American Dream: The Rise and Fall of Studebaker

By Karen Harris
A happy couple smiling behind a new 1940 Studebaker outdoors in a field. Source: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Standing in a leaking, cold, and shuttered warehouse building in South Bend, Indiana, the city’s mayor, Pete Buttigieg announced his candidacy for president of the United States. He could have chosen a nicer, newer venue for his historic announcement, but he chose this building for a reason. It was once part of the sprawling Studebaker production facility. For more than half of the 20th century, Studebaker dominated the domestic car manufacturing scene, employed generations of workers, and had a reputation for being a company built on the American Dream. So how did the dream turn into a nightmare? Let’s look at the rise and fall of Studebaker.