About Studebaker Defense Group

Studebaker Defence Group is a global leader in providing governments, international agencies and private companies with high-risk security, police, defense planning, training, and support services in challenging environments. Over the last several years our staff has conducted operations in over 20 countries. Our years of service have helped to forge strong support assets globally.

The Studebaker Brand History

THE ORIGINAL STUDEBAKER was founded by five brothers of German immigrant parents on February 16, 1852 in South Bend, Indiana. Using money earned by building wheelbarrows for miners during the Great Gold Rush of the 19th century, the brother opened a blacksmith shop. They gained a solid reputation for building the Conestoga wagons, Prairie Schooners and carriages that won the West, eventually winning contracts to build wagons for the Union Army during the Civil War.

Of the hundreds, if not thousands of inventors, tinkerers, engineers, wheelwrights and coachbuilders who dabbled in the advent of the automobile, Studebaker was known to be the only wagon and carriage builder from the beginning of the industrial age to successfully make the leap to the horseless carriages.

THE FIRST ELECTRIC CARS

Studebaker also built its first electric automobile in 1898. It was designed by none other than Thomas Edison. The Company did not begin active production of the electrics however, until 1902 and continued through 1912 when the internal combustion engine became the power source of choice. As today, this was an era of competing technologies.

Over its nine year run, Studebaker built a respectable 2,000 units. By 1911, it was decided that the cumbersome and heavy electrics would be cast aside in favor of gasoline.

WORLD WAR 1 & 2

During WWI, Studebaker dedicated its entire production to the war effort, building wagons, canons, ambulances, water carts and other wheeled equipment. This was not the end of the Company’s contributions to keep America safe.

During WWII and through much of the Korean conflict, Studebaker devoted production, once again, to the war effort. Its plant supported a contract for the US Army Air Force to build Wright R-1830 engine to be used on the Boeing B-17 heavy bomber. By June of 1945, Studebaker had produced 63,789 of the R-1830 engines and from January of 1944 was the exclusive supplier of engines for the B-17 Flying Fortress. As was the case throughout Studebaker’s history, many families were well represented to have had as many as four generations working in the plants at the same time. This a particular source of pride or these families.

Studebaker also built nearly 300,000 trucks during the war, which included nearly 200,000 that went to the allied nations as part of the Lend-Lease program to rebuild Europe.

Starting with the Korean War, Studebaker began making the next version of the 2-1/2 ton 6x6 military truck, the M35, designed by REO. When Studebaker went out of business in the US in December of 1963, the Kaiser Jeep Corporation bought the M35 truck business and used this plant. When American Motors purchased Kaiser Jeep, it then created a subsidiary for the production of military products named AM General, which continued to make the M35 in the [then] former Studebaker plant and became its headquarters location. Today Studebaker is honored by the Studebaker Museum located at: 201 Chapin St, South Bend, IN 46601, USA

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