• Truck Rewind: The 1963 Studebaker-Westinghouse Pickup Truck Concept – Their Final Design

    The 1963 Studebaker-Westinghouse Pickup Truck Concept was simple and inexpensive compact runabout with an 8-foot bed. It also represented one of the last vehicles to be designed by Studebaker before they closed their doors for good.

    Studebaker did build several trucks in its time, but it was never the main emphasis for the automaker.

    On the verge of bankruptcy Studebaker was approached by Westinghouse asking them to build a simple, inexpensive vehicle that they could use for in-town deliveries. Studebaker just completed one of its last projects, several Zip-Vans for the U.S. Post Office. This USPS order kept them afloat while the desperately tried to acquire more contracts.

    Built using many off-the-shelf parts, the The 1963 Studebaker-Westinghouse Pickup Truck Concept was 168-inches long, 72″ wide, 78″ high and it had a 95″ wheelbase. To put that into perspective, the current Nissan Frontier King Cab has a 125.9″ wheelbase.

    The 1963 Studebaker-Westinghouse Pickup Truck Concept used the same 289 cid engine used in their other products. It was placed directly underneath the cab-over compartment and was mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission that had a manual hold option known as “power-shift.” 

    Designed to be very simple to stamp, there are only a few curved lines on the body. It was as basic as can be both externally and internally. There were only a few internal components including a few switches and one small, main gage cluster. The steering wheel was nearly horizontal, like many trucks and busses of the day.

    There was a panel-van version built as well, but it seems there are no photos of this vehicle.

    All hope ended for the possible production of the 1963 Studebaker-Westinghouse Pickup Truck Concept when Studebaker closed its South Bend complex in December 1963.





    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    9 thoughts on “Truck Rewind: The 1963 Studebaker-Westinghouse Pickup Truck Concept – Their Final Design

    1. So is someone buying a 1963 Studebaker to compete with Tommy’s 1961 Scout? I want 0-60’s, Gauntlet and a 2.0 showdown.

      Looks like if you brake hard with no load and two guys up front it will kiss the pavement. I could see SpongeBob in this.

    2. Nathan – – –

      “Studebaker did build several trucks in its time, but it was never the main emphasis for the automaker.”

      Actually, from the late 1940’s through the 1950’s , Studebaker made some of the most attractive and innovative pickup trucks on the American market, as in the E-series. If you check “Classic Trucks” or “Vintage Trucks” magazines, you will see them really prized, amidst a sea of old Chevys and Fords.
      The demise of Studebaker, after its merger with Packard, was IMO, one of the saddest stories in American trucks history, paralleled only by demise of the Tucker automobiles.
      It isn’t always the “best man” who wins, but the one who has the best advertising and marketing….


      1. Modern day Tesla, Bollinger and Workhorse and a few more face the same cunundrum. But they do force the big cheeses to do better. IMO its not right. We need outside competition to have a chance at success to enforce change that brings us a better product in the end. I think a lot of the automakers dont compete at all, but rather work in collusion to do as little as possible. Likely a fuel industry panel of aliens standing on the entire pile of shit somewhere.

        1. Rambro – – –

          R: “Modern day Tesla, Bollinger and Workhorse and a few more face the same cunundrum. But they do force the big cheeses to do better.”

          Yes. And with regard to the overpriced Tesla S, both Mercedes Benz and BMW are preparing e-products for a massive assault. In Europe, they cannot allow Tesla to survive.

          The reality is this: The Patent process now gives an innovator 20 years of “protection”.
          1) If you innovate WITHIN that envelope, you’re all set, — unless somebody skirts your patents, or innovates with something better. (Think Dupont’s “Teflon”.)
          2) If you innovate OUTSIDE that protective envelope, using already existing, established technologies, you will be eaten alive. (Think of the examples I used in my original post above.)

          That’s just the way it is. I spent my career in technical and marketing development in 5 different industries: I know what I am talking about, and have seen it all.

          But there is one exception: economics. If a new upstart manufacturer develops proprietary (secret) manufacturing methods (for a novel product) that allow a low cost-of-sales, and thereby a low consumer price, — and hits the market with a blitz — he will also win the game, at least in the short term. (Think “Hula Hoops”.) But ironically, the low “cost-of-sales”, even without novel products, is the driving force behind many our goods being made in China. And when they import THEIR cars here (EV or not), Tesla AND Mercedes Benz AND BMW will have many sleepless nights (^_^)…


        2. Rambro – – –

          Speaking of Tesla, you may enjoy Chris Harris’s recent review:


          CONCLU: He was impressed re acceleration; has was not happy with its “porpoising” on bumpy roads, with its antiseptic interior; with its rapid regenerative braking in ordinary traffic )which means that one has to get on-and-off throttle match what everyone else is doing), or with its limited top speed not suitable for Autobahn driving.


    3. It drives me nuts, when automotive writers feel compelled to venture into the world on financial analysis. Studebaker was not on the verge of bankruptcy at the time the truck was designed. To the contrary, the company was very profitable. Starting in 1961 the company started a diversification program that would lead the company out of automotive production. By 1963, Studebaker owned Clark Vacuums, Gravely Tractor, Onan Generators and STP Chemicals. The diversified company was absorbed into McGraw Industires in 1979.

    4. Lot of theory’s of the dimise of studebaker, but one thing is for certain there was a lot of auto manufacturers at the time when studebaker was in business. That might have been been a bigger roll than anything. Could studebaker come back on it’s own today with out government assistance (like Tesla)? I doubt it.

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