Postwar Studebakers



  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    I do agree with the Avanti II watering down the original. I know a lot of guys who like the Chevy engine and trans--you could probably have an easier time finding a local guy to work on it by stating those points--but where I think the II got watered down was its use of some AMC pieces (mirrors, seat backs), the loss of the original's forward rake, and the reduced-radius front wheel openings. These last two items were due to the Chevy engine not being able to squeeze, as-is, into the Avanti's engine compartment.

    There were actually slightly more II's built over the next 40 years than Studebaker Avantis, which did flood the market a good bit more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well ultimately the value of an old car is driven by supply and demand. It often has little to do with the merits or faults of a car. Studebakers are just not on most collectors' radar and the people who do collect them do not tend to be lavish in their spending.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    edited January 2011
    '63 Thunderbird on eBay, superior condition to the Avanti, BIN $11,425: - ifornia-Black-Plate-61-62-64-T-BIRD-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem2a0d9a5457QQitem- - Z180616844375QQptZUSQ5fCarsQ5fTrucks

    '63 Riviera on eBay, superior condition to the Avanti, BIN $12,500: - T-FREE-RECENT-SERVICE-RECORDS-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem2a0da04536QQitemZ18061- - 7233718QQptZUSQ5fCarsQ5fTrucks

    This isn't 'picking and choosing'; they're the only ones on eBay right now in this condition. Guess the market for '63 T-Birds and Rivs has fallen.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,017
    Wide whites on a 63? Why do people do that?
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    I dunno, personally I can't stand that! But I'm a nutcase about original appearance, at least outside.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh yeah, you're cherry-picking, because you picked the least desirable of the Riviera years. You should comp against 1965 models.

    Book-wise, a '65 Riv should outbid an Avanti R2, in theory, but they're close, very close.

    The later 'Birds can't really compete with either a Riv or an Avanti in value, unless it was a '63 Sport Roadster, which in that case would easily dominate either of the other two cars in value and desirability, perhaps by a factor of 2X.

    I wouldn't have a T-Bird if you paid me, but I'd probably choose the Riv over the Avanti because it is a better made and better-equipped car IMO, and the styling is something just about everyone likes.

    But I think the R2 would outperform either of the other two cars, no problem.

    None of them, of course, can go around a corner, but that's another matter.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    edited January 2011
    I'm comparing a '63 to a '63 to a '63, and the '63 Riv was the premiere issue of the was the '63 Avanti.

    I think it's pretty clear from what I see on eBay, not just today but routinely, that '63 Avantis aren't in the basement of value when compared to the very cars they were marketed against new...excluding Corvette of course, which is its own league for followers and value.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Given that they are blown, (R2s I guess are what we are talking about) and very limited production, I think they don't show well in the marketplace compared to GM or Ford "luxury coupes" which are far more common and have more conventional mechanicals. The Rivs and T-Birds in 63 were made in 10Xs ++ the number as the Avanti (r1 & r2), and neither was supercharged.

    They are definitely underperforming for what they are.

    This may change of course but right now they don't represent a very good investment (well, does any car?) :P
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,017
    Same here. Original colors and appearance are important to me if a car is claimed to be pristine. 1958 style tires on a 1963 car doesn't work in many cases.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yep, the wide whites look horrible on that Riv.

    Thet Riv is about as much of a stripper as they made that year. Base interior, no a/c, crank windows etc. Someone has installed a home made dash pad.

    As undesirable as they come.

    The T-Bird is better but a car like that really should have A/C. Also the aftermarket radio looks totally out of place.

    I like the part where the seller said..."Odometer reads 5300 miles but it "might" have 105,300 miles.

    Yeah, it just might!
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I don't mind the incorrect paint on the wheel covers because I have seen a few painted that way and the paint comes off them easy enough. I was thinking of painting my Ananti covers that way, but never got around to it. Additionally, new wheel covers are available (they never went out of production) .There is a white Avanti with wheel covers like that in Automobile Quarterly and it looks pretty good.

    The exterior paint on the ebay Avanti looks too dark and you can see it has many dull spots in it. That is the main problem I have with that car. It would definitely have to be repainted. With a nice paint job, it should sell for more than $20,000.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    The trouble is, a quality paint job these days is 4000.00 or more and that's without going over the top!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    More like $8000 if you want a paint job that's really going to impress the judges at a show. $4K gets you mediocre these days.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    I don't think I'd live long enough to see that project completed, even if I had Warren Buffett's fortune. Good God, that poor Caddy looks like it spent the last 40 years in a bog! I think the Plymouth that was buried in a flooded vault in Tulsa has a better shot at coming back than that Eldo.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Why, as much as you love Cadillacs, I thought you would be all over that one!

    I love the part when he said "The engine is siezed but the oil looks good"

    I guess that makes everything OK!

    I didn't even see much value as an organ donor.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,645
    The best part: it's 95% complete! Uh, 95% of the parts are worthless, I don't care if I get them... :sick:

    Seems like folks trot out the '95% complete' line when the car's an obvious rustbucket.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,017
    That fin shot is almost kind of artsy.

    Nothing left there. Scrap has good value though.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    edited February 2011
    Here's one on Ebay that I think is pretty cool.

    The guy thinks is's some kind of a drag car because it happens to have a Lions Drag Strip decal on the back window.

    Ah, I remember Lions quite well! Grew up (?) not far from there and made a few runs down that strip myself! It's long gone now. - 5-57-/290525363794?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item43a4a93e52

    Or, a mere 4000.00 will buy this one! -/230580608599?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item35afacde57
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The Starlight Coupe would make a nifty rod but the guy is dreaming at $4000 for that bucket of rust. I'm not sure why anyone would want it except for parts and scrap metal.

    Here's one that is already a registered driver with o/d for not much more money:

    Obviously someone thought it worth it, as it sold fast.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    It's no doubt a function of when I was born ('58), but my favorite Studebaker model year is '64--the last year made in the 'States. I think the Larks were the best-looking ever, I like the Avanti, I love the Gran Turismo Hawk, they built convertibles and hardtops, I like their Champ pickup too, and they built medium-duty Diesel trucks and their old, but handsome Transtar 1-ton and larger trucks. Performance options available on all car models. I like 'em all that year.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited February 2011
    Cool vintage ad for 64 Larks:

    I'm not sure about the claim "by popular demand" however :) A rather optimistic statement for a company in dire straits.

    But ah well, it's advertising. And I must say, this particular version of the Lark does have a lot of features. We can see Studebaker trying to go's almost like the concept of the Honda Accord 20 years too early.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    I have this film on tape, bought from the Studebaker National Museum. There are also portions for Avanti, Hawk, and truck. The whole film is 29 mins. long. It was a pre-introduction film for dealers. The "by popular demand", I've heard, was that dealers were clamoring for more mainstream styling in the Lark line (of which the Cruiser was part), instead of the '63's somewhat MB-inspired styling. They did get it for '64, but it was too late. Company president Sherwood Egbert, only 43 years old, was fighting cancer and was replaced in November by an accountant who shut down the South Bend operations on Dec. 20, 1963. So, the restyled Larks barely got a chance in the marketplace.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I'm surprised that Starlight has had 14 bids! It's up to over 2000.00 with a long time to go.

    I'll bet that is one gutlless wonder with the flathead six coupled to an automatic.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    it's a piece of junk. People can be so foolish sometimes. Well maybe there are some precious bits on the car that are worth a lot of money? Otherwise, I'm just slappin' my forehead here....
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I don't want to knock Studebaker station wagons, but that yellow 1954 is over-priced at $12,000 and could not possibly have the original 289 V-8 in it because the Stude V-8 was 232 in 1954. Looking at the images, the motor might be original but the displacement is stated incorrectly. It is not too much trouble to put in a different crankshaft in the V-8 and get to 259 but bringing to to 289 takes additional work and the six-volt electrical system won't turn the motor fast enough.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I recently read a Motor Trend road test of the 1962 GT Hawk and the following paragraphs made me smile and realize how much things have changed. I quote the following:

    "While we racked up over a thousand miles behind the wheel of the GT and relished every
    moment of it, we don’t think it’s a car that the little lady will enjoy driving (our’s didn’t). But
    then, that’s what the right hand seat is designed for. All she has to do is sit back in that big,
    comfortable bucket, relax, keep reasonably quiet, and be secure in the fact that this car was
    designed with her particular man in mind. As several of our friends put it after they had driven
    the GT, ‘It looks, feels and drives like a real automobile’ - which is exactly our sentiments.

    Now that we’re through testing the Hawk GT and have almost finished the report, we’re kind of sorry to have to turn it back to the dealer. This is one car that has been a real pleasure to drive and one that we think offers the man in the family something quite a bit different in family-pleasure type transportation. And make no mistake about it - the Hawk GT is strictly a man’s car and S-P’s new president, Sherwood H. Egbert deserves at least one free round whenever real men congregate for having the guts to buck the frilly feminine-oriented thinking that has crept into American automobiles during the last decade."
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    edited February 2011
    That's pretty funny, and of course only a few years after that was written, even, you couldn't have gotten away with that!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    They're not my cup of tea at all, but it seems like a fair amount of people are attracted to the Bullet-Nose '50 and '51 models. After the convertible, the Starlight Coupe brings the most money of the other bodystyles.

    I drove a '50 Champion automatic one time. It was wayyyy slow from a stop in "D", but if you pulled out in "L" and then shifted to "D", it wasn't too bad.
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    I kind of liked the styling on those mid 50's Conestaga's though, they always seemed a bit sporty for a station wagon even if that meant being a bit inefficient in space utilization.
  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165
    Personally, I'm not a big fan of early 50 Studebakers, but I thought the roofline on that era's big wheelbase model 4 door (I'm not sure, was it a President or Challenger?) was kind of sharp for its time. The longer wheelbase stretched its looks out a bit which I thought improved them. Never cared for the Starlight coupe with all those small windows though. IIRC late 40's/early 50's Studebakers sold alright, maybe because they were early out of the chute with a more modern style like the 49 Ford and Mercury were.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    The long wheelbase four-door was called the Land Cruiser (those Toyota copycats!). In '50 the wheelbase was 124 inches, the longest wheelbase of any postwar Studebaker. The suicide doors were also a neat touch on those cars. The '47-52 Studes were sturdy cars from all I've heard and read, but the styling doesn't do much for me. Even so, the '47 was so ahead of the curve that even as a '52, to my eyes it looked as contemporary as anything else out there. The one-piece curved windshield helped.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    The suicide doors were also a neat touch on those cars.

    All four-door Studebakers between 1947-1952 (including the Champions) had the suicide doors. They did not have interior door lock buttons either. I remember my mom telling me to push the interior door handle forward to be certain that the door was locked. Somehow most children back then survived with suicide doors and no seatbelts. Some (but not most) Chrylser products had suicide soors through the 1954 model year.

    The 1950 Studebakers were the longest because the V-8 was introduced in 1951 and it was shorter than the Commander six-cylinder engine so Studebaker shorttened the wheelbase and dropped the short wheelbase Champion body. From that point on, the Champion used the same body as the Commander. That change made the Champion 6 somewhat underpowered because it was pushing a heavier car than it was originally designed for.

    My parents had a 1951 Champion and my grandpa had 1952 Champion. The cars appeared nearly identical except for the front end treatment. The 1951 most have had good undercoating because it barely rusted while the 1952 rusted so badly that the passenger's side headlight fell off after ten years. That is why grandpa bought a 1963 Lark just before he retired from Studebaker. He was disappointed and said the 1952 Cahmpion was his best car despite the rust problem.

    The chrome on the 1952 was bad because of Korean War restrictions on use of chrome. Both cars started in the coldest weather and were very reliable despite their six-volt electrial systems. I cannot say the same of the 1959-1960 Lark six cylinder motors although they had 12 volt electrical systems. They were hard to start when the temperature was below zero.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I had a '51 4-door with a flathead 6 for a short while but didn't much like it. But I did rescue it from a wrecking yard, and I'd like to think that I passed it on to someone who kept it going at least.

    It's interesting how many postwar cars from the early early 50s were a combination of the modern and the old. Styling was slowly creeping toward modernity, with Studebaker as good as any in that department, but mechanicals, especially suspension, braking and 6 cylinder engine tech, were lagging. Probably the Olds and Cadillac were the first truly modern postwar cars from top to bottom.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    The 1947-52 Studebakers had some interesting quirks. When the engine was accelerating (especially when the car was going up hill), the window wipers would slow down or stop because they operated off manifold vacuum. When the car was going slow, the radio would get quieter, the lights would dim slightly and the heater blower would slow down because there was not enough electrical power. Everything worked fine at cruising speed. They had no problem getting to 80 mph on the speedometer, which was probably closer to a true speed of 75 m.p.h.

    Manifold powered windshield wipers might seem like ancient technology but the "jeeps" I drove in the Army MPs in the mid 1970s (they were actually built by Ford) had them. Some of my buddies were amazed when the windshield wiper speed was dictated by the engine acceleration, but that was nothing new to me.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    edited February 2011
    We were newly married in the early 70's when I spotted an ad in the local paper for a 1955 Commander with 16,000 miles for sale. He wanted 300.00 for it and explained that his 85 year old mother who had bought it new was giving up driving.

    I raced to his house only to find a father and 18 year old son already there looking it over.

    I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a yellow and white four door that was PERFECT except it had a broken rear door handle. The father was slowly walking around the car, touching non existant specks in the paint and making a HUGE deal over the door handle.

    I told the seller " It looks like I'm too late"

    The seller was about 60 and a doctor. It seems he had lost all patience with the father and son team. I heard the father say..." It's a STUDEBAKER..where will you find parts?"

    Finally, the seller turned to me and asked..." Do you want it?"

    I asked him how it drove and he said, "Like a dream"

    I pulled out three hundred dollar bills and the deal was done.

    The father said..." Wait a minute...we were here first!"

    The seller said.." Yes, and for 20 minutes all you have done is find non existant faults. I don't want to sell it to you...good bye!"

    And, they left.

    It had all five wide whitewalls. The spare had never seen the ground and the jack was still in it's wrapper. The day it was delivered, the woman had clear plastic seat covers put in it.

    The V-8 engine was smooth and silent. No radio but it had power steering, a heater and that was probably about it. I wish I had photos to post. I can't begin to describe just how pristine this car was.

    At the time, we were living in an apartment with underground parking...not good.

    One day, I was driving it and a guy pulled me over. He wanted to buy it bad! I told him 1000.00 and I settled for 800.00. We were in the process of buying our first house and we needed the money.

    The door handle?

    At the time, there was a Studebaker Dealer in downtown L.A. called Frost and French that I had heard about. The showroom was closed but service and parts was still open! I got there in the morning and there was a line of Studebakers mostly driven by little old ladies waiting for service! A lot of old time mechanics wre still there.

    The Parts Dept handed me a NOS rear door handle. One of many he had in stock and explained that I had to remove one screw and it would come right out. A five minute fix!

    Of all of the dozens of old cars I have owned, THAT is the one I regret selling the most.

    But...that was a different time.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yeah, when you needed the wipers the most as in passing a car on a two land highway, THAT is when they would slow down or stop!

    My 1962 VW Bug had turn signals that would blink slower and slower while waiting for a light with my headlights on. Finally they would stop blinking.

    So I would give the gas pedal a push and they would start blinking again!
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited February 2011
    I had good experiences with Frost and French. I believe they closed in the late 1980s. They sold out to Studebaker International who was in Long Beach at that time. Frost & French stocked up on 1966 Studebakers before production ceased and the guy who operated the place drove a blue one.

    Studebakers are usually easy to repair. A guitar pickin man named "Cooter" drives his 1955 Champion station wagon in Santa Monica as his regular car. It seems to be all original condition and sits on the street every night, even when it rains. I wish I could post a picture of it here but I don't have a photo at my website. However it looks like the one at the far left in this image.

    Notice the different paint schemes which show those built before January 1955 and those built after that date. They increased the V-8 from 224 to 259 at that time too. The car on the far right is an early 1955 that was actually built was built in 1954 and has the 224 engine in it. Mine is the one that appears to be white, but is actually green and white with a paint scheme like the 1955 Chevy where the roof color extends down to the top of the rear fenders.

    When Studebaker added more chrome trim in 1955 to make them look more like the competition, sales increased, but not enough to make a profit.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    Vacuum wipers were used by AMC on at least some of their cars until the very early '70's I seem to remember! Also, even Packards had them up through '56, while Studebaker trucks had electric wipers. Go figure.

    I heard from a guy who posts to the S.D.C. forum online, who used to work at Frost and French, that Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) used to bring her '62 Lark in there for service. She later had a '66 Studebaker Daytona Sports Sedan, which she actually drove on Mayberry R.F.D.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Frost and French was an amazing place!

    For me, it was like stepping back into the 50's.

    The parts guy told me that they had just about every part at the time that anyone could want.

    I'm just glad I had the chance to see the place.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I had that exact car...a '55 President, 259 w/ 3-speed overdrive, white w/ light green. It was the first car I ever bought with my own money (I inherited an Oldsmobile prior to that). I think I paid $700 for it as I recall. I drove it all through college and it was a good car, and pretty fast, too, for its day. I used to love driving through tunnels while in overdrive and then slamming the gas pedal to the floor in second gear--it would kickdown from 2nd OD to 2nd conventional and make a helluva racket with my cherry-bomb muffler.

    I finally sold it after it starting falling to pieces---springs broke, a tie rod snapped, and it developed a huge rear main seal leak----all due, no doubt, to the punishment I inflicted upon it. However, in my defense, it was always shiny and clean, and in its defense, I drove it many a mile.

    Somedays I get an inkling to find another one of those and build a retro-rod, with a Chevy small block, fuel-injected, 5 speed tremec transmission, vintage AC---but keep the exterior completely stock.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    edited February 2011
    You have no idea how pristine this Studebaker was. The original tag was on the radiator, all of the paperwork, manuals etc in a paper bag.

    Floor mats on top of floor mats.

    It pains me to talk about this car and how I should have sealed it up somewhere. I know I'll never find another anywhere close.

    Mine was an automatic and it shifted and operated like it was new.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,645
    edited February 2011
    I haven't seen one of these before
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    I enjoy Studebaker Avantis, but I detest the four-door ones made decades later! That model was built in Youngstown, OH, after the Cafaro interests there bought out the prior owner and moved the operation from South Bend in '87.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    hideous! :cry:
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    Just to avoid causing confusion, the green and yellow 1955 Stude, (second from left in the image I posted ) is a fake President Speedster. It is painted like a President Speedster, but all Speesters were hardtops (K-Body) and that car is a coupe (C-body) . I talked to the owner when he arrived at the show and he admitted that he painted and trimmed the President coupe so that it looks like a Speedster.

    Now that I said that "all" Speedsters were hardtops, I suppose that someone will come up with an exception to that rule, because Studebaker often made exceptions to the rules when a dealer had a firm order.

    Yesterday I did know that Studebaker sold a few maroon Avantis. Recently I discovered that a few GT Hawks were built with Skylolt sixes for the export market. Another example is that the last vehicle to bear the Packard name on it was probably on a Studebaker pick-up truck that was shipped to Argentina for someoone who wanted a Packard truck.

    My grandfather told me a neat story. In the 1930s a Studebaker was ordered for the Emperor of Japan. Unfortunately, a Studebaker Dictatator was the model that was selected. Someone in South Bend (maybe my Grandpa) figured that this was not the correct model to send, so they made special name plates and put them on the car so as not to cause an international incident. I believe that they named it the "Emperor" and substituted a flower for the name tag.

    My Grandpa might have prevented the US from entering WW II long before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Therefore, if anyone ever discovers a Studebaker Emporer in Japan, you already know how that happened.

    As Ian Flemming once said, "Never say never." (Or maybe someone else said he said that.)
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    PS. Since I posted my last message I went looking for any Studebakers owned by the Emporer of Japan. So far I found that he owned a Pirece-Arrow (when Studebaker owned that company) and that he owned five Packards.

    I also discovered that the Studebaker Dictators were sometimes renamed "Directors" when shipped overseas!400480/the-top-ten-worst-car-names. I believe that the Dictator model later became the Commander model.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Sitting at 2800.00 now with three days to go!

    What arr people thinking?
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,987
    I wouldn't touch it, but I do think people remember Studes being pretty-much 'giveaway' cars years ago, but that has changed.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    edited February 2011
    Now, this one is nice but it is what it is!

    32,000 Buy it Now price??

    It sounds like another guy trying to recoup his investment costs when he went WAY overboard on the wrong car!

    Now, where is fintail? - 200-/190498372812?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item2c5a967ccc

    Wow...90,000 invested! Can't blame a person for trying!
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