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    The Lamberti Papers

    Minutes of June 17, 1963 meeting of Studebaker department heads.

    STAFF MEETING – June 17, 1963
    Dr. Lamberti was absent this meeting
    Mr. Minkel, Acting Chairman


    1. Prototypes

    We completed two more ’64 prototypes: the light blue Hardtop and the Hawk. The red 2-door sedan will probably come out of paint late tomorrow and be ready for photography on Friday. Also, we have removed the paint from the Cruiser grille.

    The advertising agency will use the cars through Tuesday night. Then on Wednesday, they will be used for a special showing of Mr. Egbert’s from 1 o’clock until 4 o’clock. Mr. Hardig mentioned that no one is to be around when those cars are set up and asked the group not to let their people go to the proving ground during that time. Public Relations will also need the cars this week for showing to long-lead-time magazine writers.

    Mr. Minkel reminded the staff members that anyone who needs the use of the prototypes should clear with Jack Price who, in turn, will check with Mr. Hardig. A date book is being kept to avoid confusion, and it is very important that we register our dates and then stick to them.

    2. Post Office Vehicle

    The post office van was supposed to have been shipped yesterday morning at 7 o’clock. However, Mr. Hardig understands it will leave Lansdale, Pennsylvania, tonight instead and will be in here sometime Tuesday morning. The people from GSA will be here Wednesday to see the van, but Mr. Hardig may request a postponement of their visit.

    3. Changes – Avanti

    A red Avanti with oxblood red interior has been painted the new gray. We are releasing the oxblood red vinyl. It looks good with all the present exterior colors except the present red; therefore, on the red cars, the black interior will be substituted for red. Mr. Minkel wants to get some figures on how many people order red Avantis with red interiors before this is finalized. According to Mr. Hardig, it will take about a week to get all the engineering releases out and a minimum of five weeks after that before the material is available.

    The steering wheel, other than the tilt, is in. These wheels are going on all the black-trim cars. After we have used up the stock on the present commitment, they will be installed in the rest of the cars.

    Messrs. Minkel and Whitmer requested that Mr. Romine’s letter of June 8 be made a part of the minutes. His letter concerned Avanti engineering changes involving molded parts at MFG (attached at end of minutes).

    4. Instrument Lights

    We will install red instrument lights in the entire ’64 line.

    5. Model X Truck

    The mockup is moving along fine, and we will have something to show about July 10-15.


    1. Shipments

  • Larks and Hawks 60,513
  • Avantis 3,543
  • Commercial Trucks 5,485
  • Military Trucks 982

    2. Grilles – Avanti

    We have received some and expect 15 more sample grilles by tomorrow night. We will check to see if they fit, and if they do, the grille could go in next week. Mr. Capsey remarked that MFG wants one of the grilles to help them provide a uniform opening and added that there are 40-some old bodies at Ashtabula which we will try to use before the new changes go in.

    3. Weld-Through Primer – Trucks

    Mr. Whitmer reported that cost and facilities studies had been made on cabs and boxes. The piece price on the cab would be $11.17 and on the boxes, $10.78, with a total of $21.95 for the two with full overhead. Providing we use the Avanti paint facilities, the facility cost will be $1,826.96. If we should start framing the Avanti here again, we would probably have to use a 2-shift operation in order to have the facilities to do it.

    We haven’t painted the cabs and boxes since 1947, but service has requested that this practice be reinstated because of the rusting out and deterioration of the truck panels. This weld-through primer gives the same kind of protection that there is on the passenger cars where we have as good or a better job than the rest of the industry. In fact, AMC and Ford are changing to our type of primer. Mr. Challinor commented that the trucks in our fleets are not standing up, and we are losing repeat business. Ford and Dodge, especially, make a big point of selling the sheet metal, and we have to meet competition or we will lose the business. Mr. Minkel observed that we will emphasize this in our advertising on our passenger cars, which would make us vulnerable if we didn’t also have it on trucks. He asked Mr. Rickus to take a look at what we would have to pass along on price – right now; our truck line is very favorably priced.

    Commenting on the Model X truck, Mr. Whitmer said going to the new program may change where you would use the weld-through primer on the vehicle, but it shouldn’t affect the program very much.

    4. Transmission Shortages

    We now have 384 jobs out in the yard without transmissions. However, in the middle of last week, we had almost 600. There will probably be a few yet this week running without transmissions, but we should be able to get some of these caught up. Mr. Minkel remarked that we want to get every unit we can this second quarter.

    5. July Production

    We will run Avanti and truck production 2 days in July to provide Expando trucks for Detroit.


    1. Dealer Count

    As of last Monday. 1,986

  • Approvals 2
  • Terminations 8
  • As of this morning 1,980
  • In Process 7

    2. Retail Deliveries

    Retail sales for the 10-day period ending June 10 were 1,228 of which 105 were Avantis. This is down substantially from the last 10 days of May and represented .72% of industry, which was also down. For the first 10 days of June, industry was 171,049 – down from 288,000 for the last 10 days of May. Sales suspects that a great many contests, trading allowance programs, etc. ended in May, accounting for the heavy last 10 days of May and also the light first 10 days of June.

    3. Inventories

    As of June 10:

  • Dealer 15,910 (includes 1,028 Avantis)
  • Retail Stores 1,184 Larks and Hawks
  • 80 Avantis

    As of this morning:

  • Factory 1,880 (includes 660 credit holds)

    There are presently 1,216 set for stock in production, and there will be approximately another 550 set for stock. Our estimates on wholesale for the month of June are 4,500. If these estimates are correct, our inventories at the end of June would be 1,480 in factory float, 3,446 in factory and zone stock, and 900 in retail store inventory, with a total overall inventory of cars available for sale to dealers of 5,826.

    Truck Inventories:

  • Factory (this morning) 186
  • Dealer (6/10) 1,329
  • Zone (6/10) 99

    4. Lineset

    On Friday, Sales gave Production the last orders for June production – mostly stock. Avantis are lineset for framing of June 17 and production of June 26, and trucks are lineset for framing of today and final production of June 20. However, we have 177 orders which would frame us through June 24 and production through June 27 if we had material for those jobs.

    5. Las Vegas Avantis

    The Avantis got off all right to Las Vegas for the driveaway on the 29th. Mr. Minkel gave some reasons why this kind of promotion can only be scheduled in a place like Las Vegas. The freight charges there are less than to the home town of almost all of the dealers attending. In other words, no back-haul freight costs. We get a good deal on the rooms, meals, etc. Every dealer who buys an Avanti is entitled to two tickets for one night. The meeting of about 100 people starts at noon on Saturday with a sales meeting. There will be a complete display of Avantis around the pool. The cocktail party and dinner will follow the meeting, with entertainment for the evening. On Saturday, Avantis will be stationed all around the town, and on Sunday the dealers will caravan out of town. The cost is $70 per car for the entire program. We feel it gives us good publicity. The people there are potential customers from whom we hope to get plus business.

    6. 1964 Model Introduction

    These plans are progressing very smoothly. It will be a crowded schedule because there is a meeting in Philadelphia on Friday; then we leave Philadelphia at 6 o’clock and go to Salt Lake City, spend Saturday there, back here on Sunday, and then a show in New York on Monday.

    7. Marketing Presentation

    There will be a marketing presentation at 2 o’clock this afternoon, and Mr. Minkel invited any of the group who wish to attend.


    1. Overheating – Avantis

    Mr. Challinor reported that he has had six pretty serious complaints on overheating on air-conditioned Avantis. One was from Dave Gezon where the car had the latest fan installed, and it still overheated. Mr. McIntosh is working with Engineering on this.

    2. Oil Leaks – 6-Cylinders

    Service has been getting some odd (recent) serial numbers on some of the complaints, and Mr. Challinor wondered if we are using all new gaskets on production now. Mr. Capsey will check to see for sure that the old gaskets have been scrapped off the floor so that they can’t be used in production by mistake.


    1. Post Office Vehicle

    When Quality Control people went to Lansdale, they found that Met-Pro doesn’t have any inspection procedures lined up, and they told our people that they don’t intend to set up anything until they start into production. So we will write up procedures for inspection the way they ought to be, since we are the prime contractor. The people at Met-Pro seem to be cooperative.

    2. ’64 Model Parts Testing

    Our suppliers have sample parts ready, and we will send our people to the vendors to check the parts right in their plants. If we can, we want to avoid the usual difficulty in getting proper fits, and we hope that this program will help us to get started better than we did last year. Mr. Soelch commented that a lot of time can be saved by doing this at the vendors’ plants.

    3. Customer Quality Control

    Mr. Challinor was not available for a meeting on this last week, so another meeting will be set up this week.


    1. Post Office Vehicle

    We sent our steel buyer and another buyer to get a complete bill of material. Met-Pro made up their bill of material as they set the job up. The hardware (they mean nuts, screws, bolts, etc.) was a problem, but it’s all right now. We will get quotes ourselves to see if we can better their prices, and we will do the buying for them. Everything is under control there now.

    2. Tooling

    Everything on the ’64 models has been placed, and our buyers are out chasing tooling. We don’t anticipate any trouble about starting on time unless something comes up that is not now expected.


    1. Union Elections

    On the Union runoff elections, all of the incumbents were put back into office except the divisional for stamping – foundry and the divisional for the truck and Avanti line. Sniadecki was defeated by Varga, and Taelman was defeated by Norosz. In our check on the two new men, Varga shows up as a pretty good guy – reasonable – the kind you can talk with. However, we get a negative reading on Norosz. He has been nothing but a trouble maker, and we will have our hands filled for a while trying to get him turned around. We think one thing that helped his election was the way the present group handled a grievance run through by the press room. He won the grievance and set his campaign on his success on that. He is not popular with his own bargaining committee. We don’t always follow the book in the press room; he could cause problems.

    2. Employee Regulations

    The workers are leaving their work stations before noon and waiting for the whistle at the gate. Mr. Whitmer commented that to police this thing is really a job since they only stamp once at noon – they don’t stamp out. He and Mr. Gallagher will get together to control this.


    1. Met-Pro

    We have auditors there now. It appears we will have to give them help on their payroll and their current operating expenses, as well as on material.

    2. Tooling

    We committed $30,000 last week, making $4.4 million year to date and $2.2 million uncommitted.


    1. 8-Ton Contract

    On our conference on Friday, we got an agreement on the contract. The contract will probably be signed today.

    2. 1/8-Ton Contract

    We haven’t received this yet, but we should get it in a day or two.

    3. 2½-Ton Study

    We also expect this contract very soon. We have received confirmation from Detroit that we were the winners.

    4. ¼-Ton Proposal

    We had two Turtles at the all-day demonstration on Thursday. They were by far the best vehicles in the demonstration, as far as load carrying capacity is concerned. The Army people haven’t made up their minds what kind of vehicle they want, and they stayed over for an all-day meeting on Friday to discuss this type of vehicle and decide what kind they want so that they can award contracts. We heard informally that there will be 3 contracts awarded.

    5. 5-Ton Truck

    We were awarded this contract on a 2-year basis for about $80 million. We have quite a bit of engineering work to do to straighten out the documentation for production purposes. The first production on the contract will be in April of 1964. The present contract for the 2½-ton will be over by that time, but there will be another bid on the 2½-ton for a 3-year contract in August. It will be for 30,000 units and will be awarded in November. If we got that, we could be running it concurrently with the 5-ton.

    Mr. Dredge explained the problems involved in handling news releases on the receipt of a Government contract. Although we knew we were to receive the 2-year contract and not just the first buy, we were not free to say so; therefore, PR announced that we had the first half and quoted the Congressman as having said we had all of it. Mr. Isley said General Sibley was particularly interested in making this announcement himself because this is the first multi-year contract the Government has had. Mr. Minkel observed that this is the kind of story – receipt of a multi-year contract – that helps to combat the public notion that Studebaker is going out of business, and he wondered if the story could be recapped as a multi-year procurement using General Sibley as a lead-in. Mr. Dredge suggested that we wait until we have some prototype activity or until the actual receipt of the contract since the story was already told last week by 3 people 3 different ways, and he doesn’t think we would fare well. He and Mr. Isley will be alert to the first opportunity to make news of this increased business.

    Mr. Soelch reported that Dr. Lamberti had indicated that if we were successful on the 30,000-unit 2½-ton bid, plus having the 5-ton, we could move the while thing to Chippewa. Mr. Minkel asked if we opened Chippewa as a military operation, would there by any advantage to handling commercial trucks out there too; and Mr. Whitmer answered there would be no particular advantage except that we would be separating the Avanti and the truck – it could be done. Mr. Dredge noted that PR would be happy to get the trucks out of the Avanti line because the public doesn’t understand a production combination like that, and it doesn’t sound good in relation to the Avanti prestige.

    6. Suspension

    Last Friday, we had a conference at ATAC on the new suspension. We have an agreement to send in the proposal, and they have the money in their budget to cover it.


    1. 1964 Model

    Starting last week, we’re having the long-lead press people in. These are the type of people who are brutally frank with their remarks, and we have been amazed at the optimism and delight with which they have viewed the new car, especially the degree of enthusiasm they have shown on the Hawk. The change in the roof line and the change in the paint on the earmuff give the car freshness equal to the improvement in its appearance it had when we changed the roof line before. Dennis Shattuck, the man who wrote the article in Car Life, said the interior of the Hawk is the most tastefully done than in any car he has ever seen.

    2. Press Preview

    Messrs. Minkel and Dredge outlined the plans covered in the Sunday conference regarding the press preview and cautioned the group that the information was to be kept strictly confidential. The broad, general decisions on the preview were resolved. Members of the Press will not be told where they are going or what they will see. They will be taken to Bonneville on Saturday and brought back here on Sunday for the horse race. In the interest of secrecy, Mr. Whitmer mentioned that he will refer to these cars only as press preview cars. The production people won’t know where the units are going except that they will be shipped to Los Angeles.



    A. H. Leach, Manager, Production Programming and Control

    O. S. Romine

    June 8, 1963

    Avanti Engineering Changes – Molded Parts at MFG Body Co.


  • Messrs. N. A. Lamberti
  • E. J. Hardig
  • A. D. Whitmer
  • John Soelch

    Pursuant to our conversations and projections of this week – 6-3-63 – there are the following items of importance to report:

    1. It will be possible to gear the tooling program so that all engineering changes can be folded into assemblies starting on Monday, August 5, 1963.

    2. This will mean that the first of these bodies can be delivered to Studebaker for production on Monday, August 12, 1963.

    There are certain obstacles to this accomplishment:

  • 1. Long tooling time on two particular items.
  • a. Front Fender April – Left -- 14 weeks
  • b. Headlamp Well – Right and Left -- 14 weeks

    2. The bank of bodies ahead of the South Bend assembly facilities.

    Resolution of Item 1 will require expenditures over and above those planned for in the original estimates.

    $1500.00 (Approx.) for temporary tooling to produce fender apron parts until the production tools are completed.

    $2500.00 (Approx.) for tooling overtime to meet the accelerated schedule for the tooling of both apron and headlamp wells.

    (It should be borne in mind that the drawings of the headlamp well final approved design were not made available to MFG until 6-3-63.)

    These additional expenditures can be expected not to exceed $5000.00.

    Mr. A. H. Leach - June 8, 1963
    Page 2

    Subject: Avanti Engineering Changes – Molded Parts at MFG Body Co.

    The resolution of Item 2 can be accomplished by very close coordination of our building schedules in the two plants with an accompanying reduction of the body inventory ahead of the South Bend assembly line to the absolute safe minimum. We are aware of the South Bend building schedule and will adjust MFG schedule to suit.

    As inventories now stand for molded parts, obsolescence of these parts can be held to $1517.00. All build-out requirements for production and requirements for the Parts and Service Division lifetime service are planned.

    We will advise final information with a suitable supporting spread sheet to interested personnel on or about Monday, June 17.

    The engineering changes should take effect on Approximately Body Serial Number 4100.

    O. S. Romine

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