Awesome Patina! 1946 Studebaker M15 Truck

When I was younger, I was exploring my Grandpa’s 80-acre homestead when I came upon an amazing find. Sinking in the dirt, covered with branches and grass growing up past the wheel wells sat a 1946 Studebaker pickup. I was shocked! This was the only home I ever knew my grandparents to live in and I never knew this old truck sat abandoned in their field. I’d like to imagine this particular truck has a similar backstory. It is also a 1946 and can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $5,500. This truck is the M-15 long-bed which is a heavy-duty version of the base truck. There should be a “VIN” tag on the A-pillar that has the model number and the serial number of the truck. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of information out there on these trucks if you have that specific data. Check out more of this great truck below and thanks to Roger for the tip on this heavy Stude.

These trucks may not be the most attractive, but they have the curvy features that make the cars and trucks of the 40s so unique. While the aftermarket is probably a bit more friendly to the “big three” brands, vintage Studebakers actually have decent support with parts. The seller doesn’t have any specifics regarding the condition of the engine. I’m guessing if it turned over or wasn’t locked up, it would have been noted. As you would expect, the interior will need some work to make it at least functional. It looks like the factory seat (springs and frame) are there although some of the springs are out of place. A new owner would probably be wise to swap in a new seat vs. the cost of repairing and re-upholstering the original.

So what do you think about this truck? The patina is pretty awesome and the heavy-duty wheels are pretty unique. This truck might be a great hot rod hauler or swap meet parts getter…Let us know what you would do with it.


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  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    You would have to install a seat belt in it just to keep from banging your head against the roof. But I would love to have a truck like this. 45-50 would be about the fastest you could go but it would be a blast. I’m not sure what this would have for an engine; I suspect it to be the 169 so it would be very short on power. I’d see if I could source out the larger engine (248?) that was in the larger trucks. Keep the Warner T-9 crashbox and enjoy. Definitely a full restoration…

    Like 15
    • Ken

      I’d restore it as well. Sadly, we’re in the minority around here.

      My dad had a ’47 M-16, red with black fenders, that he bought in Pasco, Washington (where I live now) in the late fifties for $125. Someone had shortened the frame and put a Ford pickup box on it. He used it to haul irrigation pipes on the family farm north of Royal City. He always said it was his favorite truck. “It’s got the Commander engine in it,” he said. “That’s the good one.” (It’s a 226). He said I could have it when I was sixteen, but I was more interested in muscle cars then. I should have fixed her up, I guess. It definitely would been the most unique truck at my high school – the only one with a two-speed axle.

      Like 7
  2. Maverick

    S what happened to the old truck at your grandparents.

    Like 9
    • Montana Danford Staff

      Well…I have three trucks at my house currently including two bump-side Fords plus my daily driver. My wife isn’t too keen on a fourth truck taking up space. It is owned by my Uncle and still resides on my Grandpa’s property. My Uncle just retired, so maybe I can talk him into a retirement project or maybe I will rescue it.
      The photo is how I found it.

      Like 9
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        That’s in nice shape. If I had one in that kind of shape I would be well into the resto project by now…

        Like 6
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Very cool. stick the body on a 1 ton truck frame with your choice of power. The stranger the better. Good luck!

    Like 1
    • Pete Phillips

      From the looks of those wheels, I would say that it’s already on a one-ton frame. Studebaker did make one-ton trucks.

      Like 1
    • BR

      Ha! I looks like it’s already on a REAL 1-1/2 ton truck frame.

      Like 1
  4. Del

    Man that is one tuff looking Study.

    Looks really neat.

    The body looks fairly solid too.

    Man put a Chevy small block in and repaint it. Fantastic

    Like 4
    • Poppapork

      Chevy small block in a studebaker? Seriously?

      Like 7
      • Del


        Like 1
  5. Chris M.

    Love this truck!

    Like 4
  6. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Pretty rare old truck that looks like a fairly solid example. Gaspumpchas has the right idea, mount the body on a modern chassis and drive train so you can drive it in today’s traffic. 45-50 mph won’t cut it these days; heck, I go faster than that in my driveway. Fix the rust and give it a nice two-tone paint job and you’ll really have something unique.

    Sorry, Montana, the “patina” isn’t pretty awesome.

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I guess it’s where you’re headed and how soon you need to get there. 45-50 doesn’t bother me when I’m out tooling around and enjoying the countryside, but it sure seems to bother the increasing lineup of SUV and personal luxury car jockeys. I always give a thumbs-up when I see someone out enjoying their old vehicle, but I’ve had a lot of people give me a different digit up. And that’s fine with me; I love being directly behind them at the first traffic signal…

      Like 25
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Geomechs, that single digit salute usually indicates the IQ of the individual and who they primarily think of as the only person in their sad little miserable lives (themselves)…

        Neat truck, but I’m beginning to see exactly what you, Howard and the others are saying about finding one offered at an affordable price anymore..

        Then again, the only thing that never changes is change itself so we’ll just have to remember it!

        Like 15
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        You know, Nevada, my wife and I were at a meet in Kalispell a few years back. We had the’49 Chevy and were having a good time with all the others. But we had some shopping to do while we were there. We pulled out from the fabric store and onto the street. This little rice putt-putt, complete with 2 liter engine and 4 liter exhaust shot out from the other side and got ahead of us. There were at least five kids in it, all of them giving the High-One. They were so busy ‘saluting’ us that they ran through a red light. Downright hilarious! They were getting a lot of High-Ones from the drivers they cut off. Most of those same people gave us the thumbs up…

        Like 16
      • Mountainwoodie

        SOME people are just scum. Just got flipped off the other day by an Orange Anus aficionado. I just laugh. Cretins. I need some of those 007 DB5 below the headlight machine guns!

        Like 2
  7. Arthell64 Member

    I don’t think I have ever seen one of these. Neat looking truck.

    Like 3
  8. Dairyman

    Dont mount it on a modern truck frame or throw a SBC in it. If the studebaker engine doesn’t have enough power why not put a Packard straight 6 in (I’m fairly certain that a straight 8 is too long). You know that’s not too sacrilegious cause Packard & Studebaker were swapping genes in the mid to late 50’s anyway.

    Like 10
  9. Howard A Member

    Nice find. I believe this, if it’s a 1946, would be the M15A one ton, and was a direct competitor of the Diamond T 201 from earlier. It used the horribly anemic 169 ci motor,( 80 hp in a 5,000 lb truck is a real treat) the same one that slogged through the fields of France and the T9 crashbox. We go over this every time, and I think there are still enough of us old farts, that someone will step up and restore this old gal original, but the real allure is a resto-mod and that’s what will probably happen to it.

    Like 10
  10. petemcgee

    Cool rig! These old patina trucks are still languishing around farms and fields everywhere here out in Marlboro country. Every ranch has a gulley full of them. If you can catch the owners on the right day, they can be bought ridiculously cheap. A few enterprising guys have turned this game into a business and are making a good living doing it. Very interesting to watch and see what they turn up from the comfort of my recliner. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Like 2
  11. luke arnott Member

    Beware the split rim wheels – widowmakers!

    • BR

      Hard to tell if they are the Firestone RH-5° wheels or not. They could just be the lock ring type, which are ok. Need a closer look to be sure.

  12. Charlie Gaffen

    I’d go the ‘truck restoration’ route. I’m not a patina fan but I’d still want to use it to pick up ‘stuff’. I would go with a newer engine, sourcing a correct one or something like the Packard (which I think is a great idea) is way out of my “ability wheelhouse”. I love the Studebaker and Hudson/Terraplane pickups.

    Like 2
    • Dairyman

      If you search the web you’ll find quiet a few Packard engines that are in good shape and require not much to have them running right. That Packard engine will be cheaper than a new SBC.

  13. jeff

    Great Truck – I’d leave it exactly like it is – just make it run again.
    It’s my favorite design, … and those wheels … beautiful!

    Like 3
  14. BR

    I’m just wondering if those fender cutouts are original.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I think the fenders are pretty close to original…

      Like 5
  15. Steve

    The ad says the engine is seized. I’d still try to get it going again. I’d want to keep this truck as original as possible. Restore what I have to but keep the rest as it is. That being said there is a point where you can only do so much to what’s there. If after further examination you find there’s just too much to repair a full restoration would be in order.

    Like 1
  16. Millwright Chris

    Tough old truck, and very well built in its day. Mentioning WWII, (France), most of the Studebaker 2 1/2 ton trucks went to the Lend Lease program and ended up in Russia! Too bad because they were said to have held up better than the GMC’s the USA inventoried as Standard. GMC cabs had a tendency to develop stress cracks over time while the Studebakers did not. The Russians put them to very good use and had nothing in their inventory as reliable. Studebaker did have a very capable and useful vehicle in the USA inventory however: the T24/M-29 Weasel full tracked carrier with the Champion six cyl. engine. Awesome machines! Great engineering. Nicely styled trucks.

    Like 2
  17. Grpufnstuf Member

    Wow! I have never seen the m15

    I’m loosely familiar with the m5 but have never cared for it.

    This truck looks great! The big tires and longer bed really suit it.

    I think I’d resto-mod this thing. Brick red with black fenders, original wheel center with non split hoops on them. And maybe a 4Bt?

    Like 1
  18. moosie moosie

    I can see this going down the interstate powered by a late Cummins oil burner, AOD Trans, A/C, Cruise, Killer paint, Polished Aluminum Budd/Alcoa wheels, Updated suspension & brakes, Killer sound system, whats not to like ?

    • Burger

      What’s not to like ? I’d start with the Cummins oil burner, AOD trans, A/C, Cruise, Updated suspension and brakes, but especially the killer paint and douche wheels ….

  19. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    An M-seris could have been my high school ride but couldn’t pry it away from the brothers place – his brother had bought it new – it sat maybe into the late 70’s – by then I had bought a 1-ton long bed which I still have.

    These aren’t for everybody so good luck with it.

    Like 2
  20. PatrickM

    What a great looking find! Restore for sure. Of course, that means deeper pockets than I have. Best of everything to both seller and new owner. And, what year is that Buick in the first pic? That has my attention, too. At first, I thought this was a private seller. But, it looks like a salvage yard. Since the engine is most likely not running and the amount of work needed to complete afore-said restoration, The price would have to be reduced, regardless of the rarity of this truck.

    Like 2
  21. moosie moosie

    @ Patrick M that Buick looks like a ’55.

  22. Studedude

    If it’s a 1946 M-15A-20, it should have the 170 cu. in. flathead. 4th gear will be 1 to 1 and the rear 5.83 to 1 if you’re lucky. Doing the math, that means 45 mph downhill with a 45 mph tailwind. The wheels look more like 20″. The original for that truck would have been a 17″ splits. Actually, on the Firestone rims that Studebaker used for non-dualies, the locking ring was one piece—no split. It was turned 90 degrees, levered on with the proper tools & rotated back 90 degrees to lock. We put a Studebaker 289 with Studebaker sourced NP 501 overdrive transmission and a Dana 70 HD 4.56 to 1 rear in ours and it’ll cruise 65/70 all day long. If you’re going to drive it a lot, 19.5 inch motorhome wheels with a 5 bolt Budd pattern are the way to go.

    Like 1

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