At 353 cubic inches, the Big Six boasted the largest engine ever produced by Studebaker and served as the company’s flagship model for the whole of its run from 1918 to 1926. That big engine as well as storage accommodations are what made this car a favorite for transporting alcohol during Prohibition. It was also a favorite among sheriffs in Arizona.
From November 1921 to July 1924, a total of 48,892 model EK vehicles were produced. Studebaker included many new accessories for 1923, including a one-piece, rainproof windshield with a glareproof visor, as well as an automatic windshield cleaner. This particular car is one of only two known to exist.
On the (Rum) Run
According to legend, Studebaker’s EK Big Six model was the favored vehicle of rum runners during the Prohibition era. This was due to the EK’s relatively large size and its ability to reach speeds of up to 80 mph.
Tough and Built to Last
Arizona has 15 counties, and during the 1920s, the sheriffs of 12 of them were driving Big Sixes. It’s believed that the vehicles’ popularity stemmed from their ability to handle hard use and less-than-pristine road conditions. Happy to capitalize on the law enforcement connection, Studebaker even commissioned a book, The Arizona Sheriff, written by Grover F. Sexton.
How durable was the Big Six? A 1918 model of the car amassed more than 500,000 miles on the odometer, all without an engine rebuild. Studebaker purchased the car for display at the 1924 New York Auto Show, then sent it on a publicity trek from New York to Los Angeles.
1923 Studebaker Big Six EK Specs:
- 60 bph
- 5.7-liter inline six-cylinder engine
- 126-inch wheelbase
- three-speed transmission
- 33-inch, full-disc wheel
- one of 48,892 EKs ever produced
- one of two known in existence