S series trucks

The 1930-34 S Series Trucks

Studebaker purchased a controlling interest in the Pierce-Arrow Company in 1928.  Pierce-Arrow was best known as a manufacturer of luxury automobiles, but also produced small numbers of relatively expensive trucks.  In late 1930, Studebaker announced production of its first “real” Studebaker trucks, the 1931 S-series, with capacities of 1½ to 3 tons, plus a Dictator passenger-car-based, ½-ton model S-1.  The larger trucks were powered by the Studebaker 205-cubic inch (230.2 ci in 1932 and 33), 70-hp Studebaker Six engine. The S-1 used the 114-inch Dictator chassis with a 221-ci Dictator engine.  Larger S-series truck wheelbases ranged from 130 to 160 inches.  A new subsidiary, the SPA (Studebaker Pierce-Arrow) Truck Corporation was established to consolidate all truck production under one unit.

By 1932, the Depression was in full swing, and Studebaker was in financial trouble.  A complex series of transactions was developed to raise cash.  These involved Studebaker merging with the White Motor Company, a major manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.  This merger was blocked by some of White’s stockholders, and Studebaker was eventually forced into receivership in 1933.  White took over Pierce-Arrow’s truck division; Pierce-Arrow itself went out of business in 1938.  A total of 7538 S-series trucks were built between August 1930 and March 1934.  The majority were built in South Bend, but a small number were also assembled at the Studebaker plant in Walkersville, Ontario in 1931 and 1932.