Moose Not Included! 1939 Studebaker L5

Despite its obvious bed, this fabulous 1939 Studebaker L5 Coupe Express in Fairbanks, Alaska seems almost too pretty to call a “truck.” Evidently customers agreed as only 1200 of the handsome car-based pickup trucks left the factory. Only the 1939 model features the Ford-like grille and headlamps built into the fenders, making this arguably the most unique and attractive Studebaker truck of the era. If you’re already in love with this mildly customized version, and willing to buy a vehicle in Alaska, cast a bid here on eBay where at least three bidders have set the value above $13,000. There is also a Buy It Now feature for $24,000. Thanks to reader Darrun for this find from the land of the Land of the Midnight Sun.

The clean lines continue to the rear. The later step bumper is a little heavy for my tastes but there is no bad view of this rig. Either the bed-mounted exhaust stacks are cosmetic or perhaps an electronic cut-out bypasses the mufflers when you want that Big Rig sound. Upgrades include front and rear disc brakes.

The original art-deco gauges are not connected; under-dash gauges provide key telemetry. A four-speed 700R4 automatic transmits power to the rear. The basic black custom interior looks passable and provides room for three.

The ubiquitous 350 cid (5.7L) Chevrolet V8 provides power. You’ll have no problem maintaining or improving the world’s most popular hot rod engine. Check out the excellent historical details on these and other Studebaker trucks at Have you ever seen a more beautiful truck?


  1. stillrunners Stillrunners Member


    Like 6
  2. Little_Cars

    Beautiful truck, don’t see many with such a 39 Ford/Lincoln Zephyr front treatment. I think I have a Tootsietoy of this car as a taxicab. Shame the seller couldn’t have bothered to detail the engine bay just a tad…seems a bit bland even for a driver/resto-rod. Air cleaner could simply use a swipe with a rag but the radiator (presume original) is chipped, gouged, and probably has had it’s share of core repairs which require some matte black touch up.

    Like 4
  3. Junkyard Jimmy

    I love the truck. For that BIN price though, I would expect the wiring to already be sorted.

    Like 7
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Love it. Looks like it’s copying the Lincoln Zephyr front end. This definitely looks a lot better than Lincoln’s last attempt to recreate the famous grill layout IMO.

    Like 4
    • PatrickM

      That’s exactly what I was going to say… “Looks like the front end is from a ’41 Lincoln Zephyr.”

      Like 1
  5. WayneC Member

    I started to get fairly excited when I saw this. But I hadn’t read the complete article I was disappointed when I read about it being changed to Chevrolet powered. With this being so rate with the low production and those lost over the years with normal attrition there are very few left. There wasn’t anything wrong with the 216cid engine and with overdrive would keep up with traffic. But one can do what they want with their own car. I am just curious what one restored to stock and compared to this one, the money difference.

    Like 11
    • JimmyinTEXAS

      “There wasn’t anything wrong with the 216cid engine and with overdrive would keep up with traffic.”
      How do you know there wasn’t anything wrong with the engine and transmission? Maybe the engine broke a rod and poked it through the cylinder wall. Maybe someone took the heads off and left the engine open for years. The previous owner had done the swap. Nothing in the ad states why they were changed.

      Like 3
      • WaybeC Member

        Its not so much, putting a Chevy. engine in the truck, it a matter of rarity. With so few made and probably less than a hand full left, changing things over ruins the historical value. True, it may not have had an engine or the engine could have been missing or destroyed, but the Studebaker Commander 6 engines were used until the 1960 year models and aren’t expensive or hard to find. Putting a bow-tie in a vehicle that there are many of, I don’t have a problem. A few years ago while in California, there was a late 30′ s Stude Woodie Wagon. It was chopped and channeled and used an ElCamino frame complete. It was beautiful but there was quite a conversation on line about this. The car when found was complete with minor wood rot but was missing the tail gate. After quite a lengthy research it was agreed that this Woodie was probably the only one left in the world. It had been modified to the extent that it would have been virtually impossible to restore back to original. Change engines around as much as you want on cars that are many of, no problem, but to lose historical value to me, is too much.

        Like 7
    • BG in AK

      I do not know when this truck was originally changed to it’s look today, but I can tell you that the collector hobby has changed drastically over the last 3 or 4 decades.
      I moved to Alaska in the early 1980’s and hot rod car parts were few and far between. There were few choices and shipping was horrendous.
      Personally, I chose to built a 69 Charger and there were 2 sources of parts – Year One and a salvage yard back east. I never considered anything but a Mopar Powertrain, but I fully understand re-powering old cars and trucks with a 350/350 combo. In most cases, the reason was cost. The other was availability. Nowadays, there is a plethora of suppliers, shippers, manuals and Utube video’s available.
      “New times, new rules”
      Nevertheless, this is an amazing looking truck – one I would love to have. (even if it has a bowtie under the hood).

      Like 5
      • canadainmarkseh

        I think a first generation hemi would have been a good way to go at least it would be more like a vintage hot rod. But the fact is you just can’t beat the all round advantages of the bow tie parts, price, parts availability, reliability. Makes sense, and if your the pragmatic type I’m sure this would be your game plan. These are stylin trucks.

        Like 2
  6. dbauer

    Man, I love the looks of these trucks. My neighbor has 5 Studebaker trucks in his barn, all needing restoring. Being a busy farmer, he only gets them out once a year to clean them. This is the Potluck Day when most everyone around brings out their vintage trucks, cars, motorcycles, tractors, etc.. to my neighbor’ farm to play music, eat food, and share stories. I just might ask about buying one of those studes… wonder if he’d sell!

    Like 4
  7. Wayne

    Just a great looking truck. It would not do me any good to buy this. As all I would want to do is just sit and look at it!

    Like 1
  8. Butchb

    Hard to say what condition it was in before the build but if the original drive train was gone…. The owner did the right thing then. Very drivable rig with the late model driveline and brake upgrades. $18,000 sp?

    Like 2
  9. PairsNPaint

    Pretty sure it was the inspiration for this:

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars

      I’ve seen the Haler conversion up close. Nice modernized take on the classic 39 Studebaker. But a little too PT Cruiser/Chevy HRT for my tastes. Totally worthless as an actual truck because the bedsides and tailgate are fiberglass. Strictly a cruising, show-n-shine kind of vehicle.

  10. Ken Smith

    If I was in the market for a truck, I would be all in at the buy it now price – beautiful truck!

  11. Lance Nord

    That’s a beautiful truck. The only classic pickup truck that may be more stylish is the 1934 Terraplane, which I would consider giving my left and right nut to own.

    Like 1
  12. Wayne

    Shipping TO Alaska can be a problem if the vehicle is not the norm. I had to have a truck driven there as no transport company would haul it. The outside was a standard cargo van. But it had specialized installed/bolted in equipment that was only about 800 pounds. But the resistance was that they did not want to be responsible for anything that was not the norm. I would assume that shipping OUT of Alaska would be the same. Maybe some Alaskan could address this issue. As my experience is now 15 to 20 years old.

    Like 1
    • Marko

      Could always fly to Alaska, and take one of the Cruise ship Alaska Marine Highway ferries, to Bellingham Washington, with the truck. Would make one heck of a memorable story.

      Great truck, but I would loose the Big Rig exhaust pipes.
      Why drive a Chevy SSR pickup, when you can have this.

      Like 1
    • waynard

      Just had a clients car shipped from New Mexico to Anchorage. No issues except it need to go further, to Fairbanks. My recommended shipper said he’d deliver to a museum in Anchorage, to their warehouse, then it could be moved locally by others. Not certain of the reason they wouldn’t go further, but it got sorted out, apparently with no other issues. Not cheap though.

      Like 1
  13. Will Owen

    Barge to Seattle was how I sent my Mini down when Wife #1 and I left Anchorage. But with this set up as it is, plus the fact that The Highway is no longer a thousand miles of gravel pit, I’m thinking “Road Trip!”

    I believe this was Raymond Loewy’s second run at a Studebaker, the first being (I think) the ’37, a very Art Deco-mobile, one of which my HS Geometry and Chemistry teacher drove. The style ran, with trim changes, up to WW2. The cars had IFS via upper arms and a lower transverse leaf spring. I’m guessing (Okay, hoping!) this might have the same.

  14. charlie Member

    More style than guts or reliability, compared to Chrysler or GM of the day, my father owned a ’37 Commander and a ’50 Champion, better fit and finish than a Ford or Chevy, but mechanically a constant problem. But my 2014 Audi has style and great fit and finish but is a constant electronic problem as well, whereas my 2005 Toyota, not as fancy, is basically trouble free.

  15. Ronald G Bajorek jr

    really nice

  16. Wayne

    My best story for shipping vehicles was shipping a custom built body and specialized equipment on the inside. It was a special designed box body on a cut-a-way Savana chassis. I knew the exact measurements and weight up front and got my quote. ( this was not the first time that I had built one of these trucks) The body build went perfect, (Northern Indiana) the equipment installation went perfect (North Carolina) ( 700 miles from the body build) the graphics install went perfect (Denver Colorado) (1,200 miles away ) the transport across country went perfect. The delivery to Long Beach was right on time and with the correct amount of fuel in the tank. So all the concern and worry was gone. And the truck was on it’s way to Honolulu. Several days later I received a call from Matson that I owed them more money and that the truck would stay on board and returned to Long Beach if not paid for within 2 hours. I questioned the reason and was told that the truck was larger than paid for. Well, I knew that sometimes salt air causes odd things. But it does not make trucks grow. ( which is what I told the Matson representative) He failed to see the humor in that statement. I called the forwarder and they verified the weight and measurements from the quote. She called Matson and pointed out to them that they had made the quote mistake and that it was their fault for the error. Their reply was that it might be their error. But the charges still stood. A few minutes later the Honolulu customer called me to check on the shipping status. I informed him of the situation and he started laughing his head off. “The head of the local Matson location is my next door neighbor. I will call him now”. About 45 minutes later I received a call that they apologized for their error and the vehicle had been washed and already been delivered to my customer. I guess it is who you know.

    Like 6
  17. charlie Member

    I shipped my Allante from nowhere NH to a location in nowhere CA. I could not find a shipper who would do it, I am 300 miles from LA, or Las Vegas, and more from SF. So I went through an “agent” who located and arranged (for a $200 fee) two shippers, one from NH to LA, and one from LA to me. Driver who delivered 15 miles from my house (he did not want to use the twisty mountain road that the Allied Van Lines full size moving van found “challenging” but did it), he was gruff, not happy, and big, and the car had a dent in the door (but the kind that could just be pushed out with no crease) which “was the other shipper’s fault”. “Sign for it, or I’ll just put it back on the truck”, said he. Total was $200 plus $1600. Would have been a lot more if it were in a closed van, or had not been drivable.

    Like 2
    • Little_Cars

      For some reason, I thought Allante’s were plastic-bodied, or fiberglass. Glad to hear the dent popped out. But wow what a pricetag to get the car to you.

      Like 1
      • charlie Member

        Maybe I could have driven it, I drove my 2002 Audi A4 and my 2014 Audi Q5, A4 had some sensor issues which resolved by turning it off and turning it on again, and so made it. But Allante if it quit would involve a wait for repairs and I was still only partly retired, partly employed so could not take too much time off. Fenders and doors are steel, hood and trunk lid are aluminum. Just like my long gone Jag XK 150 S.

        Like 1
  18. Darrun
    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Oh my God, I can hear the screams about an SBC under the hood has ruined every piece of history in the world and if it isn’t painted immediately it will be a rusty hulk that you can stick your thumb through by morning.
      Sarcastic rant off.
      I’ve seen the ads for this, great car.

      Like 3
  19. Wayne

    The best way to ship a nice, running car is with Reliable (pretty orange trucks) No muss no fuss. It stays in the truck until delivered. (cost is not as bad as you would think) I had to ship a GMC Savana cargo van via “standard carrier” (the customer did not want the extra 2,000 miles on the odo. Even with my warnings he still opted to have it trucked. It took 1 month to get across 6 states and 6 months to get the body damage handled. It had been on 5 different trucks, so the excuse was always “it was like that when we received it”. It had also accumulated 150 miles. Customer was not able to be upset with me, as I had warned him up front.

  20. Steve

    All the hand wringing over the engine!
    I would have been torn what to put in it if it came with the original drivetrain but
    whoever buys this can leave it as is or put what ever engine they want in it with a clear conscience!
    Personally I would drive the wheels off it as is with some tidying.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.