Home » Studebaker Is Still Around In A Way You’d Never Expect: COTD

Studebaker Is Still Around In A Way You’d Never Expect: COTD

Cotd Studebaker
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Studebaker is just one of many awesome automobile brands that never got the chance to see the modern day. The automaker, which started life as a wagon builder, produced some fabulous vehicles and was a proponent of the car-based pickup truck. Studebaker is dead and gone now, but a part of it literally lives on in northern Indiana.

In 1926, Studebaker built a test track in Indiana. And in 1938, the company planted 5,000 trees next to that track, but not merely to provide shade and beauty for those on the ground. When viewed from the air, the trees spelled STUDEBAKER in leafy green. After Studebaker closed, the track was passed onto Bendix and then Bosch. Today, it’s a test track for Navistar. And those trees? They’re still around, and still spreading the Studebaker word. This was pointed out by Harvey Firebirdman in Mark’s Shitbox Showdown:

Vidframe Min Top
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Also fun fact Studebaker had one of the largest natural advertisements you could see from satellite images/plane at their old proving grounds in Indiana. The trees are actually still there and you can still see that it says Studebaker from a Google satellite view of what is now the Navistar Proving Ground and they are actually under some sort of protection to keep the ad (trees) up

I fired up a maps app, and sure enough, there they were!

Studebaker Trees Inset

Studebaker Cotd Highlight

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Why did Studebaker plant its name in trees in a manner that you couldn’t see from the ground? Well, planes were really taking off in the 1930s and if you flew over New Carlisle, Indiana, you got to witness what was reported to be the world’s largest living advertisement. The ad is still around today, even when Studebaker isn’t. It’s an awesome landmark to see when you’re flying a Cessna.

Today, Lewin wrote about the dastardly way Ford tricked emissions in the 1970s. Holly Birge makes a good point about the lives we can live today:

I’m just going to say that I am old enough to remember when you could taste the air. Modern emissions standards are a good thing. And wow was that half-assed.

The next time you see a classic car go by, take a sniff and I bet you’ll be able to taste the exhaust. I know it’s often like that with the old motorcycles I play with. It’s amazing how far we’ve come!

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Finally, let’s stop at Thomas and his piece about the new Ford Capri crossover. As LTDScott points out, the Capri’s nameplate has gotten around!

I am outraged! The Capri name should be only be used for full size Lincoln luxury cars!

Err I mean it should only be used for German sport coupes!

Actually, it should only be used on American muscle cars!

No, it should only be used on small roadsters!

Have a great evening, everyone!

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NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
7 days ago

Mercedes… if you have not been yet… the Studebaker Museum in South Bend is fantastic.

And for some other Chicago-area lost history, Meadowdale Raceway is now a park. https://kaneforest.com/location/raceway-woods

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
3 days ago
Reply to  NosrednaNod

There’s a Packard museum in Dayton Ohio, too. I bet you could combine that with the Air Force Museum and the various Wright Brothers sites for a few articles from one trip.

YourMedic
YourMedic
7 days ago

Ah, we knew it as Bendix Woods as a kid, and we visited several times for picnics and birthday parties. The trees were planted in a grid so it was clear people had planted them for some reason, but as a kid I didn’t realize they formed letters.

Aaron Bowen
Aaron Bowen
7 days ago

That property is about to get extra valuable as New Carlisle just got a whole large tract of land that will be home to data centers like Amazon and Microsoft immediately north of there.

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
7 days ago
Reply to  Aaron Bowen

Also the GM battery plant

Luxobarge
Luxobarge
7 days ago

planes were really taking off in the 1930s

I see what you did there, Mercedes.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
7 days ago

I thought Studebaker still lives on as STP

Aaron
Aaron
7 days ago

Like a lot of automakers, Studebaker had it’s fingers in many pies over the years. They owned STP, Onan Generators, and Gravely Tractors at one point or another. There’s also arguably a direct line from Studabeker to AM General as Kaiser was able to expand to defense contracts beyond Jeep when they purchased one of Studebaker’s factories and heavy military truck contracts.

But those were all acquisitions that were later spun off or companies founded using the bones of Studebaker.

Last edited 7 days ago by Aaron
Protodite
Protodite
7 days ago

Are you kidding me?! I flew a few Cessnas from South Bend airport while in college and there is so little else to see from the air how did I miss this!?!

Vb9594
Vb9594
7 days ago

I honestly thought we were going to find out they still make horse drawn wagons.

Protodite
Protodite
7 days ago
Reply to  Vb9594

I mean the Indiana Amish community is not that far away haha

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
7 days ago

Me COTD? *Insert Wayne’s World were not worthy gif* but in all seriousness I think it would be cool as I said in a comment on the other article if you guys could get a writer possibly go to the Studebaker museum in South bend and possibly to the cars and coffee the museum host with a Studebaker club at The Proving grounds. Think it is in early September this year. Mercedes you are in Illinois sooo haha

Protodite
Protodite
7 days ago

Oh my god it’s September 7th, so it does overlap with the home opener. Cars & Coffee and a game!

Aaron
Aaron
7 days ago

A weird historical location from a funky defunct American automaker… I smell a good opportunity for a Midwest Autopian meet…

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
7 days ago

There’s also the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum in Auburn, Indiana – that would be a great place for a midwest meetup. Been there a bunch of times, usually during the ACD festival in the fall.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
7 days ago

Even funner (or worser) fact: Studebaker has been resurrected as a zombie brand to sell shitty made-in-China boomboxes on HSN. Maybe in 50 years we’ll be able to buy ‘Oldsmobile’ branded bluetooth speakers! Or a ‘Plymouth’ set of headphones!

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
7 days ago

There is also some company that is supposed to revive the Studebaker-packard brand next year. I think this is different from those radios haha

Aaron
Aaron
7 days ago

I saw one of those record players at a friend’s house. Since I grew up around classic Studebakers, I asked him about it. only for him to be dumbfounded at the origin of the name. At least the crappy Crosley record players make sense… that old car company actually made audio equipment back in the day.

M. Park Hunter
M. Park Hunter
7 days ago
Reply to  Aaron

It’s probably more accurate to say the radio company made cars. Crosley was the “Henry Ford of radio” and very successful at it. The radio and appliance fortune allowed him to indulge his passion for building cars – nifty cars, but never super successful. He and Henry J. Kaiser both proved the adage: “Want to make a small fortune building cars? Start with a large fortune.”

The Pigeon
The Pigeon
7 days ago

Navistar bought the grounds off of Bosch who got them earlier from Bendix (Hence “Bendix Woods” nearby) who got them from Studebaker, if I have my timeline right. I love seeing these continue to endure, since apparently the Studebaker Grove had sustained some damage in a storm a few years back. Good on VW (since Navistar is now a Traton/VW Commercial subsidiary) to keep the heritage alive.

lastwraith
lastwraith
5 days ago
Reply to  The Pigeon

Don’t give VW too much credit. Even though the woods were added to the National Register of Historic Places, it took a volunteer group to help spruce up the trees.
(at least according to an article I saw that offers a fairly lengthy explanation of the whole place – https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/studebaker-did-things-in-a-big-way-two-giant-cars-and-a-living-sign-you-can-still-see-from-space/ )

Last edited 5 days ago by lastwraith
Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
7 days ago

The Capri name should only be used for drinks in foil pouches

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
8 days ago

The Capri name should only be used on women’s below-the-knee trousers.

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