THURSDAY, AUGUST 20
WESTPORT PLAZA WELCOMES
Largest gathering of antique Studebaker automobiles in the world
comes to St. Louis; Public invited Thursday, August 20
WHAT: Hundreds of classic Studebaker automobiles gather at Westport Plaza in St. Louis for the 51st International meeting of the Antique Studebaker Club, the Studebaker Drivers Club and the Avanti owners Association International. The groups last met in St. Louis in 1981.
WHEN: The public is invited to view the Studebakers on display on Thursday, August 20 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Westport Plaza.
WHERE: Westport Plaza, I-270 & Page Ave. Cars will be on display in the parking lot west of the Sheraton Westport Chalet hotel.
WHY: The Studebaker groups gather for a week-long international meet which includes swap meets, memorabilia displays, car judging, and regional activities and tours.
MORE: The MO/IL "Gateway" chapters of the Studebaker Drivers Club and the Avanti Owners Association International (AOAI) are hosts of this international gathering. The AOAI and the Gateway Arch are both celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 2015. The Arch is featured in the group's dash plaques and award trophies.
The Studebaker Drivers Club was founded in 1962 to honor the Studebaker automobile and related products and provide an event for owners to show their vehicles and participate in concours judging. There are more than 12,500 club members around the world.
In addition to the Studebakers on display, August 20, a Studebaker Band concert will take place at Westport Plaza from noon to 1 p.m.
In 1852, the Studebaker brothers started building horse-drawn buggies, carriages and wagons. Their wagons were a primary mode of transportation as the nation migrated westward. In 1902, Studebaker started building electric automobiles, but soon went to gasoline power.
By 1915, Studebaker was building more than 45,000 cars annually. Wagon production also continued until 1919. In 1928, Studebaker acquired Pierce-Arrow. Unfortunately, by 1933 Studebaker had gone into temporary receivership, but was on the road to recovery in 1934. In 1939, Studebaker introduced the Champion, a new economy model designed by the soon to be famous Raymond Loewy studio.
During WWII, Studebaker produced trucks and radial engines for aircraft, including the B-17. After the war, automobile and truck production resumed with a vengeance. In 1950 and 51, Studebaker offered their famed bullet-nose design. In 1953, the incredible new "Loewy coupe" was introduced. Bob Bourke, a member of the Raymond Loewy team, is credited with the innovative new design. During the last half of the fabulous fifties, Studebaker introduced their family of Hawks, merged with Packard and in 1959, responded to the growing demand for a more compact family car with the Lark.
Studebaker once again turned the automotive design world upside down in 1963 with the unveiling of the Avanti. While the Avanti was universally acclaimed, Studebaker's days as a US company were numbered. Production ceased at the long-time South Bend, Indiana plant in 1964, Studebaker production continued in Canada until March 17, 1966. The Avanti Motor Company continued to build the Avanti II in South Bend until 1987 when production moved to Youngstown, Ohio until 1991. Avanti motorcars were produced from 2000 to 2005 in Villa Rica, Georgia, and in 2006 and 2007 in Cancun, Mexico, when the last Avanti automobiles were produced.