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California Dreamboat: 1955 Studebaker President

By 1955, Studebaker was making full use of the 1953 redesign of their coupe models, and most of the clean lines were still there. This President carried some accent trim, and I find that it actually improves the basic beautiful shape for my eyes. This dreamboat is listed for sale here on eBay and early bidding has climbed to just over $3,500, but of course the reserve isn’t met at that figure. It’s located in Encinitas, California.


Isn’t that gorgeous! The auction listing speaks of this being a two-owner car (including the current seller) and that they purchased it from an estate–and drove it home from the auction after replacing the fuel pump! The car has lived its entire life in California up to this point, and while it’s not the top of the line Speedster trim, this model is nicely equipped.


It doesn’t hurt that there’s some nice photography in this ad as well. What beautiful curves and a pretty setting! It even has the magic black plate for you licence tag aficionados. (Question to our black plate experts — was there only a single plate in the rear at this time? I’m curious because I have two black plate cars, and both only came with one plate). One word of warning–the soft photography disguises the state of the front chrome a bit unless you look closely at this shot. I’m sure it’s not intentional and the seller does a nice job of showing it in the closeups; just want to make sure you are aware it’s not perfect!


I’ll be the first one to tell you, that red, black and white interior was a little jarring given the gentle yellow color. I’m still not sure I like it, but I’ve gotten over it…I think I could live with looking over that beautiful yellow hood.


The engine compartment looks nice, and the seller tells us that the President runs well, shifts smoothly, and drives well. I love the Frantz oil cleaner kit, which is one of the ones that uses a toilet paper roll as the filter media. Frantz is still around, selling the same basic 1953 design, so it can’t be all bad! Want to drive a President?


  1. terry

    Timeless design. Stunning.

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  2. DENIS

    I preferred the earlier ones, a bit less garish, but this is a beauty…had one before and a pro-touring project is on my bucket list

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  3. Fred W.

    I also prefer the ’53 and ’54 (once had a ’53 two door HT as a teenager) but wouldn’t kick this ’55 out of the garage. In fact, if I didn’t have a ’66 Tbird in there, I’d be bidding and checking on shippers.

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  4. Rustytech Rustytech Member

    This is a gorgeous car. Never owned one, but would like to. Looks like there may be some bonds in the lower rocker panels. Seat covers are not originals, and I’m not sure about the red accents on the door panel with this yellow car, that can all be changed though. All in all I love it.

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  5. Vince Habel

    I had a 53 and a 54.Like them much better. None of the interior is stock except the dash. 55 was the first year they really tried to color key the interior and exterior.

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  6. Philip Strauss

    As for the black plate that’s currently on the back of the car, they did not come out until 1963 and yes, California required front and rear plates. I have a 1965 Mustang that was sold new at the Ford dealer in Hermosa Beach, CA and it has plates that were issued before the ones on this car so either they replaced the plates in the 60’s or they purchased these and had them reissued which is becoming more common practice as flippers get hold of these older cars and try and make them appear that the were always in California.

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  7. Rustytech Rustytech Member

    Boy that sounds underhanded. Is it even legal? I guess you could verify where a vehicle originated with a little research.

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  8. charlie Member

    The ’53’s had more flex in the body than was acceptable, and Studebaker stiffened it up by ’55, so this would be a better driver than a ’53. If I didn’t have one car already, I would look into this. And try to find a Paxton supercharger to put on it so it would accelerate with modern traffic. And a dual master cylinder for the brakes, and radial tires, and drive, drive, drive. The Speedsters with the Paxton are going for $25,000 or more, this is a bargain assuming it is solid underneath and not too much bondo on the surface.

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    • Vince Habel

      55 did not have a supercharger. STU-V offered a aftermarket set up. This will keep up with traffic as is.

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      • Dave Wright

        Yes off course………but many were dealer installed when the cars were new by the Los Angeles dealer and…………that led to the factory installed Paxton’s on the Golden Hawks.

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  9. curt

    Always two plates, some take them off for cosmetics, some get lost while the car is sporting SF Giants plates, some get backed into and trashed in parallel parking, etc. etc.

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  10. Chuck Simons

    Before the Black plates, they were yellow. Yes, two.

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  11. Tony L

    Needs a little work on the chrome up front, but it would look nice parked in the garage next to my President.

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  12. Steve

    I’ve always liked many Studebaker models…my favorite being the ’64 GT Hawk. The Presidents have a very cool style about them except for the nose which to me appears like a catfish sticking it’s tongue out. The uniqueness may appeal to some however that “appendage” kills it for me.

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  13. starsailing

    I would love to buy a little Stude like this in this condition. Rocker panel at door looks bad/fit/bondo? Add the wide whites, paint over the overspray in wheel wells….start cruising! Find speed equip somewhere, add to it!

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  14. Doug

    One thing to watch out for with the toilet paper oil filters- like everything else, they don’t make toilet paper like they used to ! Many modern papers would end up putting fibers in your oil – NOT a good thing !

    It might be kinda cool to add on a later Studie spin-on filter, and use the TP filter as a cover, just for looks.

    Like 0

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