Necessity is the mother of all invention and nowhere is that idea seen more than the Studebaker Champ. A pickup that was produced by the Studebaker Corporation from only 1960-1964 was born not from innovation, but rather preservation as the company was in need of an upgraded truck despite declining sales.
Simply put, the Champ could be considered akin to Frankenstein’s monster in truck form. The bed and chassis got their start from Studebakers late 40s ½ and ¾-ton models while the cab stems from a more interesting source. Realizing the Lark compact car was similar to the size needed to fit the chassis of the Champ, engineers chopped the Lark behind the front seat to make the trucks front end.
The powerhouses were similar in that they stemmed from existing engines, but varied somewhat. The most powerful was the V8 (seen here) with either a 259 or 289 cu.in option. These engine options would remain through the remainder of the trucks run, which would unfortunately be just a few years after this 1961 was built. Though Champ in name, the truck would become a casualty of its South Bend, IN factory closing.
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