It’s a historic and sad anniversary today: December 9, 1963, Studebaker announced it was closing its U.S. factory in South Bend, Ind.
The company, which was at one time the largest independent automaker and the last horse-and-buggy manufacturer that transitioned to cars, pretty much gave up on cars on this date 53 years ago.
This is the main gate to the production facility as workers left after news got out. Production would only continue to December 20 in South Bend; cars would continue to be built on a limited scale in Hamilton, Ont., Canada until March 16, 1966.
By the way, you’ll see that the flag is flying at half-staff; that’s because President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated just 17 days before.