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Arcure Motors: Studebaker-Mercedes Benz Sales and Service

Yes, a Studebaker-Mercedes Benz Dealership – in 1954 Studebaker and Packard merged and became Studebaker-Packard Corporation with the hope that the arrangement would benefit the two failing automakers.

In 1956 through an agreement formed by Curtis-Wright and Studebaker-Packard, the carmakers took over the distribution rights of Mercedes Benz Sales Inc. formed by car importer Max Hoffman of New York City. The agreement lasted until Studebaker closed its South Bend, IN factory in 1963 and the last of the US-built cars were assembled. At that point, a number of Studebaker-Mercedes dealerships were converted to sell and service Mercedes Benz automobiles and trucks.

This image of the backside of Arcure Motors, located in Ann Arbor, MI, dated to June of 1960 by the source shows the service department of the dealership. Above it is the showroom and an outside display area with a new Studebaker Lark two-door sedan and the shop’s Studebaker pickup truck. In 1963 Arcure Motors was one of the Studebaker-Mercedes dealerships that stayed in business by handling the Mercedes Benz.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photos courtesy of the Ann Arbor District Library.

  • Another view of the service department dated by the source to September of 1960.


24 responses to “Arcure Motors: Studebaker-Mercedes Benz Sales and Service

      • Good catch Joe! I didn’t notice the missing V. My uncle in Michigan bought one of those with the 6 and overdrive. at 12 years old I was disgusted! The 265 option with power pack couldn’t
        have cost that much. Three speed would have saved a little.

  1. In the 4th photograph [3rd expandable picture], on the right & on the embankment, is a dark 1952 STUDEBAKER Commander Land Cruiser, and “above” this ’52 STUDEBAKER is a 1960 VALIANT.

  2. In item 1 of 3, in the back of the right stall there’s possibly a Mercedes 300 Cabriolet.

    In Item 2 of 3 that appears to be a ’56 Packard 400 or Patrician.

    In item 3 of 3 there’s a pair of ’52 Studebakers beyond the wall and a ’61 Lark up on the hill.

  3. A 1961 issue of the Buffalo Evening News in the used cars listings named Great Lakes Motors as a “Lark and Mercedes-Benz dealer” where to find those fine used cars. Great Lakes Motors continued after Studebaker departed, continues today as their Niagara frontier premiere dealership.

  4. BTW, the third photo suggest we’re looking at the back of the dealership. It looks as if the showroom was up above facing a street on the other side. That would make sense given the roof-top display of new models.

    Note the ’56 Packard Patrician visible in the second image of the automatic transmission service department. Twin-Ultramatic in the ’55-’56 Packards acquired a reputation as a problematic unit. Not just a few V-8 Packards were traded because of fears that repair services would become unavailable with the end of Packard production. More than one Packard in good shape otherwise was junked when the transmission failed.

  5. Interesting 1956 Chevrolet with ‘monotone’ lower body, in contrast to the white roof… Usually the area inbetween the chrome trim, and the trunk would be white too. Imho it’s beautiful!

  6. There was a Studebaker/Mercedes-Benz dealership in York, Pennsylvania, on US 30, the Lincoln Highway. In the first photo we see a new-for-1960 “fintail” sedan, probably a 220S (dual carbs) or 220SE (mech. fuel-injection). In the bay behind it is a 190SL, then to the right is a “ponton” sedan, probably a 219, with a 170 or 220 Cabriolet inside. The second photo shows the front of probably a 220S (common) or 220SE (rare) sedan.

  7. Back when a Benz diesel car sounded just like a semi-truck,but I don’t think too many of them were ever imported into the US cause nobody wanted a diesel car back then.

    • In 73 I had a 63 190 D. It drove nicely for a big car and the interior was wonderful. It did sound like a truck and unfortunately smoked maybe a little more. Was lucky to get it through NJ inspection.

  8. 1st pic, looks like some swoopy convertibles in the bays, and seems like a lot of Larks in for service. Regarding AML’s mention of the sliding rear window on the Champs, that was the 1st time a company offered those on trucks. Now they all have them. Studebaker and M-B, both ends of the automotive spectrum.

  9. The more I read about S/P and the games Nance played with Nash/Hudson, having S/P fold down the road was exactly what that company deserved. Circling the drain and too dumb to figure it out it was worse than thought.

    MB back then when the deal was made or even when S/P folded wasn’t the MB of a few years later in the US, but they were something, but S/P couldn’t even get that right on figuring out how to close S/P down yet keep the MB business. Just be a car importer.

  10. In the early 1990’s I was driving a United Checker taxicab in San Pedro So. California and one day when I was turning around in an alley on South Pacific Street I saw an old painted sign on a red brick building that just read: STUD on it in black letters. A newer building had blocked out the rest of the sign. It looked pretty old to me, so I asked a cab driver who had been driving a taxi in San Pedro for about forty years if he remembered a Studebaker dealership being in that area and he told me yes there had been one there but that it was a couple of blocks down on the opposite side of the street. That puzzled me, because I didn’t think that sign could have read anything but the word Studebaker. They didn’t have the internet back then but today I thought that I would find out if there had once been a Studebaker dealership at that approximate location. So I went to “Bob’s Studebaker Resource Website – Studebaker Dealer Listing” to see what I could find.
    The dealership that the cab driver was referring to was called Atchinson Motors with its address listed at 128 S. Pacific and was there during in the early 1950’s. But there were several others that had once been on that same street. There was a listing for Cecil L. Thomas, who only serviced Studebakers, and was located at 339 S. Pacific and judging by the ad for him had been present there during the late 1930’s. There was also Glenn E. Thomas Co, at 5th & Pacific who was there during the mid 1920’s, and finally there was Preston Motors which was located at 329 S. Pacific and was also there during the mid to late 1930’s. So Preston Motors evidently sold the Studebakers and right next to him was Cecil L. Thomas – who one would reckon was probably the son or else the brother of Glenn E. Thomas – and who actually serviced the cars, and that old brick sign that I saw was for either the dealership or service station that had been there some sixty years previously.
    So it would seem that the Studebaker dealerships in that town had slowly moved east along S. Pacific Ave. But there was one other Studebaker dealership that had once been in San Pedro and that one was called Sandy Neill Studebaker-Packard, and was located only a couple of blocks away from the original Studebaker dealership at 530 W. 6th St. There is a big color advertisement for him from the late 1950’s, but by then all that he was selling were Studebakers. San Pedro is a nice little coastal getaway, and if you ever happen to visit there and are curious enough to look around, see if that old sign is still visible as it was when I left there some twenty five years ago.

  11. Looks like a 190SL on the ground in the third bay in the first photo and on the lift in the second bay in the last photo.

  12. I remember a rumor that the Studebaker Lark – the white car on the roof in the first photo – was designed by Mercedes Benz.

    • Hi David, I don’t think so. I read, the Lark was the work of then Studebaker president, Harold Churchill, who wanted a compact instead of a full size car. They took the center body, which had been around since 1953, and chopped off the front and back, making it shorter than the Rambler American but still wide enough for 6 adults. Several designers worked on the car, but nothing is said about M-B.

  13. The Mercedes inthe middle in the first picture appears te be a 220, built from 1959 until 1965.
    It had a 6 cilinder 2195 cc 105 HP at 4800 rpm petrol engine; top speed 100 mph.
    Its moderate size was 487,5 x 179,5 x 145 cm; weighing 1320 kg.

  14. in the lead picture the 56 Chevy possibly ended up with the V/8. Very few carried on with the old stovebolt. It is amazing
    the amount of them that have been converted. However the 6 cylinder served it’s purpose also. I presently am the steward of a 56 engine conversion. It started life as an entry level 150 which I converted to a 210 . It has a 330 hp 350 vortec engine. I still have fun with the gas filler as I ask younger folks if they had to put gas in it where would they fill it. The answers are priceless.

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