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 the road.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
Reg No: 781XVC
Chassis Number: 8342131
Engine Number: V269045
Engine Size: 3812
Docs: V5C; factory build record; shipping documents; purchase invoice; correspondence; period road test etc
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