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Lame Duck: 1956 Studebaker President

The Studebaker President name would go away after 1958 and the basic design didn’t change much in its last three years, making these cars the last of their kind; lame ducks, if you will. This is a 1956 Studebaker President and it’s on eBay with quite spirited bidding and a current bid price of over $7,000 and the reserve isn’t met! Hagerty lists a #3 “good” car as being valued at $6,200 and this one is already past that, even with a bit of rust and a few chips and dings. Proving once again that price guides are just to be used as a loose, overall, general guide; not the gospel.

The fourth-generation was the last “term” for the Studebaker President, lasting, coincidentally, four years, from 1955 to 1958. Studebaker was already over 100 years old when the last-generation of Presidents came out, which is pretty impressive in and of itself. That the company didn’t last too many more years after this car was made is unfortunate. Studebaker dropped the President line to concentrate on the Lark, an equally decent car in its price category as the President was.

The two-door body style is pretty unusual and rare for the Studebaker President with only 1,914 of them made out of 17,253 Presidents made in 1956. Ike would approve. Ike may or may not approve of this car being painted sometime in the 1980s from its original yellow with white stripe to the black with white stripe scheme seen here. The wheels have also been changed to new “15×6  steelies” and blackwall tires. Factory wheelcovers come with the car but the seller likes this look. I have to admit that I do, too.

The seller says that this “interior is very much original”, but then they go on to say that the carpet, horn button, gear-selector dial, and speedometer have been changed. I think, other than that it’s original. There were clear plastic covers on the seats when the current owner purchased it and those covers were deteriorating so they removed them. They now put a blanket on the seats when they’re in use to preserve them.

This 289 V8 has been rebuilt top to bottom, about a decade ago. Originally it would have had around 210 hp, but it may have more with “new shallow dish pistons to give it a slightly higher compression ratio, rebuilt heads with new valves and seats, rebuilt carburetor with oversize jets, distributor, and starter.” The brakes have been redone as has the transmission, steering, and suspension. Other than the paint, any modifications done to this car are probably mostly unseen and make for a better-driving experience. What do you think about this President? Would you vote for this lame duck?


  1. M/K

    He’ll yea! My favorite stude is the Scotsman of this era (57-58) I love this body shell. A Scotty with that 289 might be F’n cool.

  2. 70kingswood

    this stude has a good look but I would want a 4 speed, still a nice car! 2 doors are kinda rare. love the Cyclops speedometer and the dual exhaust that exit through the bumper!

    Like 1
  3. Ed P

    I think the yellow and white paint scheme was better. There is just enough rust to make this a good project, but it does not need to be addressed immediately. The only thing I don’t like is the cyclops speedo. The dash looks kind of empty without a regular speedo.

  4. Joe Haska

    I like it, it`s different and that’s can be a plus. $7,000 seems reasonable, not sure what it will sell for, maybe not reasonable.

  5. Seth J

    Dictator to President. Hmmm

  6. Bob S

    That is quite neat. Never knew Studabaker had a 57 Chev before Chevrolet.

    • G.P. Member

      Bob, The first thing I thought was- It has 56 chevy side mouldings and 57 tail lights.

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Studebaker had a LOT of things before Chevy!

  7. Howard A Member

    I agree, very nice car. That’s what’s great about BF’s, as most of us were too young to remember these, and by the time we did start looking for cars, these were already gone. I think a stick and O/D ( again with the O/D) this car would move right along. I sure would have bought this car in the late ’50’s. Yeah, that speedo creeps me out.

    Like 1
  8. Woodie Man

    Maybe its my sense of design but this end run of Studes resembles nothing as much as a Russian Zil…if not in the details certainly in the aggregate. One other thing…..the dashboard in its two discreet sections reminds me of the coming Lark dash.


      I seem to recall reading some where that a lot of the old Studebaker tooling went to a Russian car maker. Anyone else remember this?

      • wcastor Member

        I believe that the tooling was from the ’55 & ’56 Packard line. The way I understand it was that it was sold when it was decided to close down the Packard factory in Detroit. I have seen several pictures of a Russian car that looked almost identical in the front especially in the shape of the front fenders and headlights. A GAZ-13 is close but I think there was one older that looked closer.

  9. Mark S

    What a well presented eBay add, and what a cool car. Looks like a lot of the hard work is done. I’d get it repainted right away. And I’d go back to original colours. As for the back seat just get that back strip of white vinyl replaced. Finally I would go back to the original wheels with some new Coker wide white walls and I’d get the back skirts back on. Great find.

  10. z28th1s

    I like the look of this car a lot!!

  11. John

    Original colors would have been much better. Car desperately needs whitewall tires. My thought was that $7000 was about right. Will be interesting to see what it brings.

  12. Bobby Member

    I think the Lark used the same greenhouse (entire roof).

  13. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Bobby – You are close . . . It is the same greenhouse & roof, but also the doors & body shell The big advantage Studebaker had in creating a smaller car was the fact that the Studebaker body shell from 1953 was already much narrower than other US cars. So to create the Lark, Studebaker simply trimmed a whole lot of front & rear space from the 1958 & earlier cars.

    Now about this car; It ain’t a President. The wheelbase is too short, and that can be seen in the rear doors. Look at a pic of a President, and you will see the rear doors have 2 pieces of glass, the regular one that raises up & down, and a rear glass panel that is a swing type vent. The shorter wheelbase cars don’t have these vent windows.

    In addition, the carb shown is the old style 2 barrel carb used from 1953 to 1956 Champions and Commanders, but not in the 56 & newer President, they had a 4 barrel carb.

    This car is a Commander, with the second [lower] trim strip so the white paint stripe can be applied. Or it could be a Champion and both side trim strips have been added! Add President emblems, and some sucker will buy it as a President. Google both the President and Commander images, and you will see the difference.

    • RayT Member

      Bill, I never knew that Studebaker pulled the Lark from these! It looks obvious now that you mention it….

      But you DO have much better eyes than I do! I would never, ever, have noticed how small the rear doors are! Heck, I can’t even find the cutlines! :)

    • wcastor Member

      Bill, you must be looking at a different car than I am, This is indeed a 2 door President. I had one back in the late ’60’s and it also had the Stromberg 2-bbl. Other models with the V-8 could be ordered with what was called a “Power Pack:” which was the 4-bbl and dual exhausts. My old President as I mentioned had the 2-bbl and it had the dual exhausts.

    • Howard A Member

      From the images I see, I think this is a 2 door President. I see what Bill means on a 4 door, they have vent windows in the back doors, but it appears the side stripe is the key. I find it hard to believe someone would intentionally “make” this into a President. Most people, including myself really don’t know the difference anyway. Just a cool(est) Studebaker, whatever model it is.

      • Ralph Robichaud

        Howard- Bill was looking at a diffrent Stude. A bit ironical that at the same point in time there would be TWO 1958 Studebaker President for sale, both in Florida, both with black and white exterior and interior. The 4dr one is near Orlando, Lakeland to be precise. it is a manual shifter, and has regular wheel rims, tires, and wheel covers..

        Id still take the 2dr road boss.

  14. Chris

    56 was my favorite year of Studebaker. Charcoal and white would be my color choice

  15. smittydog

    What would you do with this thing?

  16. Rustytech Member

    It’s a wonderful piece of automotive history, drive it and enjoy it.

  17. Ralph Robichaud

    Bill – the car you’ve been looking at is in Orlando, seller classicscarllc. deals in old cars,invariably low mileage survivors????????????
    This one is in the Panhandle, Tallahassee;
    I really like what has been done to this car, with the interior being in good shape and in black &white, I like the exterior to be the same. Mechanical improvements, icluding wider rims & tires, and the poverty hubcaps give it the image of a great road car, which I think it is. I would repair the present body flaws, and respray in black &white.. what a no-nonsense road machine.
    I have been partial to Stude, having owned three- 62-63-&66.

  18. '63 Lark Daytona ragtop

    Owned a ’56 Commander from 1998 to 2000. Sold it on eBay for $2800 in #4 condition. Paid $2000 for it, but hardly drove it, with a ’63 Lark ragtop sitting next to it.

  19. WDRomami

    Hello I believe this is a President there were two Presidents for 56 the ones with the back vent windows in the back door were call President Classics and a standard president without them had s 4 inch wheelbase difference. In the two door I believe is on the shorter wheelbase. They offered a 259 and 289 with two or four barrel carburetors along with various options for including automatics and standards with or without overdrive. Custom and or deluxe steering wheels president had a horn ring as standard I believe. I have a 56 Commander Parkview Station Wagon in yellow and white which is original and would l not be afraid to drive it anywhere it came from California and I did drive it from to Connecticut without any problems in 2008. It’s probably the most dependable car I own….

    • Scotty Staff

      Good grief, what an absolutely beautiful car and collection, WDRomami! Thanks for sharing.

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