3/4 Ton of Fun: 1952 Studebaker 2R11 Pickup

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is where this 1952 Studebaker 2R11 Pickup is located. It’s listed on eBay with two days left on the auction and a current bid price of just over $1,600, but the reserve isn’t met.

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Studebaker’s 2R11 pickup is a 3/4 ton long-bed and this one still looks like it could take a licking and keep on ticking. I think this would be a great truck to restore, or just to keep maintained and drive, How cool is that embossed tailgate?! Sweet, smart Studebaker style: 101. I love Fords, Chevys, and Dodges, but give me an unusual make anytime. The 2R pickups from Studebaker were made from 1949 to 1953 and they replaced the company’s M-series pickups.

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This was originally a California truck so the body is great on it, at least compared to what a Pennsylvania truck would probably look like after living through 63 winters. It was originally red but was repainted this dark green color in the 1980s. I prefer the green, myself. You’ll have to line up a shipper for this one if you aren’t picking it up yourself, the brakes aren’t road-worthy on it now.

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Someone put a lot of work into the full color-change paint work! I’m liking the green even more now that I see that they actually did the interior and door frames, etc. I’m normally an original-spec sort of person, but this color looks good to me, I would most likely keep it this color. I wonder what a color-sanding and good buff would do to that finish? This interior looks nice to me, and it’s nice to see a truck, or any vehicle, with a full set of actual gauges and this one has three additional gauges to the right of the steering column. I’m guessing that they’re just more accurate versions of the dash gauges. Details? You want even more details like the sweet, embossed tailgate? How about this seatbelt buckle? The floors look solid, but there’s a scary tangle of wiring that I’d want to somehow decipher.

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Here’s where the screech comes in for me! This isn’t the original, L-head, Power Plus 245 cubic-inch inline-six that should be here! Around the same time that this truck was painted green, the drivetrain was replaced with a.. gulp.. 350 Chevy and a 350-turbo automatic transmission! GAA! The three-on-the-tree column shifter that formerly rowed three manual gears is now used to shift the automatic! GAA! (again) Ok, I know that this is basically a trouble-free drivetrain and you can probably find most of the parts that you’d ever need for it at your local Bed Bath and Beyond, but dang. I’d bloodhound down an original era 245 six-cylinder and 3-speed manual transmission and put it back in there, but that’s just me. Although, I guess, until I could find one, I would still drive this cool Stude with the sinfully-modern (and functional, and probably trouble-free) drivetrain in it. What do you think of this one? Red or green? Original spec engine and manual transmission or Chevy 350 and automatic? So many choices! I would guess that this is probably a $5,000-$6,000 truck in this condition with the modified drivetrain, what would you pay for it?

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I was real excited at first then I saw that SBC. Well, the Chevy will take you everywhere you want to go and bring you back (quickly) but it will never have the class of that old flathead six. If this was to head my way the top priority would be to find the correct powerplant. Then I’d have another pet to hold up traffic with. Love the truck itself…

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I am 100% with you, Geo. 100%.

  2. Howard A Member

    Well, I’m going to have to go agin you guys this time, I like it just the way it is. While the flattie would be ok, you could drive this truck at freeway speeds, with no problem. The wiring doesn’t scare me. There’s only like 7 wires anyway. I had a ’51 Willys pickup with a SBC, and it totally transformed the truck into a driveable truck. (plus, it was fun to drive) These aren’t the most handsome Studebakers made, but I sure like it, as is.

  3. John H. in CT

    I think your number of $5-$6K is spot on. Regarding that drivetrain, the old one is gone and isn’t coming back, so consider this: If that drivetrain works, you can add on A/C, clean this up a bit more ( especially the bed) and have a cool drive for under 15 K.

    To me, the thing that makes this less attractive is that it’s a 3/4 ton, and I just don’t find the peportions to be as esthetically pleasing as the 1/2 ton.

    • AutoArcheologist

      I have a bucket list idea of dropping a 440 or 383 in a basket case Studie 2R, painting it light grey/white primer, just like the one in the ABC movie, Hot Rod, Rebel of the Road from the late 70’s. Cannonball’s truck. Corny, hardly adequate acting. but shot around Lyons speedway.. Just cool footage..cult classic for every car guy.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi AA, I have a friend that had one of these with a Cadillac motor. ( big one, not sure the size) Aside from the gawking when the hood was open, he said it really wasn’t the best swap.

  4. Paul B

    I love these, with a handsome Loewy design on a very tough truck. The long bed makes it weirder and better. 350 and automatic? Sorry, I just can’t get my head and heart around that. Now if someone had dropped in a Studebaker 259 or 289 it would be interesting. This thing is in such good shape it should be preserved and driven. Locate another 245 Six and manual gearbox and return it to its former glory.

  5. Bruce Best

    I have owned two of them and they are brutally strong, not prone to rust. They are at the same time handsome and crude compared to almost anything made since 1960. One was totally original the other was similar to this one but with the largest Buick engine ever made. That one was used for hauling slate out of the Snake River Canyon and the bed looked like ocean waves, bent but not broken.

    They both were similar colors when I got them gray primer and surface rust but really strong. As for putting a great deal of power into one of them. I would seriously think that thru. Most certainly not with the suspension that came with it or the tires for that matter. These can be very tail happy beasts and even the slowest corner should be taken with caution.

    But if you wish to attract attention this will do the trick. Parts including body parts are mostly available. I sold both of mine years ago but I loved the look then and still do.

  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    With you on price even with the SBC. My 3/4 Studie ran the small six – the 169 ci not the big 6 245ci – still loaded it up many a time and moved loads with just a three on the tree!

  7. Mike Williams

    The 2R11 is what caught my eye and has a different meaning altogether. I’ve retired from outage work but used to do them at DIABLO CANYON. Maybe it at one time it was a PG&E Fire truck. ” Unit 2 Refuel 2011″

  8. Scot Douglas

    I do believe this is the first Chevy swap I’ve seen where they left they air pump intact.

  9. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Great rig! And maybe a great buy. Does anyone know if the seatbelts would have been stock in 1952? A nice detail.

  10. Dave M

    I have a 1957 Stude truck that did not come factory with seat belts. I dought it was standard then. Great trucks and better than any other on the road then. Mine is my daily driver.!! With the drivetrain upgrade this one should be one too. Many parts available for this truck and many people out there that know about them and can work on them. I rewired mine easly and I have never done it before. Simple. If I did not have mine I would be all over this one.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Thanks Dave, I did not think so. I have a 1960 Willys wagon as my daily driver, if I am not working. No seatbelts in that either. Someday. I remember as a kid, Pop would cut the seatbelts out when he bought a new car.

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