Quirky Attraction: The Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana


The Studebaker National Museum
Location: South Bend, Indiana (201 Chapin St.)
When to visit: Open daily 10 am to 5 pm (Noon to 5 pm on Sundays)
Cost: $11 for adults, $7 for students
Time needed: 30-45 minutes
Website: www.studebakermuseum.org

Studebaker is a name associated with classic American cars. Pretty much the only thing I know about Studebakers is that they are vintage automobiles that look really cool.

And that’s all you need to know to visit the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, where dozens of the old rides are on display.


For more than 60 years, Studebaker produced cars from its headquarters in South Bend (and at other factories in North America.)

Those here at the museum are in pristine condition. Walking around in here transported me to an earlier time, an era of drive-ins and soda shops.

Here’s some background on the Studebaker brand, and a glimpse of what you can find inside the Studebaker Museum, a three-level, 55,000-square foot facility.

History of Studebaker

Studebaker was an American car company founded in 1852. The first cars were built in 1902, and the company lasted until 1967.

During its time, Studebaker was one of the top car manufacturers in the United States, with iconic models like the President and Commander.


Studebaker also made trucks, tractors, and other vehicles for use in agriculture or industry. They even produced electric cars like the Studebaker Electric, which was released in 1902 and was one of the earliest mass-produced electric cars.

That’s right – Tesla was more than 100 years late to the electric car game!

Studebaker also created innovative designs like the Avanti, which had a sleek, aerodynamic body and could reach speeds as high as 120mph.

The company was eventually sold off to other manufacturers, but its legacy lives on today through antique car collectors who keep its iconic pieces of automotive history alive.

National Studebaker Museum Sights


This 1927 Studebaker Commander sedan set the all-time record for fastest cross-country commute when Ab Jenkins took it from New York to San Francisco in 77 hours. Looks comfy to me – I’d be willing to make that drive in this vehicle!

I’m not sure I’d feel quite so comfortable in this 1904 Studebaker:


Say hello to Fozzie Bear! This 1951 Studebaker Commander was one of two featured in the 1979 Muppet Movie. That’s Kermit riding shotgun.

Fozzie inside a classic car at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend!

These classic cars look sweet. Many of them still run and are taken out of the museum for appearances in the area from time to time.

There are so many cool vintage cars at the South Bend Studebaker Museum!

Don’t pretend that you wouldn’t love to get behind the wheel of one of these classic cars!

studebaker museum
Make sure to visit this South Bend museum when you’re in town!

Studebaker Carriages

Studebaker was around decades before cars came along. In the 1850s, the company made horse carriages, and many of them were used by American presidents.

There are carriages on display here that were used by Presidents Harrison, Grant, and McKinley.

And then there’s the one used by President Lincoln. Not just any carriage – this was the one Abe rode to Ford’s Theater on the night he was assassinated. It’s tragic history, but it’s moving to see.

president lincoln carriage

Visiting the South Bend Studebaker Museum

As of this writing, tickets for the Studebaker Museum coast $11 for adults. Seniors pay $9.50, students pay $7, and kids five and under are admitted free.

Guests can also buy a discount ticket package that includes admission to both the Studebaker Museum and the History Museum for $16.

The Studebaker Museum is open 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday. Sunday hours are noon to 5 pm.

The current facility opened in 2005 and currently houses seven items that are declared “National Treasures,” including that Lincoln carriage.

The National Studebaker Museum is a fascinating place. It definitely ranks as one of the best South Bend activities, and one of the coolest things to do in Indiana.

Studebaker Museum in South Bend

Interestingly, there’s an old Studebaker sitting in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, right where Route 66 runs through the park. The Studebaker brand is everywhere!

Speaking of cars, did you know South Bend is located on the longest road in America? U.S. Route 20 from Boston to Newport, Oregon passes right through the city.

South Bend appears on our list of the best day trips from Chicago as well.

4 thoughts on “Quirky Attraction: The Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana”

  1. It amazed me that the Studebaker brothers were running a million dollar business exporting wagons/carriages over seas in the 1890’s! Great museum!!

  2. Who knew there was such a place as a Studebaker Museum and that Lincoln’s carriage would be there?! Seems kind of out of place, but why not?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *