Here’s the Porsche-powered Studebaker you never knew existed


Although viewing the Studebaker Countrywide Museum in South Bend, Indiana this week, I can not say I was expecting to locate something inside that may possibly be even tangentially Porsche-relevant. Whilst Studebaker did agreement Porsche to construct a handful of prototypes, including a entrance-motor V6 sedan in the early-1950s, none at any time came to move. This is not that auto, nor was it commissioned by either Studebaker or Porsche. It is a 1959 Studebaker Lark powered by a 1500cc Porsche 356 motor stuck out again.

As the story goes, New Jersey-centered Curtiss-Wright acquired the Lark for the engineering physical exercise, and stripped it of its authentic front-engine/rear-generate managing equipment. Utilizing the 60-ish horsepower Porsche motor and some Volkswagen Bus bits, the company cobbled with each other a rear-engine aircooled Lark. Looking at the “compact” Lark was rather a little bit larger and heavier than a 356, and its smallest motor from the factory—a 170 cubic inch inline six—produced close to 90 horsepower, the aircooled Lark could barely be regarded as rapid or sporty. Heck, at the time Studebaker supplied a V8-powered Lark that could sprint from zero to sixty in under 10 seconds, a major feat for the late 1950s. I concern this Porsche-run Lark may possibly not have been able to even realize sixty!

In any scenario, Curtiss-Wright experienced just lately won the rights to develop Wankel-type rotary engines in the U.S. less than contract from German automaker NSU. The corporation planned to use the engines in plane, but some believe that this Porsche-Stude mashup was supposed to be a prototype for a new rear-motor rotary-run American compact. Curtiss-Wright engineers formulated a gasoline tank and spare tire mount program in the Lark’s original engine compartment which seemed most likely manufacturing-all set, and eliminated the transmission tunnel from the vehicle to exhibit the flat-ground comforts afforded by going the engine to the back.

The prototype hardly ever produced it past that phase, of course, and the vehicle was rapidly neglected about. Potentially it was a pet job of somebody at Curtiss-Wright, or most likely it was a fast hodge-podge that nobody took any notes about, but there’s incredibly little documentation about this auto out in the earth. Seemingly it was bought off as a typical aged utilized car or truck. These days it sits in the reduce gallery open up storage of the Studebaker museum, telling its untold story. And a odd a single at that. If you are at any time in the area, you owe it to you to end in and check out out this oddball of Porsche-adjacent heritage.


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