Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Scotsman

In the late 1950s, Studebaker was living on borrowed time. Studebaker (soon to be Studebaker-Packard) had had a fairly good run, had stayed the course, had lost the battle with the "Big Three" automakers in the U.S.

In one of its last horrifying wheezing death gasps (Avanti was the very last) Studebaker came out, in 1957, with the Studebaker Scotsman. The insultingly named Scotsman was meant to undercut the Big Three cars (of GM, Ford, and Chrysler) and attempt to gain the auto business of....mmmm... the unemployed? Of the FRUGAL I mean. Scotsman, get it? The Scotsman was a stripped down (WAY down) version of Studebaker's allegedly-popular Champion, and it came with a 185 cubic-inch 6-banger that belted out a whopping 101 horsepower, or so Studebaker said in their print ads. This, I'm thinking, was probably enough to catapult the Scotsman from 0-60 in probably 7 or 8 minutes flat, or thereabouts.

The Scotsman came with no frills. It didn't even have chrome except for the bumpers. The trim was removed or painted over. It cost $1,776 in 1957. That's about £30, more or less, if you are REALLY a Scotsman. Well, probably more than that.

Did I say NO frills? I lie: you could choose among blah red, sorrow blue or battleship gray. Over the next 3 years, Studebaker sold about 61 of them. Oh, I'm lying again!

Technically, Studebaker limped on until 1966. It had moved to Canada and was using Chevrolet engines. It died in Hamilton that year. R.I.P.

Anyone care to hazard a guess what a rare (3-year run) mint-condition blah red Scotsman would fetch on on today's collector's market?



There are no mint Scotsman(s) Scotsmen? and never were. Additionally, the sole collector died in 1997.

Oh! I'm lying again! Take me away!


  1. I don't wish to appear lacking in trust or anything, but I did feel the urge to find out more. And it's true! They even had painted cardboard interiors. Well I never. Who'd have thought I'd find a car interesting.

  2. I'm confused. What was the point of this?

  3. You are lying on several points of course. I'd never heard of it, but it was apparently quite successful.

    Not enough, however, to keep Studebaker afloat.

  4. I remember when cars were - in the immortal words of the B52s - "as big as a whale." That was in the 60s, but still. And no seat belts, either. It was almost like being on another planet, compared to now, really...

  5. I saw one of these the other day, I swear. It was being driven by a Yorkshireman.

  6. This would be to Studebaker what the Edsel was to Ford, then?

    That Sheila's obviously lying. We Yorkshiremen like value for our money, that's not the same as "cheap". So if she thinks she saw a Yorkshireman driving one, it was probably a Lancastrian, in disguise.

  7. @A. - How could you not believe me when I posted an actual picture?

    @Adullamite - Me too!

    @Stephanie Barr - Point? I don't know. I just blog for fun, really.

    @Lidian - It was probably fun to parallel park. :)

    @Sheila - Are Yorkshiremen thrifty, too? I didn't know that reputation. I'd only heard about the bad fish and chips. Wait, that's the county next door.

    @Jeff King - Hi Jeff. Amazing cars then. Like Lidian says, a different planet almost.

    @Soubriquet - I have a feeling Edsel sold more cars in their worst year than Studebaker did counting ALL their car ines. :) There was nothing wrong with the Edsel, btw, just that people didn't like its futuristic styling. At least it was as reliable as any Ford. Studebaker? Ehhh. I think "cheap" really describes this car.

  8. I looked up Studebakers. They are pretty much unknown over here. It seems they fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
    Nevertheless, they have their admirers. One of the nastiest cars I've ever seen is the Studebaker Avanti.
    It has a crowd of adoring followers. Amazing. Raymond Loewy, um. Well he was a very clever man with a talent for designing ugly things.



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