1933 Studebaker Rockne Sedan (RHD)
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 190-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 in 1902, designed by the legendary Thomas Edison. Early on Studebaker had supplemented the 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 one 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. In an attempt to diversify the model range, Studebaker introduced a less expensive model, badged the Rockne, for the 1932 model year. Named after the famous coach of the Notre Dame football team, Knute Rockne, recently appointed sales promotion manager of the Studebaker Corporation by Albert Erskine, the model was offered in two series, the 65 and 75 and was built in Detroit. Key features of the affordable Rockne included hydraulic shock absorbers, key start, self adjusting spring shackles electro-plated pistons and a counterweighted crankshaft. The Rockne used an L-head six-cylinder engine, initially of either 190 or 205 cubic inches (delivering 66 or 72 horsepower respectively) but for 1933 just one motor was offered, the 190-cid, good for 70 horsepower and lively performance. The aerodynamic styling featured one-piece fenders, partly enclosed on 1933 models, which all shared the same 110-inch wheelbase. Around a dozen different body styles were catalogued in 1933, offering the buyer a huge choice but stiff competition from Ford’s new V8 proved the Rockne’s undoing. Studebaker built 22,715 Rockne cars in 1932 but this fell to 12,531 the following year, making the 1933 models a rarity today.