During his term as president, Erskine encouraged
Studebaker engineers to develop advanced engines. As a result, the company
achieved numerous racing wins and a bigger share of the upper-price market.
This left Studebaker without an entry level automobile in the
When introduced in time for the American 1927 model year, the car was named after its creator, and marketed as the little Aristocrat. To make the Erskine affordable, Studebaker fitted the cars with Continental six-cylinder engines rather than the more advanced Studebaker units and priced the cars at $995. Body design was by Ray Dietrich and proved to be quite a head-turner. It received numerous accolades from the British and French press. Initially, sales demand was promising. However, within a year Ford introduced its Model A and priced it at $525, undercutting the Erskine by $470.
To remedy this, Studebaker marketing suggested that the Erskine become a larger car which, when implemented, grew the wheelbase from 108 in to 114 in. The Erskine was no longer small, and became more like its Studebaker brethren. Ultimately, the Erskine was absorbed into Studebaker by May 1930.
This rare original example has only 28,000 miles. It was purchased new in 1927 and driven daily until 1932 when the original owner purchased a new 1932 Chrysler. The Erskine was then stored in the garage on blocks and started every so often to keep it in good running order. It was brought out one summer in 1956 and driven by the original owner’s son for a summer, then driven out to the family farm and hung in the barn. Yes HUNG from the rafters in the barn to save it from ground moisture, mice & vandalism. This kept the car in amazing original condition. It retains its original paint and interior and still has its original tool pouch and jack in the tool box on the left front fender. Even the battery box is solid, some surface rust on the bottom but still in solid condition. The wood spoke wheels run true and the tires still hold air. This is probably the nicest original untouched 1927 Erskine in existence.
Hanging it in the barn for about 50 years did save it from the moisture and vandals but the mice did get in and do some damage. The cloth is old and delicate and the rear seat was destroyed. The original carburetor is cracked and will need to be replaced. But for an 85 year old car it has held up well. It has been in dry storage for the last 6 to 8 years.