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In the late 1920s the president of Studebaker, Albert Erskine, dreamed of adding a new 8-cylinder flagship model to the range that would not only elevate the marque’s standing in the market, but be nothing short of the finest automobile available on American roads.

While the six-cylinder President model had been available since 1926, Erskine believed a prestigious 8-cylinder car would drive showroom traffic and give Studebaker a tool to use in the lucrative, image-friendly world of motorsports. He charged his engineering team with developing a new straight eight capable of standing with the best in the industry. Curiously, his chief engineer refused, insisting the current inline-six was more than sufficient for a top-of-the-line model.

Understandably annoyed at the insubordination, Erskine promptly sacked his engineer and promoted Barney Roos, who relished the opportunity to shine. Roos designed a gem of an engine; a 313 cubic inch, 5-main bearing, L-head straight eight with gear driven cam and an impressive 100 horsepower output. The engine debuted in 1928 for the newly revamped President line.

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