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Lots Of Glass: 1948 Studebaker Champion Starlight


The car has one of the more interesting greenhouse areas of any automobile ever! It also looks really solid and has a lot of eye appeal. The Studebaker has recently been moved from Alabama, where it’s been for most of it’s life, to Jackson, Mississippi. The seller has listed it for sale here on eBay, where bidding is below $1,000 as I write this but the reserve has not been met.


I’ve heard of people that wondered whether this car’s styling was turned the correct way around when it was new. There was even a comedian at the time who said that “you wouldn’t be able to tell if next year’s model was going sideways.” Whatever the reason, it certainly resulted in a very long trunk and more glass in the rear of the top than any of its contemporaries.


You can really see the unusual roof profile from this view. This particular Champion Starlight looks great to me in this green color with the white painted wheels and contrasting center caps. It’s been mainly used for local auto shows and joy rides in the recent past, and the seller states there is no visible rust on the body or floors. It has been repainted at least once–I hope this is the original color!


I’m sure the velour upholstery isn’t original, nor does it look so, but the seats look comfy enough, and what I think is a painted-to-look-like-wood dash looks to be in nice shape. I think it’s worth spending a little time making the steering wheel look better, but I’m not sure I’d do much else on the inside. There is one cracked passenger side door glass, but I’ll bet it’s flat, so it shouldn’t be too hard to have one made up and install it.


What a great looking engine! It’s a 170 cubic inch flat head six-cylinder, and looks remarkably original. The seller tells us that they are surprised how well it runs, with no smoke, leaks or rattles. I think one could have a lot of fun with this car without spending a ridiculous amount of money–does that sound like a good plan to you? Let us know!


  1. Lee Hartman

    I went to buy one just like this one years ago. The owner wanted $50 for it, it ran and I was able to drive it. But it had a broken front spring. So I offered him $40. We both held firm, and I went home without it.

    Like 0
  2. Fred

    The lines of this car and the bulletnose models lend themselves well to a pickup conversion…

    Like 3
  3. Mike H. Mike H.

    You could become a bear in his natural habitat: a Studebaker.

    Like 0
  4. Ed P

    Interesting car. There is a nice picture of the transverse leaf spring for the independent suspension. Also, the rear view mirror is dash mounted. I thought Chrysler was the only company to offer that feature. I wonder if Stude had the same vibration problems Chrysler had.

    Like 0
  5. Vince Habel

    The 50 with coil springs drives much better. I love the Starlights.

    Like 0
  6. David R.

    I’ve seen this same car, I’m fairly certain. About a year ago at a local cruise night. It was in decent shape. Nothing show worthy, but it was running and driving with relative ease, and it’s not one of those rat rods. Paint chips here and there, and the velour certainly isn’t original, but it feels nice. (as nice as velour can feel). I talked to the guy about it, and he said that he was thinking of selling it sometime in the future. I wished him luck, and here it is now.

    Like 0
  7. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I’ve had three Starlight coupes — 48, 50 & 51. The broken door glass is common, due to the window design — when the glass is lowered, the vent window support post lowers with the glass. Slamming the door with the glass halfway often causes it to break.

    My first starlight was when I was a teen, and I quickly discovered when the built-in armrests on either side of the rear seat were opened, & holes punched in the bottom as a drains, one can put in a full case of beer with ice (2 6-packs of cans per side)!
    Fortunately no one was hurt from this practice, nor did any officers ever discover the secret stash!

    Like 2

    A local guy had a more desirable ’50 or ’51 bulletnose with mini-blinds installed in the 4 piece rear window! (BTW, that rear window on those cars was likened to the front windows of an airplane)

    Like 0
  9. Skloon

    Bring a Muppet

    Like 0
  10. Eric Dashman

    These were really solid well-engineered cars, with the bullet-nose later versions being more desirable. I wonder if this one had the hill-holder feature. These were interesting looking, but pale in comparison to the 53/54/55 Loewy coupes, both 2 door post and hardtop. After 55, they messed up the front end and put on those awful fins. I had a 54 Champion 2dr post version with a 1962 289 Hawk engine. I intended to restore it, but marriage and kids interfered and I sold it for a song. I still regret letting it go. The later engines were very comparable to the Chevy 283 and the Ford 289. The Stude could be bored up to 0.90 it had so much cylinder wall. The crank bearings had much more swept area than the other 2. The biggest problem with them was the small oil galleries. You could wind up with a quart of oil in each valve cover. Some folks took to adding an external drain line to the crankcase from the valve covers. It was a stout engine to say the least. We all have our regrets, don’t we (the free 1967 Lemans convertible I turned down, the 54 Coupe, the 66 Saab 96 I left at a junkyard, the $600 MB 190 I couldn’t afford…). Oh well :-)

    Like 1
  11. Ray

    I just bought this starlight coupe. It’s coming to Evansville,in

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      That’s great, Ray — be sure and send us some pictures once you get it home!

      Like 0
  12. ray

    ok,I will

    Like 0
  13. ray

    Got the 48 Starlight Coupe home today. must say I am very pleasantly surprised it looks to be rust free

    Like 3

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