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All Business: 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe

062116 Barn Finds - 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe - 2

This design is the equivalent of the 1959 Cadillac tailfins are for me, as far as business coupes go. This is a 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe and if you’re looking for the business coupe of business coupes, this would qualify. It can be found in Santa Rosa, California and is listed here on eBay with no takers on a $5,000 opening bid price. If you don’t buy this one some cheesy tv reality show is going to get their hands on it and then you’ll be sorry.

062116 Barn Finds - 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe - 1

The Studebaker Brothers would have had a top-rated tv reality show, there is just no question about that. those beards are epic. The 1950 front end design is certainly more iconic with the aircraft-inspired “spinner grille”. But, the ’49s were a more elegant, less-cartoony design, in my opinion. I would not kick either of them out of my garage, though. This car was parked for 30 years, according to the seller, it sure looks like it’s in good shape other than a little rust-repair that’s been primed over.

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Studebaker only made 718 of these business coupes in 1949 and they also made an equally-iconic Starlight Coupe with a wraparound rear window that is really, really cool. This was the third-generation Studebaker Champion, made from 1947 to 1952. I never cared too much for the next generation design, personally, but again, I would not kick one out of the garage. The seller says that this one has solid floors but there was a bit of rust in the trunk that was repaired.

062116 Barn Finds - 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe - 4

The interior looks fantastic on this car, although we don’t really see what condition the seats are in. There are just a couple of dash photos, a door panel photo, and a few photos of the details of the exotic-looking materials. We do see the condition of the business-end of the business coupe, behind the seats. They mention that it’s an “all original clean calif car very little rust in trunk pan.” They do mention that the “interior is fair; seat and headliner needs to be recovered.”  This photo is what I imagine when I think about the post-war years: a group of men sitting around designing cars, one with short-sleeves and a tie, one with a bow tie, and one who must be the lead designer in a suit, complete with a pencil-thin mustache. Ahhh, the memories. If they were architects, the gentleman in the bow tie would be the lead designer.

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This is Studebaker’s 2.8L, 170 six-cylinder with 80 hp and a three-speed manual transmission “with working overdrive, which gets 26 mpg!!” It’s an “excellent running car” and it also has all “new brakes, including master cylinder and wheel cylinders.” This really sounds like a good car with just a bit of upholstery work to do and maybe a couple of other details. I’d just get it working like new and drive it, maybe detail and engine a bit, but that’s it. What would you do with this car? Would you restore it, turn it into a fire-breathing restomod, or just drive it?


  1. DanaPointJohn

    My father worked at Studebaker from 1943 through early 1950, at which point he moved his young family to California to begin a career as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry. As a tool and die maker this 1949 Champion would have been one of the last cars he worked on. He had great stories of the family atmosphere at Studebaker, even though they all knew their sales were not as strong as the Detroit brands. Whenever I go to a car show and come across a Studebaker from his era I take a few minutes to touch the body panels knowing he had something to do with their design and production. I hope someone restores this car to its original condition and enjoys it for years to come.

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  2. Brad

    I’d just get in and drive all summer. Next winter, I’d add Vintage Air and maybe disc brakes — no reason to overthink this car. Beautiful little coupe.

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  3. Marty Member

    Compared to the Starliner with the wraparound rear window, this one looks positively odd! Neat find, seldom-seen and under-appreciated Studebaker.

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  4. Dave

    That trunk is massive! Would probably hold my MGB.

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  5. Paul B

    These are really solid fun-to-drive economical little cars. 1947-52 were the last of the really high quality Studebakers and this one should be a great and rare runner for the right person.

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  6. Vince Habel

    The 50 and 51 had coils springs where this still had the leaf spring in the front and did not drive as well. I would not mind having this one.

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  7. Roselandpete

    Pocket protectors. Shouldn’t those designers also be sporting pocket protectors?

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  8. Peter

    It is so odd (or ugly) that it must be kept as is (or restored) so that we can all ponder about just what were vehicle body designers of 1949 thinking of? It is definitely worthy of a place in a modern art museum.

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  9. David Wilk Member

    Looks like it sold for $5000, which if correct seems like a good deal for the buyer. Thanks for finding this one Scotty.

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  10. Bruce T

    My dad has a ’47 Biz Commander Coupe that we restored a few years ago…we get looks where ever we go…Nice ’49,,…

    My son drove the ’47 to prom,and with all the other kids driving borrowed Porsche’s and Lambo’s, John Deeres and various muscle cars,the ’47 had the most people around it trying to guess what it was…my Dad was very proud of his baby that day.

    Like 1

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