Skybolt Six: ’61 Studebaker Lark
The Studebaker Lark was ingeniously designed using the platform of the full-sized 1953–1958 Studebakers. Engineers reduced the front and rear overhangs and shortened the wheelbase ahead of the firewall. But the car could still seat six people comfortably and hold a surprising amount of luggage. It was hoped that the Lark would save America’s oldest vehicle manufacturer when it was launched as a 1959 model. Sales were brisk mainly because the Big 3 didn’t yet have a suitable compact car and dealers were allowed to represent Studebakers in addition to their Big 3 franchise. In 1961, engineers addressed the relatively unsophisticated flathead six and converted it to an overhead valve design increasing horsepower and maintaining fuel economy. The marketing folks called it the Skybolt Six. Sounds like a James Bond movie title. By this time, the Big 3 started to launch their line-up of compacts and competition grew tough. Buick had a Special, Olds an F-85 and Pontiac a Tempest. The Lark suffered. Sherwood Egbert, the new President, stepped in and hired friend Brook Stevens to redesign the Lark and that kept it alive for a few more years. If Studebaker was still around and they had a museum, we are sure they would try to buy this Lark that frequent contributor Tony B. found. A 22,000 original mile Lark is not necessarily a thing of beauty but you have to appreciate the ability to survive the ravages of time in this condition. Sellers throw around the term time-capsule ad nauseum. Most of the time they are full of crap. But the term would be used correctly here. It has original everything and if you were preparing your Lark for Pebble Beach, you would be using this car as a reference (in addition to the mind altering drugs that made you think Pebble would have you). Buy this pleasant little car by clicking here.