By August 1918, Studebaker was mass-producing complete gun carriages and had got into gear with an extensive munitions program that was abruptly halted three months later with the signing of the Armistice. Company engineers, meanwhile, had continued a limited amount of steady research dedicated to the improvement of passenger cars, and in 1919 Studebaker was the first manufacturer to make extensive use of pressed steel in automobile construction. Chassis frames, rear axle casings, oil pans and a dozen other components all were produced in this stronger, faster and less costly manner, the innovation being introduced on all three 1919 production models--the Four, and the continued Light and Big Six. The 38,550 Studebakers built that year more than doubled the 1918 output as the firm strove to readjust to consumer needs. Further improvements followed in 1920, when the Studebaker Four was dropped, its place being taken by a Special Six available in five body styles. Studebaker “firsts” for that year included an intake manifold cast integrally with the cylinder head; the invention and use of an internal hot spot for mixture heating; and the introduction of 20-per-cent-inclined, silent-operating valves. The year’s sales boomed anew to 53,735 cars, and after a 60-year period in the manufacture of horse-drawn vehicles, Studebaker abandoned this field for good, to become exclusively an automobile manufacturer.
In 1921, the firm again scored by being the first to develop and patent molybdenum steel and to produce a car in which it was used. It thus got the jump on the sensational Wills St. Claire car, announced that year, which played up the use of molybdenum steel as a big selling point. Some 68,092 motorists bought 1921 Studebakers in seven different models, the largest seller of which was the Light Six with 30,447 customers.
Still on a sharply rising curve, 1922 sales topped the $100,000,000 mark and saw 109,226 cars delivered to eager buyers, with the Light Six again the best seller.
This upward trend continued in 1923 when Studebaker’s 150,349 car output was nearly 50 per cent greater than during the previous twelve months, and sales of the Light Six reached an all-time high of 79,541 units. By this time, the company could look back with pride on more “firsts.” It was the first to produce a 50 hp automobile at less than a $2,000 figure; the first to establish a uniform, international service system for owners, which operated all over the world where Studebaker exports were now reaching.