1936 Studebaker Dictator Coupe

1936 Studebaker Dictator Coupe

1936 Studebaker Dictator Coupe
Scan credit: Alden Jewell on Flickr
Creative Commons - Attribution 2.0 Generic - CC BY 2.0

To answer three questions this brochure page is certain to bring up…

For three or five? Yes. the trunk (boot) could also contain a rumble seat.

Studebaker made this? Yes. Amazing as it might seem, Studebaker did once make a car that didn’t have a weird or behind-the-times design feature.

Dictator? Really?! Yes. Of course, as one might imagine, that name only lasted one more model year. From Wikipedia…

In retrospect, the choice of the model name might seem unfortunate. One writer began a history of American perceptions of dictators with the introduction of the Studebaker Dictator. He noted there were political problems in the name "Dictator", making it unusable in European monarchies. The same applied in British Empire countries which imported the car. Diplomatically, Studebaker marketed its Standard Six as the Director in these countries. In the United States the name initially caused no problems.

At the time, the only dictator that would have immediately come to an American mind was Benito Mussolini, whose popular image was one of audacity and strength, in spite of well-publicized fascist violence. However the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany tainted the word "dictator". Studebaker abruptly discontinued the name "Dictator" in 1937, resurrecting the Commander name which had been dropped in 1935.

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