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Streamlined Combo – Studebaker Tractor and Utility Trailer

Streamline mid-1930s Studebaker over the road semi

One look at the photograph of this 1934 or later Studebaker T-series truck hitched up to a trailer with a curved front and roof built by Utility Trailer Mfg. Co. is enough to demonstrate that this aerodynamically-styled rig is something special. Streamlined automobiles were very popular at the time, and truck manufacturers were soon to follow the automakers lead. Studebaker introduced this new line of trucks in 1934 with the slogan “Stamina for Profit, Style for Prestige.”

This new Studebaker over-the-road tractor is equipped with a new “DeLuxe Cab” featuring a vee-shaped and slanted radiator and windshield treatment further accentuated by a similarly styled band of color on the hood, cowl, cab and sleeper compartment. Smaller trucks in the series used Studebaker six-cylinder engines, but it is likely this unit with a long wheelbase was fitted with a larger 358 c.i.d. Waukesha F-head engine producing 110 h.p.

View sixty-four pages of Trucks, Buses and Equipment here on The Old Motor. Photos and information are courtesy of the Studebaker Drivers Club.

  • This view of a cab and chassis clearly shows the new front end, windshield and paint treatment. Note the vee-shaped panel below the grille, and a skirt extending down from the cab to the running board and fender.

1934 Studebaker T-series truck



Chapter 3: The 1934-36 T and W Series Trucks

The new Studebaker T-series trucks were first introduced as 1934 models – “Stamina for Profit, Style for Prestige”2. They were modern, attractive commercial vehicles, with graceful skirted front fenders, a new hood, and a sloping grille covering the radiator. They were offered with a new, more streamlined DeLuxe Cab with a sloping, two-piece windshield and a contrasting color band that swept across the hood and onto the doors. The square 1932-34 cab was still available as the Conventional Cab as a lower-cost option. Nominal tonnages ranged from 1½ to 4 tons, and the trucks were assembled in both South Bend and Walkersville beginning in March 1934. (The T-series marked the beginning of truck model numbering system that Studebaker would employ until it went out of the truck business – a letter indicating series, followed by one or two digits indicating increasing tonnage capacity. Additional digits after a dash indicated wheelbase. Series letters and numbers were often only vaguely related to model year. See Appendix A for a complete listing of truck model numbers. The new T2, T4, T6, and T8 models continued to be powered by the 230.2 ci, 75-hp Studebaker Six, but the 3-ton model W8 used a larger Waukesha 6-cylinder power plant. The F-head, 358-ci Waukesha was rated at 110 horsepower. Available wheelbases ranged from 130 to 183 inches. A total of 3146 T-series trucks were built in both South Bend and Walkersville in 1934, with another 370 assembled in South Bend in the first few months of 1935. No trucks were built in Walkersville after December 1934.


The T and W series was succeeded by the somewhat more limited 1T and 1W series in March 1935. The slow-selling T4 and T8 were dropped, but a new Waukesha-powered 1W7 was added to the lineup. In a stroke of marketing genius more typical of the 1950s, the 1935 series 1T and 1W series trucks were given model names. The 1T2 (1½-ton) was called the Ace, the 1T6 (2-ton) was called the Boss, the 1W7 (2½-ton) was called the Mogul, and the 1W8 (3-ton) was called the Chief (later Big Chief). Around the middle of the 1935 model year, the model names were included in the winged Studebaker emblems attached to the grille and hood sides. Regrettably, these model names were only used for about two years, as 2T/2W production ended in April 1937.

The 1T2 Ace continued to use the same 75-hp engine as did the T2, but the 1T6 was moved up to a higher compression, 80-hp version of the same engine. The 1W8 Chief continued to use the 110-hp Waukesha, but the 1W7 Mogul got a smaller 282-ci L-head Waukesha that produced 82 horsepower. A total of 4005 1T/1W-series trucks were built between March and November of 1935, all in South Bend.



4 responses to “Streamlined Combo – Studebaker Tractor and Utility Trailer

  1. What goes around comes around, and it’s interesting to me how the revised front end styling of the Internationals about 20 years ago , begat a similar nose job on the Dodge pickups , which in my judgment has evolved onto a grotesque parody of the fairly graceful International lines.
    Of course bad styling needs something equally awful to go with it so now Dodges are RAMS, to which I say Ram-A-Lama-Ding-Dong.
    And operating on the lowest common denominator theory, all the other manufacturers have adopted it, too. Where is a designer of the stature of Gordon Buehrig when we so desperately need him ?

  2. I think this is a neat rig, as well, however, I don’t ever recall seeing a truck of this vintage with that type of sleeper. It’s much more reminiscent of integral sleepers on modern trucks. There were very few OTR trucks in the 30’s, and sleeping in a truck was not near the luxury it is today, as depicted by this photo. Most OTR trucks had sleepers that looked just like an extension of the regular cab, or was in the front of trailers. The trailer looks like a prototype, as a tandem axle trailer, was reserved for heavy loads, and that front piece, while aerodynamic, would lose precious cargo space, and I don’t see any dolly legs for dropping it. Still, it show’s to go ya’, aerodynamics in trucks is nothing new.
    As far as transmissions, I’d bet it’s a straight 5 speed, as 2 speed rear axles, which, I read, appeared on 1937 “J” series ( or aux. transmissions) didn’t become popular until after the war.

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