1925 Studebaker Big Six California Top
Highlights from the 2012 All-American Day, Sydney
When this touring car was built, Studebaker had shortly before adopted four-wheel brakes for its cars, after having publicly slandered any automaker who had adopted them previously. European manufacturers had gone wholly to this better braking system in 1923 and the American industry was reluctantly following suit the next year, but with a great deal of resistance from some, particularly the South Bend automaker. Studebaker did make up for this corporate gaffe by being an innovator within the auto industry during the rest of its history.
No one knew it at the time, but Studebaker was enjoying its most prosperous time in the mid-1920s. The company was then among the largest and most successful independent car makers in America.
While Studebaker did go boots and all into straight-eights from 1928, before that time it was selling a range of sixes – Standard Six, Special Six and the Big Six. The latter was introduced in 1919 and produced about 70 horsepower – which was considerable for a medium-priced car, especially with a side-valve six of just under six litres capacity. It became the choice of cross-country record breakers for a time.
This golden and brown car sports the California Top, which was a sort of fixed roof open touring car. Though the roof did not fold, this body type frequently was equipped with pull-down windows. Being flexible clear celluloid, they could retract like a roller blind for open sided motoring. It was a good compromise between an open and closed car, with a minimum of cost.
- – Igor Spajic