In a surprising turn of events, Studebaker found itself fighting for survival in the early 1960s, reminiscent of a familiar struggle. After narrowly escaping financial ruin by merging with Packard, the company faced an uphill battle against powerhouse competitors like Ford and Chevy. Studebaker’s production costs were a staggering 25% higher, resulting in annual losses. Despite hitching their hopes to the Lark, the company was slow to update its styling, leaving the stubby little car with thick pillars while others embraced the trend of “long and low” designs. By 1963, the Lark had received two facelifts, momentarily boosting sales. Now, a remarkable 1963 Studebaker Lark project car has surfaced on craigslist, listed at an unbelievable price of $4,900. This automotive treasure is located in Westport, Massachusetts, and we owe a big thank you to FordGuy1972 for uncovering this gem.
The seller’s description of the Lark is brief but intriguing, revealing that this car is an “old barn find.” While no engine photo is provided, the seller claims that the engine runs, although some work on the fuel tank is recommended. This particular Lark boasts a six-cylinder engine, a 170 cu. in. with a single barrel Carter carburetor, producing approximately 90 bhp. Equipped with a manual transmission, the clutch is reported to be in good condition, but the car requires brake work. By 1963, the Lark had transitioned to the station wagon’s longer wheelbase, yet it maintained its position as an economy car. Even the V8-powered supercharged Daytona couldn’t elevate the Lark’s image, ultimately leading to its discontinuation in late 1965.
Upon exploring the car’s interior, you’ll notice a vanity in place of the glovebox, adorned with a gold cursive “Vanity” badge to catch passengers’ attention. However, this Lark’s interior is in need of a thorough cleaning, from the upholstery to the white dashboard switches. Curiously, someone has installed a homemade switch panel to the right of the steering wheel, nestled below the dash. One can’t help but notice the abundance of extra wiring hidden underneath.
The Lark’s impressive grille, chrome accents, and paintwork are in excellent condition, with a Studebaker Club sticker in one window indicating a previous owner’s genuine fondness for the car. For a moment of amusement, compare the front end of the 1960 Valiant to this Lark—strikingly similar, isn’t it? From the headlight set to the distinctive “eyebrow” along the waistline and the grille design, the similarities are uncanny. The question of who inspired whom lingers. Considering the enticing price and decent cosmetic condition, this project car is an incredible steal. Pending a rust-free inspection, it’s safe to say this Lark is a true bargain.