What is a Studebaker wagonaire camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “What is a Studebaker wagonaire camper?” We will discuss the Studebaker wagonaire’s passenger capacity, brief history, and different versions. We will also touch upon the cons of this vehicle and list out the issues with this model. On the other hand, we will discuss the replica of the Studebaker wagonaire.

What is a Studebaker wagonaire camper?

The Studebaker wagonaire camper was recognized for its unique appearance. These campers were short-lived and were only manufactured for around three years. Today, these campers are one of those vintage models that cannot be found easily. Studebaker was recognized for its distinctive shape. 

Due to their short stint in manufacturing, the Studebaker wagonaire camper declined sooner than imagined. The Studebaker wagonaire was known as the station wagon. It had a flat roof on the top that would act as a base to fix a camper. This was a rectangular sliding rear roof section to carry items and store baggage.

Studebaker wagonaire passenger capacity 

Despite the size and shape, this wagonaire could hold six passengers. Five passengers could be seated at the optional front bucket seats. After a year, the wagonaire had an option to hold close to eight passengers with the rear-facing third-row seat. These vehicles had puncture-resistant tires fitted to take the load of extra passengers.

Studebaker wagonaire’s common issues 

It was not too long when people started to note a few issues with the Studebaker wagonaire. These issues were later known to be as common issues since the vehicle lacked certain qualities. The wagon’s roof started to leak and this caused damage during heavy rains. The leakage occurred at eth front of the sliding section.

Some of the other common issues were the weak roof seals. The company did improve and redesign its models to prevent these issues, but some issues continued to persist. The drainage tubes in the roof slider were reported to have a few issues. People who owned the wagonaire sent service letters to dealers to address these issues.

A brief history of the Studebaker Wagonaire 

Due to the negative reports, the overall rating of the vehicle had dropped. Soon the company was forced to make changes with little funding. On the other hand, production was closed in South Bend, Indiana. The assembly plant continued its production in Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. In 1964, only a few models were built in Canada.

In 1965, General Motors managed to supply the engines for the Wagonaire. These engines were developed based on Chevrolet’s six-cylinder and V8 designs. These models were the ones that were available only with a sliding roof. Back in 1966, Studebaker tried to get back to their old way by bringing in their fixed roofs.

Studebaker Wagonaire Daytona version 

  • The Daytona version had the option of having a V8 engine and a Carter 4-barrel carburetor. 
  • The manual transmission and column-mounted shifter with the overdrive were some of the other options. This model could also be ordered with the Studebaker’s R series.
  • Some of the other changes were the bucket front seats with an automatic transmission selector and a center console-mounted to access. 
  • These variants had Avanti V8 engines of high performance and the transmission was a manual four-speed floor-shift. Some of these models were adapted by the Matchbox Lesney later on.

The company focused on the design and manufactured fixed roofs with developed exterior features. While they did see a good response in 1966, it was not too long before the manufacturers were forced to stop their production. Due to lack of funding and other issues, the Studebaker wagonaire camper was out of the market in no time.

The prototype motorhome model 

  • When Studebaker launched their camper, they were known as the new concept portable camper. It was called the prototype model of a motorhome. 
  • The rear deck was built to mount a camper with the help of the sliding roof. For safety and easy maneuvering, the concept was to bolt the coach to the frame of the vehicle.
  • One big advantage of this model that was impressive to many was the opportunity to permit a passenger to pass from the station wagon into the camper. 
  • There was a closable space that was three feet high and 30 inches wide. This helped people to move easily into the camper. The weight of this model was roughly 800 pounds.
  • The special overload springs and shock absorbers were designed to ease the journey and take more weight. 
  • The recommended speed for this vehicle was 65 miles per hour. 
  • High-speed cornering and high wind conditions did not affect the stability of the vehicle. There was no need for body alterations required and the camper could be disconnected in just 20 minutes with a bumper jack.

Cons of the Studebaker wagonaire camper

  • Apart from the common issues that were faced, there are several cons of the Studebaker wagonaire camper. The biggest concern was mounting such a heavyweight at such height. 
  • It was also pretty risky and bigger tires were required to take the load. 
  • Getting a rear tire flat would result in a disaster since changing them would have been a terrible task.
  • The usual leaking issues were common in this model but after a few changes, there had been a little improvement. 
  • Fixing a rear flat tire was also reported to be one of the cons of this vehicle. 
  • The Studebaker wagonaire camper was not too successful after all and many people found too much hassle with this camper since it probably never stood the test of its time.

Due to its vintage value, the Studebaker wagonaire camper is now a rare car to own. The company manufactured only a limited number of these wagonaire’s and most of them were either destroyed or just thrown for scrap. Owning one of these models today is like having a rare vintage vehicle. These vehicles are not easy to find and certainly not easy to drive around.

The Studebaker wagonaire camper is unknown to the modern generation today. The good news is that there you can still get a few parts for this vehicle from one of their largest suppliers, but fixing them and getting the vehicle back in shape is not so easy. The exterior and the interiors of the Studebaker wagonaire must be in proper shape.

Studebaker’s replica 

The idea and invention of the Studebaker are amazing and were also adapted after decades by the 2004-05 GMC Envoy XUV. This was just like a replica of the Studebaker with the same sliding rear roof. The leakage issues were solved and the cargo area was converted into weatherproof. Just like Studebaker’s success, GMC sold enough vehicles in its first year.

Around 12 thousand vehicles were sold during the first year but it turns out that not many loved the idea of a sliding roof wagon. GMC knew about this and gradually dropped its number of manufactured vehicles. Apart from the design and the sliding roof, there was nothing majorly common between the Studebaker and the GMC model.

The Studebaker wagonaire camper was one of a kind but not everyone liked the idea of the sliding roof. Despite their hard effort in manufacturing, only a few of these campers are found on the road today. However, their short stint was still impressive and well-known to many people across the United State and Canada.

The Studebaker wagonaire was a classic car and is still one of those campers that played an important part in the history of motorhomes. These campers are one of those rare vintage models that are hard to find today. For some people, they are still an antic property while some still feel the need to drive them around.


In this blog post, we have answered the question “What is a Studebaker wagonaire camper?” We have discussed the Studebaker wagonaire’s common issues, passenger capacity, brief history, and different versions. We have also touched upon the cons of this vehicle and listed out the issues with this model. 







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