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The Studebaker Lark was a compact car produced from 1959 to 1966 through three generations. From its introduction in early 1959 until 1962, the Lark was a product of the Studebaker-Packard. In mid-1962, the company dropped "Packard" from its name and reverted to its pre-1954 name, the studebaker corporation. In addition to being built in Studebaker's south Bend, Indiana, home plant, the Lark and its descendants were also built in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, from 1959 to 1966. The cars were also exported to a number of countries around the world. In Belgium, itw as imported by D'Ieteren, in Brussels.
Lark-based variants represented the bulk of the range produced by Studebaker after 1958 and sold in far greater volume than the contemporary Hawk and Avanti models. Beginning with the 1963 Cruiser, the Lark name was gradually phased out of the company catalog and by early 1964, Lark-based models were being marketed under commander, Daytona and Cruiser nameplates only. The Studebaker company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1952, ceased automobile production in 1966.
3d generation. In an effort to reverse the downward sales trend created when Detroit rolled out its own compacts in 1960 and 1961, new Studebaker-Packard president Sherwood Egbert called upon his friend, noted industrial designer Brook Stevens, to effect a striking yet cost-effective 1962 update. Stevens lengthened the car body, especially at the rear, and modernized the interior. Studebaker's board of directors were reportedly pleased with the extent of the changes Stevens was able to make. They could not believe he could do so much for so little money. In addition to the new styling, Studebaker joined the increasing popularity of front bucket seats and center console models of the early 1960s with the introduction of the Daytona. In the same way that the Cruiser had become the top-of-the-line four-door for 1961, the new Daytona replaced the Regal as the top-trim convertible and hardtop, although Regal versions of these body styles remained available.
All four-door sedans for 1962 moved to the Cruiser's 113 in (2,900 mm) wheelbase body. However, the Cruiser remained the only four-door with rear-door vent windows. Two-door models gained a half-inch in wheelbase, up from 108.5" to 109". The only model that was deleted from the 1962 lineup was the Deluxe series two-door wagon, which had slipped in popularity since the four-door wagon's debut in 1960. However, some leftover 1961-model two-door wagon bodies were fitted with the new 1962 front clips. This was done to fill a U.S. government fleet order. No one is certain how many were built, although the number was certainly minuscule, and none are known to exist today.
The immediate effect of Stevens' restyle was improved sales. Indeed, had it not been for a strike called by the United Auto Workers Local 5 in early 1962 at Studebaker's South Bend home plant, writers then and now expressed confidence that the company could have easily sold more than 100,000 of the new cars. Despite the strike, which halted production for 38 days, the company sold over 90,000, far more than had been sold in 1961.