Monday, April 18, 2016

Studebaked: 1953 Studebaker Custom Hot Rod

In 1953 Bob Bourke (from Raymond Loewy's design group) redesigned the Studebaker Starlight coupe into a haughty mustached faced thing that is one of the more recognizable Studebakers of all times -- perhaps not as iconic as the 50-51 bullet nose Starlight, but arguable better looking.  However, today's customizer decided to throw the tub out with the bath water and has created something else altogether.  Find this 1953 Studebaker Custom Hot Rod here on eBay bidding for $15,600 reserve-not-met with $29,500 buy-it-now located in Fairfield, IA with a few hours to go.

The seller says some good stuff in his listing -- "custom", "one of a kind", " a very talented craftsman with a creative eye".  However, the part that really caught my attention was "I've had it to 120 mph at our local airport and it takes off"...wait...what?  Oh..."and it takes off ramps like it's on rails."  Right.  Makes more sense, this thing probably needs to hit 150 before it'll go airborne like a Mark Webber Mercedes.

Power comes not from a Studebaker flat-head inline-6, but a Chevrolet 283 cubic inch small block V8 that has been bored to 301 cubic inches and souped up.  Expect something in the 350 horsepower range.

The seller claims that this car uses a "race car" chassis and the only parts that were retained from the original Studebaker are the body panels, including cowl, firewall,  dashboard, A pillars, grille,  hood, door skins,  rear quarter panels, tail lights and tailgate.   Tailgate?  This car confuses me.

See a stranger customized thing?


  1. Really cool and unique build. looks like it would actually handle very well.
    But damn those funky air filters, it's like drinking an In and Out shake from a coffee stir stick!

  2. Might be the first '53 I've ever looked at the second time. Very possibly be a third or forth time before the day is out....

  3. Really interesting and attractive rendition of a Plymouth Prowler using just enough bits from a 53'Studie to be able to reference the fact.

  4. Half Breed......I like it ...!

  5. Nice build, and different from so many other hot rods. In the EBay listing there is a photo of the passenger side of the engine (I did not insert it, cuz it is too large, and I don't want to be "that guy"):

    Can anyone identify that metal canister that is hose-clamped onto the front header tube? Can you say "heat transfer"?

  6. Not sure what the canister is, but the hose clamp on the header might be an attempt at a heat shield.

  7. @Bob - looks like that canister is likely an oil catch can / separator for the crankcase ventilation system.

    Vince - in 1953 Studebaker did make both wagons and pickups, so the tailgate could've conceivably been taken from one or the other. However the Studebaker script tailgate doesn't look like anything they offered in the early '50s. I really like the concept and most of the execution on this little hot rod. If only they had used Miata front/rear subframes & suspension, and maybe this tailgate:



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