READER AD: 1939 Studebaker Commander

Over the past 80 years, this Studebaker has managed to survive the years without being wrecked, restored or the ills of rust. Some of that can be attributed to having spent its life in dry Albuquerque, New Mexico. It even runs! Reader Ivan M has decided that it’s time to part ways with this Commander, so you can find it here on craigslist with a $7,000 asking price.

Powering this Studebaker is a smooth running flathead inline-six. It’s a 226 cui engine that was rated about 90 horsepower, so it won’t be winning any races but will get you where you need to go. Given the size of the engine bay, there are a few Commanders out there with V8 swaps. It sure would give this car a big boost in the power department. Since it runs though, you might want to just leave it alone.

The interior is going to need some work. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though given that it’s an 80-year-old car that’s been baking in New Mexico. Thankfully, Studebaker’s key engineering principle during the late ’30s was that weight was the enemy. As a result, the interior is fairly basic. The dash looks to be in decent shape and has what few gauges were fitted from the factory. It currently has a blanket for a seat cover, so plan on replacing the upholstery.

While it’s going to need paintwork, the trim all looks to be in decent shape. Given how solid it appears to be, this could be a good restoration project or you could just clean it up a bit and make it into a driver. It sure is a cool looking design and those suicide rear doors will definitely start lots of conversations no matter what you do with it. So, if you’d love to be in Command of the road, be sure to make Ivan an offer!

  • Asking Price: $7,000
  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Title Status: Clean

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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Every time I see a car like this one I think of some of the WWII pictures I’ve seen with similar looking cars in them. Hope it finds it’s way back onto the road in the future. This is one that definitely should have a paint job done on it, that color is something else.

    Like 5
  2. Howard A. Member

    It certainly has potential. Not as is, however. When was the last time you drove a 90hp, 4100 pound car? It was adequate when everybody else drove these kinds of cars, but today, falls horribly short. Brakes too, just common sense.We say todays cars all look the same, but all these pre-war looked the same to me, with pointy fronts and hump backs. You have to admit, it really was a nice car for the late 30’s, but has to be modernized, and you don’t have to go gonzo either, like it seems is the American way. Maybe a 4.3, turbo, if you like, or small stock V8, O/D trans. disc brakes, be a fun car.

    Like 3
    • Vince H

      These engines move the car better than you think. It will keep up with today’s traffic. It won’t move from a start like the cars of today but you can easily run down he road at legal speed.

      Like 7
  3. Droman

    Leave the car alone and restored to original too many of these are getting ruined by upgrading.. and for what purpose ?? It worked fine when they were original maintain what you have and enjoy it …..

    Like 14
    • JP

      Might want to add an electric cooling fan. Amazed that it’s survived in the desert this long…

  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nice car and not sure if it has had a price drop. Seen it for sale before and except for the front end not really in demand….sad.

  5. Wr HALL

    When I was a little tyke my Dad bought a 37 Studebaker probably a Champion.
    We had it for a couple of years using it around our SERVICE STATION , until one of the guys who worked him for blew the motor. This was in the mid sixties. We used to have all sorts of junk we got from customers? Can’t do that now. When cars get old and decriped they are unrepairable now, No more patching something together and driving it a while longer.

    Like 1
    • Vince H

      39 was the first year for the Champion.

      Like 1
  6. Duffy Member

    I had a 46 but it was the same body after the war. It was a great car and “free-wheeled” if I remember correctly.

  7. JMC

    Having spent my life in the Rust Belt and having family in northern New Mexico with whom we go to visit periodically,I’ve been fascinated with how kind that part of the country is to car bodies.I’m out there maybe every 5 years,and the old piece I noticed before is often parked in the same spot looking just a bit more weathered.Those cousins of mine that live there pretty much figure on buying a new car and driving it year ’round for 20 years.As opposed to me whose pickups start perforating by 10 years.

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