1927 Erskine Roadster

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Two door Roadster body with a 6-cylinder Continental engine.

The Erskine was an American automobile brand produced by the Studebaker Corporation of Indiana, USA, from 1927 to 1930. The brand was named for Albert Erskine who was the president of the Studebaker Corporation at the time. He had encouraged Studebaker engineers to develop advanced engines and as a result the firm won more races and claimed more of the high end market. This left Studebaker without an entry-level automobile in the United States, and the Erskine was developed along the lines of a European-style compact car for the overseas and US market. The vehicle was unveiled in Paris in October 1926, and marketed as ‘The Little Aristocrat’. To make the Erskine affordable, Studebaker fitted them with six-cylinder Continental engines rather than the more advanced Studebaker units. The model was initially well received in the US and Europe, but shortly after its release Ford introduced the Model A at about two thirds of the cost. Studebaker responded by making the Erskine into a larger car, more like its Studebaker brethren, and sales fell away until 1930 when the name was absorbed into the Studebaker model line.The Erskine was marketed in Australia with locally-made bodies, but few were ever sold in comparison to the overwhelming Ford and Chevrolet sales of the time. This particular vehicle was donated to the Birdwood Mill Museum in very poor condition. It became the subject of a comprehensive restoration program by the Volunteer team at the National Motor Museum in the 1990’s. It is now a valuable part of the Museum’s ‘driven collection’, and has participated in the Bay to Birdwood and other promotional runs.
The significance of this vehicle lies in its sympathetic restoration, relative rarity, and the history of the model.
National Motor Museum Collection


Hi, found your picture of the 27 Erskine Roadster very interesting. I have a photo of my father and what I beleive is a Erskine ute which he owned dated approx 1947. He was qualified as a motor mechanic and worked at the Ford Leighton factory in Perth, Western Australia. Are you able to confirm the car in the photo as an Erskine. Were many manufactured as utes, if so must be one of the earliest utes made & sold in Oz?

Thanks, Rob Chester


If you can send a scan of the picture to motor@history.sa.gov.au we'll see if we can verify it. In most instance cars from pre mid 1930's were not manufactured as utilities rather they were tourer bodied cars with the back seats and body cut away. Provided you owned a hacksaw, standard wood saw and some nails you could produce a ute without much difficulty at all. After the mid 1930's this changed, when proper utes were factor build and bodies started to be made out of entirely steel.


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