Studebaker Daytona (Lark)
The 1964 Studebaker Daytona conceded little to any fast-moving midsize car on the street, and their low production numbers make them scarce collector vehicles today.
Designer Brooks Stevens effected more than a facelift when he created the new Studebaker Daytona hardtop in 1964. The crisp, squared-off roof that Stevens grafted onto the now 4-year-old Lark body looked every bit as up-to-date as Chevy’s equally angular Impala. Of course, the Daytona was narrower than a full-size Chevy (Studebaker’s basic body stampings dated back to 1953 and most American cars had grown substantially wider over the intervening decade), but its size fit nicely with the new intermediates.
What really made the Daytona stand out were the performance options available. Lacking money for frequent styling changes, Studebaker had attempted to garner attention through performance with its Hawk coupes and the stunning Avanti. Studebaker’s overhead-valve V-8, first introduced in 1951, had been a farsighted enough design that more than a dozen years later it was being boosted to outputs exceeding 1 hp per cubic inch.