Friday, June 19, 2009

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1963 Studebaker Lark Cruiser

















Quite the uber-gallery, I know. But it's a Studebaker! You just don't ignore an exaggeratedly styled mint-green sedan from a long-defunct automaker, especially not one as clean and interesting as this one. It's a 1963 Studebaker Lark Cruiser apparently owned by a Studebaker enthusiast in San Francisco. I found this car by chance, interestingly enough, while searching for a Lark Wagonaire Daytona station wagon (pictured below) of the same year, a car which I suspect is/was owned by the same person.
Both cars are loaded '63 models rolling on American Racing 5-spoke wheels. Both were parked on the same block. But I never saw both cars together, and while I have seen the green Cruiser at least three times, the Wagonaire has only appeared for me once and I could never do a full shoot on it.
This Lark Cruiser really is nice. Studebaker gave the Lark a faux Mercedes grille that lasted until 1963 (1964 models had an entirely different front-end treatment with a trapezoidal grille that, in my opinion, wasn't as attractive). This car may have some extra trim on it, since I've never seen another Lark that had both a chrome hood ornament and chrome spears on top of the front fenders. This car is also equipped with the 289 cubic-inch "R-1" V8 from the Avanti sports car, producing 240 horsepower. To put things in perspective, a standard 289-powered '64 1/2 Mustang produced 210-220 hp. A relatively small sedan like the Lark Cruiser coupled with that kind of power could scoot to 60 mph in 10 seconds. That's a tick quicker than a 1967 Camaro with the 327 V8. Not too shabby.

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