Pickup Project: 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express

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A few months back we reviewed a 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express that was undergoing a restoration. That example elicited interesting comments as it seemed to capture some imaginations. So, for round two, here is another ’37 Studebaker Coupe Express, a vehicle that one commenter accurately referred to as a ” Pre El Camino and Ranchero“, but this subject has undergone no refurbishment. It is located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,550, two bids tendered as of this writing.

Rather than readdress the Coupe Express’ history, it would be more pertinent to examine what’s here and there isn’t a lot, truth be told – deleterious may be one way to describe this Studebaker’s unfortunate condition. The 217.8 CI flathead, in-line six-cylinder engine has been reduced to long-block status with its missing intake and exhaust manifolds, starter, and what appears to be the front end rotating assembly – belts, pullies, etc. The lonely, capless, distributor is about all that’s left. The three-speed manual transmission is still in place but even the shifter knob has been nicked.

The body of this pickup is mostly there but is showing significant rust in places, both surface and perforation, and there are numerous dents dotting the exterior landscape. The headlight pods are still in place but the taillights are MIA as is the front bumper and rear tailgate. The cargo bed is heavily corroded with rust-through apparent in places – it’s still usable but it is slowly slipping away. One of the most notable features of the Coupe Express is its very prominent grille. Unfortunately, several of the horizontal fins are bent but it may be fixable. While trim pieces are missing, the hood ornament is still perched above the grille, over top of where the radiator used to reside.

The interior probably grabbed my intention more so than any other aspect of this truck and that’s because there is so little of it still remaining. There is no floor but at least you get a good look at the frame – and it is pitted with surface rust but may still be solid. You can also spy the transmission and front universal joint too – for what that’s worth. The door cards, seat, windshield, rear window, and most of the instrumentation have all gone missing. Pretty much all that’s left are the gear shift, a badly cracked steering wheel, the door release handles, and one window crank.

This Studebaker Coupe Express needs to be saved. It is probably salvageable; many exceedingly worn vehicles can be brought back to life, it is just a question of at what price? Fully restored examples can bring $60 to $75K while running, but a bit rough, go for $25K, and non-running but complete and mostly solid examples can see $10K. So, that begs the question, what do you think it will take to turn this truck into a presentable, not restored, just presentable, driver?

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  1. Paolo

    It’s been picked no question. It looks like a good rot-free start to a nice Coupe Express if you already have a bunch of good parts to hang on it. Otherwise it’s just a skeleton.

    Like 3
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Quite a find, I’m sure someone has restored worse. Like the Ford, a piece of history,,,but who cares?

    Like 2

    Ive seen them restored. If you have the money this could be a beauty.

    Like 4
  4. Vince H

    Ended for some reason.

    Like 1
  5. Pugsy

    Nice project.

    Like 1
  6. Rick

    perfect for jacking up the body,and sliding a more modern chassis and driveline underneath….

    Like 1
  7. Don

    Have one. Paid $10. Recent appraisal is $85,000. Was missing a lot but time and money got it restored. Same as new now!

    Like 1
  8. stillrunners

    Look like it was a parts truck for another one….rare and nice when done.

    Like 0
  9. Kenn

    Numbers matching? Original Miles? Why aren’t these questions being asked, since it seems that is all-important to so many folks here.

    Like 2
  10. Rebecca

    Not much to go on but then there is the beauty! These early Stude trucks ride like sedans and turn lots of heads. I’m slowly pulling a ‘39 out of my dad’s old barn to make road worthy. A true labor of love!

    Like 0

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