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Marty Densch has already explored some of the cars stored in the basement of the Studebaker museum in South Bend. There is not enough display space on the main floors to show the complete collection. Also, to keep the main displays fresh, vehicles are rotated. The vehicles not currently on display upstairs are stored, double stacked on lifts, in the basement.
In addition, there is a display of Studebaker at war, with wagons the company supplied to the US Army during WWI, the “Weasel” tracked vehicle the company engineered and built during WWII, and a very rare 1942 Series 90 Studebaker. It was called the series 90, to celebrate Studebaker’s 90th anniversary. Long before Pearl Harbor, the US auto industry had started switching to war production, first supplying Britain through the Lend Lease program, and then to arm the US. By the spring of 1941, it was clear there would be no 1943 models for civilian purposes and 1942 models were pretty rare. The Series 90 is even rarer in that it has no brightwork. Chromium was needed for the war effort so all the trim that would have been chrome plated was painted dark grey.
In the late 1950s Packard and Studebaker merged in a last ditch effort for both companies to survive. That explains the Packard Predictor concept upstairs. In the basement there are a couple more Packards, a ’50s Clipper and a 1910 touring car.
Also in the basement are some Studebaker prototypes and concepts. There is a body shell for a proposed 4 door Avanti, a pickup truck made with simple stampings called Model X, two Brooks Stevens’ concepts, the Skyview station wagon with a sliding roof panel, and the Cruiser sedan. Perhaps the most unusual prototype is a rear engined, Porsche powered Lark, fabricated by the Curtiss-Wright company, which held a controlling interest in Studebaker at the time.