Unwanted Inheritance: 1957 Studebaker Provincial Wagon

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The seller explains in the ad for this car that they have recently inherited it but know nothing about it. Interestingly enough, the wagon wears 1963 Washington license plates, which with the 31,545 miles on the odometer have me wondering if the car has really been off the road that entire time! It’s located in Colville, Washington and is up for sale here on eBay, where the buy-it-now is $4,995 but the bidding begins at $2,000.

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As the car is shown outside in some of the pictures, I’m guessing it’s been stored that way for at least some period of time, but it has surprisingly little rust. I’m hoping that the first picture is how it was stored for most of the time. I like the two-tone color scheme and the neat “tailgate shelf” as well.

$_57

You can see from this page from the 1957 wagon brochure that Studebaker was pushing the power and economy of their V8, as well as steering and a limited slip differential as well as the attractive lines of the body.  If you want to see what a restored car could look like, check out this one that was sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2015 for $26,400. I’m guessing that didn’t cover the cost of the professional restoration the car received.

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This is as close as we get to looking under the hood, so it’s pretty hard to judge condition. There are some marks from a possible respray at some point, which would lend credence to the car being on the road longer than 1963. Based on the bent grille, it contacted something during that time on the road as well!

collage

Unfortunately, I have a harder time believing the low mileage when I look at the interior. I would expect the fabric to be in better shape if it really had only covered less than 32,000 miles. Looking at the pictures of this nice driver in the same color scheme that sold on eBay for $13,800 in 2015, I think you’re going to have a difficult time making this wagon look that nice for the difference in price, especially if you contract the work. However, if you would like a slightly weathered driver for not a lot of money, find out why the engine will start but not keep running (betting the fuel system needs cleaning out), fix the brakes, throw an inexpensive set of seat covers on and go driving! I think that’s what I’d do–how about you?

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Comments

  1. George

    I’m with you. Get it road worthy, some seat covers, and cruise. If only on the road for 6 or 7 years, 32K is extremely low mileage. The upholstery is cloth, so that can deteriorate without being used. However the rear plate looks old and abused, while the front plate looks in very good shape. I also love the shelf in the rear. I think I recall reading somewhere that most of the body was a holdover from the previous model, but since big fins were in, that part of a new look was added. I love the dash!

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I agree the seats could deteriorate just from UV damage.

      The dash IS great!

  2. erikj

    Yes ,fix the brakes,fuel system and any other things that would make it unsafe and drive it. Cool car.

  3. George

    The asking price when they bought it was $1,000. It’s visible in one of the pictures. So did they actually inherit it, or buy from an estate? Or is that what the previous owner paid? When did they buy it?

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Many of those photos are actually scanned photographs including the one with the price.

      They look aged and really how many use film any more any way. It would make sense that the photos were taken by the relative when they made the purchase back in the day.

      Sadly this was a project that obviously languished. Or the relative had been trying to sell it for a long time LOL.

      Regardless the most likely way for the current seller to have the photos is if it was owned by a dead relative.

      Edit – something tells me half of you still use film so I expect to hear about that comment.

      • George

        I’m sure some of us still use stone tablets…

      • Moparmann Member

        “I got a Ni-kon camera, I love to take the photographs, so Ma-ma don’t take my Kodachrome a-way!” (Paul Simon – Kodachrome) LOL! :-)

  4. Rick

    Those are Stevens County plates (WAA), of which Colville is the county seat. The fact that is has two stickers means is was still being licensed in 1981, when Wash went to two stickers (year & month of expiration). ’63 series plates were still used at least as late as 1986.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks, Rick, that helps a lot!

  5. Pat Housel

    Grew up in the rear facing 3rd row seat of one of these, ours was yellow. Dad traded it in on our first IH Travelall.

    • Bill McCoskey

      An interesting comment on the 3 seat Studebaker [& Packard Clipper] wagons for ’57 & ’58; The underfloor area now taken up by the 3rd row seat when folded [or passenger feet when unfolded] was where the spare tire was located on the 2 row wagons. There was no other place to put a spare tire, so these cars were sold without a spare tire! But not to worry, S-P installed special Goodyear “run flat” tires with an inner air chamber. [ https://www.google.com/patents/US3025902 ]

  6. Mike

    Nice something that is as old as I am!!!
    Neat looking car, I also like the back porch, I am guessing it was that way to make it easier to get stuff into a luggage rack that might have been on it at one time and the ad picture shows.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Nope, the shelf was there to fill in the space between the back of the body, the bumper and the fins. I used to have a 57 Pelham, basically the 2 door Champion version of this car. Of all the cars in my past that’s the one I’d most like back.

  7. Howard A Member

    I enjoy the author(s) enthusiasm for alleged “low mileage” cars, but come on. Time after time we see these types of cars that clearly don’t have low mileage, but hey, it’s mostly a free country. This is a cool wagon, although, the “cyclops” speedo would take a little getting used to. The creators of “Futurama” gave “Leela” a sexy image of a cyclops, but they used to scare the heck out of me as a kid. IDK, these were so rare, I’d be tempted to really redo this car. It has such neat styling. Be the only one at a show or cruise-in, for sure. I like it.

    • Ed P

      The late 50’s and the early 60’s seems to have spawned a lot of weird features on cars. The cyclops speedo is only one of them.

      • Jeff DeWitt

        True, but how many 50’s cars had digital speedometers like Studebaker had? Stude really was ahead of its time!

  8. Stang1968

    I think the ’63 series were still good up until Washington began to issue the multicolor plates and replace the green and white plates. That was around the time of the Centenial – 1988 or 89 when those plates first came out.
    I remember quite a few ’63 plates in Spokane in the 80’s still.

  9. Jeff DeWitt

    Looking at the picture of the tailgate reminds me, one of the neat features is that licence plate mount. If you look at it in the picture it’s pretty big and gaudy, but it not only contains the licence plate light (and as I recall that emblem lights up at night) when you open the tailgate the plate and fixture swivel so when the tail gate is all the way down the plate and bracket swing down and hang down over the bumper so the plate is still exposed and illuminated.

    • Wayne Castor Member

      The speedo really wasn’t digital. It was a drum about an inch and a half in diameter that spun by rotating magnets. Exactly like a magnetic speedo that everyone used, except of spinning an indicator, it spun a drum with numbers on it that was magnified by the glass in the front of the gauge.

      • Jeff DeWitt

        Sure it is, it’s a digital display, you see digits instead of a pointer on an analog gauge. It’s not an electronic digital display, but it’s still digital.

        And yes, I realize the mechanism is totally conventional, and I admit to being a bit tongue in cheek.

        FYI: I had a 57 Pelham with one of these speedos.

  10. Jim

    I learned to drive on my folks’ ’57 Provincial, 289 2bbl, 3 speed with overdrive. All standard shift Studebakers had hill-holder as well. If my memory serves, my dad recorded about 20 mpg on a trip to Florida. The speedo is an interesting design, 0-30 or so in green, 35-60 or so in amber, above that the numbers were red. It was like looking at a color TV screen! Ours was gold and white, I’m wondering if all the Provincials were two tone? The scuff plates on the door sills were embossed with Studebaker’s slogan, “Craftsmanship with a Flair.”

  11. MeToo

    There are many a good looking station wagon made back in the day, but this model isn’t one of them. Butt ugly.

  12. charlie Member

    And the hill holder, was on my father’s ’38 Studebaker Commander 8, and his ’50 Studebaker Champion, so that, as my mother observed, we would be stuck unable to back out of the way, when the car in front of us slipped back trying to accelerate from a stop on an up hill grade. Now, that most cars are automatics, that would not be an issue.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      When you let up on the clutch the hill holder would release the brakes and you could back up or move forward.

  13. charlie Member

    ah, nobody ever told my mother, and I was just a kid.

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