Studebaker’s E Series trucks came out in 1955. This was followed by the 2E a year later and then the 3E in 1957-58. Prior to this Studebaker was producing their R Series trucks. Those who are familiar with Studebaker know that the trucks prior to that were their M Series. Popular opinion is that Studebaker’s 2R Series trucks were the most successful for the company. The 2R Series were produced from 1949 to 1953.
The truck featured in this article is the 1955 Studebaker E Series. The E series Studebaker’s began production in September 1954. The half-ton truck was advertised for it’s ruggedness and power as well as Studebaker’s claim of inexpensive upkeep. Two V-8′s were offered in 1955 along with the standard V-6.
Subtle design Changes in 1955
If you’re looking for the changes in appearance from the 1954 Studebaker truck models you’ll find them in the larger Studebaker hood emblem, the headlight rims and new hood ornaments were sold as standard equipment. Hood ornamentation differed whether the truck was a V-6 or V-8.
From Horse Carriages to Automobiles
Founded in 1852 as the H & C Studebaker blacksmith shop. in South Bend, Indiana, the organization was incorporated in 1868 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the military.
After years of prodding by a Studebaker family member who thought it was time to enter the horseless carriage business, Studebaker the carriage maker began in the automobile business in 1902 and had the distinction of manufacturing electric powered cars for the first two years in business. They introduced gasoline power in 1904.
Packard Motors Company of Detroit, Michigan acquired Studebaker in 1954. They then became a division of the Studebaker Packard Corporation from 1954 until 1962. When the alliance between Packard and Studebaker took place, Studebaker promoted the fact that they were now part of the nation’s fourth largest automotive manufacturer. The new division however went back to its previous name of Studebaker Corporation in 1962 but could only continue another four years.
1955 Studebaker Half-Ton Pickup Specifications
In 1955 the standard engine on the Studebaker E Truck was a six cylinder. 1955 however was the first year that an eight-cylinder engine option was available for Studebaker’s half-ton. The 180-horsepower, 259-cubic-inch, 4.2 liter V-8 worked along with a four-speed manual transmission. The 224 cubic inch V-8 worked with a manual three speed transmission.
The Studebaker V-8 engine was advertised as the Econ-O-Miser. The best selling Studebaker truck with the standard V-6 engine was the half-ton E5.
For Studebaker, the V-8 should have come out sooner than 1955 and most believe that it’s addition in 1955 helped save Studebaker to a degree. At least for several years. Studebaker’s standard six cylinder engine in their light trucks were not enough against stiff competition from both Ford and Chevrolet.
The Studebaker Half-Ton wheelbase measured 112.0 inches. Wheelbase on the larger two door 3/4 ton was 122.0 inches.
The one piece curved windshield on the 1955 Studebaker truck came out originally a year earlier with the 1954 model.
New truck prices for the half-ton Studebaker for the 1955 model year was about $1,400 with a V-8 equipped truck selling for about $100 more.
Total E Series production for 1955 was 20,900 vehicles. This included both the six and eight cylinder models. This was a big improvement (about double) over 1954 figures and the credit really goes to the V-8′s offered.
Three additional Studebaker AutoMuseumOnline photo articles are found on the links below.
The Studebaker National Museum
Today there is a Studebaker National Museum located in South Bend Indiana. The main entrance to The Studebaker National Museum is located at 895 Thomas Street, South Bend, IN. This museum contains virtually all surviving documents pertaining to Studebaker.
The beginning of this museum goes back to 1966 when the Studebaker Corporation donated it’s archives and collection to the city of South Bend. These were housed at several locations until 2005 when the current museum was opened. There are over 120 vehicles on display at the museum. The museum operates as a non profit organization.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)