Monday Museum Musings

Yesterday, as a delayed Fathers Day gift my wonderful wife and I took her parents to the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Her father is a big Studebaker fan and the museum is currently hosting a large Studebaker exhibit. Although my wife and I are museum members the nearly 200-mile round trip keeps us from visiting more often than we do.

Perhaps the big highlight for me was seeing the Studebaker Sceptre concept car in person for the first time. The car is on loan to the AACA Museum from the Studebaker museum in South Bend, Indiana. Without further ado:



By the way, showing photos in this blog is why I am glad I still use a desktop computer with a big monitor. I’m sorry, but you just can’t appreciate photos from the screen of a smartphone.

I think Brooks Stevens was a genius. After his death in 1995 the New York Times called him “a major force in industrial design.” Another great Stevens design was the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. In the bottom most of the four photos above you can see the red ’64 in the upper left. Here are some better pictures:



This is probably the finest GT Hawk I’ve ever seen. Stevens redesigned the Hawk, by this time a dated looking car, for a pittance and came up with a car that still looks good today. Tell me why I’ve left the GT Hawk out of both Ultimate Garages…

The AACA Museum is also hosting a small Pontiac exhibit that includes three GTOs. The only one of real interest to me is this one, a 1964 model.



It means nothing to anyone else, but I find something interesting in the fact that the last model year for the Studebaker GT Hawk is the same as the first year for the Pontiac GTO, 1964. I was just a wee lad, but I was alive at that time.

We all had a marvelous time. Kudos to Bill and to Warren, two volunteers at the museum who were so generous with their time and knowledge.










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Saturday Studebaker Sceptre

OK, as I have written many, many times I have an (unhealthy) obsession with defunct American makes. Studebaker is one of those companies, ending US production of automobiles in 1963 and overall production in 1966 although 56packardman wrote an interesting post suggesting that Studebaker may have produced some cars in other countries a little longer. Anyway…

See the source image

From a picture of the Studebaker Sceptre concept car. Concept cars have been an important part of the automotive industry ever since the first one: the Buick Y-Job of 1938. (I will post about that car soon.) These cars often signal what car makers are thinking and in some instances are almost production-ready. The Camaro and Challenger reboots came after near production-ready concepts were shown.

This car was supposed to replace the tired Studebaker Hawk, but the company didn’t have enough money for a complete re-tooling so Brooks Stevens was given a pittance to redesign the car and did a masterful job, especially under the circumstances, creating the Gran Turismo Hawk. The Avanti was introduced as a halo car instead of the Sceptre, in part because it was made with a fiberglass body (the Sceptre body was supposed to be metal), which is cheaper and easier for tooling.

Studebaker Sceptre hi








From (recommendation deleted) another picture of the Sceptre. I’m not sure what the drivetrain or suspension or brakes were supposed to be on this car.

How does that famous saying go? “Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest to me are these: It might have been.”