The 1950s and 1960s were exciting times for consumers as the motoring world was getting itself back on wheels, and competition was never more exciting than in the USA, with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler leading the pack.
Sadly the intense competition was to see the demise of several smaller manufacturers amongst them Studebaker, who celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1952 only to wind up in 1966.
But some great classics were their legacy with the Golden Hawk of 1957 being a personal favourite.
Despite the Hawk's appeal, "Most popular American car of all time", company president, Harold E Churchill, correctly reasoned that a more compact car could save the company.
The result was the 1959 Lark, which flew in the face of the established "longer, lower and wider" concept being the mantra of the 'Big Three'.
The main opposition was the Rambler American, but the new Larks included two- and four-door sedans, a two door hardtop coupe and a two door station wagon all with two levels of trim, and was the first compact to offer a 259 inch V-8 engine in addition to their more conservative 170 cubic inch flathead donk.
The Lark's body was ingeniously designed around the older Studebaker's 1953-1958 body shell, by reducing front and rear overhangs and shortening the wheelbase ahead of the firewall.
The result was a nifty compact which could still seat six people and could still hold plenty of luggage.
For we fans 'down under' the new Lark range was available here in CKD form, with several local police forces taking up V-8 versions for pursuit purposes.
1963 saw the board at logger heads with Harold Churchill keen to plough profits back into small car development, and Churchill replaced by Sherwood Egbert.
The result was the company introducing two new models, the Gran Turismo and the Avanti models.
The Avanti was a stunner with its almost unique fibreglass-bodied Sports Coupe built on a modified Lark Daytona convertible chassis. Egbert commissioned no lesser stylist than Raymond Loewy to design the car!
With its fibreglass body mounted over a substantial steel frame and a hefty roll bar, it was destined for some serious engine options. Two engines were available... the Avanti R-1 V8 putting out 240hp or the Avanti Supercharge R-2 pumping out 289hp, at an additional $210.
This model hit 170mph at the Bonneville flats, and Ian Fleming treated himself to one!
But seems Harold Churchill was right and the real money was in the compact Larks after all, and production ceased in 1963, with only 3834 Avantis seeing the light of day.
Naturally enough the Loewy-styled Avanti soon achieved iconic status, as the Big Three moved in on the compact concept with their Chevys, Falcons and Valiants.