Studebaker started out as a family owned company and blossomed into a nationwide automotive powerhouse. Unfortunately, the company closed its doors in 1966. A few relics from Studebaker’s heydey remain, however. Today the staff at Community Blog Online speaks with Bobby Price, avid car collector and proud owner of a 1935 Studebaker Commander.
Community Blog Online: As a community-oriented site, we get questions of all kinds. Lately, cars have been a hot topic. You’re a collector, right?
Bobby Price: I am, yes!
Community Blog Online: What is your primary area of focus in collecting?
Bobby Price: Anything with wheels!
Community Blog Online: You have a pretty diverse collection then?
Bobby Price: You could say that! I’ve got stock cars, muscle cars, motorcycles, and even an old restored fire truck from the 1980s.
Community Blog Online: What would you say is your most unique acquisition?
Bobby Price: I think they are all special. But the one that really turns heads is a 1935 Studebaker Commander.
Community Blog Online: I bet it does! Can you tell me what’s so unique about this car?
Bobby Price: It has such a distinctive look. Everything from the long front end to the wide side steps. It’s a real attention grabber.
Community Blog Online: There’s probably not a lot of those around anymore…
Bobby Price: No, there isn’t, and that’s a shame. It’s a very cool looking car.
Community Blog Online: Do you take it to shows?
Bobby Price: Of course! It even has a custom show trailer.
Community Blog Online: Can you give the readers a bit of history about Studebaker and the Commander?
Bobby Price: The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was founded in 1852. There were five brothers and they started out building wagons. Exactly 50 years after inception, Studebaker released its first electric vehicle. Two years later, in 1904, the company started manufacturing gas vehicles under the name Studebaker Automobile Company.
Community Blog Online: They had help in the early years, right?
Bobby Price: Yes, at first the company partnered with the Garford Company. Later the brothers worked with E-M-F Company. It wasn’t until 1912 that Studebaker fully manufactured its own gasoline vehicles.
Community Blog Online: The company had it down by the 20s, right?
Bobby Price: With a fury! Studebaker actually built the first proving ground in the US in 1925.
Community Blog Online: What’s a proving ground?
Bobby Price: A custom test track is a controlled roadway designed to prove road-worthiness and simulate real driving conditions.
Community Blog Online: Is it still operational?
Bobby Price: It’s now a public park!
Community Blog Online: Getting back to the car. When was the first Commander built?
Bobby Price: In 1927. It was released as a continuation of Studebaker’s “Big Six” line.
Community Blog Online: Are these cars fast?
Bobby Price: Not by today’s standards but the Commander broke records in its day.
Community Blog Online: Such as…?
Bobby Price: A Commander driven by Norman Smith broke a land record for traveling 3,000 miles faster than any other car before.
Community Blog Online: 3,000 miles is a long way.
Bobby Price: It is, and he pummeled the record by over 12 hours. Despite having to cross a flooded river and travel over 450 miles in a violent rainstorm…
Community Blog Online: It would be interesting to see how the car would have fared in favorable conditions!
Bobby Price: You’re right about that. Unfortunately, Studebaker closed its doors forever in 1966.
Community Blog Online: That’s sad indeed!
Bobby Price: Many of the great car manufacturers fell far too early.
Community Blog Online: No doubt. We’ll close on that reflective thought and again say thank you for chatting with us today.
Bobby Price: My pleasure.
Bobby Price has been collecting any and everything with wheels since he was a teenager. He enjoys sharing his love of automobiles and automobile history and frequently attends shows and events to raise awareness of these amazing vehicles.