The Studebaker 2R5 pickup was part of the post-war Studebaker R-Series truck family – the most popular in the company’s history. Even fierce competition from the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Advance Design did not stop the 2R5 from occupying 5.73% of the American commercial vehicle market in 1949.
Anyone interested in automotive history is familiar with the Studebaker brand. For those interested in this vintage mark, it is associated with the well-known US6 army truck, or “Studer” as it was affectionately called, for others – with super-fast cars of the late 40s and the Avanti coupe. However, the brand had models in the form of civilian trucks, which are almost unknown to many. Because of the company’s policies, where the commercial direction was a secondary matter, some worthy specimens of this brand were rarely seen even in their homeland.
The famous M series, which was in great demand (until March 1948, the company assembled 145,800 vehicles of this type) was three times the number of all commercial “Study” trucks made before that. However, this did not prevent the company from replacing the M series with the release of 2R series trucks in April 1948 which, in turn, became the most successful in the history of the company. The 2R series trucks made their debut in the presence of 1,300 dealers and special guests invited to the opening of a new assembly plant in South Bend. The body of the 2R-series was developed by designer Robert Bourke of Raymond Loewy Associates, also responsible for the styling of passenger cars from 1947 to 1955. Compared to the M-series pickups (1941-1948), the cab of 2Rs was lowered, the vertical grille was replaced with a horizontal one, the front fenders were flattened, and the bumper was simpler and shorter.
The exterior of the cab and plumage of the series was also designed by Robert Bourke, and thanks to him these cars were the first trucks in the United States without protruding steps. The 2R cab was used for all existing subsequent Studebaker series until the end of production. The 2R series completely inherited the 6-cylinder engines from the passenger cars. Overall, the series included models 2R5, 2R10, 2R15, 2R16, and 2R17, with a lifting capacity of 0.5t, 0.75t, 1t, 1.5t, and 2t, respectively. Cars of the 0.5–1t (2R5, 2R10, 2R15) class were equipped with an 85 hp Champion engine, and the rest – (2R16, and 2R17) with a Commander engine with a power of 94 hp. A low-valve inline 6-cylinder Econ-o-miser engine (volume – 2779cm3, power 80hp) was installed under the hood of the 2R5, which averaged 10 liters of gasoline per 100 km. Options included overdrive or 4-speed manual transmission, Planar independent front suspension with transverse spring, fog lamps, heater, cab ventilation, cigarette lighter, radio, dual windshield wipers, dual sun visors, interior lighting, and other amenities. The assembly of trucks was carried out in the shops of the plant on Chippewa Avenue, built during the war years for the production of aircraft engines, and continued until the end of 1956.
Cars of the 2R series were discontinued in December 1953. Over the entire period of its existence, minor changes took place in the line, including in the range of installed engines. The total number of produced 2R trucks was 268,752, including a small number of vehicles made in Canada. Oddly enough, the success of the 2R series did not benefit the company and led to stagnation in the commercial direction. After trucks began to be in steady demand, the company stopped allocating significant funds for their modernization. The management of the company decided to produce trucks without major design changes as long as they are selling well.
Stand by me, 1986
1949 2R5 truck appeared in the 1986 film “Stand by Me” movie, based on Stephen King’s “The Body” novel. The action of the film takes the viewer back to the 50s small town of Castle Rock. The summer fun season has been overshadowed by the mysterious disappearance of a boy. Four teenage friends went to look for him. Children took on the difficult tasks because they wanted to grow up asap.
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