1936 Studebaker Dictator: Dictating the rules

1936 Studebaker Dictator: Dictating the rules

1936 Studebaker Dictator: Dictating the rules

Engine S6 SVHorsepower 68 HP at 3200 RPMEngine LocationFrontDrive Type RWDF/R Brakes Hydraulic drum Transmission 3-speed manual

In the late 1930s, Studebaker dropped the name of its successful and affordable Dictator model. The company didn’t give any specific reason, but it was clear without explanation: authoritarian governments were on the rise across Europe, which was alarming.

Source: Old Cars Weekly

The 1936 Studebaker automobile had nothing to astonish in terms of technological advancement. It had a front-independent suspension, with shock absorbers located almost horizontally, and a rear-dependent one on long and soft longitudinal springs. The three-speed transmission and synchronized hydraulic brakes rested on a solid frame. 

The origins

Source: Barrett-Jackson

The name was first picked by the American automaker back in 1927. Before this, their prestigious vehicles with six-cylinder engines had simple yet euphonic names: Big Six, Special Six, Light Six, Standard Six. But soon, the “six” simply ceased to reflect reality: eight-cylinder engines began to appear in new automobiles. The company decided to pick more sounding names President, Commander, and Dictator for their models. Moreover, the last one in this series was the most affordable. This vehicle with the “undemocratic name” was produced by the Studebaker Corporation in South Bend from 1927-1937. Initially, the model’s name had no political connotations, denoting that the car “dictated the standards” for its market segment. The vehicle appeared to replace the inexpensive Standard Six, receiving a 3966 cm3 inline 6-cylinder L-head engine with 50 HP. In 1932 the model range included Sedan, Brougham, Convertible sedan, and roadster. In 1933, the production of the automobile ceased due to the corporation’s bankruptcy. Still, a year later, the model returned to the catalog in an updated form, with an aerodynamic grille, bullet-shaped headlights, and a V-shaped front bumper.

The 1936 model year

Source: AACA Forums

Back in 1936, one of the arguments that marketers gave in favor of this vehicle was its iron construction: they assured that the company’s vehicle was the safest. Well, in the 20s, automobiles were built with wooden bodies, so this argument was persuasive enough. The car’s front doors were quite ordinary, but the rear doors were rear-hinged, opening in the opposite direction. Such doors were often called “suicide doors” as they were dangerous. Today, rare manufacturers like Rolls-Royce install such doors, however, in the 20s and 30s it was quite popular. The opening window and the front door window also deserved special attention. The common rumor spread that the manufacturers made this design out of great love for gangsters, so it would be more convenient for them to shoot the Thompson right on the go from the front sofa. The Dictator of 1936 release was a really big sedan, with a full-fledged trunk. Of the external characteristics, the mascot on the hood was remarkable. It had a hood lock for lifting and seeing the engine. The engine’s volume was a little more than three liters, but it was very economical as well: it spent less than 9.5 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway. The high compression ratio was partly responsible for this. Perhaps the most beautiful detail was the steering wheel. It was three-spoke, but each spoke consisted of five thin needles, which made the whole structure strong but not massive. The clock in the center became the highlight of the model: it was unexpectedly beautiful, interesting, and optional, available only for an additional fee.

Did you know?

Source: Vintage Car Collector

The years of the model’s life coincided with the rise of real dictators in Europe. By the 27th year, Mussolini had already been the prime minister of Italy for five years, and Stalin was terrorizing USSR. However,  this did not bother anyone, and even after Hitler’s victory in the elections in Germany, the Dictator remained the Dictator. The name was finally abandoned in 1937, although in 1936, it was renamed Director in the British market.

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1936 Studebaker Dictator: Dictating the rules

Engine S6 SVHorsepower 68 HP at 3200 RPMEngine LocationFrontDrive Type RWDF/R Brakes Hydraulic drum Transmission 3-speed manual

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