging from the equally plain brochure. Said brochure had to be issued as it was a mid-year model, and not included in the full-line showroom brochure. I was not able to find production records for the Standard alone, as records for 1963 Studebakers were broken out by body style alone. But 40,113 four-door sedans, excluding taxi versions, were built in South Bend that year. Being a mid-year model and most Studebaker buyers likely preferring the higher trim models, I imagine sales were on the low side. I’ve never seen a Standard in person, at any rate. And I’ve been to several Studebaker Drivers’ Club shows over the years.
This fine example was seen at last Autumn’s annual car extravaganza in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Thanks to my buddy Sal Darigo, Jr. for taking the pictures!