While seeing the Studebaker National Gallery in South Bend, Indiana today, I can not claim I was anticipating to locate anything inside that may be also tangentially Porsche-related. While Studebaker did agreement Porsche to develop a couple of models, consisting of a front-engine V6 car in the early-1950s, none ever before occurred. This is not that automobile, neither was it appointed by either Studebaker or Porsche. It is a 1959 Studebaker Lark powered by a 1500cc Porsche 356 engine stood out back.
As the tale goes, New Jersey-based Curtiss-Wright bought the Lark for the design workout, and also removed it of its initial front-engine/rear-drive running equipment. Utilizing the 60-ish horse power Porsche engine and also some Volkswagen Bus little bits, the company patched with each other a rear-engine aircooled Lark. Thinking about the “small” Lark was a fair bit larger and also much heavier than a 356, and also its tiniest engine from the manufacturing facility– a 170 cubic inch inline 6– generated around 90 horse power, the aircooled Lark can rarely be taken into consideration fast or stylish. Hell, at the time Studebaker provided a V8-powered Lark that can dash from no to sixty in under 10 secs, a significant accomplishment for the late 1950s. I fear this Porsche-powered Lark might not have actually had the ability to also accomplish sixty!
All the same, Curtiss-Wright had actually lately won the legal rights to generate Wankel-style rotating engines in the united state under agreement from German car manufacturer NSU. The firm intended to utilize the engines in airplane, yet some think that this Porsche-Stude mashup was planned to be a model for a brand-new rear-engine rotary-powered American compact. Curtiss-Wright designers established a gas container and also extra tire place system in the Lark’s initial engine area which looked maybe production-ready, and also eliminated the transmission passage from the automobile to show the flat-floor conveniences managed by relocating the engine to the back.
The model never ever made it past that phase, undoubtedly, and also the automobile was promptly ignored. Probably it was a family pet task of somebody at Curtiss-Wright, or maybe it was a fast hodge-podge that no one took any kind of notes around, yet there’s extremely little documents concerning this automobile out on the planet. Evidently it was sold as a routine old pre-owned automobile. Nowadays it beings in the reduced gallery open storage space of the Studebaker gallery, informing its unknown tale. As well as an odd one at that. If you’re ever before in the location, you owe it to on your own to drop in and also look into this oddball of Porsche-adjacent background.