Featured is a great looking restored 1956 Studebaker Champion Two Door Station Wagon. Studebaker’s 1956 wagons are very nice to look at and the color combinations offered were terrific. Studebaker advertised its 1956 station wagons as the cars for everyone. What they meant with this description was that their wagons were great vehicles for both work and fun. The perfect vehicle for driving to and from work or for a day at the beach.

1956 studebaker specs
1956 Studebaker Pelham Station Wagon

One of America’s Earliest Automakers

The first Studebaker horse drawn wagon was built in South Bend, Indiana in 1852. The first Studebaker automobile (electric) was produced in 1902. The first Studebaker gas powered automobile was produced in 1904. The last American Studebaker automobile was builtĀ  on Dec. 20, 1963. For another three years until 1966, Studebaker’s factory in Canada however did continue producing automobiles.

If your travels take you to South Bend you’ll surely want to stop by and visit the Studebaker National Museum.

Studebaker Wagon Models

For 1956 Studebaker Wagon models included the Pelham, Parkview and Pinehurst. Our featured station wagon is a Pelham which was the lower priced model that was powered with a Sweepstakes inline six cylinder engine.

studebaker pelham picsStyling for 1956 had a squarer look with a large mesh filled grille.

Although there are some who may disagree with this statement, Studebaker gained a reputation for many as a builder of reliable automobiles with rugged engines and transmissions. They also were a innovative automaker introducing many firsts. One such example was called a Hill Holder, meaning when the car is stopped on a hill it will not roll until the clutch is released.

Sales Decline During the 1950’s

Studebaker struggled through most of the 1950’s. Competing against the Big Three was expensive. Studebaker was also hurt financially when Ford and Chevrolet would get into a price cutting war to take market share away from the other. When this occurred it had the effect of making Studebaker’s prices look expensive. While the Big Three were in a position to absorb lower prices, Studebaker was not.

1956 studebaker station wagon specificationsStudebaker was known to have acquired some of the best design talent available. They made many changes year to year with their models in an attempt to boost sales. Most automakers during the 1950’s restyled on almost a yearly basis. It’s a fact that Studebaker stayed afloat by producing some of the best looking automobiles on the market during the 50’s. The bullet nose Commander, the Hawk models and the President Speedster models are just three good examples of creative and unique Studebaker styling of the 1950’s.

1956 Studebaker Champion Wagon Specifications

1956 Studebaker engine choices, all called Sweepstakes, were the 210 HP, 289 cubic inch V-8..The 170hp, 259 cubic inch V-8; and the 101hp, 185 cubic inch straight six. There was a 352 cubic inch V-8 delivering 275 HP which was designated only for the Golden Hawk model. This engine was produced by then partner Packard. There were four versions of Studebaker Hawk models for 1956 with the Golden Hawk as the top tier model. These were referred to by Studebaker as “family sports cars”.

Engine for the 56 Studebaker Champion Pelham Wagon was a Sweepstakes 185 cubic inch straight six producing 101 HP.

Transmissions were three speed manuals and Borg-Warner Flight-O-Matic automatics.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Front suspension were coiled springs with rear suspension of semi elliptical leaf springs.

Dimensions for the 1956 Studebaker Champion Pelham Wagon included a 116.5 inch wheelbase, 196.7 inch overall outside length, 71.3 inch width and 61.9 inch height.

Total 1956 Studebaker production came in at only 85,460 vehicles. The Hawk four models totaled just over 19,000 units. Over the next two years, 57 and 58, toal Studebaker production averaged about only 80,000 vehicles.

New car price for the 1956 Studebaker Pelham Wagon model stood at about $2,250.

Additional related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

1955 Studebaker President Speedster

Reference material for this article includes…Studebaker: The Complete History by author Patrick R. Foster…More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story by Thomas E. Bonsall.

The Studebaker Wagons Collector Cars

sstudebaker station wagon Studebaker’s name is among those that represented the first pioneers of the automobile industry. A Studebaker vehicle was produced from 1902 to 1966 and many of their models had unique styling. Depending on the model (many popular examples such as the Golden Hawk’s and Speedsters are quite rare) , Studebaker’s are popular with many collectors.

The 1956 Studebaker station wagons are also rare vehicles. A fully restored 1956 Studebaker Champion Pelham Wagon sold at auction for $35,000. Similar restored condition 1956 Studebaker Wagons such as the higher up Parkview and Pinehurst models, if you can find one, are estimated in a value range of about $45,000 to $65,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)