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Earlier this week, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles visited the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana, for a “Town Hall”-style meeting with fans, discussing the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and the busy offseason at IMS.
There was also, appropriately, some “500” history to discuss.
In the early 1930s, the nation was mired in the Depression but the race went on. Studebaker provided a boost in 1932-33 with a new fleet of cars with custom bodies powered by standard Studebaker President straight-eight passenger-car engines.
A Studebaker never made it to Victory Lane but the cars held their own in the race. In 1932, Cliff Bergere finished third while the manufacturer’s other entries took sixth, 13th, 15th and 16th. In 1933, all five completed 200 laps and claimed seventh, ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th place.
Studebaker engines continued to power “500” cars through the rest of the decade, a nice feather in the cap of the Northern Indiana automaker.