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Originally a manufacturer of commercial and farming vehicles, the Studebaker soft top history began in 1904 when the company, formed by three German immigrants, turned its attention to vehicles for the personal market. The first Studebaker convertible top belonged to the Studebaker Electric, a battery-powered car sold from 1902-1912, which counted Thomas Edison among its owners.
Studebaker faltered after the Great Depression. The Studebaker Champion convertible top was designed from the ground up and released in 1939 to become the company's salvation. One of the lightest cars available at the time, and powered by a compact straight-6 engine, the Studebaker Champion soft top lived up to its name. Later, the Studebaker Lark convertible top proved similarly vital to the company's survival.