One Tough Truck: 1946 Studebaker M15A 1.5-Ton

You can tell by the wheels that this isn’t a lightweight pickup, the kind of posh ride that a lot of folks commute with today. This great-looking truck is a full 1.5-tons of hauling muscle wrapped up in arrow-straight body panels. The seller has this 1946 Studebaker M15A pickup listed here on eBay in beautiful and wet Hood River, Oregon. There is a single bid of $7,000 and no reserve.

Hood River is home to one of my favorite museums: WAAAM – the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum. It’s an absolute must-see if you’re even remotely in the Portland area, which is an hour and a half west of Hood River. I don’t even have to mention the incredible craft beers in Hood River and Portland so I won’t. Back to this great-looking pickup.

How cool would it be to have this Studebaker M15A and a Diamond T Model 201? Very cool, that’s how cool. Studebaker offered this truck in a half-ton version, the M5, and the 3/4-ton pickup which was an M15. You kicked it up a notch with the 1.5-ton M15A as seen here and you were really hauling if you needed an M16, their 2-ton truck. The repair (?) on the left rear fender edge is the only real flaw that I see on this truck’s exterior, it’s one clean pickup.

The interior is all business, there isn’t a radio, clock, or much else inside as far as luxuries go and why would there be? This is a work truck. I’m betting that there’s a cigarette/cigar lighter, though, since almost everyone smoked in this era. The seller says that they have replacement door panels and a replacement headliner which is nice to hear. They show a photo of the bed and compared to most old pickups, it looks great back there. The seller says that they’ve had this truck for 25 years and it’s always parked in a shed when not being used. There is some rust in the floors but none to speak of on the body otherwise.

The engine should be a 169 cubic-inch Champion engine which was an inline-six. The seller hasn’t started it in two years but it ran well prior to that. They noticed a small leak from the water pump when they pulled it out for the photos. Body condition alone, this truck has to be worth more than $7,000. Are there any Studebaker pickup fans or owners out there?


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  1. Howard A Member

    Another unique submission and the crowd goes wild,,,( crickets), well, I enjoy his, shall we say, less than conventional postings. Just a reminder, the writers work hard on their posts, often times on vehicles they know little about in between their “day jobs”. If you have a correction, be cordial, they do a great job, and a tip of the hat to all writers.
    After the war, building of every kind went nuts. Heavier and heavier trucks were needed to fill those needs. Every truck manufacturer made HD pickups like this. REO, Mack ( a rebadged REO), IH, Diamond T, Studebaker, Dodge ( Ford and Chevy concentrated on the light duty market) all competing for the share of the market. For a purist like me, this is a gold mine of a find, but may fall on deaf ears for most today. Being the most vocal on the subject, not sure it has to be gone over every time one of these comes up, it’s shortcomings for today well known, by anyone over 60, anyway. Got resto-mod written all over it, and that’s okay. It’s practically useless as is for todays roads.

    Like 30
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Thank you, Howard, for the kind comments on us writers. You’re part of the reason it’s fun!

      Like 15
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks, Howard! I (we?) always hope for comments from the truck experts among the readers, it’s always nice to keep the conversation going in case we missed anything.

      Like 11
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Christmas comes early! I’ve always been very partial to this model; it just appeals to me and I sure wouldn’t kick off my place. Not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. You would almost have to push it to get it moving downhill with a tailwind. I think that the larger (248) engine was available in this truck so you wouldn’t be all that likely to be passed by the neighbor’s John Deere Model A. A Warner T-9 transmission (same as was in Fords, Binders, Dodges, Diamond-Ts, you name it) Crash Box would be transmitting the power. You’ve got to get used to double-clutching because those straight-cut gears aren’t all that tolerant. Being behind a six-cylinder instead of a Flathead V-8 the transmission won’t howl like a banshee but more like a politician, or some of my former customers when they saw the bill. Hope this goes to a good home but I have to say that if it came my way I’d want the larger six but I sure wouldn’t give anyone flak for dropping in a Stude 259 V8…

      Like 6
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Ditto on Howard’s comments. This truck does have that heavy duty vibe written all over it and I certainly agree on an engine that enables someone to drive it in our present world. That would increase the fun factor immensely.

    Like 6
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    As for you the writers: What you do here and what you bring to this site is greatly appreciated by many and most of us.

    The few that choose to nit-pick, and criticize your work, well that says more about them, than it does about you. Small minded and bitter, these are the people that ruin social media.

    Like 16
  4. Terrry

    People say replace the drive train for today’s roads, but what then? You’d have one less of an original Studebaker pick-up. I say keep it as original as possible, and use it as an around- town driver occasionally.

    Like 24
  5. BA

    This truck brings a tear to my eye as my Dad was a lover of Studebaker and Diamond Reo and I miss him greatly, especially this time of year. Of course my dad was a purist but I’m one of the make it interesting & fun crowd drop a Rat in it ! miss you Dad

    Like 5
  6. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I just swooned a little. I love it right down to the patina’d green paint. The only thing I’d change is I’d tear out and cut up the stake sides into firewood. What an awesome truck

    Like 7
  7. Rosko

    Interesting point about modern trucks. Saw a new Chevy Somethingrado on the street today and thought “Gee, the
    proportions are so outta whack even Chip Foose couldn’t make something attractive out of it without striping it to the frame”.

    Like 6
  8. BlondeUXB Member

    ‘when trucks were trucks and women blushed…

    Like 9
  9. David JMII

    There is one in my Long Beach CA neighborhood, it is really rough but is some guy’s daily driver. I admire it on my daily dog walks, it is always parked in a different spaces which proves it moves somewhere daily. It fits the neighborhood as it is a historic homes part of the city.

    Like 4
  10. William Kwapy

    Russians circa WWII, I read, called trucks “Studebakers”. Their trucks came from the Lend Lease Bill. I experienced a ’47 Studebaker pickup I got for $350 in 1973. Loved that truck such that I visited the Studebaker Museum this last summer. Found a ’48 pickup in the museum.

    Like 3
  11. charlie Member

    From home to the transfer station, a great thing, all on 35 mph roads. From home to get gravel, or topsoil, or lumber, no choice but 10 to 15 miles on a 70mph interestate standard highway, plus the 35 mph roads. And a 10 mile 6% grade. Uphill in the break down lane, at 25 mph in 2nd, have to add 4 way flashers, downhill, need to add a dual master cylinder, could over rev the engine in 3rd, maybe it has 4th, but still need engine braking down hill, maybe disc brakes on the front? Might as well put in a V8, Studebaker 289 if you can find one, with overdrive. And, repaint it again in an original color. This clear coat over rust does not appeal to me.

    • sean

      the truck is just wet. not clear coated.

  12. Vince H

    It is a bit under powered. It would be much better with the 226 six.

    Like 1
  13. Dennis

    There’s a truck like this in my town. The darker green color and I drool every time I see it. I’ve warned my wife if I ever see a FOR SALE sign on it, I will move heaven and earth to buy it.

    Like 2
  14. Mike A.

    Wanted to clarify some of the info given in the write-up about this truck.
    The Studebaker trucks of that period (1941-1948) are M-series trucks. The M-5 version is the basic 1/2-ton pick-up truck. Studebaker did NOT have a designated 3/4-ton truck in this line. The M-15/15a was a 1-ton truck; the M-16 truck was a 1.5-ton truck in its base form, but with an optional fish-plated frame it would become a 2-ton rated truck (I have one of these). Studebaker also produced an M-17 model, a 2-tonner, but that was almost exclusively an export-only model.

    Like 1
  15. Chris Londish Member

    We had the M15 in Australia but only in a larger cab chassis with dual rear wheels, I love the variety of models that was available on the states

    Like 1
  16. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    I have one of these I bought from old man Fry who had taken the bed off to make a wrecker out of it. Bought it and took a while to figure out the long running boards it had but found a picture like this one. It sits on the back burner at the moment but……

    Funny – at 15 I spotted a 1/2 ton one sitting in a back corner of a property close to my home. Tried to buy it for until I was 16 and went to buy a little newer Studie. That little half ton was his brothers and it sat in the same spot forever until it was gone one day.

    Like 2
  17. Burger

    Absolutely awesome vehicle to force today’s stunt driver wannabes to comply with traffic laws. The forklift forks with tow ball that stick off the back of mine have skewered many street racing fools over the years. Reliable and super easy to work on, I love Studebaker trucks !

    Like 2
  18. sean

    It’s a great truck. Someone will be real happy with it.

    Like 1
  19. Pit Stop Pauly

    My Dream Truck. Paint it a dark green, chrome that gorgeous grille, pull and store original engine/trans and replace with 259/289 v8 Studebaker and borg-warner 4 speed, upgrade brakes…and enjoy.

    Like 1
  20. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update, this great-looking truck sold for $8,150!

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