The period after World War II was great for Studebaker, or so would it seem. The brand was “first by far with a postwar car,” and the facelifted “Bullet-nose” cars carried the equity for a few more years. Then the 1953s came out, which were simply smashing, but all wasn’t good in South Bend.
Nonetheless, its good looks is all we need to choose this 1953 Studebaker Commander Regal Starliner as the Pick of the Day. It is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in San Diego, Calif. (Click the link to view the listing)
I’ll mostly leave it to the historians, but Studebaker had some problems when this car was introduced. One of them was the coupes and the Land Cruiser sedan were on a 120-inch wheelbase, while the sedans and wagons were on a 116.5-inch wheelbase. As such, the latter came off looking somewhat stubby. Another problem was that Studebaker underestimated the demand of the coupe, plus some quality issues popped up due to frame flexing. And then there was the merger talks that Packard to buy Studebaker after an initial merger that included Nash and Hudson fell apart.
Though acclaim was high, success simply didn’t happen. What we’re left with was a spectacular automobile that didn’t properly exploit its charms long enough (though the subsequent Hawks and GT Hawks did just fine). This Commander Regal Starliner perfectly demonstrates why it wins adoration of enthusiasts around the world.
If the Studebaker naming system seems confusing, here’s how you break down the lingo: the Champion was a 6-cylinder series, while the Commander featured a V8. Trim levels were (in ascending order) Custom, Deluxe and Regal. The Starliner was Studebaker’s name for hardtop. As such, this Commander Regal Starliner is a V8 hardtop coupe in the highest trim level.
Selling dealer claims this Velvet Black with red interior Studebaker is a rust-free California “survivor” (95% condition) that has only 73,400 miles. Options include automatic transmission, tinted glass, AM radio with remote control, and telescoping antenna. Some updates include 6-volt alternator, new wiring harness, PerTronix ignition and aluminum radiator, among other reliability updates. A nice safety feature is the added passenger-side mirror.
The selling dealer is asking $39,500 or best offer for this Studebaker, which includes the build sheet, shop manual, spare parts and 1986 Motor Trend feature article. In a world of six-figure Exner Mopars and belly-button Chevys, you can buy this and settle in the background knowing that nothing’s finer than a Loewy Coupe.