In the 1920's, the Studebaker company decided to eliminate the manufacturing of horse drawn buggies in favor of producing the rapidly selling automobiles. Originally the bulk of the automobile parts was manufactured in Detroit, but the company decided to build a new foundry in South Bend Indiana, replacing the old buggy factory.
In 1923, the six story closed body building opened, which was adjoined to the stamping and final assembly buildings. The plant's design was considered an inefficient one, as single story assembly buildings were better suited to do the job, and as the automobile designs became increasingly complex the situation only became worse. Parts needed to be criss-crossed across the plant, and although building to building conveyors were constructed in 1952, the company was unable to keep their edge whilst using these obsolete buildings.
Together with an inefficient work flow, low sales, and poor money management, Studebaker closed the plant in December of 1963, although the space has been rented out to many tenants, such as Chrysler and International-Harvester into the 1970's, and South Bend Stamping has been using the plant until 1999. A few buildings are still being used by other companies as well.
Check out Bob Aker's Studebaker site
, it's an online version of the booklet given to those who toured the facility circa 1950, it contains some great building and company specs, as well as some historic photos of the plant in operation.
: The building have been demolished.