Flying Scotsman: 1957 Studebaker Wagon

57-studebaker-wagon

Most classic car fans can instantly identify a number of cars from 1957, such as the Chevy Nomad and Corvette, but if you show them the car above, they likely wouldn’t have the slightest clue what it is. There were a number of great designs to come out in ’57, but most were either overshadowed by the likes of the Nomad or were so rare that few have ever heard of them. The 1957 Studebaker Scotsman wagon ticks off both of these boxes. It offered styling very similar to the Bel Air, but instead of being the top of the line model, the Scotsman was a budget minded 2-door. Overall, the Scotsman did well, but there weren’t many of the wagon version built. This one needs work, but looks to be complete and original. Find it here on eBay with a BIN of $4k.

studebaker-scotsman

Going into the 1950’s, there were a number of American car manufactures and most were successful, but as competition between the big three heated up many of these smaller companies had to either close their doors or find new ways to stay afloat. Studebaker Executives knew that they couldn’t compete head on with the big three, but they saw an untapped market with the budget-minded consumers, so they commissioned a new budget car. The new car was to be called the Scotsman, as Scotsmans were often stereotyped for their frugality. The car was to be as basic and as affordable as possible, in hopes of appealing to frugal consumers.

57-studebaker-motor

While the Scotsman’s styling might be very similar to the Nomad’s, its performance isn’t. To keep costs down, Studebaker installed their meager 100 horsepower straight six in the Scotsman. This gave the car somewhat dismal performance, but it did offer some impressive efficiency. Some owner’s claimed they often averaged over 30 miles per gallon, a respectable number even by today’s standards. Studebaker did install V8s into a small number of Police package Scotsmans, so obviously this engine bay would be capable of housing a higher performance engine.

studebaker-scotsman-rear

We have to admit that when we first saw this wagon, we were in the group who had no idea what it was. At first we weren’t sure about the styling, but the more we look at it, the more it grows on us. It offers some of the same styling elements that we love about the ’57 Nomad and the rarity of it makes up for some of the more questionable traits. Given how basic it is, this restoration shouldn’t be too difficult, as long as everything is still solid. Would you restore this Wagon back to original condition or would you modify it?

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Comments

  1. Mark E

    Yet another two-door ‘non-Nomad’ wagon! You could have a large diverse collection of 2-dr wagons…I’m begining to think EVERY manufacturer had one!

    Like 1
  2. paul

    Gee quite the step in on that tailgate. These are cool but seem to have very little value.

  3. Don Andreina

    CA claims this was the cheapest full size available at the time. Looks like they scrimped on everything including cargo space.

  4. Jake

    Looks like a rear seat for tailgating built in between the bumper and the rear gate!!!

  5. Jim-Bob

    I like it! The question is, what would I do with it? There are good arguments for both a resto-mod and a pure restoration. A pure restoration would be good because of it’s rarity, but it wouldn’t deliver an actual, usable car in the end. The 0-60 probably runs into the dangerous range with cars like the Mercedes 240D (27 seconds) and Renault Dauphine (35 seconds), so driving it every day in stock form would be an exercise in fear and frustration. The brakes would also need a substantial upgrade too as even the new 3 cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage could stop too fast for it not to be rearended. So, I would resto-mod it. However, I would try to keep it sympathetic to what it is and restore the exterior cosmetics and interior to stock-right down to the dog dish hubcaps. Under the hood I would try to keep it Studebaker and power it with a Stude 289/4 barrel backed up by a modern 5 or 6 speed manual transmission. I would also improve the brakes with a disc conversion and adapt sway bars to it to try to make it less dangerous. Perhaps I would also have the wheels modified with wider hoops so that a more modern set of black wall performance tires could be fitted in 235 60 15 rubber. I always liked the wide steelie look, so this would probably be on my list.

    • Andacar

      I agree, though I’d approach it a little differently, which is fine of course. I’d leave the wheels alone assuming good looking whitewall radials are available in that size. It would definitely get repainted, and the Studebaker 289 is a good choice. I wonder what modern transmission would fit. Most of them are front wheel drive now, aren’t they? I also agree about the brakes, just for safety. I like the idea of a restoration that is in the spirit of the car.

      • Jim-Bob

        There are companies like Keisler that offer adapter bellhousings for some older engines to use more modern transmissions (like the Borg Warner T-5), so I was hoping that as a direction that could be taken. Barring that, an adapter place could be modeled in a CAD program and milled on a CNC machine. You could even 3D print the prototype beforehand to make sure it all works before committing to putting it into metal (this would probably require a commercial printer as I think it would be too big a part for a home machine like a Reprap). Also, I doubt this car would have come with whitewalls from the factory. Most of the cheap models (like the Chevy 150, for example) had black wall tires and I like the bargain basement look it gives the car. The brakes would likely require a CNC milled caliper bracket to work as I doubt a bolt in solution exists for an oddball like this. It does share the same bolt circle with Ford, AMC and Chrysler large though, so there are probably rotor “hats” that can can be fit to the original drum brake hubs, even if they might need to be turned down to fit.

      • Andacar

        I can see what you mean about the tires, JimBob, but my thought is that if we’re talking about putting a better engine and uprated transmission in it, the whole thing about original tires goes out the window anyway. I just think it would look better with whitewalls. It may just be that I haven’t seen one of these before, but I’m not getting the “bargain basement” vide a lot of you guys are from this car. I think it would look spiffy and different repainted and uprated a bit.

    • stanley stalvey

      I have a thing for station wagons. This one looks very cool.. Vintage metal…

    • Topper

      I have this car in very sound non-complete restoration. I have a rebuilt 259 4 brl engine, 3 speed with OD transmission and the TT differential. I will keep the exterior very near original. The interior is where I diverge. I have researched and discovered that the Chrysler Pacifica offers perfect modern touches for the sparse Studebaker interior. All brake parts are new OEM, agree an upgrade would be preferable. This car does not have excessive roll with good springs and new shocks so the sway bars don’t think so nor is it dangerous just not a high performance suspension. Bags or relocating the rear springs would allow wider rear tires, not sure on that yet.

  6. Andacar

    This is definitely a car I’d consider buying and restoring. Normally I am adverse to changing out engines, but this car is very obscure, and the engine is so anemic I might consider at least a period V8. I Iike its looks, its background is interesting, and the name reminds me of a thrifty Scotsman character in Bugs Bunny. He shoots at Bugs, then rushes after the bullet, digs it up and puts it back in his pouch, saying, “It’s been in the family for years!”

    • Topper

      I am ready to sell my 1958 Studebaker Scotsman 2 door wagon. Any interest?

      • David MacKenzie

        Where are you located? I do like the 57’s a little more; I think the main difference is just the rear lights, but a nicer interior would be big plus.

        I’m in Texas. And the 57 wagon is still chugging along; still on its original 185ci flat 6 and drivetrain. Over the summer I took it on a 100 mile trip through the Texas hillcountry; it did fantastic. Maybe next year I’ll paint it back to the original colot.

  7. SoCal Car Guy

    I like old two-door longroofs, particularly tri-five Nomads and mid-’50s Fords (I still have my ’56 Ford Ranch Wagon that was my high school car), but the kindest thing I can say about this Stude’s design is “homely.”

  8. David Reeves

    Well I knew what it was, I’ve always liked these.

  9. 88R107

    Probably the most basic car offered in 57. No or very little chrome. Cardboard door panels etc. This is as far from a high end Nomad/Safari as you can get…the anti Nomad.

  10. rancho bella

    I to like it, but, Oh’ brother………it could only be a labor of love. You ain’t gonna see any money come your way when it is sold………and sooner or later, they are all sold.

    Dang…….I just see me driving this….it is just so different.

  11. scot

    ~ one of the first of our family’s cars that i remember was a ’56 President with the 259ci V8 from which the 289ci evolved. never the less Jim-Bob’s suggestions are likely the way i’d take the ‘Scotty’. i might consider the aluminum LS GM motor with 6speed rather than the Studebaker lump but 4 wheel discs are essential. i couldn’t go berserk with modifications but i would insist on having a comfortable driver’s position.
    . it also had simple, thin rubber mats with no carpet anywhere.

    • mike matern

      56 Presidents were standard with the first 289—-259 was in next model down Commander–while Champions had the flat six—my dads 56 Pres four door sedan had the Carter WCFB, duel exhaust and overdrive—-cleaned up on a lot of Chevys and Fords in its day—by the way the station wagon part of the car was from the 1954 Conestoga—the back step because the car was longer than the 54—

      • scot

        ~ good information, Mike. i was certain it was a 259 but it has been a lot of years… and a more than a couple Studebakers ago. ;)

  12. Brian

    I’d make it safe, put an interior in it and clearcoat the exterior as is. Drive on.

  13. Charles

    That would make one sweet street rod.

  14. Moxman

    This would be a great car to restore as a street rod. The engine bay is big enough for a big block Chevy (why not)? A disk brake upgrade, including a 9 inch Ford rear diff. Jazz up the interior, a killer paint job and you’ve got one awesome (and rare) street rod.

  15. Jim Miller

    My dad always bought the crappiest cars; I’ll always have a humility complex from driving those Nash Ramblers while in my teens. He was very close to buying a Scotsman in the day, but opted to buy a used ’57 chevy 150, 2 door post instead, cheapest ‘regular’ car on the market. Yes I know, wish I had that one now.

  16. KE100

    Put some chrome baby moons on it, put a v8 in it, and drive it.

  17. Andrew Minney

    Always had a soft spot for Studebakers.
    If I got this one, I’d bring it back to original and drive it. No big engine, hot rodding. Just period accessories and have fun!
    Andrew
    Twickenham, England

  18. Chris A.

    Is this the car Fonzie in the Muppets drives? Our grade school teachers parking lot always seemed to have a couple of low end Studebakers and Ramblers. This was one of them. About as far as you could get in the parking lot from Miss Vescovie’s 1958 baby blue/white interior Chevy Impala convertible. What a contrast. In a way, that Studebaker flathead 6 reminds me of the 6 cylinder engine in last week’s 1957 Volvo TP 21.

  19. jim s

    i do like Studebakers a lot but not enough for this project. i hope someone steps up and gets this back on the road again. great find

  20. ConservativesDefeated

    Super Stripper!

    Bottom of the line. Last stop to dullsville.

    150.00 bucks tops.

  21. Bill McCoskey

    As a long time collector of Studebaker-Packard products, this Scotsman is screaming for a S-P factory Golden Hawk supercharged 389 & overdrive. Easy to find, and a very easy installation. At least the rechroming won’t be too expensive, the only chrome pieces on this car were the 2 bumpers. Body looks VERY good compared to most Studebakers. Old factory saying: At Studebaker, the rust goes in before the paint goes on! (Joke) Restore the car as it was when new, but add a nice set of wider radial tires (wider Ford rims fit fine.) And as pointed out above, these were VERY basic cars, Rubber mats instead of carpets? The rubber mats were an option! No interior door armrests, the door panels were painted cardboard with a sewn edge. 1 Sun visor. Options included spare tire, turn signals, dome lite.

    • stanley stalvey

      Spare tire was an option.? hahahaha…

  22. Chris in WNC

    do the mechanicals, upgrade to a Borg-Warner OD and drive it awhile. keep an eye peeled for a correct Studebaker V-8 and if all goes well maybe a cheapo repaint could be justified.
    VERY easy to get upside-down in this car, but they are both cute and uncommon…….

  23. Phillip in Idaho

    I knew what it was immediately. This is the same model as the first car that I ever drove. If I had this Scotsman, I would restore it to original condition. It reminds me of my youth.

  24. Jim Kirkland

    I remember you Bill McCoskey from that
    sports-car place we used to work at. Still
    got that big collection?
    I would go rat-rod with the Scotsman.
    Surely you meant the Golden Hawk 289.
    Or what about a Ford 300 six with an
    overdrive automatic and multi-carbs?

  25. David MacKenzie

    I love it when I find pics of this wagon online. I bought it and its fully drive-able now.
    I kept the flat head 6, but I found some old studebaker performance gear for the engine that I’ll have on it soon.

    I’m in Austin Texas, you might see it on the road down here

  26. Bill McCoskey

    David — Sounds like you’ve decided to upgrade to the 289 V8, since there were almost no performance items for the flathead 6 Studie. Please share more pics & info with “Barn Finds” when you have the chance, and remember, we don’t need to wait until it’s finished to see what you are doing with the car.

    Jim Kirkland — Yes, I did mean the 289, not the Pontiac 389, once again the keys on my laptop switched locations again! I’m not sure the Ford straight 6 will fit in the Studebaker engine bay as it’s pretty short. As for the “collection”, It got out of hand at almost 150 cars in 2000. I held a big auction to pare down to 6 cars. but I sold a 1956 Studebaker Sky Hawk 4BBL 289 & O.D., leaving the 5 cars I have today:
    1937 Packard Eight touring sedan
    1948 Packard Super Eight Victoria [convertible]
    1948 Packard Super Eight sedan [parts car for convertible]
    1961 Vanden Plas Princess Limousine, Rare LHD & A/C, real ex- Royal family limo
    1962 Tatra T2-603, with the air cooled V8 in the rear.
    I can be reached by e-mail by using my name @ aol.com [no spaces].

    • David MacKenzie

      Bill
      I actually found some flat 6 performance pieces; mainly a duel carb intake manifold.
      I tried it; had it up and working for about 24 hours, and came to the conclusion that the setup was ridiculous and troublesome. I also drove it that was to the Texas Lonestar Roundup (major hot rod show here), but I just couldnt get the idle low enough with the stock carter bbr-1’s.
      Its back to factory now; so much more usable.
      BTW; I have gotten about 25-30mpg on this with a nice cruise on country roads.

  27. stanley

    This car is so Ugly that it’s plum purdy. It’s pretty ugly but very unique and I always love any station wagon, Studebaker or Desoto. Studebakers also used the Chevy 283 engines in some models. The engines were a lowest- bidder item in those days it seems.

  28. Bill McCoskey

    RE — Studebakers with GM engines:
    At the end of 1964, Studebaker closed it’s primary assembly plant in South Bend, Indiana, but continued to build cars [no Avanti, Hawk, or trucks] at it’s Windsor, Ontario plant in Canada. They had no engine assembly facility or foundry there, so they worked a deal to buy Chevy engines [mostly 6 cylinders & 283 V8] that were mated up to either Studebaker manual transmissions or Borg-Warner automatics. This allowed Studebaker to continue thru the 1966 model year before shutting down car assembly permanently. From my research, I don’t think any 327 V8 engines were sold new in Studebakers, and I’m sure the big blocks would be too big for the Studebaker engine bay & suspension.

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