This work on the famous automobile manufacturer traces the Studebaker family from its arrival in America in 1736, to the beginnings of the wagon business under John M. Studebaker and his brothers in the 19th century, to the familys entry into the automobile industry in 1902, to the last Studebaker automobile to roll off the assembly line in 1966. The book, however, is much more than the story of a family business; it is also, in microcosm, the story of the industrial development of America. The Studebakers had always been industrialists in the sense that they made their living by manufacturing things, albeit on a small scale. When the Industrial Revolution hit the country with full force, spurred on by the Civil War, it transformed America from a rural-agrarian society into an urban-industrial one. The fortunes of the Studebaker family were transformed with it.
Thomas E. Bonsall is one of America's most respected automotive historians. He is the author of The Lincoln Motorcar (1981, 1993), winner of both national awards for automotive history writing, the Cugnot Award of the Society of Automotive Historians and the McKean Cup of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Pontiac: They Built Excitement (1991) won the Cugnot Award. Avanti! (1978, 1994) is the only comprehensive history of the Avanti and Avanti II.