Live Auctions

BF Exclusive: 1963 Studebaker 8E40E Transtar


Now this is one cool old truck! In my opinion, Studebaker built some of the best looking trucks around, especially in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Their Transtar series of trucks ranged in size from a light 1/2 ton all the way up to a heavy duty 2 ton. Reader Dan M bought this rig with big plans for the cab, but then decided it was too rare to chop up. It’s a special model, the 8E40E, which was built for the Marine Corps and is believed to be one of only 35 built! Dan is asking just $3,000 for this heavy rig. It’s currently located in Carnation, Washington and you can reach Dan via email here.


From Dan – Up for sale is a 1963 Studebaker Transtar truck, model 8E40E made for the Marine Corp.  I found this locally earlier this year and went and checked it out and had to have it.  I was considering using just the cab but the truck is rare (supposedly 1 of 35 built) so I decided not to.


It is a super cool truck but has been sitting for a long time and needs lots of love that I unfortunately do not have time for right now so I must let this go with regret.  From what I observed it is missing the following: driver’s side door latch, carburetor/air cleaner and the DS exhaust manifold is broken.


I have not tried to turn it over and the rear brakes are locked up on it most likely because there is no air to release the actuators.  The front wheels roll however.


It has rust in the lower doors and DS floor/step.  I am happy to answer whatever questions you may have and provide additional pictures if need be.  Thanks for looking!


This truck is going to need quite a bit of work, but it sure is a cool rig. From everything I can find, there really were only 35 built for the Marines, so it is a rare truck to boot. Special thinks to Dan for giving us the opportunity to find a home for this truck! If you happen to have something sitting in your barn that needs a new home and you’d like to see it featured here on BarnFinds, we’d sure love to hear from you.


  1. Howard A Member

    Yeah, this will make any vintage truck enthusiast smile. The Transtar was a cool truck, although, it really was just an old post war style cab and fenders with a fiberglass grill. This was the largest truck Studebaker made, and the Transtar was used as a semi tractor until late ’63, so this could very well be one of the last Transtars.
    Again, what to do with it? It’s in exceptional shape, so I wouldn’t deviate too much in appearance, but probably best to update it. And I don’t think this truck has dual action air brakes, ( air needed to release) and the shoes are probably stuck to the drums. Lot of work, working on big trucks, ain’t no “HotShot” for sure, but if you have the room, this is a “must have”.

    • Dave Wright

      Spring locking brakes are called “Maxis”……..(and I didn’t even have to look it up) I am 90% sure this truck will have them by now. They have been required by law for 5 decades and are a simple upgrade. All is needed is a simple tool to release them or just back them off with the slack adjuster. It would be interesting to know if it has front brakes…….may or may not by the year it was built and a more difficult upgrade. What engine is that? It doesn’t look like a Stude to me but I am not sure. Fun old truck, would make a great candidate for a Duramax, Allison and correct rear end swap.

      • Howard A Member

        Mornin’ Dave, I read ( looked up, actually) the maxi-brake or spring brake was developed in 1956, but I don’t know if they were required in ’63. I have driven several 60’s trucks with air brakes, that did not have a spring brakes.( just the “band” style emergency brake, and yes, I have seen them burning) I’ve “caged” many a spring brake in my time, and always had one of these in my tool box. I think the motor is a Studebaker 259.

      • Dave Wright

        This is one of the instances that upgrade was mandatory, dictated by the DOT. They were given a grace period but after that had to be changed on the rear axles. There was no mandatory upgrade to add front brakes and even when trucks came with them, many old timers would disable them. They were afraid the front wheels would lock up making the driver loose control. I think upgrade from the older vacuume brakes was also mandated……they were really scary here in the west.

      • Howard A Member

        I agree on updating the brakes.( and the widow maker wheels, since we’re talking safety) Regarding front brakes, if they are on the steer axle, they must work, unless, if totally removed, was that way from the factory. My ’72 Pete did not have front brakes, never did from the factory.
        ( fact is, I had a “frank” discussion with a green Wis. DOT officer, who insisted on writing me a ticket, until I asked him to look it up and he let me go) There was an element of truth behind that logic, that in the event of a skid, it was much better to have the front wheels turning.( although, a skid in a semi, you’re pretty much screwed anyway) Modern anti-lock braking systems have eliminated that. I’m not even going to start on the scary rides I’ve had in trucks with vacuum brakes.

      • Mark S

        Please allow me to chime as I have put in some time as a mechanic repairing air brakes the maxi that Dave discribed is a spring apply air release system design to apply the brakes on the back wheels only in the event of an air loss. Then there is the service brake which is an air apply spring release which may or may not be on a truck of this vintage. The service brake is what you drive on hear in Alberta Canada it is mandatory that the cage bolt be attached to each air brake pot. So I’m with Dave on this one Howard there should no reason that the brakes could not released to move the truck around.

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, Mark.

    • Charlie Aiken

      hi is the truck for sale?

      tnx Charlie

      • Charlie Aiken

        Also, does anyone know what kind of lettering or logos they put on that US Marine truck back then….

  2. Vince Habel

    I would make a car carrier out of it. I have seen it done and it is cool.

  3. Greg

    On the rear drums if there is a bolt proably with a spring around it you can cage the rear brakes so they will unlock..that is as long as not frozen

  4. Fred W.

    Like Vince said…

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Fred, that’s what I’m talking about!

      • Jeffro

        I agree with Vince, Fred, and Howard.

    • Vince Habel

      Fred yours is the one I was talking about

  5. Blackta1

    I respect your right to claim that “Studebaker built some of the best looking trucks”, however, I am disregarding your reality and replacing it with my own. Good day sir.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Blacta, what do you consider the “best looking trucks”? I’ll admit, this Studebaker’s styling was a bit dated, but styling was always on the front burner for Studebaker, all the way back to the “Coupe Express”.

      • Blackta1

        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, one of my rides is a 2014 FJ Cruiser, I get a fair amount of “ugly” comments about it and it makes me smile. Although this truck doesn’t do it for me I do understand why others like it. My personal favorites from this era are the 1953-56 Ford’s and the 1955-57 Chevy’s.

      • Dave Wright

        This is a truck…… about A 351 Peterbilt or a Western Star or Autocar? Butterfly hoods as long as some cars……designs that are still hot today.

      • Dave Wright

        or a Mack LT…….that was a truck……

      • Howard A Member

        Dave, we could BS for hours about trucks, I see, but back to the Studebaker. They made a Transtar road tractor without the fiberglass nose. In the days of length laws, that couple inches meant a little longer trailer. Mack had the “contour cab” B model. Unbelievable.

      • Dave Wright

        I used to own a class 8 Dodge that looked like that…..was it a big horn? There was a name for the model…..I also had a big Dodge with that cab and a butterfly hood, 250 Cummings that was tilted for clearance.

      • Howard A Member

        That would have been the Dodge CNT 9500, aka, Big Horn. Quite rare. 261 Big Horns were made between ’73 and ’75. Half of which remain today. Not sure about the “butterfly ” hood, but Dodge did make a short nose conventional where the fenders swung out.

      • Howard A Member

        Hey Dave, ever drive a truck with one of these? I did. 1963 IH R-190. ( and no spring brakes)

      • Dave Wright

        Sure, a visual low air alarm. My first semi was a 1956 Cook Brothers (Reo) my second was a 1960 IHC 190 tandem axle conventional with a 549 V8 . I bought the IHC from the USAF and had to install spring brake pots after being written up in a inspection. That old truck would jar your kidneys and if you hit a RR track too fast it would bang your head into the top of the cab. We used it for many years towing semi trailers loaded with alfalfa out of fields to meet the highway tractors for delivery.

      • Vince Habel

        Would love to have a Coupe Express

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I was at a show-n-shine a few months ago and a guy showed up with a full sized Stude with diesel powerplant. I wanted to chat with the guy but he dropped out of sight. I might add that he surfaced when I posted a photo on FB. I sure hope this goes through; I’ve had a devil of a time posting photos here lately….

  6. Royal Ricci

    Would make a great flatbed tow truck or car hauler for sure.

  7. Rustytech Member

    Alright guys your making me want to go back to driving trucks, “real trucks”. Today’s trucks are more like condo’s on wheels. Love the pictures! I too would make this a car hauler.

    • M/K

      there ain’t many real “old skool” gear jammers left my friend and i for one would be very afraid to see a modern driver(notice i didn’t say truck driver?) in a old truck.

  8. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Stude motor in there – most likely a 289 since it’s a big truck….they did offer a diesel these years – which the Armed Forces bought as well………cool truck and good price there.

  9. Bruce Best

    I have owned a couple of Stude’s but the smaller versions and a little older. I know that the Russian got almost all the Sutude’s built during the war and after they just took a few of them apart and reverse engineered them and kept making them with slightly modified cabs and much bigger heaters and other changes to cope with the cold.

    If you are used to working with regular sheet metal on cars from the 70’s on this will come as a big surprise. Not quiet the thickness of plate steel they used to make destroyer hulls but close. Figure about 4 times the time to beat out any dents an making a patch panel is a royal pain.

    I loved both of mine. both were the same colors Gray Primer and Rust but absolutely nobody wanted to get near them for they had that ” I WILL CRUSH YOU” look about them. The one that had a chunk of Rail Road Track for Front and rear bumpers that reaction was real easy to understand.

    The big shocker will be the dash panel, Really crude markings on the instruments and zero thought about crash safety so make certain you have good seat belts that will hold you secure.

    Save it and keep it as stock as possible. If you have a business I would suggest a period piece artwork on the side. The advertising effect will pay for the restoration because they are so different that nobody misses them.

    Good luck.

  10. Guggie 13

    A guy I knew years ago had a Big Studebaker tow truck ,I know it had air brakes , know nothing of the engine it was gas , just know it was Big Slow and Powerful , He would tow broken down or stuck tractor trailers , with the trailers hooked up !!

  11. Ron

    I would love to have this to tow my horse trailers. The engine (out of the factory that is) for this would have been a HD 289. In fact, I checked up on this group and they all came with that engine. It would be kinda fun to put a cab-over camper on this with a short-bed behind. One of those fleet-side beds from a smaller truck with the step-side-type fenders to accommodate the duals. Or just leave the flat-bed alone and put the camper on that with a hide-away gooseneck hitch behind.

    Hmmm… if I got this though, I’d have to reinstate my commercial license… Don’t know if I want to do that.

  12. Barry Burgess

    is this Studebaker truck still for sale?

  13. Michael Galey

    There’s one I’m looking at on Facebook Market. It has “bud” wheels and a flatbed. No model description available in Ozark AL.

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