International Drive Your Studebaker Day

International Drive Your Studebaker Day is an official event of the Studebaker Drivers Club (SDC).  It is held on the 2nd Saturday of September.

Studebaker was an American business founded in 1852 that focused on manufacturing wagons, buggies, carriages and horse harnesses.

Studebaker Light Six and an Overland Mystery tourer competing in the R.A.C.Q. reliability trial, 1924. Negative number 20916, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Left hand vehicle is a Studebaker Light Six 1923 model from USA. Right vehicle is an Overland Mystery ca. 1924. Both are tourers. The right hand vehicle marks the Control Point

The origins of the name “Studebaker” began with Henry and Clement Studebaker who opened a blacksmith shop in Indiana in the United States, manufacturing horse-drawn wagons during the American Civil War.

Studebaker horse carriages had four wheels and a carriage front suspension for a smooth ride. They looked similar to the wagon in this photograph from the John Oxley Library which belonged to travelling  photographers Reckitt & Mills. They were known as the Queensland Photo Company as they travelled around in this buggy carrying their tent, supplies and photographic equipment. They visited places as widespread as Brisbane, Laidley, Roma, St George, Charleville, Tambo, Blackall, Aramac and Clermont.

5692 Brier Photographs, Image number APE-014-01-0001, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. 

In 1902 Studebaker entered the automotive business with electric vehicles and in 1904 transferred to gasoline vehicles.

Advertisment for Studebaker. Image from Autopedia.

In Queensland Studebakers were sold through the Canada Cycle and Motor Agency. In 1926 factory representatives from Studebaker in the United States travelled out to Queensland, meeting sales representatives and assessing Queensland's driving conditions. This was reported in Mackay's Daily Mercury on 1 May 1926, Studebaker Cars.

Premises of Canada Cycle and Motor Agency Ltd, Brisbane, Queensland. Negative number 162794, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. 

Studebaker gained a reputation for quality, durability and reliability. However the corporation was on the brink of catastrophe several times and barely continued trading after its first decade.  In March 1933 the company entered receivership due to the great depression, but recovered by December 1933 with 224 new dealers.

From 1950 Studebaker declined rapidly and by 1954 the company was again losing money. Studebaker turned to arranging a strategic takeover by Packard but the deal never went ahead due to the lack of demand for their vehicles. The company closed in 1963 with the Studebaker South Bend plant in Indiana rolling the last car off the assembly line on December 20th, 1963.

Norman Olsen's Studebaker tourer, 1918. Negative number 51470, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. 

See our OneSearch catalogue for more images of Studebakers in Queensland from the John Oxley Library collection. A small selection have also been uploaded to our Studebaker Automobile Flickr album. 


What happened to Studebaker. WSBT-TV YouTube channel. 


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Brilliant, thanks for sharing this info. This is all very interesting 🙂

Check the State Library's 1923 volume of the 'List of Motor Owners in Queensland: names, addresses, make of cars' :…
to find out Norman Olsen's Studebaker's number plate, and where Olsen lived.. it will also tell you who else owned a Studebaker.. more about this tome can be found in our blog:…