1935 Studebaker Dictator 6-Cylinder Sedan
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 205-cid|
Hailing from South Bend, Indiana, the Studebaker Brothers began building horse-drawn wagons and buggies in the late 19th Century, before developing an electric powered vehicle designed by the legendary Thomas Edison in 1902. By 1904, Studebaker had supplemented their battery-powered cars with a new gasoline-fuelled model and like most the American auto industry, the internal combustion engine quickly became the mainstay of production. By 1913 the Studebaker was available in both four and six-cylinder models, both with monoblock engine casting. Four-wheel braking was adopted as a standard feature in 1926 and Studebakers were some of the most advanced and stylish cars sold in America during the Roaring Twenties. Following the Great Depression, Studebaker fell on hard times, the takeover of Pierce-Arrow in 1928 proving a financial disaster, and the Company ultimately went into receivership in March 1933. Following a major shake-up (and ensuing publicity campaign with the slogan “Studebaker Carries On”) a rationalised model range was launched in 1934, with three distinct models – the Dictator Six, the Commander Eight and President Eight. The Dictator, a model name last seen in 1931, returned as Studebaker’s entry-level six with bold new styling promoted with the ‘Year Ahead’ slogan, featuring skirted fenders, a raked radiator, slanted bonnet louvers and a beltline molding that ran the length of the body. Notable features on the Dictator included Autolite ignition, ‘Steeldraulic’ brakes and safety glass, while the upmarket Regal model was six-wheel equipped. A new dashboard was another selling point. All Dictators were powered by Studebaker’s 205-cid six developing 88 horsepower at 3,600 rpm, driving through a three-speed transmission. Under the direction of new president Paul G Hoffman, the Studebaker’s line-up for 1935 saw a mild facelift of the ‘Year Ahead’ styling introduced the previous season, with a narrower grille, bullet-shaped headlamps and straight bumpers. A choice of two, four and five-passenger coupes and sedans were offered in 1935, while mechanical improvements saw the unreliable mechanical braking system replaced by a more conventional hydraulic system across the range, along with Planar independent front suspension and the option of a Warner Gear automatic overdrive. The public’s warm reception to Studebaker’s revamped model range continued, the South Bend concern placing a respectable ninth in the industry standings for 1935.