Friday 22nd July 1904
The first gasoline-driven Studebaker car was produced in South Bend, Indiana, US and driven into the street. The automobile was sold on the spot to H D Johnson, who just happened to be passing by – Johnson was the son-in-law of John M Studebaker and the whole transaction was a carefully managed ‘staged’ event. Over the next 50 years, the company established a reputation for quality and reliability. After years of financial problems, in 1954 the company merged with luxury carmaker Packard to form Studebaker-Packard Corporation. However, Studebaker’s financial problems were worse than the Packard executives thought. The Packard marque was phased out and the company returned to the Studebaker Corporation name in 1962. The South Bend plant ceased production on December 20, 1963, and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 16, 1966.