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One-Off: 1949 Sabyan Special


The ’40s and ’50s yielded some fantastic and over the top designs, but there were those who wanted something even more radical. This is where Mr. William Sabyan enters the picture, he was a metal worker and mechanic, and the car you see above is the product of his dreams. This one off special has just recently been pulled from long term storage and now is listed here on eBay.


The interior looks good, but is very simplistic. Most fiberglass one offs are poorly finished, but this one could almost pass for a production car. It took Mr. Sabyan a couple years to complete his dream and shortly after its completion, it was passed on to his nephew. From the point until the 1970’s, its history is unknown, but after reappearing in ’71 it was restored to its current configuration and then put into storage.


This special started life with a flathead six, but a previous owner swapped it out for this 351 cui V8. The chassis is from a 1940 Packard Town Car, which would explain why it weighs nearly 5,000 pounds. This Windsor V8 should do a better job of pushing the car around then the Studebaker six could have anyway.


What information and history there is known about this car has been documented by the guys at ForgottenFiberglass.com, but if you know anything about it, please share. Valuing a one off special like this can be a challenge, so we will pose the question to you, what’s it worth?


  1. Jason

    Wow I absolutely love this car, I’m worried about the head gasket tho, I mean it looked wet under it, I don’t like the tires much I rather put on scuffs , I’m totally in love with the big grill, totally worth the money, thumbs up

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  2. scot c

    ~ ‘Most fiberglass one offs are poorly finished, …’
    . despite the interest of Forgotten Fiberglass and our friend Geoff Hacker, the reading i have found indicates ‘ the body itself is done with 16 gauge steel and lead.’ but i would allow the possibility that fiberglass may have also been used. who would guess this amazing creation survived the years?

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    • scot c

      ~ upon checking my facts i notice the Sabyan weighs 4,840 lbs. that would be a hell of a lot of fiberglass. especially considering Studebaker’s largest 4 door ’50 Land Cruiser tipped the scales at 3,355lbs with the Champion convertible about 20# heavier.

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  3. carl

    the dash and instrument panel sort of look like it came from an older boat w/steering wheel.

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  4. carl

    and it looks like more than then fiber glass was used around the engine compartment the fenders where the paint is chipped looks to me like metal flange and molded prefabbed metal not from factory i’m sure the fenders were extended .to each his own that was his dream .we all have a dream car whether it’s a 1 of a kind or so many out of production God bless him .

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  5. paul

    Saban, what? I like the Stude tail lights.

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    • paul

      another look & I see the front lights are also Stude.

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  6. junkman Member

    I see Rodger Rabbit.

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    • Larry

      me too !!! funny

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    • Norman Michael HArman

      Yeh, me too, as well. My first thought was; “This is a cartoon car,” and “Rodger Rabbit” popped into my head.

      As a car-toon it’s kind of cool. As an actual car, it’s just butt-ugly.

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  7. Chris H.

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Too cartoonish for me.

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  8. Chris

    Compared to the exterior, the interior is very nice. Jessica can slide right over to Roger. 4,840 lbs? Must be a lot of lead along with the steel. Of course 1940’s body steel was probably 3 times thicker than what is used today. That red is the perfect Sabyan Special color.

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  9. Doug M Member

    This takes the award in my book for misguided taste being followed to it’s unfortunate conclusion! I really admire the guy, though, for seeing it through to completion…. but, wow!!??

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  10. R. Wayne Garrison

    You say that the Sabyan is a 1949 model. I wonder. The center-ring grille frame and those head light bezels were used on 1950 and 1951 Studebakers. And those tail lights were used on 1952 Studebaker Commanders.

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  11. Rancho Bella

    there are no words……………………

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  12. Dolphin Member

    Lots of Studebaker in this one.
    You aren’t going to see another one of these coming toward you on the road anytime soon.

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  13. Foxxy

    I never saw anything in the e-bay listing about fiberglass. It did say it was all steel 16 ga. the rear fenders ar 49 -50 stud. The whole thing has stud lines in it. I would like to know if that is a stud rear end in it. It looks like the pinion side is pointed up similar to a big truck. Pretty cool car. not sure what it will bring. jmo

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  14. Tricky Dickie Member

    At Last I knows now what happened to my Bar-B-Que grill………

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  15. David Reeves

    Love that HUGE trunk

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  16. Gene Sabyan

    My dad drove this car from Canada to NJ. His Uncle built the car. It’s an old car, only one made. Would love to know where it is these days.

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  17. james statham

    I remember seeing this car , during its construction.My father took me to see Mr. Sabyan ,at his shop.

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  18. Dustin

    Looks kind of like the custom car Frankenstude!

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  19. Tim

    My Grandfather Stanley Terwilliger bought this from the family and restored it in Middletown NY. When he bought it it was blue/teal and had a tree growing in it! after he died, my Grandmother sold it and we never knew where it went. Does anyone know where it is?

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    • Alex DiMar

      My family has this car now. It’s in Europe. Do you have any details about the history of this car?

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  20. Carla

    It would be too cool to find out I’m related to Mr Sabyan 😊 I love this car

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  21. Alex DiMar

    My family owns this car! It’s currently in Europe. We would love to learn more about this car and its history in more detail.

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    • Alex DiMar

      Could someone who is familiar with it and its history please contact me?

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  22. Tim Terwilliger

    ll i know i was built in canada by bill sabyan he died and left it to a family member and i got abandoned. My grandfather bought it and restored it. he died my step grandmother sold it for almost nothing. actualy jay leno offered my grandfather 100g us and he turned it down, and now its yours!

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