First Year V8: 1951 Studebaker Bullet Nose

This 1951 Studebaker Land Cruiser, located in Heiskell, Tennessee, is a real find; it is a first-year V8 engine version, appears to be very solid and is for sale here on eBay for a starting bid of only $700! This car is a rare find in that it is so completely intact and has not been hot-rodded or resto-modded. Admittedly, the two-door coupe is the more favored model for that type of endeavor but it is hard to deny the coolness factor of this Studebaker’s suicide four-door sedan. The owner states that at 80 years of age he has decided that he won’t get around to restoring this car so he’s offering it up for sale. I would put this one solidly in the survivor category.

Under the hood is Studebaker’s brand new for 1951, 232.6 CI V8 engine, good for 120 horsepower. It is interesting to think that while the Chevrolet small-block engine was considered the gold standard of V8 engines in the fifties and sixties, independent Studebaker beat them to market by a full four years. This V8 is backed up by a three-speed manual transmission which I think would make driving a bit more entertaining. The owner states that the engine does not run but it does turnover so at least we know it is not seized.

Moving on to the interior, it is clearly intact and complete though the heavily stained seat covers will probably require replacement. Interestingly, they don’t appear to be torn. The driver’s door card appears to have sustained water damage, probably from a leak. I really appreciate the dashboard ornamentation that was so common on cars of this era, in this case, it all appears to be complete.

From the exterior perspective, what’s not to like? The owner states that the floors and frame are as solid as the upper body though there are no images to verify the claim. Speaking of the upper body, there is no sign of rot, just some minor surface rust in places and a dent or two that will need attention. These Land Cruiser models had a lot of chrome ornamentation and in this case, it all appears to be present.

I don’t know what the reserve is on this car but with a starting bid of only $700, I bet it’s reasonable. This Studebaker is a great way to get into the old car hobby at a reasonable price point and with a truly unique and seldom scene model.


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  1. fleet butterfield

    I believe Studebaker came out with the V8 in 1950.

    • Duaney

      First model year for the V-8 was 1951

      Like 6
    • Will Fox

      Nope; `51. See fall of `50 ads for these, all touting the brand new OHV V8 engine.

      Like 1
  2. Bob C.

    In 1950 the senior Studes had the big 245 L head six, while the Champion had the smaller 170.

    Like 5
  3. Dusty Rider

    My dad’s first car was a brand new grey or light green ’47 champion 2 dr sedan, 3 speed with overdrive, not the one with the cool rear window though. He said it wouldn’t stay in alignment. I remember that it had huge (to me) armrests in the back that the lids hinged up toward the window for storage in them. I kind of remember standing in one, looking out the window. My dad got stuck in a parking lot in Rochester, NY in ’55 and ruined the motor because he didn’t let it warm up before rocking it to get unstuck. I remember that cold night too. He traded it for a used ’52 Pontiac that was a really bad car, and the only used car my father ever bought. I remember my mom stopping by the side of the road to open the door and yank off the rocker molding that was dragging on the ground. A rear door sprung open and a kid almost fell out too. My dad went out one morning and the rear window had shattered, but was still intact, now, how does that happen?

    Sorry for the rant, I’ll let myself out now.

    Like 10
    • Dickie F

      Rusty, that Pontiac sounds like the haunted Hudson my Dad and his brothers once did a road trip in during the 50s …..

      Like 2
  4. On and On On and On Member

    That’s a lot of classic car for the dough. Up to $1600. Geez……. doesn’t look rusted out, original paint? V8. Cool dashboard. You could work with what you have and be driving this puppy in no time. I just bought a car so I’m out but some smart BFer gonna score big on this. Didn’t see any reference to overdrive, does anybody know if this might have it or could add it?????

    Like 4
  5. IkeyHeyman

    Nice! There’s numerous sources for Studebaker parts and lots of support available through the Studebaker Drivers Club. Don’t see how you could go wrong with this if you’re looking to get into the classic car hobby and want something that is not difficult to work on and is guaranteed to be a conversation-starter wherever you take it.

    Like 4
  6. bigdoc

    My Dad sang the praises of Studebakers although he had many different cars.

    Like 3
  7. Chebby Staff

    That’s a lot of chrome and cool for not much money,
    and you get to brag about how cheaply you picked up a Land Cruiser.

    Like 3
  8. Bob McK Member

    Personally I would rather have suicide doors than two doors, if it was the option. To me, they are just cool. Nice car, someone is going to get a treasure.

    Like 3
  9. Myron Kolbeck

    I grew up with Studebakers! My dad bought a new Champion in September 1941. He said he felt he had a new car for a long time due to WWII. In 1949 my uncle bought a new RED Stude pickup. In 1951 my cousin bought a new burgandy Land Cruise and my dad bought a new green 1/2 ton pickup. In 1953 by dad bought a new Black Cherry Land Cruiser–what a looker! I remember it like yesterday. In 1955 my cousin bought a new 2 tone green speedster. In 1961 my oldest sister bought a new Lark VIII–she just turned 19–I was so proud of her. All thse Studebakers bring back lively memories!

    Like 2
  10. Duaney

    Car is up to $2500 reserve not met, 10-1, 4:30 pm

    Like 1
  11. alan leonard

    Very Cool ride….and 4 DOORS!!!!!..In case you didn’t know, they only made (1)..thats ONE 2 door sedan in 1951 (Model Q-1)…..where is it ??????

  12. Jim Bartley

    As a Land Cruiser, it will also have Automatic Overdrive which is a big bonus.

    Like 1
  13. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster 55chevy

    Up to $2973 with 4 days to go, still a reserve, it does look like a decent car, my buddy Jim Jackemeyer in Ft Wayne has one of these, in addition to a 1947 convertible. There is a star lite coupe on local FB marketplace that’s tempting, not as good as this one. I remember my mom driving one of these when I was about 3 or 4, I knew most of the cars on the road at that time.

  14. Del

    Love this car.

    Never have seen one with a V8 before.

    This will be a restoration one for sure.

    Neat find

  15. TDM Member

    Man, only if Edelbrock had a intake & carb combo to take that thang to 4bbl.

  16. Bill Wilken

    Studebaker made great cars. My grandfather owned a twin of this Barn find except with an automatic. My Dad had a Starlight coupe with overdrive, and I owned a V8 Lark as a first car that was a solid performer. I stupidly traded it in on a 65 Beetle…one of the worst cars I ever owned.

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