Aye, Aye, Commander! 1955 Studebaker Restovivor

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What a pretty car! All four-door haters check out now, ’cause this car is unabashedly a family sedan and I’m guessing that’s what’s making it relatively affordable considering its condition. This one is somewhere between a survivor and a restoration–let’s call it a “restovivor.” Up for sale here on eBay, this Commander is located in Huntley, Illinois and is listed with an opening bid of $9,995 and a buy it now price of $10,995.

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The seller states that the car has been repainted once–the finish sure looks nice in the pictures, but some closeups would be appreciated. The seller also discusses chrome being replated, and I’m guessing that means both bumpers considering the shine! I end up wondering what it looked like before the repaint, but if it looks as good up close as it does in the pictures, it at least appears that the work was done well.

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In 1955, the Commander was the mid-level Studebaker car as the President was the top of the line model. Basically, it looks like they added chrome and trim as you moved up the model chain.

StudebakerAdMay1955

image courtesy studebakerguide.com

Here’s how Studebaker advertised the Commanders in 1955. Personally, compared to many other early 50’s cars, I can see how it won the “International Style Awards.” Studebaker was among the first post-war manufacturers to champion fuel economy, and obviously competed on price with the “big three.” One other interesting note here is the contrast in the visual length and height with the picture above the ad. It’s obvious the artist took some artistic license with the proportions of the Commander to make it look lower and sleeker than it actually was!

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I love the period “necker knob” and the pretty interior, although I didn’t find any original interior upholstery that looked exactly like this during an online search. I’m sure it’s been re-done, and I think we could call it period in appearance, even if it isn’t an exact duplicate of stock.

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The truck is neat and clean as well, although I’m wondering if this tan color on the metal is the original hue for the car. I always like to see a fifth tire purchased when new tires are bought, so the owner gets a check on the right side of the scale from me for doing that.

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Underhood could certainly stand some detailing, and I’m guessing that unusual circuit connection strip on the fan shroud wasn’t there when it left South Bend.  Perhaps it’s for an electric fan? The seller has also installed a new fuel pump and a new old stock Stromberg carburetor. A tuneup has just been completed and a new battery has been fitted, along with a partial replacement of the exhaust. The seller also tells us that it runs and drives “exceptionally well.” I’m thinking all it needs is one of you to do that driving!

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    The “power strip” is factory. Studebaker ingeniously milked both the 2 and 4 door bodies for the next 10 years because they couldn’t afford new coachwork. The 2 door versions didn’t need help from an artist to look long and low.

  2. Fred W.

    ….long and low.

    Like 1
    • Richard Holmes

      Not a Speedster, but close enough–love it.

  3. Mike O'Handley

    Nice coupe!

  4. Texas Tea

    Nice car. I like it. Looks a little or a lot like some fish, but I can’t put my finger on it.

  5. Vince Habel

    The trunk color is correct. It was that color on all of the of the cars. It is actually a shade of gray. Has the wrong wheel covers.

  6. Rich

    This is why I like restomods or restovivors as you called this example. You don’t have to worry about being period correct, can make the car your own and drive it without any worries. I’ve had period correct cars in the past and it was honestly just difficult to enjoy driving them.

  7. geezerglide85

    That is one nice looking car. I’ve always been a fan of these. Hard to believe Studebaker bolted on tailfins and big ugly grills for the ’57 and ’58 models.

    Like 1
  8. Ed P

    Studes were good looking cars in this period. The tailfins of 57-58 were not a plus. Studebaker’s financial distress probably killed a lot of sales for fear of this becoming an orphan make.

  9. Charles

    Four door or not, I like this car.

    Like 1
  10. alabee

    Spare is 80’s thin whitewall. it doesn’t match the tires on the car.

  11. charlie Member

    My father had a ’50 Champion, the bottom line, and it did not have an oil filter. So at just 40,000 miles the engine was toast. Engine was replaced in ’54 and block did not have a hole for the oil dipstick (or a dipstick) but my 2014 Audi does not have one either (it does have an electronic read, as did my l939 MG!). So another week in the shop for a different block. In ’56 he was shopping for a car and I dreaded him buying a ’56 Studebaker 4 door, which was to my teenaged mind, ugly (although the hardtop was really cool). But he bought a Chevy, Powerglide 6, but it was reliable, went close to 200,000 miles in 14 years before the tin worm killed it.

  12. Charles

    It’s funny how our perceptions change over time. My family drove mostly Pontiac’s back in the day, and as a kid I would have been embarrassed if Dad had bought a Studebaker or a Rambler for that matter. These days, I although I still love old Pontiac’s and own two Trans AM cars, I would be proud to own an example of either brand. The part I can’t explain is that two or four doors makes no difference when it comes to these cars. Even wagons. These old cars are very cool!

    • GOPAR

      I agree with Charles on the 2-door/4-door comment. I’m not usually a big fan of 4-door cars, but this one looks great! I own a ’51 Champion Starlight Coupe, but I also like the ’48-’52 4-door Studes because of the suicide back doors which compliment that body style.

  13. Jim Marshall

    MY Dad bought one of these Lowery coupes when they first came out. I thought it was the coolest car he ever purchased and he got a new car every year. The next year he got a Desoto so I guess the sports car purchase didn’t work out to well.

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