29 Years In A Barn: 1958 Studebaker Commander

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

Now here’s a real barn find even though they don’t show where this 1958 Studebaker Commander was hiding. This mud stud is listed on Craigslist somewhere in Washington state given the area code that the seller lists. They’re asking $3,500 for this one. Thanks to Fred H. for sending in this great find!

Ahhhhh.. that’s much better. Some readers have commented both ways on dusty, dirty barn find cars. Some want to see dirty, dusty, muddy, crusty cars looking horribly messy but looking like they just came out of long-term storage. Some others wonder why the seller didn’t at least hose it off first before taking photos. Proving yet again that there is no possible way to please everyone, and sometimes you can’t even please anyone. Hopefully both diametrically-opposed sides are happy now, this is the best of worth worlds. Not to mention the sweet car under that mud.

This is during the infamous time where Packard and Studebaker joined hands in holy matrimony, or maybe it was more like an elopement. Or, was it a shotgun wedding? Whatever it was, those tacked-on headlights are a point of contention with some die-hard Packard and/or Studebaker lovers who weren’t big fans of how that whole hookup worked out in the long run. The Commander was in-between the Champion and the top of the line President.

The Commander two-door hardtop was new for 1958 and they were a knockout in my opinion. Ok, I’m also on the fence with the tacked-in headlights, but otherwise; homerun. There are no interior photos but the trunk looks rock solid as does the whole car really and other than a few dings and a crease or two, it looks like it would be a great restoration candidate. Or just get everything working perfectly and drive it as it looks now. They say that the “Interior is rough, seats are in good basic shape.” One major glitch is that Hagerty is at $6,400 for a #3 good condition car so there isn’t much room at all. Maintenance items will easily run a couple of thousand if not more and that’s with you doing the work! Then there’s the interior to totally redo, and the body, etc.

This is a “259 cu. in. v-8 with an automatic transmission and a twin track rear end. Power steering. Clock and radio. Motor turns over with key and starter, but not started. Likely will need some tune up tlc after 29 years.” The 2-barrel version had 180 hp and the 4-barrel had 195 hp. I would have to believe that this car could be on the road again after some much-needed maintenance is done on it. Most Barn Finds readers could get this ’58 Commander going again, what do you think of this one?

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Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    First of all the mud looks applied for the photo op. There’s no way this body would look this good if it had all that mud on it for a long time, nice try though. As for tha head light works its simple weld them in then shape them and fill them before a repaint. I’d resto mod it SBC, 700r trans and a 375 ratio gm axle same goes for the front suspension and brakes 90’s gm maybe out of an impala. I’d throw in some vintage air too. I like the colour kind of suits it. I’d repaint it the same.

    3
    • AMCSTEVE

      NO CHEVY MOTOR. That 259 is a great little motor and responds to upgrades well. Why do you think it needs a chebby, are you that unoriginal or just cheap?

      17
      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Easy parts availability because if it was mine I’d be in it every chance I could get. That’s about it.

        2
    • Rusty Nuts

      That doesn’t look like mud, just decades worth of barn dirt and cobwebs. I’ve stored cars in old dirt floor barns before and they all come out looking like that.

      6
  2. XMA0891

    I wasn’t really aware of these last-of-the-last Packard-Bakers until this site brought closer attention to them. The wagon from a few posts back was so ungainly – Like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away! The Gremlin is still my top “love it ’cause it’s ugly” pick; but these ’58’s are growing on me. Keep ’em coming.

    4
  3. roblack

    No need for any of that stuff,except the Vintage air maybe. These were great driving cars,and the 259 will be quite adequate for power,I put over 100,000 miles on my 62 Lark with that engine. The headlights on these will never win any beauty prizes,but other than that,very good cars. Theres a book about these 56-59 Studebakers and Packards called,”GM could have sold a lot of these” and I think its true. They were a good car,sold by a struggling maker. If it wasn’t for the success of the Lark in 59,the Studebaker story would have ended right here.

    13
  4. tompepper

    It looks like a mix of dust ,chaff and a lot of bird dropings.I grew up on the farm and have seen plenty of cars and trucks and farm equipment that looked like that.That is true barn dirt…

    14
  5. PatrickM

    Ok, the front end is kinda googily looking. In my childhood, we had a ’54 Studebaker wagon for a few years. Whe, I got to junior college, my folks bought me a ’57 Studebaker Champion. They were both good cars. But, my thoughts went to Chevys, Fords and Mopars, simply because they were flashier with hotter engines. Today, I would love to have both of them back and I wish I could have this one, too. But, you know the old story…money, place, time, etc.

    1
  6. BOP_GUY Member

    Well original dirt or not, I’m just grateful that they cleaned it off so you can see what you’re getting yourself into. I’m not real familiar with these, but looks to me to be a pretty cool car! For 3500 bucks (or less!), someone could have a lot of fun with this. Certainly would need a lot more pictures though.

    5
  7. Alexander

    My MG looked like that after only 5 months in a barn. Even with a concrete floor. Animals, tractors and dirt on an active farm produces a lot of powdery dusty dirt. Which turns to clay-like mud after one season.

    3
  8. Ed P

    The grafted on headlights detract from an otherwise good looking car. Studes, of this era, had a reputation for rusting, but this one looks surprisingly free of the stuff.

  9. Howard A Member

    I get a chuckle about how some think this dirt was “applied”. They obviously haven’t spent time on a farm, a dirt farm, especially. When it’s dry, dust is everywhere.This a cool find. Clearly there’s a bunch still out there.

    2
  10. PRA4SNW Member

    If you doubt the as-found picture, you can always ask to see the barn.

    For this price, though, if you want one, here it is.

  11. rivguy

    Really a nice find, especially a two door hardtop! It needs to be refurbished, not restored. I like the styling, even has it’s hubcaps. This is something I would like to have if i wasn’t buried in a ton of other stuff.

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