Name: 1962 Studebaker Lark Deluxe VI
Year(s) Produced: 1962-1963
Number Built: 49,961
Body Type: 4-door sedan
Engine: 170 ci Inline 6
Power: 112hp @ 4500 RPM
Top Speed: (?)
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Length/width/height: 188 in/71.3 in/57.5 in
Wheelbase: 113 in.
Base Price: US$2,040 (NADA)
Current Value: US$13,600 (Hagerty)
“It’s plain good horse sense to see, price and test-drive the one car that offers Big Car Comfort at compact prices – the beautifully styled ’62 Lark by Studebaker. It’s a real thoroughbred.”
This one-liner promotional line for the 1962 Studebaker Lark makes perfect sense, not until you realize that the one doing the talking is a Palomino horse. Hugely successful during the late 50s until early 60s, the comedy sitcom ‘Mister Ed’ stars Wilbur Post (played by Alan Young) and his unlikely partner Mr. Ed – a mischievous, smart-ass talking horse. Under the pen of George Burns, the show ran for six seasons and 143 episodes in syndication and on CBS from 1961-1966. Though the first episode is a little short of being bland, succeeding episodes were instant hits.
Now what led this smart aleck horse do a promotional stint with a Studebaker? After the show’s relatively creaky, unfunny pilot, sponsors were a little reluctant to jump in with Mr. Ed. This created problems in terms of financing the program at such an early stage. The agency representing the series sent Alan Young to sell the idea of a talking horse to Studebaker dealers, convincing them to sponsor the show that what was originally titled as the ‘Wilbur Pope and Mister Ed’. Since then, the initial success of ‘Mister Ed’ was credited to the sponsorship provided by Studebaker cars which Alan Young and Mister Ed helped promote in return.
The Studebaker in our photo insert is a 1962 Studebaker Lark Deluxe VI Skytop. The Skytop was an optional feature on certain 1961, 1962, and 1963 models such as the Studebaker Lark Regal and Daytona. It was essentially a fabric covering over metal bows, attached to a track assembly to allow the roof to be slid back. The fabric covering was available in two colors: black, and white and costs at around $185 for all three years it was offered. This option was eventually discontinued with the introduction of the 1964 Studebaker line.
According to Studebakerskytop.com , whose expressed purpose is to document surviving Studebaker Skytop-equipped cars, they currently have 45 under their registry.
So do you think you know someone who might have one? Drop us a comment below and let us know.