Studebaker Champion, 1950

Discover the cars of The Automobile and American Art

Media - AHS.1011 - SAAM-AHS.1011_1 - 138173

Studebaker Champion, 1950 (model car, 1:18 scale)1950, metal, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Albert H. Small, 2017, AHS.1011

About this Car

The Studebaker Champion was one of the first new cars released in the United States after World War II. Studebaker’s 1947 slogan, “First by far with a postwar car!” heralded the stylish new designs that would roll off assembly lines over the coming years. These included the streamlined 1950 Champion, which was strongly influenced by the aerodynamic shape of fighter planes and bombers.

Artwork Connection

Sculptor David Smith spent the summer of 1925 working as a riveter at the Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana, honing the metal-work skills that came to define his artistic career. Smith’s passion for industrial materials and techniques inspired innovative sculptures assembled from scrap metal and machine parts. In Reclining Figure, Smith welded together piston shafts, forceps, and a jagged metal bar to create an abstracted human form.