Original Or Restore? 1957 Studebaker Transtar

The pride of South Bend, this 1957 Studebaker Transtar 1/2-ton pickup, is an original time machine. It spent the first half of its life in southern California and the next half in Portland, Oregon, where it still resides. It’s listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $7,995.

That’s one long box, it probably was helpful to have such a truck in the wine country around Portland. Mmmm.. wine.. sorry, I got distracted for a second there. The 1957 Studebaker Transtar was basically the same truck as the one that had debuted in 1949 with very few changes. The 1957 models had a new fiberglass grille that was meant to modernize them a bit, whether it worked or not is debatable.

They’re only original once, and this truck appears to be as original as they get, at least as far as having never been restored or painted or having the interior reupholstered, etc. Hagerty lists a #4 “fair” value of $9,000 on a truck with this configuration (V8!), so this has the potential to be a fairly good bargain, depending on the shipping costs if the next owner isn’t in the Portland, Oregon area. Those lights on the fenders are a nice touch, I wonder if Toyota took that cue for its HiLux pickups?

You have to love a tough truck with a light blue and pink interior! Things look pretty original here, other than maybe the steering wheel cover, and the set of gauges under the dash. The seller lists a vast amount of work that has been done, largely with NOS parts: “Door and windshield glass, fuel tank liner, radiator re-core, reach and tie rods, ignition switch, seat belts, motor mounts, OD kick down switch, relay and governor; all 4 wheel cylinders, brake hoses and custom steel tubing, brake master cylinder, front springs, fuel sending unit, seals for windows, vents and doors; door latch rebuilt, steering box, all belts and hoses, left and right manifold, water pump, heat riser, tailpipe and muffler, fuel pump, floor mat and pedal covers, king pins, heater valve, headlight switch, windshield wiper switch, spring shackles, clutch and pressure plate, 5 new old-style nylon tires, NOS stainless steel “lazy S” hubcaps…. and many little details.  Basically, everything to make it a safe, dependable daily runner (close to $6000 in parts alone).”

This is the engine that most people would want in this truck, Studebaker’s 259 cubic-inch V8 with 170 hp. This truck has the “Twin-Traction (positive traction) rear end, the Heavy Duty T85C-1A transmission.” This really looks like a great truck, especially for those who like to see unrestored vehicles, ones that have been maintained but still wear their original finish. Would any of you restore the body and interior on this truck, or is this one that should be kept as original as possible?

Fast Finds


  1. Leon

    With all the replaced parts. Wouldn’t it be semi or partly restored ??

    • Loco Mikado

      This is the devil of the hobby. Things eventually wear out and need to be replaced or repaired. If you bought a car 60 years ago and put it immediately in climate controlled storage and went to drive it today it would need stuff replaced right and left, first of all the battery. There is absolutely no way a running vehicle with any age on it would have every single original part on it as it left the factory starting with oil and oil filter and going from there. There is a certain thing called maintenance.

  2. John M.

    For a 60 year old truck, it looks darn good. If I had it, I’d keep the truck the way it is and just do the usual maintenance and repairs to make it a daily driver.

    Like 1
  3. Howard A Member

    I only hope it gets left as is. Studebaker trucks are so rare. Just guessing, 100 of the other brands were sold, compared to one Studebaker. Not sure why that was. Fact is, we never saw Studebaker pickups in Wisconsin. More bigger farm trucks, mostly. This truck had everything, and more, than the others, yet lagged behind,,,,waaay behind. I always thought the new nose complimented the flowing design of the truck. The new Champ was kind of tacked together. V8, O/D, pretty sweet, although, I’d drop the rear end more, with 4:27 gears, even with O/D, the V8 will be hollerin’. This is one nice truck, as is.

    • Dave Wright

      4.10’s would be about ideal with the overdrive but it isn’t that far from the 4.27’s. You have to know how high the overdrive gearing is to be sure what is needed. All overdrives are not created equal. Great old truck and with the V8, very useable.

    • Sam

      Howard, that big rear bumper and rear fenders remind me of a Wisconsin Supper Club hostess! Southeast Wisconsin was AMC territory. Drive and enjoy as is…maybe do some upholstery work.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Sam, BINGO! You know what they say, never trust a skinny cook. :)

  4. whippeteer

    Drive as is. The upholstery was redone in the 90s according to the ad.

  5. Woodie Man

    Hey Howard what could you drop the rear end to that would fit in the truck?

    A little better rear end gearing might make it more daily driving friendly though it doesnt seem to have bothered the sellers. Seems to me if you want an old gal that has had all the important time consuming stuff sorted, this is it.

    I wish I wasn’t so cheap and already had my C-10. lol

    • Howard A Member

      Probably 4:10’s, like Dave says. 3:90’s, O/D and a V8 could get you in trouble. Besides, I’m not sure I’d want to go 90 mph in this.

  6. Rex Kahrs Member

    The front bumper really doesn’t appear to have been thought out. It looks like they had a surplus of rear bumpers from some other vehicle, and just bolted them on to the front of this model.

    And the pink interior touches sure to seem like an odd choice for a V8 pickup truck, but I know that pink was a hot color in 1957.

  7. JW

    Buy it, leave it alone, drive it.

  8. ccrvtt

    I’m definitely NOT a truck guy but if I were this one would be the one to have. This is just beyond cool. Keep it like it is and drive it with pride.

  9. Paul B

    Drive it and take care of it. This is one cool truck, and Studebaker’s V8 was just about bulletproof. A very stout engine, and the truck versions are even stronger.

  10. Dave M

    I have a mostly stock ’57 Transtar just like this one execpt mine is factory auto trans. I use mine as a daily driver. They have no problem going 70 plus miles per hour and can keep up with traffic to a certain point. A little slow off the line. Must make sure the front suspension is tight for higher speeds. This one looks in great shape and could become a daily driver also. They do have a tendency to over heat some in slow or stalled traffic. I LOVE my truck and would not trade it for any other. Real head turner and be ready for a lot of attention everywhere you go. Most parts are plentyfull and reasonable. Easy truck to work on. Be the only one at most shows.

  11. Dave M

    The bumpers are stock for that year.(heavy duty)

  12. Marty Parker

    Most of the three speed OD transmissions of this era were .70 to 1 ratio. With 4.27 gears, that would put the final drive ratio at approx. 3.00 to 1. Should cruise easily at legal speeds.

  13. Don

    If it’s the original paint why does the front bumper have paint on it ?

  14. Bob C.

    Hey Howard, I agree 100 percent. Studebaker had to make do with existing components for years due to a tight budget. Still a cool and unique truck. I am with keeping it as is and making it safe and roadworthy, and of course fix the rust.

  15. Smittydog

    Wine is for women.

    Like 1

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