The Champion was an automobile of the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend IN. Production for the model began at the beginning of the 1939 model year and continued until 1958, when the model was phased out in preparation for the 1959 Lark. Prior to that time, Studebaker had been placed under receivership, and the company was trying to return to a profitable position.
Success of the Champion in 1939 was imperative to Studebaker’s survival following weak sales during the 1938 model year.
Unlike most other cars, the Champion was designed from a "clean sheet"; that is, having no restrictions caused by necessarily utilizing older parts or requiring the subsequent use of its components in heavier vehicles. Careful market research guided the selection of features, but a key principle adhered to was the engineering watchword "Weight is the enemy." For its size, it was one of the lightest cars of its era; its main competitor in this regard being the Willys Americar, which did not have so thorough going a design process. And the engineering was good; its compact straight 6 engine was maintained to the end of the 1964 model year.
The Champion was one of Studebaker's best-selling models by virtue of its low price (US$660 for the two-door business coupe in 1939), durable engine and styling. Styling for the car was handled by industrial designer Raymond Loewy who was under contract with Studebaker for the design of their automobiles. Champions won Mobilgas economy runs by posting the highest gas mileage tests. During World War II, Champions were coveted for their high mileage in a time when gas was rationed in the US. From 1943 to 1945 the Champion motor was used as the powerplant for the unique Studebaker M29 Weasel personnel and cargo carrier, which also used four sets of the Champion's leaf springs arranged transversely for its Bogie suspension.
In 1946, Studebaker built a limited number of cars based on their 1942 body shell in preparation of its new body and design roll out in 1947. All Studebakers built in 1946 were designated Skyway Champion models.
This very very nice example is a low mileage CA car, The paint, chrome, top and interior are all very nice and need nothing,the engine compartment is clean and tidy with no leaks and the car runs and drives extremely well. In a small collection for the last dozen years, the car has been well cared for, and the engine has just been rebuilt with hardened valves and seats by Perfroamnce Engineeering, a well respected race shop. The suspension was completely rebuilt with new springs all around. The exhaust was rebuilt to factory specs by a Studebaker Expert and a New top and interior were installed. The brakes were completely overhauled. The OD gearbox makes this a very drivable car in todays traffic, and the economical 6 cylinder provides good gas mileage as well. This fun little car will provide years of driving and showing enjoyment to the lucky new owner.