Original price: $2,220.00 base price (Pickup)
On loan from: Studebaker National Foundation, Palm Springs, CA
Original owner: Chester Bradfield
Number made: 5,500
Engine, etc.: 170 cu. in., L-head, 6 cylinder, 90 h.p. Optional: 245 cu. in., 6 cylinder with 118 h.p. or a pair of V-8’s with 259 or 289 cu. in. and 180 h.p. or 210 h.p.
The Champ had the grill of the Lark, a pickup bed, and poor prospects for a long-term future. Styling for the trucks hadn’t changed in more than ten years and sales were decreasing. This forced the company to use several existing components for the new version.
The chassis was basically the same as in Studebaker’s ½ and ¾ ton E-series trucks since 1949. The cab was redesigned to compete with the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino. Designers put the front end of Studebaker’s new-for 1959 Lark on a truck chassis with a regular pickup bed. Because of cost considerations an entirely new cab was out of the question, but the new Lark’s compact body was just the right size. Engineers took a four-door sedan, cut it in half behind the front doors and modified the front half to fit the truck chassis.
The narrow cargo box had been used on 2R-series trucks. The wider cargo box was introduced in 1961 and came from the Dodge C-Series after a deal between Studebaker and Dodge. Both cargo boxes were available in short and long versions.
Champ bumpers were heavier and mounted lower since the pickup sat higher off the ground. The view from inside, however, was that of driving a Lark.
For an extra $38 a trim kit could be ordered that included a chrome grille and trim, pleated vinyl upholstery, and a sliding rear window which Studebaker was the first to offer. An optional radio and heater cost $130. The Champ had a wide comfortable bench seat and well styled interior.
Annual Champ production was 5,500 in both 1960 and 1961. It rose to 7,325 in 1962 and then went down to 5,861 in 1963. Production for the final version in 1964 was only 2,509 vehicles.
Studebaker also made the camper. This was at the beginning of the recreational vehicle era.
http://oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Studebaker/1961%20Studebaker/1961%20Studebaker%20Champ%20Trucks%20Specs/image1.html (Specifications) (Original dealer brochure)