1950 Studebaker Starlight Garage Find

The 1950’s have been called the Golden Age of American automotive design. There were many iconic designs to come out of the ’50s, but there were also some interesting and futuristic ones to come out of the era. This was especially true for many of Studebaker’s designs. Take this 1950 Studebaker Commander Starlight for example. Its design left onlookers both amazed and confused. This one has been parked in a Burbank, California garage for the past 20 years. It can now be found here on eBay.

The Starlight was Studebaker’s halo model and showcased some of the company’s most unique styling ideas. In 1950, Studebaker added the bullet nose to the front of the car, which added to the futuristic look. The design left some passersby wondering which end was the front and which direction it was going.

The seller claims the interior is completely original and it looks to be in good condition. The Starlight’s wrap around rear window makes it feel spacious for a two door coupe, but replacement glass can be hard to find. All the original glass looks great and all the hard to find parts are still in good shape. The seller claims the original straight six runs and that the car drives, but the brakes need to be worked on to be driven.

It will take a little work to get this car back on the road, but we hope the next owner keeps the car as original as possible. There weren’t a lot of these built in 1950 and we doubt that there are many left in this kind of condition.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1966-1970 Dodge W300 W500 Crew Cab Looking for a late 60s Dodge Crew Cab for complete restoration project. Contact

WANTED 1960 – 1966 Volvo Pv544 Parts car. Need bumpers,taillights, turn signal housing at steering wheel, etc. Contact

WANTED 1960-1962 Plymouth Valiant Looking for a running project. 60-61 Valiant. In Ohio, willing to travel out of state. Contact

WANTED 1987 Dodge Charger Looking for a 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger GLHS Ready to buy now, serious buyer Contact

WANTED 1971-73 Mercury capri looking for rust free car with 6 cylinder and stick shift. early models with chrome bumper only Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    The joke about these Studes when they were around on the streets was that you didn’t know which was the front because the rear glass looked so much like a windshield.

    The fact that people joked about them shows how far Studebaker had declined—from a big, beautifully made near-luxury car in the 1930s to the butt of jokes in the ’50s, then soon to be gone forever. If you want to see how great Studebaker once was, have a look at the wonderful late-1920s and early-1930s deluxe brochures done in pure Art Deco style. They are some of the best advertising any carmaker has ever put out. A Studebaker from that era was a very desirable car.

    From wagon maker beginning in 1852, to innovative electric car maker in 1902, to a takeover by Packard in 1954, to the closure of its last plant, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1966, the story of Studebaker is one of great achievement, but ultimate failure.

    These bullet-nosed Studes of the ’50s weren’t Studebaker’s greatest engineering successes, but they sure were distinctive. Fortunately the seller has an unreserved auction going, and bidding is brisk after only a few hours, so it looks like this one will be going to someone who wants it enough to save it so future car nuts can see a unique piece of ’50s America.

    • scot c

      ~ it was a long, tough slide. with the possible exception of AMC Studebaker outlasted all the post-depression, post-WWII independents. the legacy survives in the many other brands once owned from Paxton superchargers to STP to Gravely Tractor to Onan Generator.
      . in about ’63 my father brought home a ’50 Land Cruiser w/ 22,000 miles and Borg-Warner automatic in perfect condition. blue being my mom’s least favorite color dad took it to Auto-ReNu, picked a very bland khaki tan, & left the car. when he picked it up at twilight the next day it looked tan under mercury-vapor street lights, but he was scratching his head at day break. the paint shop said bring it back & they’d repaint or come get your money. thus the lavender Land Cruiser became. my brother and i drove it through highschool, it was visible for miles.

  2. paul

    I love the bullet nose & the Starlite back window was so cool, my dad had a 52 Champion. I have to say I am not familier with that color, but never the less, it would be a fun project.

  3. Dan Farrell

    In the sixties there were many small boats that had the roof and the back windows of this model Studebaker cut off and pasted on them looking forward to make a small cabin cruiser.

  4. Chris

    These days, from 20 feet away yo can’t tell who made that silver, black trim 4 door. From 200 feet this could be nothing but a Studebaker. You either liked these or laughed, but they had style. Our school art teacher had one for many years, they held up well in the salt.The dash and steering wheel are nicely done and look more restrained than the exterior. The jet intake look was a shrot term styling cliche, Ford also did it. The Starlite is a much better looking car than our family’s 1950 Riley RMA.

  5. Charles Frick

    My father worked at Budd Co. in Philadelphia stamping out these hoods….

  6. Larry

    I think this is the first car in a long time that I’ve seen here that doesn’t need a complete rebuild or was a parts car. Nice to see one that the average person can make into a nice ride without spending BIG bucks. These are the kind of “Barn Finds” I like to see.

  7. twwokc

    Growing up in the early 60’s a family friend had one of these for their 2nd car. Light tan in color. Thought it was so cool…still do. Hope the new owner does right by this one and doesnt turn it into some sort of rat-rod type thing.

  8. Kevin Clyde Barrow Acheson
    • Dolphin Member

      Don’t get me wrong, Kevin, these cars are stamped in my mind from my youth, and I miss seeing them because they were so distinctive. Like others have said, you knew instantly what you were looking at.

      I am not saying they were not good, just that selling a good ‘ol regular car…like an affordable Chevy with the Stovebolt six…was probably the road to survival, especially for some carmakers coming out of WW2.

      Then there is the fact that it’s almost impossible for a small independant carmaker to survive, and in this respect I think Studebaker was doomed, unfortunately. To lose a car with as much heritage as Studebaker had is a real shame, and I’m glad this one has survived so well and will get a new owner who wants it.

      • scot c

        ~ +1+

  9. Lance Lambert

    I own a ’50 Champion four door sedan that has been restored. What is interesting about the ’50 Studebaker, next to it’s distinctive design, is how misinformed the public is about the car. A little research by those interested will reveal that the most successful and popular Studebaker ever manufactured in it’s over 100 year existence was the 1950 model year. Over 177,000 four door sedan Champions alone were sold.

    Like 1
    • paul

      Also can’t mistake a bullet nose for anything else. I love em!

  10. russell

    Had a black 4 door champion and a triumph Tr3 at the same time in the mid 60s. Most of the people thought I was a bit strange in our small country town. They were correct of course.

  11. volvotechmikec

    I had an uncle jack in indianna that had a maroon 50 just like this, my 11 year old take from a ride aroundthe country was, the back seat was like bigger than our couch, ahhh mohair ………. it rode nice too!

  12. Nick

    Unigue is an overused word, but in this case it fits the car to perfection. Studebakers biggest selling car ever, the “going backwards car” because of its unigue ( that word again ) wrap around rear window on the Starlight coupe. Studebaker was the most unigue
    ( sorry ) independent and it should have survived. Aside from the car that wouldn;t die, the Avanti, Studebaker had perhaps the most recognizable name in the auto industry, certainly the oldest. The company should have been merged into a larger concern, most likely Ford, in the mid 50’s. There was a chance after the merger with Packard – Henry II was interested, but the board foolishly turned it down. Instead they went with making Continental a separate division, along with Edsel. What a waste. To trade the great names of Studebaker-Packard for Continental-Edsel.

    • scot

      ~ although anything which prolonged the life of the two marques would have been fine with me, i’m imagining the scalping Robert McNamara would have visited on S-P.

  13. Vincent Habel

    I had one of these and it was the best driving Studebaker I ever owned. i have had Hawks and Avantis but these drive nicer. I am not saying they handle better. just that it is nice pleasant car to drive.

  14. Paul B

    Great comments. I’d love to buy this, fix everything to drive, clean it up and keep it for regular use as the survivor it is. The ’50 Commander Starlight is the coolest expression of Studebaker’s two-year bulletnose design in my opinion. With its coupe styling, longer hood and chrome bullet, it was an awesome achievement. The hood was shortened like the Champion in ’51 with introduction of the V8, and the bullet toned down a little too. These Commander big sixes were very reliable cars, and as Lance Lambert says, 1950 was Studebaker’s best year ever in sales. Many things led to Studebaker’s downfall, nearly all of them tragic, but this design was very successful in the days of post-WW2 optimism.

  15. Lance

    Ah yes the infamous 2 row cornpicker model. . A very unique car. Their trucks were not as radical as I recall.

Leave a Reply to Larry Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.