The Studebaker Company of South Bend, Indiana, were wagon makers since the middle of the 19th century. They were active in commercial vehicle production long before the arrival of the ‘horseless carriage.’ They were one of the nation’s largest builders of horse-pulled vehicles, and their extensive knowledge of suspension systems, axle design, and construction helped them transmission into motorcar production. Their first car was an electric vehicle designed by Thomas Alva Edison and built in 1902. Soon, the company was selling thousands of cars and trucks. Their first gasoline-powered motor car – an 8hp twin – arrived late in 1903 as the company expanded its catalog and catered to nearly every form of road-going transportation. In 1904 a twin-cylinder 16hp chain-driven model was added, followed in 1905 by a 20hp ‘four’ with shaft drive, both of which used chassis supplied by A L Garford of Elyria, Ohio. Through 1911, the cars were marketed under the ‘Studebaker-Garford’ name. Studebaker began marketing E-M-F-built cars in 1908 and eventually took over the Detroit-based manufacturer in 1910 to form the Studebaker Corporation on January 1st, 1911, at which time the link with Garford was severed. By 1913 Studebaker had become the nation’s fourth-largest car builder, and they also built their last horse-drawn carriage that year. Studebaker was now a firmly established marque that would go on to build cars for many more decades.
Four-cylinder engines powered Studebaker vehicles in the early years following its split with Garford, with the Model G-8 being a 40-hp model and the G-10 producing 30 horsepower. The company’s first six-cylinder automobile was the Model E of 1913. Many consider the Model E to be history’s first mass-produced six-cylinder model to have its cylinders cast en bloc (monobloc casting). It was a 288.6 cubic-inch unit with solid valve lifters, a Holley one-barrel side-draft carburetor, and delivered 40 horsepower.
1913 was also the year that Studebaker experienced the first major labor strike in automotive history.
For 1914, Studebaker’s lineup included the four-cylinder SC and the six-cylinder EB. The SC rested on a 108.3-inch wheelbase and was offered as a five-passenger tourer and a two-passenger Landau roadster. Its 192.4 cubic-inch L-head four-cylinder engine offered 25 horsepower and was backed by a three-speed selective sliding gear transmission with a leather-faced cone-type full-floating clutch. There were wood-spoke artillery wheels with the back fitted with external contracting brakes. The EB had a 288.6 cubic-inch engine with 40 horsepower and a three-speed transmission. Its wheelbase measured 121.3 inches.
Styling updates for both the SC and EB, including the relocation from under the front seat to the newly redesigned cowl. Mechanical updates were made to the carburetor feed system, the transmission, and switching to a Wagner two-unit starter/generator system with a six-volt battery.
Four and six-cylinder models would remain a part of Studebaker’s lineup through 1919, and for 1920, the company switched solely to six-cylinder power in various configurations