March 18, 1933 – Studebaker goes bankrupt

In 1920, under the presidency of Albert Erskine, Studebaker fully committed to the auto industry after building its last horse drawn wagon, a main product of the company since it was founded more than 60 years prior. Throughout the 1920s Erskine led Studebaker through the acquisition of luxury automaker Pierce-Arrow and the launch of two short lived, more affordable automobile lines, Erskine and Rockne. Following the stock market crash of October 1929 Studebaker was sent into a financial tailspin. The money troubles mounted and on this day in 1933 Studebaker defaulted and went into receivership, leading Erskine to be ousted from his role as president. Riddled with personal debt and numerous health problems, the newly unemployed Erskine killed himself on July 1, 1933 with a bullet to the heart. 

Above: Albert Erskine
Top 1920 Studebaker Big Six

New management at Studebaker quickly dropped the Rockne brand and sold Pierce-Arrow in order to stabilize the company. In January 1935 the new Studebaker Corporation was incorporated. Studebaker’s doors remained open until March 1966 when the company closed after 114 years in business.

1933 Studebaker


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