LIFE SPAN: 1852-1967
RISE TO POWER: Started by the five Studebaker brothers as a builder of stagecoaches, it began building bodies for gasoline-powered vehicles under a partnership with Garford and E-M-F. In 1911, after complaints about the quality of the cars, Studebaker bought E-M-F and began building cars itself. Thanks in part to building the industry's first automotive testing grounds, it was a huge success. Soon, the company was building over 200,000 cars a year.
NOTABLE MODELS: Big Six Touring, Phaeton, Commander Starlight
DEATH KNELL: Although Studebaker was able to weather the Great Depression and, for the most part, World War II, it couldn't withstand the war brewing between the Big Three American automakers: Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford. Studebaker was known to spend the most on employee labor costs and manufacturing, and with the big three cutting costs wherever they could, Studebaker couldn't keep up. After a failed merger with Packard, it was forced to close plants and bow out from the automotive business.