Champion of the Lark

Harold Churchill and the Presidency of Studebaker-Packard, 1956–1961


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SKU: 9780786474202 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

A career engineer at Studebaker, Harold E. Churchill became president of the recently merged Studebaker-Packard Corporation in 1956, at a time when finances were shaky and an aging product line was losing ground to the Big Three. Quickly launching a program of “realism and common sense,” he focused the company’s energies on a few selected market segments where he saw opportunities for gain. His vision for a compact economy car led to the Lark, the hit model that Studebaker desperately needed.
This thorough examination of Churchill’s leadership of Studebaker-Packard draws upon Board of Directors minutes, internal documents, oral histories and media reports in constructing a detailed account of these crucial years. In addition to covering the cars and trucks produced under Churchill in detail, it closely traces Churchill’s actions as president and analyzes his motivations, the pressures he faced, his leadership style and the success or failure of his tenure.

About the Author(s)

Robert R. Ebert, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of economics at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, and the secretary of the Society of Automotive Historians. He has authored or co-authored books and numerous articles on automotive history including on Studebaker and Packard. He lives in North Ridgeville, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Robert R. Ebert
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: 97 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7420-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0202-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1 • From Boy Tinkerer to Automotive Engineer 9

2 • Erskines, Rocknes, Champions, Weasels and Merger 14

3 • Accepting and Facing the Challenge 28

4 • The Lark Miracle 55

5 • Evolution of the Lark 73

6 • Churchill—Beyond the Presidency 91

7 • Churchill Era Studebaker-Packard Products: An Assessment 99

8 • Harold E. Churchill in Retrospect and Perspective 131

Appendix A: Studebaker Sedan Styling Evolution, 1953–1966 157

Appendix B: Studebaker Sport Coupe Styling Evolution, 1953–1964 162

Appendix C: Studebaker-Packard Vehicle Specifications, 1953–1966 166

Chapter Notes 175

Bibliography 181

Index 187

Book Reviews & Awards

“Robert Ebert is definitely the person to pen this very readable history of a difficult time in Studebaker’s history. Having access to the corporate board minutes, oral histories, internal documents, media reports and more, Ebert has taken what could be a difficult to read subject and made it interesting, informative and understandable”—Antique Automobile; “if you are already familiar with the history you now will gain additional insights reading of the thinking and decision making processes that preceded the various public announcements”—SAH Journal; “a worthy addition to your library…lucid, readable and interesting”—SpeedReaders; “fashionable black and white photographs form the 1950s and early 1960s complement the text”—Reference & Research Book News.