Grand Survivor: 1956 Studebaker President

right front

I called my wife over to look at this “car-porn” a beautiful Studebaker. She took a look and said “I saw the nicest restored 1956 Chevy on the freeway yesterday”. She’s not in love, so I guess I won’t be bringing it home. It seems that many people, especially the younger crowd, imagine that the streets of the mid fifties were filed with Chevys and perhaps a few Fords. The idea that there were many other nameplates out there is beyond comprehension. This old Studebaker is one of those cars. There are many people who would love to have a classic old car and don’t need or want to look like the rest of the crowd in their look alike Chevys. Also, many of us actually prefer a survivor car to an over restored car and we don’t mind a couple of extra doors. This Studebaker is a true survivor, a completely original and a nostalgic glimpse into another time. It’s very reasonably priced and “ready to drive and enjoy” as the ad says.

left rear

The paint is a little thin in places and there are a few worn places in the interior, but it drives well on the freeway and looks great overall. It has new tires and brakes. The trim is complete and in decent shape. And yes, those are exhaust pipes sticking out the back bumper. The paint on the top and lower quarter doesn’t match the rest of the car. That’s a puzzle, suggesting an interesting repaint at some time?

dash

The dash is complete and original, but perhaps the door panels may need a little help.

seats copy

The upholstery appears to be in amazing condition. It really looks original. Perhaps it had those clear plastic seat covers that were so popular in the 1950s.

engine

The engine is a 289 rated at 210 HP. It looks original and unmolested from here.

left

This old Studebaker may turn heads more out of curiosity then admiration. The third paint color really stands out in this picture. It’s listed on Craigslist in Nevada City, California with an asking price of $6,995. It was an Oregon car and is said to be rust free. Wouldn’t this be a great driver? Would you do anything to this other than just drive it? Perhaps the interior could use a little help. This old Studebaker is not most people’s taste, but it will be interesting to see what you think of it!

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Comments

  1. RON

    WOULD LOVE TO OWN THIS CAR. iT IS ALL ORIGINAL FROM WHAT I CAN TELL. THIS IS THE PRESIDENT CLASSIC WHICH WAS THE TOP OF THE LINE PRESIDENT AND THIS WAS THE MOST POPULAR COLOR COMBO IN 56 ON THE PRES, NOT OVER PRICED EITHER. HAD A RED AND BLACK OE BUT NOT THIS NICE

  2. John H. in CT

    I’m in lust!

  3. Frank M.

    My first car in 1964 was a 1956 Studebaker President with a police intercepter in it. Out ran a state trooper at 137 mph. Loved that car. Would love to have that one.

  4. Andrew

    What a great car!

  5. Mark S Member

    Nice deserves a decent repaint just to get the colour matched and the bling back. I love the fifties cars.

  6. Peter L.

    I have a Sky Hawk of that same year. Sometimes I think if people took off the Studebaker logos and replaced them with the bow tie, the prices would double. The ’57 Chevy in particular has become a tiresome sight doe to its position as an overexposed icon. Studies rule!

  7. Gary

    Concerning the ‘mismatched’ 3-tone paint; it’s supposed to be that way. In 1956 the Packard Caribbean was a 3-tone also. Imagine the many color combos that would have been available at the time. In the link below there is some great info concerning all American cars 1946-1959, but the many color combo’s can be found within this document.
    https://carrosantigos.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/american-cars-1946-1959.pdf

    • jakoszut

      Sorry, Gary, Studebaker neither advertised nor offered Tri-Tone paint jobs in 56. The 55 Speedster was the only Studebaker ever offered in three colors. The color combination on this car is Mocha over Doeskin. This car also has the Power Pack option consisting of dual exhausts and a 4bbl carburator which produced 225 HP.

  8. ags290

    Thumpity thump thump goes my heart on this one! What a great car and another great find. The market is so crazy in my area that it is refreshing to see a reasonably priced car that you could drive, enjoy and not worry about. The way it was meant to be.

  9. Vince Habel

    These are great great cruisers 53 and 54 were called Land Cruiser. The President was brought back in 55.

  10. Paul B

    Great find! These are solid reliable cars. Just don’t put them in environments where they can rust, because you can sit on a bench and watch it happen. This was the ’56 remake of the ’53-55 cars that bombed in the market, aside from the Loewy/Bourke coupe. And by ’56 the revision was too late; sales nosedived yet again, to a new postwar low. But it’s handsome and elegant; I’ve seen it written that “GM could have sold a lot of these”. I learned to drive on a Stude and I wish I could buy this one.

  11. That Guy

    It probably had some spot repainting done many years ago on the roof and lower quarters. The match may have been good when the job was first done, but over time the different paints have faded differently.

    I was born in 1960, so I would expect to remember these from my childhood, but I really don’t. This era of Studebaker seems to have been scarce even when new, and to have largely vanished just a decade later. It’s too bad really, because it’s quite a handsome car and should have sold well.

    • Poppy

      You are correct, TG. Even when new, Studebaker in the ’50s and later had such a small share of the market that they were rarely seen. California seemed to have a higher percentage of them than most places outside of South Bend. It’s nice that so many were saved, though; they have a loyal following.

  12. Jack Taggart

    I love the old Studes and Packards along with DeSotos and the beautiful autos that died in the 50’s and 60’s As much as I love a 57 Chevy I would drive a 57 Stude or Packard with fins any day. They were so far ahead of styling and engines with the superchargers and gorgeous lines. Also the Avanti very different than any other collector series. I so wish somwone would revive the Stude and Packards as they were when they died. I think there is a market fot them Just like anything else that we all of a sudden revive from eeons ago. For me my ownership of my collection a 73 Rivi Boatail 455 Stage 1 a 72 Olds 98 LS that had a trunk the size of most rooms in my house and a Grand National which I unfortunately sold BUT my survivor a 1969 Buick GS 400 Signal Red White Topped Black interior with bench seat and 4 speed and Buick Rally Soked wheels. I have owned as second owner since 1971 and it presently has 78630 miles. A plane Jane ordered by a dealer for his wife I was told has no power anything brakes seats mirrors a/c you name it just plain power speed and sound. I am at a point in life where it is time to look at maybe giving it up. A 1987 amateur restoration very well done is In need of a little tlc to bring it back to a gorgeous auto mostly being paint. Interior is fully original with exception of front seat cover. I will some day post pictures here but have to decide if I will have the tlc done first or sell as is.

  13. Poppy

    Another cool thing about these Studebaker sedans is that the same body shell (dating from ’53) was used on the original Larks several years later. They tacked on shorter front fenders and rear quarters, on a shorter-wheelbase frame and voila, a “new” compact car with the same generous interior proportions as these earlier full size cousins.

  14. Jesper

    Nice car. Drive it as it is. It dosnt need bling, i also dont need it.

  15. Keith Matheny

    First new car my father bought was ’57 President. Green and white, if I remember correctly, sometimes,,,, ….!
    Well nobody around can dispute my memories now anyways, LOL.
    His was rusty in 3 yr.’s in Ohio, bought 3 more Stude’s over the years till they went bust.
    I’d still love to have this!
    Left coast is fortunate, I’d have to build another barn for every thing I’d like, ha ha.

  16. Alstoys

    This would be a HIT in the North East. Drive and show as is or repainted with polished brightwork, it’s just a lovely, honest car. Wish it were on the Right Coast.

  17. Ed P

    The problem with 56 Studebakers was the companies precarious financial position. The public knew about their problems and were staying away in droves. Otherwise, this was a good looking car and should have sold well. One of the “older kids” in the neighborhood bought one of these used. It even was the same color combo. I thought it was a good looking car. The difference in the paint colors may be from touchups from using different kinds of paint. Such as enamel original and lacquer repaint. The two age differently.

  18. Oldcarsarecool

    I’d own it ! Seldom seen anywhere nowadays . . .

  19. George

    The Studie Dealership was 2 blocks from my house in Fairbanks, Alaska when I was growing up. Gene Immel was the dealer and his two sons have the Chevy franchise in Fairbanks. The show room would only hold 4 cars at the most. I would often cut through the buiding on my way home from school. By the time I exited through the back door, I was warmed up and had only 2 more blocks to walk. The weather was in the mid minus 40’s to minus 55 (the temp at which they closed the schools) I was lucky enough to see a yellow and green 1955 speedster; a dark red Avanti as well as several Golden Hawks in the showroom The space was limited, but Gene always stocked top of the line products whereas most of the dealers sold just plain Janes. When the 56’s hit the street, I rushed over to Gene’s to take a look.The one he had was the same color combination as the one in the ad. I thought it was good looking–but I was only interested in 2 doors at the time. This is only the 2nd 4door President I have seen listed over the years I have been scanning the internet. I might buy this if the price doesn’t get out of control as often happens. For the owner’s sake I hope it does.

  20. BradL

    Aaaand, it’s gone.

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