Friday, March 30, 2012

"Those Studebakers sure were ahead of their time," he said.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker while waiting for a cup of coffee on break, and he asked about my car. During this conversation, he mentioned that Studebakers were ahead of their time. Of course, he was referring to their styling--which is true and which had a huge impact on cars of the following decade.

But Studebaker wasn't just ahead of their time as rolling artforms. Here's a list of just a few of their engineering and safety firsts:

  • In 1919 they were the first to use pressed steel throughout their construction.
  • In 1921 they were the first to develop (and patent) molybdenum steel and to produce a car using it.
  • In 1927 they were the first to use a mechanical fuel pump.
  • In 1930 they were the first to use free-wheeling (this was a huge step forward in driveability.) That year also saw them introduce automatic vacuum spark advance control (improved fuel economy.)
  • In 1935 they were the first to use planar wheel suspension
  • In 1936 they were the first to use an automatic hill holder.
  • In 1937 they were the first to use a variable ratio steering gear and direct acting shock absorber. They also started using double wall pickup bodies on trucks (another first.)
  • In 1946 they were the first to introduce postwar styling. They also threw in self-adjusting brakes (another first.)
  • In 1953 they were the first to use a high efficiency paper air filter.
  • In 1954 they were the first to use self-centering, self-energizing brakes.
  • In 1955 they developed interlocking safety door latches (which means I need to check my door latches!)
  • In 1956 they were the first passenger car to use acoustical sound deadening-headlining.
  • In 1961 they were the first to have instrument panel safety padding standard on all passenger car models.
  • In 1962 they were the first U.S. auto manufacturer to offer caliper type disc brakes on a full sized car, the first to install seat belt mountings for four belts in every car, first to introduce a built in roll bar, adn the first to make transistorized ignition standard equipment.
  • In 1963 they were the first to install seat belts in the front seat of every car in its line. They were also the first to introduce a sliding roof station wagon.

No comments:

Post a Comment