1941 Studebaker Commander Skyway Land Cruiser

1941-studebaker-skyway-land-cruiser

From Paul B – This Commander is from the apex of Raymond Loewy’s prewar design work for Studebaker.  Many of us fans consider the ’41s to present an especially refined, elegant look with delicate grills, restrained trim and slim fenders.  The seller states the car was driven until being put into storage in 1994.  The seller also says the car needs a complete restoration, but I’m not so sure.  I think a mechanical and partial interior refurbishment are what’s needed, and this survivor could roll down the highway again carrying evidence of its long and useful life! Sounds good to us Paul! Find it here on eBay in Belton, Texas.

studebaker-inline-six

Back in the early forties, do you think prospective buyers would walk into the Studebaker dealership and ask for a Commander Skyway Land Cruiser? That sure is a mouthful! I doubt anyone called it by its full name, but each word in this model designation did have significance. The Commander name referred to its engine. All Commanders were fitted with an inline-six whereas the Presidents had an inline-eight. Land Cruiser referred to this particular four-door body style and Skyway was a special trim option available on the Land Cruisers. This may all sound confusing, but what it all boils down to is that this was one cool Studebaker!

skyway-package

Studebaker was actually using the Land Cruiser moniker long before Toyota stuck it on their “Jeep”. The first ones were built in the thirties, but then the name reappeared on this sleek four-door. The term Skyway had also been used in the past to describe their aircraft-inspired styling that supposedly made Studebakers more aerodynamic on the outside and quieter on the inside. The two names were reunited in 1941 when the existing Land Cruiser model became available with the Skyway trim package. It was basically an alteration of much of the chrome treatment. New gravel guards went on the rear fenders, belt trim was removed, some bumper guards were added, and fender spats were mounted out back. Lots of other little tweaks made for a streamlined look that was a fitting tribute to the earlier “Skyway Style” cars.

studebaker-interior

Too bad the inside doesn’t look as good as the outside. It might not be as bad as the first impression would suggest though. The tattered plaid fabric appears to belong to some homemade seat covers, but I can see the what might be the original broadcloth still hiding underneath. The door panels look rough too, but the leather section unique to the Skyway appears to still be in place on the driver’s side. That may not sound like much, but I bet there is still enough here for a good upholstery shop to work off of. The dash looks complete too and the steering wheel is still there minus the plastic rim. There is obviously a lot of work to be done here, but if the reserve is set at a reasonable amount tehn this could be the perfect project for a Studebaker enthusiast. I would probably follow Paul’s advice though and focus my time and money on the mechanicals and interior first. Then just protect what’s left of the paint and enjoy!

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Comments

  1. Nick

    Those nice big flat fenders would be perfect for some outrageous flames!

  2. That Guy

    I don’t think I’ve seen one of these before. What a handsome car – it has a lot of resemblance to a Lincoln of the era, and that’s no bad thing.

  3. Greg

    It is a very nice design…more than a little bit of Cadillac Sixty Special to it, too.

  4. Andrew Minney

    I’ll take it as is and restore it!!

    Andrew

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    When I see cars like this I can’t help but wonder why Studebaker couldn’t make it after the war? Stude built some good attractive cars, and some good reliable trucks, then something went wrong… Aside from that I like this car. Fix the interior, get it running and reliable then drive it for a spell. Enjoy it, then finally give the body what it richly deserves: a full refurbishiment (notice I didn’t say restoration?).

  6. paul

    Very cool Stude but I always ask myself why if this guy & others who have a bunch of very fine old cars in the back-round of their pictures want to let this car go unrestored, he obviously has the knowledge? The answer here is probably the cost to restore would be way more then the cars worth & that is sad.

  7. jim s

    this seller has more interesting items on Ebay. i am glad the seller posted the photos of the underside of car. with some work/money this would be an interesting driver. very nice looking car. nice find.

  8. Charles

    Nice! I agree, a full resto for this car is not necessary. Fix the mechanicals, interior, and enjoy.

  9. Ted

    What a beautiful project to restore would even look good with a set of dual exhausts and a pair of headers Imagine this going down main street and to mention a metal flake paint job

  10. Kevin

    There is a local daily driver of this vehicle. Very distinguished looking. “41 being a key year as we entered WW2.

  11. ConservativesDefeated

    You know guys, as a teenager in the late sixties, early seventies if I came across this car I would have thought I had died and gone to car heaven. As it is, I found a similar condition ’48 Chevy and happily drove it with the springs poking through the seats and paint in similar condition.

    The lines on this Stude are just sublime

  12. Paul B.

    Sublime those lines are, Loewy’s ideas expressed at their best, and a real contrast to the bulbous lines coming out of GM and Chrysler in those days. I wish I could buy this car but I have no room for anything more as I’m currently hosting a ’60 Panhard and a ’97 Miata in my garage!

  13. Jesse Staff

    SOLD for $2,375 with 30 bids. Well bought!

  14. rick

    I have the exact same car, one owner, barn find. Only has 48,800 original miles. Interior is complete minus carpet. This car was garage kept for 52 years. very solid and 98% completely original with factory visor. As with this one it had the exact seat covers. Deserves complete ground up and then would be a 6 figure car at Barrett Jackson, or a very high 5 figure. I can’t afford to do it, I have much bigger project. You sold yours way too cheep, I paid more for mine and very glad I did. There can’t be more than 50-75 of these left in the world. They only made 4536 in 1941. I wouldn’t let mine go for less than $10,000.00 as is and haven’t done anything but lube cylinders every month for when I start it.
    Rick Stern
    Kenosha wi. 53143
    P.S. pictures are on craiglist

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