Today’s car is “Gertrude,” a 1959 Studebaker Lark finished in White Sand with a Red interior. Gertrude is powered by a 259 cu in V8 with 180 HP transferring that power through a 2-speed Flightomatic transmission. The Lark was the first car of its size to offer a V8 engine. With a 0 to 60 mph time of around 10 seconds which was on par with much larger cars. of that year. The Lark beat the compacts of the Big Three to the market by nearly a year, The Big Three entrants to the compact market had 0 to 60 mph times of around 20 seconds. The MSRP for this vehicle was $1,925.00 -$2,588.00. In 1959 Studebaker offered a Lark VI and a VIII to coincide with the appropriate number of cylinders.
Gertrude is owned by Catherine. She first saw a Studebaker Lark in 2015 at the Del Amo Mall parking lot in Torrance, CA and instantly felt it was the vehicular representation of her – compact and a bit square she said with a smile and a laugh. Catherine always admired classic cars, but this was the first time she saw a classic car and wanted to own it. She took several photos of it and spent the next couple years looking for a Studebaker Lark to buy.
Catherine is the fifth owner. The previous owner was a lady in Hermosa Beach and she replaced the original Studebaker six-cylinder engine with a 259 cu in Studebaker V8 in 1999. The car had not been driven for several years before it was sold to Catherine in 2017. At twenty-something being a female with no antique car knowledge, or experience or automotive connections she was more unprepared than she had initially suspected. Catherine has overcome some expensive and unfortunate lessons, but now has a trustworthy mechanic and has learned more about cars than she ever wanted to know!
Catherine and Gertrude are quite popular at all of the car shows. Catherine is unique as a young female classic car enthusiast and Gertrude as a unique car. We rarely see young people interested in classic cars. Catherine has become one of us and holds her own in this older group of car enthusiasts. Catherine is a delight to be around and adds the youthfulness that we need in the hobby today. She has pride in her car and it shows. Cathrine has plans that are in the future as funds become available.
This is a great car and a delightful owner that will bring a smile to you face.