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STUDEBAKER LARK: CONVERTIBLE - 1960

convertible3c.JPG (39926 bytes)Front view of the Lark Convertible with its distinctive radiator grill decorated with the elegant flying bird emblem. Although the car looked new and innovative part of the used body panels and other components were actually from older models. This type of economic design was necessary because Studebaker's funds were very limited.

convertible3a.JPG (36365 bytes)Strange photo, this. You'll think it had no rear window judging by the looks of it. But the car was described as a "foul weather friend" so it must have had, otherwise there was not much point in putting the top up. The top "seales the Lark from the vagaries of wind and weather" and had a "large rear window that provides excellent visibility". Of course, if there was no actual pane in the window like the picture shows, visibility would be excellent indeed...

convertible3b.JPG (21462 bytes)Putting the top up should be easy, but really couldn't be done sitting down in the drivers seat. Notice there's still no pane in the rear window?
The upholstery of the seats in the car was pleated vinyl and washable. The dash panel was padded. Five persons could be seated and front headrests and reclining divided seats were optional.

Additional: RitzSite visitor Ted from Pasadena, California, USA offered the following explanation for the "missing" rear window in the convertible: "Many American convertibles of the '40s through the '70s had removable rear windows. This was to prevent the top from inflating while you were on the freeway. With the windows down and the top up, the top itself would catch air, and, being plastic, would tend to blow up like a balloon. The removable rear window (they had zippers along the top, and would simply drop into the top well) let the air pressure escape with no damage to the top itself (namely stretching). Removable rear windows are also available on smaller convertibles of the present. Nowadays, it is usually to prevent the bending of the plastic rear windows. Bending them over and over tends to make them develop stress marks and decrease visibility. I believe the Lark pictured had a removable rear window, and that it was in the lowered position for the publicity shot. It's neat to ride like that (with the rear window down), because the wind doesn't mess your hair up."

This picture of a Lark VIII Regal convertible coupe, the most luxurious 8-cylinder version, was taken at a Studebaker meet in 2001. Confronted with this car, which was in excellent condition, in real life it struck me how well proportioned it was. And of course the wonderful ruby-red color makes it look even more special.

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