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    The Lamberti Papers (June 3, 1963)

    Minutes of June 3, 1963 meeting of Studebaker department heads.

    STAFF MEETING – June 3, 1963


    1. Prototypes

    The 4th prototype, the Daytona 4-door sedan, will be finished this afternoon and will be followed by the 2-door Hardtop next Monday.

    2. Flange Axles

    Dana expects to start building some axles the latter part of August and has asked for the number needed for special orders in advance of the regular production beginning the first of next year. Sales asked that sets be brought in in anticipation of taxi business from New York in addition to the sets needed for the State of California. Dr. Lamberti suggested that the quantity for the taxicabs be limited to 50 or 100 sets to avoid a material inventory problem – he mentioned the sets of material for the GSA orders we hoped to get. Mr. Bender will give Mr. Hardig an estimate on the number of flange axles needed for the State of California and the taxicabs in time for him to notify Dana before Wednesday.

    3. Alternators

    Mr. Hardig said that Engineering received a request Friday morning for 63 amp alternators for 8 taxicabs; we currently have a 60 amp, which takes different brackets. These cabs have been lineset and are already on the line waiting for this deviation. Since the difference is so small, the question was raised if an attempt had been made to sell the customer on using a 60 amp. If Sales has to have it, Mr. Hardig suggests we drop the 60 amp for ’64 and carry only the 62 amp. Mr. Bender will check into this.

    4. Post Office Vehicle

    The post office van scheduled for the 6th or the 7th will probably not be ready until a week from today. Met-Pro will finish it the end of this week, and we will probably get it about next Monday. Then we will have 10 to 12 days’ work to do on it after it gets here. The prototype is due June 24, but Mr. Hardig doesn’t think we will be able to finish it and test it by that time.


    1. Shipments

    Larks and Hawks 58,763 Avantis 3,403 Commercial Trucks 5,272 Military Trucks 720

    2. Production

    Mr. Whitmer stressed the problems on the line with the shortages of material we have because we didn’t build according to our forecast. Because we are short of dash liners, we will have to shut the truck line down today at 11 o’clock. However, if we didn’t shut down for the dash liners, we would have to shut down because of lack of orders anyway, for we’re not getting enough orders in here to run our sheet metal. He expressed the thought that we probably should shut the place down for a week to get caught up, but Mr. Minkel remarked that we can’t do that because we would lose out on the Avanti. In connection with truck production, Mr. Bender commented that we have to have some flexibility. It is impossible to live with that low an option inventory with this low a volume. We have 147 orders that can’t be built – we have orders, but not what has been projected. According to Mr. Soelch, 78 of those orders are for Newman & Altman, the material for which isn’t on order. There will be a meeting on trucks at 3 o’clock today in Mr. Whitmer’s office.

    3. Performance

    Performance is down again. In comparing our recent “best performance” to the previous one in 1961, we had 28 bumpers this time against 6 the other time, and we didn’t have anywhere near the problems then that we have now.

    4. Avantis for Las Vegas

    There are 9 okays and 43 off the line against a total of 78. Mr. Minkel reported that Mr. Kough is going to order 12 more and see if he can sell them; whereupon Mr. Whitmer told him it’s too late to get them produced. Maybe Sales will have to use some stock items.

    5. Distribution of Company-Owned Avantis

    It is again becoming difficult to keep track of the Avantis, and Dr. Lamberti reminded the group to go through normal channels – which is Lot 151 – whenever they borrow an Avanti. Mr. Whitmer will send out a memo on this.


    1. Avanti – Trim

    There will be 4 standard trim combinations: all black, all red, all turquoise, and all elk. We have eliminated the perforated and will go to the pleated. Mr. Minkel is holding a meeting of the field staff soon and will get a feel on it from them at that time. If they decide to go with these new combinations, he will bulletin the dealers.

    2. Dealer Count

  • Approved 3
  • Terminated 12*
  • Total Count 2,019
  • In Process 3

    *These are the small dealers that are washing out on the basis of the 90-day notice we have given them.

    3. Lineset

    On Larks and Hawks, as of Friday, we required 2,739 additional orders to cover production. At that time, we had orders for framing through June 5 and final production of June 10. We still had 494 orders to apply.

    We have enough truck orders for framing through today, plus 147 additional which, if they could be applied, would take us through final production of June 12. (These are the orders mentioned by Mr. Bender under “Production.”)

    On the Avanti, what we have sent to the factory plus 34 that have not been lineset would cover framing through June 5 and final production through June 18.

    4. Wholesale

    Estimated wholesale for the month of May on Larks and Hawks is slightly over 5,000; for Avantis, 253; and for trucks, 583. As of Friday night, there were good shippers for 340 Larks and Hawks which involve non-okays – 50% to 60% of which are due to parts shortages.

    5. Inventory

    As of the 29th:

  • Zone Stock 1,003
  • Factory Inventory 1,601*

    *Includes snowbank, credit holds, and units in production for stock.

    6. Retail Deliveries

    Estimated retail for the last 10 days is 2,350, of which we estimate 80 will be Avantis. On that basis, May retail of Larks and Hawks will be 6,064, plus 286 Avantis. There were 9 selling days in the last 10-day period. It was noted that our estimated Avanti sales for May is 286, and we built 320.


    1. Post Office Vehicle

    Mr. Challinor and his group will work closely with Engineering to provide the shop guide and time guide required by this contract.

    2. New York Taxicabs

    Mr. Challinor received a copy of the new ordinance for the City of New York and is concerned about our car meeting the required dimension from the floor pan to the roof. (We are 1½” short.) In the past, we pounded the floor pan down on the model we had okayed, but this year they won’t let us do that. He will meet with Engineering to see what can be done. The colors of the cabs are being restricted to help cut down the crime. They can make a faster identification of each cab if they are all alike.

    Mr. Challinor said there have been a number of changes in the specifications on the cabs, but except for that one dimension, we should have no trouble meeting them. However, Chevy comes so far from meeting the new specs that they may decide to stay out of New York.


    1. Body Fit Analysis

    Mr. Capsey told of this program Quality Control is effecting to work out the bugs in the new model before the start of production. He mentioned the fit of the stiffener in the roof as an example.

    2. Oil Leaks

    Mr. Capsey reported that as a result of the work of our task force, our engines are drier, although we still have two gaskets that are not in 100%. We are using a different kind of sealer on the plugs, and we are having the seal people come in to see if they can’t do a better job. Although Mr. Soelch is looking for another source, we only have one source at the present time so we are pretty much at their mercy.


    1. Shipwrecked Units

    Newman and Altman purchased the salvage of these units for Belgium that went aground at Muskegon last winter. Mr. Altman indicated that they did it partly to help us by keeping the large salvage operator in Chicago from getting hold of the material and selling it to our dealers in that area. He is interested in selling us some frames; he will use the engines himself. Mr. Soelch believes those frames are probably less rusty than ours are – since we store ours out of doors anyway. Also, we are short of Lark frames right now. Therefore, we will take some of the material from Mr. Altman, but prices have not yet been established. Quality Control will inspect the frames before purchase.

    2. 1964 Model

    We’re sending some of the men out to check on the ’64 tooling to make sure it is as far along as it is supposed to be. As of right now, we have some tight items that will be down the latter part of July, but we will have the material here to run on August 5. There will be a meeting with Mr. Edwards of the Budd Company tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 in Mr. Soelch’s office.


    1. New York Retail Service Center

    The Union contract expired last Friday, and we don’t have any signed agreement on an extension. Mr. Sheppard feels the prospects are fair. We expect to have more on it by tomorrow night.

    2. Union Elections

    The Local 5 elections are Tuesday and Wednesday. It has been extremely quiet in the plant; the group that is in now is standing on their record. Lou Nagy is running against Les Fox, and Bill Gregory is running against Woody Frick. There are 6 running for president and 7 for vice president. There are 60 candidates running for about 10 offices.

    3. South Side Little League

    Yesterday Mr. Gallagher threw the first ball this season for the little league, and he gave a report on his favorable impression of what they have at the park. (The premises they use are loaned to them by Studebaker.)

    They have 3 diamonds, with a senior diamond opening this year for boys too old for the little league and not old enough for the regular league. A senior group is new in South Bend. They have a terrific setup – Mr. Gallagher told of their facilities, dugouts, etc. All this is done by voluntary labor – and chiseling. For example, the electric company has donated the lighting, and now the league is trying to get them not to put in a meter.

    Last season, this little league division handled 350 boys up to the age of 13, and most of them are from Studebaker families. They gave Studebaker a lot of credit for being their biggest contributor. Mr. Gallagher attended as a representative of the Corporation.


    1. C-W Property

    C-W has a purchaser for the property south of Chippewa Avenue. We have an agreement whereby we supply electric and water to C-W, but we will try to terminate this when the property is sold.

    2. Corporation Real Estate

    Mr. Feuer asked Mr. Minkel if there would be real estate problems in connection with the new merchandising program. Mr. Minkel will close zone offices as the leases expire, and he will keep in touch with legal.


    1. Tooling

    There was $35,000 committed last week, with $2.4 million to go. (Budd Company is all in.)

    2. Wholesale

    According to the final count, it looks like we have gone up about 1,200 Lark and Hawk units in May.


    1. M44

    There’s another meeting Thursday on the Engineering package. We received information from ATAC that the discrepancies covered in this meeting will complete the discrepancies that will be included in the RFP the middle of August – which will be a 3-year procurement for about 3,000 units.

    2. M602

    In our technical proposal, we had a paragraph on the discrepancies on the package. Now we have been asked for a set of drawings – which differs from usual procedure.

    3. 5-Ton

    The bid we submitted on a 2-year procurement for 8,400 units was low by $234,000. However, before this is finalized, they have to evaluate the shipping costs and the tooling. Unless International Harvester has much less tooling, our costs should be lower because our shipping is less than theirs. (We had $1.8 million tooling, but we don’t know what International had.)

    On the alternate proposal for procurement of 4,100 units, International was low by about $20,000. This is also unevaluated. With transportation charges considered, this should be reversed, and Studebaker should be low.

    4. 3 Studies at ATAC

    We have not heard anything from those yet.

    5. 1/8 Ton

    We are expecting the contract this week.

    6. Turtle

    The final assembly of the Turtle for Italy is commencing today.

    7. Suspension for Tracked Vehicles

    We expect to finish our unsolicited proposal this week for informal discussion with the people at ATAC next week.

    8. M114, T195, T196

    We have informed the people at MOCOM that we will not bid on this particular request.

    9. Cargo Loader

    This proposal for the Marine Corps is similar to some of the work we have done for the Air Force. The vehicle we will be proposing is very simple and looks like a big Army MULE. It is a platform with 4 wheels and independent suspension, with hydraulic lifts on the suspension. It will be a very simple vehicle to build. The contract calls for the designing and building of two prototypes.


    1. Indianapolis 500

    We had the bulk of the Press using Studebaker cars. There is an enormous amount of magic in the Novi name which we own by indirect. The performance of the Novi car that ran through the middle of the race was as good as any of the Novis have ever done. By indirection, we went a long way getting attention – did about as well as Ford Motor Company did with their millions and 2 cars. Mr. Granatelli plans to be back next year.

    We had about 10 people approach us about Studebaker going into racing and attended a meeting of about 4 hours with the hot rod people about drag racing.

    There was a general discussion concerning the events of the race.

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