Rare 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

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The Speedster was the successor of the 1953-54 Starliner and the forerunner of the 1956 Hawk (series) which would run in some fashion through 1964. Based on the President’s hardtop, the ’55 Speedster was a one-year-wonder and only saw the production of 2,215 units. So, it was rare when new, and even more so nearly 70 years later. The seller’s nice example has been restored and may be one of the last possessions moving on from the seller’s father’s estate. But it hasn’t been running for several years, so this must be considered a project.

Like the Avanti of the 1960s, the Speedster was a “halo” car for Studebaker. A product that could demonstrate how the company can build something other than ordinary family sedans. The Speedster was on the market just months after Studebaker and Packard merged, so there was no opportunity for the new arrangement to influence the Speedster. The nameplate was revived some 30 years after its last use.

Supposedly the Speedster was designed to compete with the Chrysler 300 or Ford Thunderbird, but it had little in common with either automobile. A 259 cubic inch V8 was onboard that produced 185 hp, somewhat on par with the Ford but nowhere near the Hemi Chrysler. The cars were loaded with standard features, which justified its higher sticker price compared to the President hardtop.

This Studebaker was previously restored, and we assume that was before the seller’s father bought it in 2017. Since then, it’s seen little use, and the odometer might reflect that at 400 claimed miles. The car was purchased from a dealer in Missouri and then headed out west and San Rafael, California is its current domicile. It was “Dad’s” pride and joy but as his health declined so did the use of the car and it hasn’t been driven in quite a while.

While the engine spins, the carburetor can’t process gas so there’s likely a blockage in the fuel delivery system (aka old gas). Perhaps it won’t take that much to get the Speedster going, but making the effort is certainly worthwhile. The current bid here on eBay is $20,000, there is an unmet reserve, and the Buy It Now option is for $29,000. Are there any takers in our midst?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. RICK W

    Always sad to see a beloved family car pass out of the family. This President is an outstanding opportunity for someone to get a rare survivor. Hopefully it will go to a new home, where it will be revered and receive all the TLC it deserves. Condolences to the seller. 🙏

    Like 16
    • HoA HoAMember

      Thanks Rick, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only sentimental sap here. The hobby has morphed into the dispersal of heirlooms, rather than the enjoyment of a car like this. Sad indeed.

      Like 18
      • RICK W

        Unfortunately NO one seems to care about family heirlooms of any kind. In my own family, offers to pass on treasured items from multi generations are a hard sell. It’s a whole new world! Guess we Dinosaurs are truly Gone With the Wind. And, frankly I DO give a damn! 👍

        Like 19
  2. Terrry

    I’ve seen a couple of these, one was a three tone salmon, gray and white, the other two tone green and yellow. The best part about these cars is their dash. It’s all business ( gauges for everything ) yet very attractive with its textured bright metal finish.

    Like 4
    • Poppy

      Too bad this car’s dash applique is brushed smooth.

      Like 1
      • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

        Correct – the dash is not orginal and I sopt a few more things but like was said by the seller – the car was bought already put together for his father’s enjoyment.

        Like 0
  3. Don Sicura

    This one is the “holy grail” of Lowey coupes & from the looks of it, it is worth every penny of the asking price, I hope it goes to someone who will love it as much as the seller does.

    Like 3
  4. Loving Studies!

    It’s disappointing (IMHO) that there was only one photo showing the entire car. There were no rear or side shots.

    Like 3
    • jwaltb

      Exactly. TERRIBLE photos!
      I wanted to see a side view as well.

      Like 0
    • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

      As the seller stated – car does not run at this time – so be happy they were able to roll it out and take plenty of pictures. If your a serious buyer the price is right.

      Like 0
  5. lee robersonMember

    The upholstery seems out of place, door panels are different than the seats, was this the way they came?

    Like 2
    • Poppy

      Yes, in this color combination the seats and door panels didn’t match.

      Like 2
  6. Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

    I don’t know about y’all, but the chromification (or chromization or chromitis) of the front end really harmed the beauty of the 53-54 front ends. It looks like the maw of one of those freshwater beast fishes from South America that one of the cable shows goes on about. It just looks like it’s missing the whiskers. Then Studebaker went on to change it further with the Hawks and that large rectangular front face, imitated by Chrysler’s cars in the late 50s and early 60s. The original design was the best IMO (and I know that there are those amongst who loved the big grills and large, and dare I say, ungainly fins). The instance vehicle looks very well cared for overall and getting it running again should be a piece of cake. I’m not one to bemoan the hobby. My son and his friends are all car guys (40ish age) and the kids who work for him (20ish) are also heavy into cars. It’ll be fine.

    Like 2
  7. mainlymuscle

    Speedsters are awesome ,truly one of cardoms stylish wonders ,but the front ends are BUTT UGLY .The often repeated solution is the front clip off a later Starliner .My 53 Starliner hardtop is the next best thing especially with the Blown 331 Hemi .I’m not much of purist .

    Like 2
  8. Jim DuhigMember

    I bought a black and white Speedster in1964. Great car. Everything a 21 year old young man could want. Interior was tan, diamond pattern leather. Got respect from all who saw it. Now? Another one that got away.

    Like 5
  9. Russ Ashley

    I was a car guy as long as I can remember, but had little to no money. When I was in high school in the late fifties I got a job after school driving a 57 VW panel van delivering laundry and dry cleaning for a local cleaners. One day while I was out making deliveries I noticed a green and yellow car, which I recognized as a Studebaker, parked in front of a store in Savannah, Ga. I wheeled the van into the parking lot to get a better look at that car and I thought it was one of the most beautiful cars I had ever seen. Seeing the word “Speedster” on the side made it even more exciting to me. I still remember that and though I have never owned one I have loved them since that day. Conditions have never been right for me to own one but seeing this one makes me want one all over again. I hope it goes to a good home.

    Like 4

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