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Built Tonka Tough: 1953 Studebaker Pickup

53 baker truck 1

How cool is this ’53 Studebaker pickup? Whoever built this certainly had vision. We love when something vintage becomes modernized, and is a capable driver. No longer sporting a Studebaker engine, this truck has something much more powerful. Appearing clean and ready to roll, this Studebaker is priced at $20,000. Find it here on craigslist out of Morgantown, Indiana.

53 baker truck 2

Simple and clean, this trucks interior looks ready for everyday use. It is not apparent what steering column they used, but perhaps a slightly more vintage, or interesting steering wheel could be fitted to this truck. The tunnel looks clean and nicely executed although whoever rides in the middle may have their knees rather high.

53 baker truck 4

Having a tough and big appearance, this truck is simply awesome. The wheel combination is outrageous, but fantastic at the same time. The body looks really very nice, appearing straight and flawless. The only real apparent flaw is a broken passenger side door glass and vent window. The large rear wheels are nestled nicely in the rear fenders. Thrust is produced by a DT360 engine pulled from an International. It is not clear as to what engine this is exactly, as output varied for this particular model. The DT360 is backed up by a GM 4180e and a 4700 International rear end. Robust and strong, this truck surely is an interesting drive.

53 baker truck 3

This truck is ready for daily duty no matter what you may throw at it. It certainly will not get the best gas mileage, and may not be the most useful truck, but it will certainly bring smiles to many faces. This would certainly be a sight anywhere you saw it, so certainly it would be welcomed and enjoyed at any car event. Who wants this cool real life Tonka dream truck? Would you change anything about this truck? Tell us what you would do with this Studebaker pickup.


  1. redwagon

    if it aint yellow it aint a tonka.

    just sayin

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  2. Glen

    The more I look at it , the more I like it.

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  3. Tom Member

    No photos of the engine compartment, why not? Love it, looks super cool. Just something not right. not sure I trust the body and mechanicals when the interior and glass looks as it does. just not adding up for me. how do you seemingly put all this into the body, drivetrain, wheels and suspension and stop?? ……do the interior and glass and, if the under hood and undercarriage look great……should be big bucks. ?? Again, super cool and super unique. Something just not right.

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  4. JW

    I think it’s awesome in black, kind of sinister looking, one might cringe when looking in their rearview mirror and see this truck rolling up behind them.

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  5. JW454

    To those of you who still like it, GREAT! I’m just over the semi-flat black monochrome paint jobs. It’s been done so much it doesn’t look good to me anymore. If you like it, stick with it. I get stuck on things too. I still like the chrome 5 spoke SS Cragars from the seventies but, on this one, I’d be calling my painter to see what colors he has laying around.

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  6. Dave Wright

    I have several IHC’s with DT360 engines. I don’t think it will fit in that engine compartment. I could be wrong, I bet it is a VT360……….that would fit, The transmission choice is also curious to me. A DT360 would have an Allison automatic. Not sure how to even start hooking it up to a 4180 and the VT 360 is a pretty high torque engine with a narrow power band…………..even GM went to the Allison when equipping vehicles with the Duramax……….

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  7. sir mike

    From the back it looks like a fat women in a tight dress….just saying……I just don’t like the look with those wheels…sorry

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    Bad ASS The builder has done a fantastic job. This just emits cool. The Studebaker is one of the best looking of all the 50’s trucks. The monochrome black if done correctly (not to be confused with flat black or primer) may have been done before but will bead the water like no ones business. Looks very right on this rig. Haven’t read the ad but my guess by that single exhaust stack she is Diesel powered and a big plus if Cummins is shaking it.


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  9. Dolphin Member

    Wow! Normally I don’t get too excited about modded pickups, since I prefer diesel pickups with big Cummins torque just the way they are, but this one does look very cool.

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  10. Howard A Member

    Ok fellow BFer’s, get your “thumbs down” ready. This is plumb ridiculous. I’m sorry, I LOVED sir mikes response, ” Fat woman in stretch pants”.( when I see those motorcycles with the big fat tire on the back, I think the same thing) I know, this is where it’s going, but the 2R series was such a nice design,( not that the M wasn’t) and this still kind of reflects that, but this has truly become a work of rolling art, and function is thrown out the window. I know I’m in the minority here ( quite possibly in life) but I liked the stock 2R pickup for what it was, lean, trim and efficient ( just not too fast). To the new owner, enjoy, but I feel you are missing the whole point of owning a 1953 Studebaker pickup. Let the big red thumbs begin.

    Like 0
    • Dolphin Member

      Howard, you want thumbs downs??

      You should be me. I say I like something and I get 3X the downs as ups.

      Disagreement? Bad attitude? Who knows?, since nobody ever explains.

      As for my own attitude, I got too much to do that I like, so got to go.

      Like 0
  11. grant

    I like it from certain angles but the rear end is a bit much. Obviously a lot of time and effort went into it, but surely I’m not the only one who noticed that this is a quicky rattle can job? It looks ok until the doors get opened and I have to wonder why go so cheap on the paint after all the work that was just done.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi grant, looks like they didn’t have a bottomless pit of money, after all.

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      • grant

        Ok, fair enough and they don’t seem to have done too bad a rattle can job, but they could’ve done the jambs.

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    • Kevin

      Agreed, along with the windows, and the dry rotted rubber seals.

      Like 0
  12. HeadMaster1

    From the side view I think that rear end installed and those wheels look ridiculous. The fronts looks good, centered in the wheel opening and all, but the rears look as if the truck was missing a rear end and the only thing they could find was this monster rear and they just stuck it under there and say, good enough :-(

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  13. Denny

    I think a flat bed would have looked better.

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  14. AMCFAN

    Don’t feel bad Dolphin, Lots of haters on me too who are seemingly the “experts” here. Obviously don’t appreciate someone who takes a junk truck and a careful mix of parts to create a whimsical ride that turns heads more then it ever would have as a rusted hulk.

    Like it or not Rat Rods have done more to help the hobby then Japanese replacement restoration parts…..and saved many hopeless parts cars as well

    To each their own

    Like 0
    • linne1100

      I`ll take an old beat up rat-rod ANY day, AMCFAN !!

      Like 1
  15. John H. in CT

    I will describe the reason I dislike this build in one word: proportion; or to be more specific: lacking proportion.

    I consider this rendering to be an exageration not dissimilar to the current massive disproportional grills on many of today’s cars and trucks. In ten years these will look as awkward as many of the 1980’s cars look to us today. Just my 2c.

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  16. stillrunners

    Stop the madness ! Okay to each his own I guess….funny – for $20,000 you get the original seat which must feel good with all of that.

    It’s not for this stock multi Studebaker truck owner at any price or free but it’s not bad if it will make you happy.

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  17. John P

    Ridiculous proportions.. Ugly execution.. Poor details in the layout of the build.. Looks like an old truck inside–not sure what the builder was aiming for..in short–he apparently didn’t build it based on other people’s likings–however he sure wants a large chunk of other people’s money..

    Like 0
    • moosie Craig

      I think most cars/trucks are built to their OWNERS liking. After all, who’s money is being used ? I like this truck but the choice of that rear end leaves me wondering.

      Like 1
  18. AMCFAN

    It isn’t hard to understand maybe it I am the only one besides the builder and a few others on here who gets it. But then again I think most classic rock sucks. I lived in that time when it was new. I don’t want to go back to the 70’s or 80’s. I live today and desire what is today.

    It shouldn’t be s secret that guys are taking Class Eight truck rims and along with smaller tires and adapters and adding them to their diesel pickups today for those that still get out. It is a visual play. A diesel pickup that has actual Semi wheels. Cool. There are two kinds of kids today. Diesel pickups and Tuners. My kid is into the latter but both types make frequent visits.

    What this guy did was to push the envelop here to create an outrageous interpretation of a whimsical looking diesel powered Studebaker truck.

    Much like when you go to the fair and there is that person doing cartoon caricatures of you with and if you already have a big nose or ears and takes them and makes them two sizes bigger. It is all in fun but I guess no one can laugh at themselves.

    The proportions are most likely due to the size of the third member in relation to the tail shaft on the transmission.

    I still like it and no doubt the person has talent and at the asking price doubt he isn’t getting paid a fraction of his time. If it was done from a famous builder and featured on TV it would feel the love it deserves. Hate it if you must but still good to see another Studebaker BACK on the road and in this case rolling the black coal!

    Like 0

    I guess none of you haters watch “Vegas Rat Rods” on Velocity. This thing is mild compared to Steves creations and looks unfinished. The builder has left it so the next can finish it to they’re liking. I don’t know if 20k is in order to buy it but it’s really cool.

    Like 0
  20. Ray Hanniman

    Let the builder be. He is exercising his creativity. Each build will be better than the last unless he gets discouraged. Build people up, don’t break them down and please …..be nice.

    Like 0

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