1932 Studebaker Model 55 St. Regis Sedan Barn Find

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This project car turns out to be a rare example, somewhat sought after by Studebaker fans. Here on eBay is a 1932 Studebaker Six Model 55 St. Regis two-door sedan for sale, bid to $11,999 with the reserve met. The car is located in Tylertown, Mississippi, and it needs a complete restoration, made simpler thanks to its rust-free California body. A bill of sale is provided; the title is listed as “Rebuilt, Rebuildable & Reconstructed”. The grainy photos aren’t helping sell the car, but I found this set with better resolution and a few additional angles. Note the very long doors – easing ingress for backseat passengers. This is a dual-mount model, carrying a spare on either side. To tempt potential buyers still further here’s what this Studebaker could look like with a little effort – ok maybe a LOT of effort.

Studebaker began operating in 1852 but it didn’t make cars. Horses were the primary form of transport then, so most of its product was buggies, harnesses, and coaches. Car number one came along in 1902. (For bonus points, does anyone know what powered Studebaker’s first autos? Once you know the answer you will understand how large a circle we have made – from then to today.) The Six Model 55 came along in 1932 embedded in a suite of offerings including the Dictator, the President, and the Commander, all with multiple trim levels. “Six” referred to its engine configuration, an inline six-cylinder, while its brethren all received eight-cylinder motors. The St. Regis trim level was the top of the line and included wiring for a radio. Note the oval headlights – these appeared starting in ’32. Despite the proliferation of body styles meant to appeal to a variety of customers, management errors and the Great Depression sent Studebaker into receivership in 1933.

The motor is a stout 230 cu. in. six, fed by a single Stromberg and making about 80 hp. The gearbox is a three-speed manual. This car doesn’t run, though the new plugs suggest someone tried.

The interior photo isn’t too revealing, so we need this one to show us what the dash is really supposed to look like. Clearly, there’s a lot of work here, but with bidding underway, someone’s going home with her. Meanwhile, though this car is fairly rare and forum participants speak fondly of the model, that doesn’t mean it’s valuable. A March 2022 listing originally on Hemmings showcasing a restored ’32 Model 55 two-door sedan drew a high bid of just $27,000 which wasn’t enough for it to find a new home. Here’s hoping this attractive sedan finds a fawning owner who will keep her original.

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Comments

  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    We sure are getting to the back of the barn with this one. Not that I’m looking for the extra points, but early Studebakers were electric( note the authors trick question). Studebakers were high class cars, more so than most others. Styling, power, kind of what Pontiac became later. Sadly, I just don’t see anyone taking this on today. It’s only hope will be a resto-mod of some sort, that the builder will assuredly lose money on.

    Like 4
    • healeydays

      The builder might not loose money, but the poor fool who paid the builder to build it for them will definitely loos money. Would make for an interesting resto-mod though…

      Like 2
  2. Lance

    Studebaker had some really beautiful cars in the 1930’s. This style isn’t one of them IMHO.

    Like 1
  3. Jay Bree

    Worlds largest doors!

    Like 1
  4. Gary

    This would make a very elegant street rod, it’s beautiful. Black, tan/brown leather interior, a Stude V8 with a modern transmission/brakes/suspension/steering.

    Like 3
  5. Vincent H

    A friend of mine that has passed away made a street rod out of one. It was in worse shape than this when he started. The pureist almost had a heart attack when they saw it. Howard you are wrong on this one it is a diamond in the rough waiting to be brought back. Many Studebaker fan will want it.

    Like 9
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      Yes, it has a bid so someone is going to take it on. Hope it stays stock but so long as it gets on the road!

      Like 4
    • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

      By golly, Vincent, I hope so. I won’t argue it’s unusualness(?), but just the words “Studebaker fan” is kind of an antique in itself. I admire your optimism, but I just don’t see the interest. I watch the TV auctions, merely for entertainment, and the beautiful cars, but it tells a story as to what the hobby commands today, and not ONE 1932 Studebaker crosses the block EVER. While it’s obvious, there still is some interest, I truly believe we’re the last of the folks that might want this, much less sink a ton of money into it with little if any chance of return.
      NOW, people do have money, there’s no question, and are running out of things to buy, so a pristine 1932 Studebaker could be wanted, but not to restore one. Body shops are dwindling and the ones that are around are backed up until June, so not many can even take on a restoration. I know it hurts, but if anything, this is what will happen to this car, and that’s not all bad.
      https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1932-STUDEBAKER-DICTATOR-CUSTOM-2-DOOR-COUPE-117205

      Like 0
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

        Howard,

        As a long-time Studebaker collector and restorer, I’m familiar with these cars. We did some major work on one, getting it running again after decades in storage. It was in our shop for months, and the interest in the car was quite high.

        If there is ONE pre-WW2 Studebaker closed body style that still has lots of interest from restorers and rodders alike, it’s the St. Regis coupe. Most owners need not put their St. Regis coupe up for sale, because they already have multiple serious buyers waiting. I suspect this car has a 50/50 chance of being restored or rodded. But I’m sure it will find a buyer who will put it back on the road.

        And as someone said above, the doors are really long, and as far as I can tell, they are the longest doors ever made for a production car. And incredibly HEAVY! I always thought the biggest production doors were the GM full size 2-door cars of the early 1970s, but the St. Regis is bigger, and as they are a wooden framed door assembly, they are a lot heavier.

        Like 2
  6. Peter Conine

    The Studebaker brothers actually started out making wheelbarrows for Califonia miners during the gold rush. They moved on to wagons and other horse-drawn vehicles and made their fortune during the Civil War – I’ve heard selling to both sides. Eventually they added electric power to their delivery wagons and the later offshoot was autos.

    Like 4
  7. GitterDunn

    I really like the look of this era’s close-coupled broughams and opera coupes. This is too rare and nice of a car to be butchered by some street rodder – let them stick to their tri-fives, etc. The body looks straight in the photos (which are pretty lousy), and seller says it’s rust free; it apparently came from California. It looks like a pretty straightforward and worthwhile restoration project to me.

    Like 6
  8. Denny N.Member

    I, too, love this close-coupled body style, the twin sidemounts, the oval headlamps and the twin horns. Studebaker was one of the classiest cars of the 1930s. I hope someone has the guts and $$$$ to take this one on.

    Like 3
  9. Patrick Melvin Anderson

    Looks like a car that the Baldwin sisters drove on “The Waltons”.

    Like 0
  10. V12MECH

    Interested parties are getting long in the tooth, maybe a stude guy will buy it with the ability to do it in house. Not much long term value vs. expenses for a capable shop to do .

    Like 1
  11. PeterfromOz

    I am very surprised that most of the discussion so far is about chopping this car up. I think the body style is unusual and beautiful. I haven’t seen one of these cars before nor have I seen one in Amelia Island photos and Hemmings auctions. Someone must restore this car or put it in a museum as is. Surely not everyone who restores a car thinks only of money. My thoughts are ‘how long will it take’ and divide that number into a guess at the cost and see if you can fit it into your living budget per year. In the case of this car, a lot of it is already there – even the headlight glasses are intact.

    (Also, as soon as I saw the photo I thought of 6&1/2 & 8 litre Bentley’s with short two-door bodies and long bonnets)

    Like 5
  12. Troy

    What a beautiful car even in that condition I have always loved most of the cars from that time

    Like 2
  13. 64 Bonneville

    A seldom seen and really hard to find classic Studebaker. The apparently complete condition of the car makes it a reasonable restoration for a Studebaker Drivers Club member. Whoever does acquire it, should do a frame off and display it in the Studebaker Museum at South Bend. It would be quite an eyeful at Pebble Beach or Amelia Island. The vehicle is definitely worth restoring.

    Like 2
  14. Dan

    Wouldn’t take much to get it running and driveable. Have fun with it, and paint each part as time permits. Who said it has to be perfect?

    Like 2
  15. Kenn

    Maybe the reason these aren’t found at auctions is because owners want to keep them! And have heirs that want to keep and enjoy them! Wish I could afford this, to drive, enjoy and keep it as original as possible.

    Like 1
  16. GitterDunn

    In their advertising at the time, Studebaker points out that the extra-length doors on these 2-dr. St.Regis models allowed access to the rear seats “without incommoding the front seat passengers”. The design became universal practice for 2-door sedans.

    Like 0

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