1953 Studebaker Commander Coupe

Rare V8 manual; running and riding with fresh brakes, tyres and battery; fabulous oily rag condition; a matching numbers example of this design classic

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.

Under the bonnet lurked a lazy 3.8-litre V8 producing 120bhp and 205lb/ft which gave effortless performance. An advanced automatic transmission also became available but proper drivers will prefer the three-speed manual with overdrive top, as featured on this car.

Sold last year through Brightwells as a partly dismantled non-runner, the current owner of this Coupe has spent considerable time getting the car sorted, a job which included a new battery, carb and fuel system clean and the usual points etc. He also stripped and overhauled the brakes and sorted out the stainless exhaust that came with the car and put various parts back in their correct places - including a new set of shock absorbers.

Details on file show that it travelled a lot when living in the States, residing in Michigan, Connecticut and then Florida until 1990 when it moved to Holland. It appears to have then done little for many years, until it was acquired by a UK collector in 2014 and UK registered that year.

A dating certificate from the Studebaker National Museum indicates it was completed in August 1953 and confirms that it retains its original engine, which we are advised, has been upgraded with a 4bbl carb.

When they were launched, the distinctive ‘European’ styling caused a sensation and its not hard to see their appeal. This highly original example is now up together - running and driving and crying out to be given some regular use. It is the perfect use and improve example of a particularly rare and significant model and looks exceptional value at the catalogue estimate.

Documents: V5C, Import/Export Documents, Invoices.

For more information - contact matthew.parkin@brighwells.com

Reg No: 781XVC
Chassis Number: 8342131
Engine Number: V269045
Engine Size: 3800

Sale Section & Buyers Premium (ex VAT): Car 12%, Minimum £150

Estimate: £8,000-10,000

Lot 45

Lot ended

Wednesday 16/02/2022

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

£7,336
Auction details and terms
  • Put in your highest bid you would be prepared to go to.
  • Bidding at the last moment may leave you disappointed. Any earlier bid is always taken first, so doing this may only push someone else up and prevent you from becoming the highest bidder.
  • No bids can be placed once the time remaining ends, therefore do not delay.