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Original Colors

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If you didn’t order a black car, then you got a two-tone paint job…..the body was the color chosen and the frame, fenders and rest was black. 

 

Between all the reading, photos and other input I’ve received, which includes the info from some of the real Studebaker experts that are on this forum, I conclude that Studebaker didn’t really open up its color palette until 1925.  They added two-tone body colors but not in the early twenties, which I think is what you are interested in.  So going back to the Princess Louise Lake….a car ordered in this color would have had a black frame and fenders.

 

Since we are on colors…..a friend who lives in Australia has a 1924 car that he restored.  It was shipped new to Australia as a right hand drive Light Six but, while it has a Light Six frame, engine and driveline, a Special Six body sits on that frame.  This is how it was originally delivered from Studebaker and is confirmed by the photo below taken in 1928, along with all the knowledge that goes into having the car in the family since new and performing a full restoration over the past two years (and wheelbase measurements that match a Light Six).  Back to my point…..he took a picture of one of the doors before the restoration which he says was the first time it was repainted.  It shows a deep maroon along with a pinstripe.  The pinstripe can also be seen in the original photo. Perhaps this is the Parisian Red that was offered on the Special Six back then.

 

 

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Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)
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I have just received a copy of the 1919 to 1922 Studebaker parts book. There is a lot of color information spread through out the text that makes it very clear that Studebakers in this time frame were not just black.

On page 115 when ordering replacement bodies for the 1921 and 1922 cars Special (EH and EL) and big six (EG and EK) replacement bodies could be ordered in Blue or Grey. Black was't listed as an option?

For the Light Six 1920, 1921, 1922 (EJ) replacement bodies were available in Grey or Black.

 

On Page 117 to 120 Under replacement doors there are even more color options.

Touring Big Six 1919 to 1922 Blue and Green are options p. 117

The 1919 Big six (EG) and (EH) also had an option of Purple Lake p. 118

 

The Speedster body (EK) 1922 (EG) 1919 had some additional colors. p. 119

In 1919  these included Crimson Lake, Rolls Royce blue, and green.

In 1922 these models are only listed with blue doors.

 

The Purple Lake is also listed as a color for the EG Chummy Roadster in 1919 and 1920.

 

The colors for the EJ Light six are reiterated in the "Rear Compartment Side Door Group" (later known as golf club door). p 126

The light six roadster doors were available in 1921 and 1922 in black or grey. Was the 1921 Light Six roadster the first Studebaker model to use a Golf club door?

 

Some wheel colors are also discussed under the chassis Information section.

EJ Touring Cars equipped with red wheels at serial # 1,023,815

EJ sedans and coupe roadsters equipped with blue wheels at serial # 1,023,330

EJ chassis equipped with wheels in lead serial # 1,024,906

EJ export cars with grey wheels #1,027,249

 

On page 86 under wheels the books states, "always specify color of wheel desired". They obviously made different color wheels or this statement wouldn't be necessary.

I can add scans of any of the above pages if anyone is interested.

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I have the Illustrated Parts manuals from 1913-1925. I concur with the fact that the various colors are included in the manuals and agree that the Big and Special Six cars came in colors prior to 1925 as I've seen a few original ones in colors (fenders and frame were always black though). As I mentioned above, the color pallette really opened up in 1925 where more colors and true two-tones (outside of a color and black fenders) were offered. I didn't say black was the only color before 1925 and apologize if that is how my previous post was interpreted. 

 

As for the Light Six, I do not believe Studebaker actually painted them any color other than black. I have seen a brochure that has the Light Six in a color but I think that was their marketing folks taking some liberty. While the manual lists some colors (golf club door as mentioned but also the hoods) I don't believe they were ever painted this way in the South Bend factory. The manual is rather wishy washy on the various Light Six parts with colors but the Big/Special Six parts are documented more logically. I have found several profound errors in the parts manuals so they are not gospel. There are several publications indicating black was all that was available as a standard color on the Light Six. Never have I seen an original car body or any of the spare body parts in a color other than black. I'm fine with someone proving me wrong on this point, just give me a bit more evidence.

 

As for the Light Six wheels, I think the color referred to is the pinstriping color on the wheel. I have seen original wheels and they were black with pinstriping. I have disc wheels on my car which were originally black but the hubs had the original red paint on them so I restored it accordingly. No where in the manual is there a mention of red hubs.

 

I've done a lot of research on the Light Six in this area as I wanted my restoration accurate and was interested in a color. In the end, it is the same color as originally painted.

Scott

 

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So you are saying the factory parts book is wrong when it clearly states that Light six replacement bodies are available in grey or black? I know the book studebaker cars says the were only available in black but it was printed in the 1990's. The parts book was printed in 1922 when studebaker was trying to supply replacement parts for their cars on the road. If they had no grey cars it would be a tremendous mistake to list them.

As a research historian I can tell you one of the first rules of good historical research is to give most credence to source printed at or close to the event. The parts book clearly states the cars were available in grey. I would agree that does not mean grey fenders or radiator but it does indicate that bodies and golf doors  came in grey. I have never seen a lion but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

I have an original sales cigarette card from England that clearly show a light six with a grey body. I know it is art but it is a primary source. How much of what we see as original is really repaint or modification. Studebaker made so many running changes in their cars in the 1920's the last best source for authenticity has to be what they published not what you or I happen to see or hear in our neck of the woods today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

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studeboy, is that an Erskine dash in your pic of the dash closeup?  it looks just like the gauge frame that I have in my car, and the green looks the same as the bit of green that is splashed on the seat frame boards and fenders inside my trunk.

I guess that may be a clue to the original color of the car?

thanks - terry

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16 hours ago, studeboy said:

I have never seen a lion but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

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Studeboy,

Just having a little fun ;)

I don't disagree with your philosophy.  My 1919-1920 book lists only one hood part number for the 1920 EJ and has no color listed.  Then my 1919-1922 book shows the 1920-1922 EJ in black only. My 1923-1925 book shows EM hoods in Black and Princess Louise Lake for 1923 and then in 1924 it lists Black, Brewster Green, Oxford Green and Parisian Red. For bodies, only black and gray are listed.  It is just very inconsistent and I am convinced that the color palette listed for the 1923-1924 hoods is in total error.  I have to look at other facts also.....

Studebaker was trying to compete with Buick, Chevy, Ford, etc. and when they built Plant 2 in South Bend (which was dedicated to the Light Six product) they had a focus on cost reduction. In 1920 the car was well over $1000 but by 1923 they reduced that to $975. One of the ways to reduce cost is by reducing number of colors offered and black was also the cheapest paint.  All the photo history of the Light Six from the assembly plant and US advertising only had black cars (I know they are all black and white images but you can see contrast with colors).  Additionally, the Light Six outsold the Big Six and Special Six and, with all the black cars on the road coming out of the Ford plant, folks would desire something different, so you would think that there would be one survivor with a color painted body.  There are a number of Big/Special Six original advertising, photos and survivors that show color. As I mentioned earlier, I saw advertising for the Light Six that showed a colored body but I pulled it out again and it is a 1919 EH Light Six, prior to the totally redesigned EJ and EM. 

 

Now I'll eat a little crow here.  All my research and information is centered around the US cars that were built out of the South Bend plant.  I took a deeper look into all the information I have on cars that were exported (which includes that cigarette cards).  I have been selling Light Six parts globally for about 6 years and have interfaced with a lot of folks in the UK/Europe and Australia.  Studebaker took a lot of liberties on their car exports and mixed and matched parts on every exported Light Six I have seen.  Bodies, windshield frames, top irons, interior parts and colors have all shown inconsistencies from their US counterparts.  All of these cars were built out of Canada. Based on the more in-depth reading and look at the export cars I am open to the fact that they may have painted cars other than black for vehicles made in the Walkerville, Ontario plant that were exported.

 

Going back to the wheel colors.  The standard wood wheels were black with red pinstripe.

On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 4:04 AM, studeboy said:

Some wheel colors are also discussed under the chassis Information section.

EJ Touring Cars equipped with red wheels at serial # 1,023,815

EJ sedans and coupe roadsters equipped with blue wheels at serial # 1,023,330

EJ chassis equipped with wheels in lead serial # 1,024,906

EJ export cars with grey wheels #1,027,249

This is for the Kelsey 210 wood wheels. These were probably a solid color as mentioned. I wonder why a company that was in the wagon making business for 70 years and had skilled wood craftsman and equipment would outsource wood spoke wheels to Kelsey?

 

Anyway, I would love to see an original survivor US built Light Six in something other than black.  Oh, did I mention that the parts book mentions the open car tops came in black, khaki and tan?  I'm thinking the khaki and tan were exports too.

Respectfully,

Scott

Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)

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I am suspicious about the usefulness of parts book parts colours for deciding on original vehicle colours. Today, parts are supplied to repair shops in the expectation they will be painted to match. Might that have also been the "norm" back then?

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Actually the studebaker parts books states in many places Please specify color when ordering replacement parts.

 

The dash picture is from my 28 dictator type two royal. The car doesn't exist according to fred fox and one other studebaker expert who say in their articles on 28 dictators all type twos only came with small parking lights.  But is you read the parts book carefully you find that type two royal sedan had the larger parking lights and full chrome headlights but larger than type 3's headlights. It has the longer roof overhang and atalanta cap, and rear spare (went to side mounts a few months later). These are illustrated in the 1928 big sales catalog.

 

The purpose of this thread was to collect provable concrete data about colors. There is lots of legends out there but primary source documents not speculation should be the foundation of the knowledge of our cars. We do a disservice to our hobby otherwise. There were thousands of light six roadsters produced only 6 are now listed under members cars. That is way less than a one percent sample.

 

Things like color preferences on cars even today can be very regional in nature. In hot climates or dustiness can affect choices.

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I will attach two pages from the 1919 to 1922 Studebaker parts book to this post so people can see what studebaker said at the time of manufacture about the colors of the various models. if we are to judge these cars accurately we must use primary source materials from the company. it concerns me that for the prewar cars to often we use the opinions of a few guys bellied up to the bar rather than printed sources. 

Studebaker clearly says for the light six on the door page, "specify color" in the line with each door part number. On the body page they clearly state part number 48510 roadster body black and part number 48512 roadster body grey. 

No company would stay in business long if they continually printed misinformation like this if black was the only color available. We either need to use the parts book and other contemporary studebaker documents to judge authenticity or just make all prewar judging peoples choice, as that is all it is its the consensus of a few guys round a bar without documentation. 

 

 

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Revisiting this with some added information. Attached is an original advertising pamphlet which was printed in July 1921 and was probably used to help sell the 1921 and 1922 Light Six cars. Please note the last sentence in the specifications indicating the car came in black with red pinstriping on the wheels. I'm sure if other colors were offered the sales department would be promoting that to help sell their cars. As I mentioned before, Studebaker was competing in a tough market flooded with black cars so offering an alternative would be a plus.

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Scott

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Actually the brochure is from the 1920 model year. You can tell this because they only list 3 models. The roadster was added in 1921. This is not a 4 year brochure. I will attach the pertinent image from the brochure. And yes this one source says black wheels with red stripe but the later source earlier in this thread clearly says blue wheels. If you can trust one brochures information verbatim then logically the blue wheels information should be used verbatim too.

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Good catch.  I was looking at the assumed publishing date but could have been tipped off by prices too. I can find nothing helpful on the subject in any of their later sales books, ads, etc.

Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)

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Here is a different 1920 brochure that covers the Big six and the Special Six. The Big Six is described with body and hood in Brewster Green with gold pin striping on the louvres. The Special Six is described as  Dark Blue.

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Not sure how to upload this but here is a spread sheet with all the colors mentioned in Studebaker literature for the early cars. It includes the source as well as year and name of the colors. Unfortunately I could not read Richard Quinn's color chart he uploaded so didn't add that data. Also have no access to the two earliest parts catalogs to add data from them.  I hope this is chart shows up. I have never  tried to upload a spread sheet before.

Studebaker Colors.xlsx

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wheels.thumb.jpeg.efbfe1eb87bbda43d257b34035bf419f.jpeg

I just ran across this page again from the 1919 to 1922 parts catalog disputing the legend that all were black. This time it is reference to wheel colors when they switch to Kelsey Hayes type No. 210 wheels. EJ light six touring cars with red wheels, EJ sedans and coupe-roadsters with blue wheels. EJ chassis with lead wheels and Export cars with grey wheels.

wheels.thumb.jpeg.efbfe1eb87bbda43d257b34035bf419f.jpeg

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I think we mentioned the wheels before. I really don't dispute that Light Six cars built in Canada came in other colors. They made wood bodied touring cars while South Bend was making all steel bodies (from Budd). None of this is documented in the Parts Manual.

 

Most all of the early Light Six sales literature mentions black cars with red pin striped wheels. Then they just dropped mentioning colors although the Special and Big Six literature called out the various colors. It just seems odd to me that the people trying to sell you a car wouldn't advertise something as important as what colors you could order unless, of course, there were no choices. This brochure was from 1920 and prices disagree with the previous tri-fold brochure I posted, so that one is probably from 1921 (It is dated as such)  although it fails to mention the Roadster.

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Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)

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