1953 Studebaker Commander Coupe
Amendment: please note this vehicle is a rare manual version, not
an automatic as listed.
From the The Automobile Magazine
'Oily Rag' Reserve Collection; ground-breaking American classic; wiring and
brakes sorted; needs minor fettling to finish
There aren’t many cars that have been displayed in the
Museum of Modern Art, but here’s one of them.
Styled by industrial architect Robert E Bourke under the
supervision of visionary automotive designer Raymond Loewy, the 1953 Studebaker
Commander has to be one of the most daring and unusual car designs ever. Not
only did it attract the attention of MOMA, but it also won an award from the New
York School of Fashion for its avant-garde design, which went on to influence
the entire ‘fins and chrome’ excesses of 1950s US car design.
Inspired by the shape of aircraft, it was one of the first
cars to fully embrace the principles of aerodynamics which were a major
influence in the styling, especially of the two-door Coupé which outsold the
saloon four-to-one. Dramatically low and sleek, it has long been a favourite
among speed-record racers, with countless performance-tweaked Coupes showing up
at the Bonneville Salt Flats even today.
Yet under the skin, it wasn’t as revolutionary as it
looked. Power came from a 3.8-litre V8 which produced 120bhp, driving the rear
wheels through a three-speed automatic gearbox with a top speed of 93mph. Leaf
springs at the rear and an entirely conventional chassis also mean simple
maintenance despite the strikingly futuristic exterior.
As a copy of the factory build record confirms, this
Studebaker Commander Coupé was built in August 1953. Invoices and shipping
documents show that it was exported from Michigan to Holland in 1990, and was
acquired for the Oily Rag Collection in November 2014. Although it appears to
have been painted at some time in the past, it boasts a beautifully-preserved
original cloth interior.
It has subsequently undergone work including welding, a
complete re-wire and brake service. It needs further minor fettling to return to
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or