Troublesome 50s Part 2
The 1950s were grueling for the North American market. Not only were the independents struggling to stay afloat, but imports were almost non existent. The Volkswagen beetle being one notable exception, many people believe that if it had failed, the future of imports may have been a lot bleaker. During this time, OMG’s Pegasus brand was competing with its Traveler sedan. In 1958 Pegasus released a Jeep like vehicle called the Porter, as well as a mini-bus called the Mover. All of these vehicles were built with the same interchangeable parts and 60 HP 4 cylinder motor. They would become a big thing in the next decade with people who would customize them and build rat-rods out of them, but that’s a few years away.
Likewise Star and Orion were improving their offerings. The Statesman was given Coupe and Sedan variants, as well as Convertible. A shorter wheelbase version of the Statesman, called the Freeman, was offered in Sedan and Wagon, while a sport coupe called the Sportsman was also added to the lineup. The latter two vehicles shared their chassis with the Orion Puma (Freeman - Sedan only), and Orion Ocelot. The Craftsman and Goodman trucks remained relatively unchanged, except for the optional 5.4 liter high torque V-8.
Finally, we get to the Olympus Virgo Sedan, and Virgo Coupe. The Virgo is bigger and more garish than ever, while the Libra retains its understated, yet eloquent sportiness. The improvements are mostly technical however, as the same 3.5 liter Inline 6 is now twice as reliable, and every bit as smooth as the original. A 3 speed Lux-o-matic transmission was standard in both models.
As the 50s are nearing their end Packard and Studebaker become near indistinguishable from one another, and red ink continues to mount. The corporation begins to crumble before falling apart in 1959. Olympus Motor Group buys as many SPC assets as they can get their hands on, including their large downtown Detroit plant, which would be renovated into Olympus Motors new headquarters; they also hired many of their lead engineers and designers as they abandoned ship. OMG’s CEO, Dale Rathbone, not known for being particularly aggressive, sees the decline of Studebaker and Packard as a wake-up call. At this point, besides the Big ‘5’ (GM, Ford, Chrysler, AMC, and OMG), there is just one independent auto-maker left: Checker Motorcars somehow escaped the price war by securing large fleet orders. A plan begins to form, but should he go through with it?