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The Rockne was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1932 to 1933. The brand was named for University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.
Discussions between Studebaker and Knute Rockne began in 1928. Rockne was offered a high-visibility job by Studebaker president Albert Erskine. Studebaker planned for a durable, inexpensive car. The Rockne would replace the slow-selling, unduly expensive Erskine car.
There were two prototypes that some would consider 1931 Rocknes. In 1930, Ralph Vail and Roy Cole operated an engineering/consulting firm in Detroit. Willys-Overland commissioned them to design a new small six and build two prototypes. Upon presenting the two vehicles to W-O the independent designers/engineers were told W-O was on the verge of bankruptcy and they could do what they wanted with the cars, one a sedan, one a coupe. Vail stopped in South Bend and demonstrated the car to Albert Erskine, at that time president of the Studebaker Corporation. Erskine bought the design that day and both Vail and Cole would be brought into the Studebaker organization. The Rockne moniker was a later adoption so, technically, there were no 1931 Rocknes.
On March 31, 1931, 12 days after being appointed manager of sales promotion, Knute Rockne was killed in an airplane crash. In September, 1931, George M. Graham, formerly of Willys-Overland, was named sales manager of the new Rockne Motor Corporation. Two models were approved for production, the "65" on 110 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase and the "75" on a 114 in (2,900 mm) wheelbase. The "75" was based on the Studebaker Six, while the "65" was based on designs by Vail and Cole, the two engineers under contract for Willys-Overland. The "75" was designed under Studebaker's head of engineering, Delmar "Barney" Roos.
Production of the Rockne "75" began at South Bend on December 15, 1931. The smaller "65" went into production at the old E-M-F plant on Piquette Avenue in Detroit, February 22, 1932. This was the same plant at which the 1927 and 1928 Erskine models had been built. The Rockne also went into production at Studebaker's Canadian plant at Walkerville, Ontario, near Windsor.
The 1933 Rockne line was reduced to one line, the "10". The Rockne "10" was an update of the "65". When Studebaker went into receivership on March 18, 1933, it was decided to move production of the Rockne to the Studebaker plant in South Bend. The Rockne "10" was built in South Bend from April through July, 1933.
The Rockne "65/10" engine would replace all the six-cylinder Studebaker car engines then in production and power Studebaker Dictator and Commander cars until World War II. This engine would also power postwar Commanders and Land Cruisers until the V8 became available for 1951. This engine would also be the larger of two six cylinder engines offered in trucks through 1960.
Although the Rockne was not a success, its failure was a product of the times. The year 1932 was the bottom of the depression, not a good time to introduce a new name. About 90 leftover Rocknes were sent to Norway in kits, where they were assembled by A/S Skabo Jernbanevognfabrik and sold.
Knute Kenneth Rockne was a Norwegian-American football player and coach at the University of Notre Dame.
Packard was an American luxury automobile marque built by the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899, and the last Detroit-built Packard in 1956, when they built the Packard Predictor, their last concept car.
Studebaker was an American wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 as the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the firm was originally a producer of wagons, buggies, carriages and harnesses.
The Studebaker Land Cruiser was an automobile produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana from 1934-1954. The Land Cruiser debuted at the World's Fair alongside the Silver Arrow, a product of Studebaker's former premium make Pierce-Arrow. It was also manufactured in Vernon, California.
The Studebaker Commander is the model name of several automobiles produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana and Studebaker of Canada Ltd of Walkerville and, later, Hamilton, Ontario (Canada). Studebaker began using the Commander name in 1927 and continued to use it until 1964, with the exception of 1936 and 1959-63. The name was applied to various products in the company's line-up from year to year.
The Studebaker Champion is an automobile which was produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from the beginning of the 1939 model year until 1958. It was a full-size car in its first three generations and a mid-size car in its fourth and fifth generation models.
The Studebaker Wagonaire was a station wagon produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1963–1966. It featured a retractable sliding rear roof section that allowed the vehicle to carry items that would otherwise be too tall for a conventional station wagon of the era.
The Studebaker Lark is a compact car that was produced by Studebaker from 1959 to 1966.
The Studebaker President was the premier automobile model manufactured by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana (US) from 1926-1942. The nameplate was reintroduced in 1955 and used until the end of the 1958 model when the name was retired.
The Studebaker Conestoga was an all-steel station wagon produced in 1954 and 1955 by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana (USA). The company chose the name Conestoga as an homage to its wagon business that company produced from the 1850s into the early 20th century.
The Starlight coupe was a unique 2-door body style offered by Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana from 1947 to 1955 in its Champion and Commander model series. It was designed by Virgil Exner, formerly of Raymond Loewy Associates.
The Erskine was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, United States, from 1926 to 1930. The marque was named after Albert Russel Erskine (1871–1933), Studebaker's president at the time.
The Studebaker Big Six was an automobile produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana between 1918 and 1926, being designated the Model EG (1918–21), the EK (1922–24) and the EP (1925–26). In 1927, it was renamed the President (ES) pending introduction of a smaller and smoother straight-eight engine for new top-of-the-range models after January 1928.
Studebaker-Garford was an automobile produced and distributed jointly by the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio, and the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1904 through 1911. During its production, the car was sold as a Studebaker, per the marketing agreement between the two firms, but Studebaker collectors break the vehicles out under the Studebaker-Garford name because of the extent of Garford components.
Albert Russel Erskine was an American businessman. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, he worked in a number of manufacturing industries before joining the Studebaker motor car manufacturing firm in 1911. He served as Studebaker's president from 1915 until the firm encountered severe financial problems in 1933, when he committed suicide.
The Piquette Avenue Industrial Historic District is a historic district located along Piquette Street in Detroit, Michigan, from Woodward Avenue on the west to Hastings Street on the east. The district extends approximately one block south of Piquette to Harper, and one block north to the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Line. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Willys was a brand name used by Willys–Overland Motors, an American automobile company best known for its design and production of military Jeeps (MBs) and civilian versions (CJs) during the 20th century.
Rockne was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1932-1933.
The Three Musketeers is a nickname given to a team of three famous Studebaker engineers, Frederick Morrell Zeder, Owen Ray Skelton, and Carl Breer. They would become the foundation engineers that started the Chrysler Corporation. These three were among the finest engineers that Walter Chrysler surrounded himself with when he started Chrysler Corporation.
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