Sixty workers built the giant 1931 President Roadster at the Studebaker Experimental Body Department in South Bend, Indiana. This massive size Studebaker took over three months to complete. It was the brainchild of Mr. Paul Auman and his creative craftsmen design team. The car’s length was 41 feet, and its wheelbase was 325 inches. It was 13 ½ feet high, 15 feet wide, and weighed 5 ½ tons. Wire wheels were the most abundant, measuring 6 feet and 8 inches in diameter and weighing 600 pounds. Firestone Tire Company supplied the gigantic tires for the project and replicated the original Studebaker tires. Studebaker’s wooden model was shaped and assembled on the Indiana Proving Ground’s test track. Studebaker models were painted in two shades of green, which was a popular color at the time.
Marketing and promotion of giant Studebaker
A nine-minute video was made to advertise the giant Studebaker model. Mr. Alf Goulding directed Wild Flowers and included this clip as a filler. The footage was also used for public relations purposes and was shown extensively in RKO theaters coast to coast. This generated a lot of publicity that moviegoers thoroughly enjoyed. Studebaker Company also used the model for advertising and tourist attractions. Dealers and salespeople posed for photographs in front of the massive Studebaker for added publicity shots.
The end of Giant Studebaker’s era
The era of excellent public relations for Studebaker ended after many years. It stood tall until 1934 when miserable weather deteriorated it, but no one wanted to part with this unique size car. Studebaker officials decided in 1936 that the large-size Studebaker model had outlived its usefulness as an advertising symbol, and it was time to destroy it. According to officials, hundreds of people and events were highlighted by the model over the years.
Paul G. Hoffman, former Studebaker President, and Jesse Meyer, Studebaker Secretary, destroyed a large-scale Studebaker model drenched in oil on May 17, 1936. The large Studebaker vanished within 30 minutes, leaving only great memories in history. When the giant model was destroyed, the wheel covers were a part of the original Studebaker. Lawrence White, whose father served as the proving ground superintendent, saved them and have lent them to the Studebaker Museum.
Below are some stunning historical photos of Studebaker’s Giant 1931 President Roadster.