Reader Mike F. suggested we feature this 1958 Studebaker Commander hardtop he found for sale in Oklahoma City here on craigslist recently. Despite its rough condition, I can’t help liking this car and the $900 asking price. This was a pretty rare model – only 2555 Commander Series 58B hardtops were sold in 1958, and given these cars’ propensity for rust, there are doubtless very few of them around anymore.
So despite the fact that this example needs just about everything to be brought back to life, it looks somewhat complete, and even if the floors need to be replaced, at the low asking price of $900, this could be a candidate for restoration.
Or it could just be used for parts to get another Studie back on the road. The seller does say the car is complete, and includes paperwork, I think from the original owner, though the ad does not give any history on the car. The seller is anxious to move it – he is asking for offers and trades.
1958 was the year that two independent car manufacturers with long histories, Studebaker and Packard, merged to form a single company. Unfortunately, as has been written about in detail by many historians, this merger was doomed to fail. The decision to rebadge Studebakers as Packards was not a good one, and Packard sales fell off the table fairly quickly.
Studebaker did manage to survive a few more years after introducing the Lark in 1959, but ended up making its last cars in 1966. While parts for this model are not abundant, there is a terrific owner’s organization, the Studebaker Driver’s Club, which includes many active members who can assist with Studebaker restoration and repair projects, and since this car’s drivetrain was built for a number of years, at least mechanical parts are readily available.
So is this car worth salvaging? That interior looks terrible, but the body might just be OK. Can it be restored or rodded, or is this just a parts car now?