Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Basically Free: 1965 Studebaker Commander

Unlike the Wagonaire, Daytona, and R-Series cars, the Studebaker sedans have always been fairly cheap. But this one in particular is ludicrously cheap. We know that it's three speed with two synchros is likely dead but unless the frame is about to snap, it's still a phenomenal bargain.  Find this 1965 Studebaker Commander for sale in Ortonville MI for a paltry $900 via craigslist.

The Commander was an evolution of the Lark sedans which after '64 were build in Ontario using lots of Chevy bits. This generally wasn't a good thing for people who liked Studebakers, many of whom liked Studebakers specifically because they were not Chevrolets. Nevertheless, they were still good cars but were no longer "ahead of their time" like the Studes that came before them.

This particlar car is a bit of an oddball as it's got the OHV 170 motor but it's a Canadian built '65, meaning it really should have the Chevrolet 230 six. As much as we Studebaker purists hate to admit, the tendency for the overhead valve 170 to split heads and burn valves while only making 112hp makes the 230 a choice where logic outweighs emotion. Compare the Chevrolet motor, however, to the flathead version of the 170 and you may start a fight at your local SDC swap meet.

The three-on-the-tree, which the seller claims to be defunct, should be easy enough to go through and make right. Perhaps you could get really lucky and it'll just be a column shifter issue but don't plan on it. The post-modern gauges and aircraft switch gear in these cars looks great now and invoke a bit of Avanti, which by '65 was on its way to Newman and Altman to start its long, slow spiral into tackiness. 

See more class for the cash? email us here:

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.


  1. Oh My bungee batt tie down 100mph tape for gas pedal and soiled front seats $900 might be out there with too many doors and no V-8.

  2. "R-Series cars" is an error: that was an engine type, that was variously installed in all Stude products, not a body. Secondly, what is this "tackiness", of which you speak offensively, in the last sentence?

  3. Inexpensive, not cheap. But seriously, perhaps it's price reflects the the "I could have had a V8" dilemma.

  4. That was a misnomer. I'm referring to the R1-R4 engines offered in '62-64 which I always wished were in my GT Hawk. As far as the Avanti goes, no offense meant, but the cars departed from their graceful design (only in my own insignificant opinion) starting with the raised front ride height to accommodate the small block Chevrolet.

  5. I always liked Studebaker. The Budweiser Clydsedales beer wagons are all Studebakers made in the 1890s. You can look it up! And there is a guy on eVay who always sells fully restored Studebaker trucks that are fabulous. Check out the World War II army Weasel...a Studebaker.

  6. hey, swap in my three-on-the-tree badge, wood ya? - get it... tree... wood... *sigh*


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