This weekend will see the world's collector car crowds descend on Las Vegas, NV for one of the biggest shows on Barrett-Jackson's popular auction circuit. There are hundreds of vehicles up for bidding, ranging from a brand-new Lamborghini Aventador to a spattering of Art Deco classics and a huge swath of classic muscle cars.
In the 1950s and early 60s, the dawn of nuclear power was supposed to lead to a limitless consumer culture, a world of flying cars and autonomous kitchens all powered by clean energy. In Europe, it offered the then-limping continent a cheap, inexhaustible supply of power after years of rationing and infrastructure damage brought on by two World Wars.
A 1951 Studebaker fastback might not be the first vehicle to come to mind when we think "Woody," but here one sits on the SEMA show floor. There's a reason for that: Studebaker didn't make a woody or a fastback in 1951, according to Hot Rod. Hill's Rod & Custom came up with the creation, hired a professional to design it and took on the challenge to build it.
The conductor and orchestra – and the chap who's tap-dancing on the rear fender – are life sized. The Studebaker they're having a ball in and on, however, is ginormous; it's a massive wooden prop for a promo film from 1930 called Wild Flowers, and a wonderfully cheesy reminder of the lives our grandparents and great grandparents considered everyday.
For someone looking to resuscitate a car company that last produced vehicles during the Johnson Administration, R.W. Reed, CEO of the long-defunct Studebaker Motor Co. sure picked an odd model name for the effort to be taken seriously. But at least he's shooting for the latest technology.
The annals of automotive history are filled with nameplates that weren't quite able to survive the boom and bust nature of the business, especially here in the United States. One of the most successful orphaned automakers was Studebaker, remembered fondly for such design gems as the bullet-nosed post-World War II Starlight and trend-setting fiberglass-bodied Avanti.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing Studebaker ever did was the Avanti, but certainly the biggest thing it ever did was plant a "Studebaker" sign composed of nearly 5,000 trees. The leafy advertisement resides in what is now a park in St. Joseph County, Indiana, but was Studebaker's proving grounds at the time it was planted.
Brand revival has become a hot trend in the automotive industry, but while European marques like MINI, Maybach, Bugatti and Spyker have returned to the limelight, American automakers have yet to climb on board. According to this Brandjunkie survey conducted by Interbrand's website brandchannel.com, the public most wants to see the retired American auto marques Oldsmobile and Studebaker revived. The gone-but-not-forgotten car brands follow names like Pan Am and Atari on the list, which also happe