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The Mercedes-Studebaker Alliance

The automobile manufacturing and sales business is a challenging and ever changing arena. This photo from St. Petersburg, Fla. dated Sept. 9, 1957, shows us back in the time when Mercedes and the Studebaker Corp. had a merger of dealership facilities. Mercedes trying to get better established, had an arrangement with Studebaker to have some their dealers also handle their product.

This was the Stewart Jones salesroom in St. Petersburg with Gilbert Jones behind the wheel and his father Stewart, standing with a 190 SL Mercedes. Just behind it we see a Studebaker or a Packard Hawk (Studebaker and Packard were also in a merger of sorts). Note the banners for the Packard Clipper and the Golden Hawk with the “Jet stream Supercharger”on the wall at the right.

Your editor, when he was young man, bought from a Mercedes dealer his entire Stude-baker parts stock, to keep his Studebaker Hawk on the road in the early 1970s.  The Old Motor photo.

 

7 responses to “The Mercedes-Studebaker Alliance

  1. David, the building still stands. Originally built in 1925, it was renovated for use as the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in 1989. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The old Studebaker sign is still visible and along the top of the building are four large stucco Studebaker Conestoga wagon wheel logos.

  2. Unfortunately, the original Studebaker dealership at the building mentioned above in St. Petersburg lasted only one year before the company, Peninsular Motor Co. went bankrupt. This photo is probably from the Stewart Jones dealership on Fifth Avenue North during the 50s time frame. The USGS does occupy a building located at 600 4th Street South in St. Petersburg that housed Studebakers from 1925-26 and was also an A & P grocery in the 30s.

    Any information that you might have on the Peninsular Motor Co. Studebaker building would be appreciated, as I’m finding many dead ends about the history of the older St. Petersburg “Studebaker” building.
    Thanks!

  3. The photo of the 190 SL shows my Father, Gilbert R. Jones and Grandfather, Stewart I. Jones. They were a successful Studebaker Dealership and in 1957 became associated with Mercedes Benz, through Studebaker. The dealership location was 125-5th Ave. North St. Petersburg Florida. It was not the building, that still stands with the 1920’s Studebaker logo, in St. Petersburg. Even today, when I mention my Grandfathers dealership, they ask if it is the building located at 600 4th Street South.

    My Grandfather sold the dealership in 1973 & retired. My dad & uncle did not want to carry on the legacy. They were still a Mercedes dealer, at the time of the sale. Later, the purchaser fell on hard times and during the 70’s closed their doors. The vacant building burned down, in the late 70’s. A medical arts building resides in the location today.

    A little background to the ’57 photo. My Dad said they had him sit on phone books, so his face would show unobstructed, in the picture. That explains why he is taller than the windshield.

    I wish I had those banners on the wall. In 1973, I was working at the dealership part time over the summer. I did save some memorabilia, but there were no banners present.

    In 1976 as a Senior in HS, I purchased a 1960 Studebaker Lark as my 1st car. That car was sold new by my father, at Stewart Jones Motors. I still own that car today. However now it is supercharged, like a 1957-58 Golden Hawk.

    Thanks for posting the photo.
    Ken Jones

    • Hi,

      I have a Mercedes, sold through the Studebaker dealer network in 1961. I’m trying to trace what dealer sold the car. MB refers to the dealer as “714” and in April 1961 it had ordered over 7,000 MBs so i think that made it a medium size dealer.

      I wonder if you have any references that could help me?

      Thanks for the help.

      tim

  4. Ken,
    Thanks for sharing the history of your Grandfather’s dealership. I had always wondered what had become of the original building. As you stated, it was often confused for the Peninsular Motors building on 4th Street. I had heard that a hospital now resided on the site, but until now I had never heard the entire story. I am the 3rd owner of a 53 Champion Starliner that was sold new by your Grandfather. It is an un-restored survivor that has spent its entire life in the Bay Area and has never left the State of Florida. I would like to meet you sometime and learn more about the dealership if possible. I live in Tampa just north of downtown. Thanks again for sharing…

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