Studebaker and the Whipple Stage

1926 Studebaker Model EP "Big Six" Duplex Phaeton (photo credit: Sharlot Hall Museum)
The Studebaker Corporation, of South Bend, Indiana, introduced the "Big Six" in 1922 and by 1926 the car had earned a reputation for being a strong runner for a reasonable price. This car features a 75 horsepower, 6-cylinder engine and wears Studebaker's "Duplex" body - a style copied after the "California" tops of the previous decade. Apparently these cars were favored by the southwest's lawmen and earned the nickname "Sheriff". 

The story is told in The Arizona Sheriff, by Grover F. Sexton. It states "Twelve of the fourteen counties of Arizona furnish the sheriff's office with an automobile. Every one of these twelve has bough a Studebaker. When this story came to South Bend, we commissioned Major Grover F. Sexton to visit each of these twelve sheriffs and see just what service Studebaker cars were rendering to the people of Arizona. In honor of Arizona sheriffs who have made the Studebaker a vibrant symbol of law and order, from the Grand Canyon to Old Mexico, the 5 passenger Big Six Sport Phaeton has been named "The Sheriff."


I wonder if this influenced Jack Sills, the man seen with his Studebaker in the photo above, to acquire his car? Mr. Sills founded the Whipple Stage in 1922 to provide bus service to soldiers at Fort Whipple in Prescott, Arizona. From the sign on the number, it cost 15 cents to get to town. Fort Whipple is now the Prescott Veterans Hospital and Jack Sills's Whipple Stage gave birth to Prescott Transit which still operates today.


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