Regal Beauty: 1959 Studebaker Lark VIII Regal

This Hawaiian Green beauty is a 1959 Studebaker Lark VIII Regal and it’s listed with Mecum for an upcoming auction in January. Since it’s yet to be auctioned there is no price, of course, but NADA lists a rough value of between $6,000 and $14,000 with the $14,000 figure being an “average” price. That’s not a good sign for those of us who would love to have a ’59 Lark.

This is one beautiful car, or I think it is. The VIII means that it’s a V8 as opposed to the VI designation meaning that the car would have had an inline-six.

This car is about as nice as you’ll find. It had to have been restored but there is no word on the auction site about that. The Regal trim level, according to Hemmings, adds chrome trim around the headlights and grille. But, it seems to me that I’ve seen that on Deluxe Larks, too? I could be wrong, no, I must be wrong.

One feature of the Regal trim line was a padded dash which this car has. This is one perfect interior, too. This car has an automatic, power steering, and a factory AM radio and the interior is just as nice as the exterior is. Even the trunk is gorgeous, as far as Studebaker Lark trunks go.

Here’s what all the hub-bub is about, bub! This is Studebaker’s 259 V8 with 180 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. At a ton-and-a-half (3,000 lb) these weren’t light cars but for 1959 this was a competitive car with a 0-60 time of around 10 seconds, on par with most bigger, more-powerful cars of the time. What do you think this beautiful little Lark will sell for? My guess is $15,000-$20,000, putting it squarely out of my weekend car range.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    You know, I always get a little “verklempt” when I see cars like this, especially in this condition. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Studebaker wasn’t more popular. I mean, look at it. It’s a beautiful car, and well built. I guess being from Milwaukee, I’ve always liked the “orphaned ” cars. ( Rambler, Studebaker, Packard, etc) They got such an unfair shake. I feel they were as good, or better than the Big 3. For some reason, it didn’t play out that way. The only thing I’d change on this car, is the exhaust. I’d have them come out behind the rear tire, like stock. ( never cared for dual exhaust out the back, unless it was those ’50’s GM’s that had it through the bumper) Fantastic car here, Hemmings usually has the best of the best, and while their prices may reflect that, I’d have no worry’s buying a car through Hemmings. That’s worth something.

    Like 2
    • DrinkinGasoline

      Once again Howard, I’m in your corner. People are gonna talk (like they don’t already)….I’ve been a subscriber to Hemmings for over 40 years. It is, and has been the “bible”. But, I do appreciate a set of tailpipes under the rear bumper, damn near scraping the ground.
      Maybe Flamethrower’s even….exit,stage left ! (remember that ?)

      Like 1
      • DrinkinGasoline

        I would hope that folks would not mistake “verklempt” for German as it is… Yiddish. Not to be mistaken with Werner Klemperer of Hogan’s Hero’s fame.

      • Howard A Member

        Who doesn’t like Mike Myers? For shame.

    • Ed P

      GM, Ford, and Chrysler had ‘economy of scale’ working for them. The orphans had to make profits on much smaller production. They could have solved that problem if they had just headed Charles Mason’s call to merge into one company earlier when they were healthy.

      Like 1
      • DrinkinGasoline

        Ok….Ed P…… I’m hoping you respond to any further posts under a different user name if you expect to be taken seriously. Talk about left field when it comes to the auto industry. The auto industry was alive, well and thriving… long before Charles Manson was a drip on his father’s leg. Much to his father’s regret…..obviously.

      • DrinkinGasoline

        Oh yea, Charlie Manson was sooo smart. That’s why he’s been denied parole….how many times?? His death in prison will be celebrated as Fidel Castro’s recently was.
        He has nothing to do with the automotive industry or Barn Finds. BF is not political but exists for the love of vintage vehicles. Soapbox elsewhere.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        I’m thinking he may have been speaking of GEORGE Mason. Wanted to unite independent auto makers, right?

        Like 1
      • DrinkinGasoline

        Obviously, the one thumbs down came from Ed P.
        It only adds to my “Thumbs Down Troll Count” Whoo Hoo !
        I’m on your heels Howard !

      • HotRodLincoln

        Keep on smokin’ that dope….moron.

      • Ed P

        Jamie. George Mason is right. I stand corrected.

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Whoa! Where’d that go?

      • Howard A Member

        Tough crowd, hey Ed?

    • Vince Habel

      Howard they did not come out behind the rear tire. Only station wagons came out the side well behind the tire.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Vince, thanks, I’m just saying, a stock approach for duals would be behind the tires, not many cars had them sticking out the back, from the factory, that is. I know, we all did it, ran them out the back. In most cases, it was the easiest way.

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      @Howard,
      I agree with you and @Drinkingasoline about the beauty of these, the simple lines, almost graceful. Might I offer an opinion on your opine about why Studebaker was so neglected?
      Studebaker offered two basic cars, the Hawk and the Lark. You could get either with a six or an eight, trim or no trim. A pretty basic selection.
      Chevy had four selections all with either a six or eight, the Bel Air, Biscayne, Corvette, Impala.
      Ford had five, Custom, Fairlane, Galaxie, Station Wagon, Thunderbird, or 8 if you count Lincoln.
      Chrysler had four or six if you count Imperial.
      Desoto had four.
      I’m thinking the consumer just had more choices with the others and left these beautiful cars at the dealer.

      Like 1
  2. RayT Member

    A friend had a Lark VIII convertible “back in the day,” and I was jealous. This is even more attractive to me! For once, I’ll say this has nothing to do with Studebaker and its follies and fortunes; it’s just a neat-looking ride. And I know it’s a nice little runabout if all the restoration/repair work has been done to the same standard as the cosmetics.

    It’ll probably command a hefty price at auction. I don’t know what the production numbers of the Lark coupe were, but I don’t ever remember seeing many of them. There can’t be many survivors as nice as this.

    Like 1
  3. mach1joe

    Absolutely Gorgeous!

  4. Dirty Dingus McGee

    A few months back, I picked up a 60 model Lark, 2 door coupe (B pillars and window frames). Slight resto mod, later model bumpers, aftermarket 4 barrel on a factory intake, most Regal chrome added, nice but not factory style new interior and the exhaust that Howard doesn’t care for.. Paid right at $5000 including fees at auction. While I like mine, this one is in far better condition, and a more desirable body style to boot. I would expect it to go somewhere in the range of $12-16K.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Want what you have instead of having what you want. You’ll be solid.

  5. Poppy

    “Regal” trim for many Studebakers often referred to the chrome belt-line moldings. Nice looking Lark. They sold a bunch in 1959 (its debut year) as nobody else offered a “small big car” like this until the big 3 caught up a few years later.

  6. Rustytech Member

    Someone obviously did a no expense spared restoration on this beauty. Studebaker has alway been one of my favorites. Me thinks this one will be way way over my pocketbook though. I’ll be watching Mecum’s to see where it goes.

  7. Dylan Wills

    Beautiful Lark. We own two ’61 larks (deluxe trim lines) and I drive one daily. Regal trim lines in 1959 would have only added one major piece of chrome, the larger surround around the grill. Otherwise it was (mostly, there is a few other small details) relegated to interior differences and what was standard accessories (like having a standard heater; which was optional on Deluxes). Exhaust is correct for the car, but if you had a station wagon (like ours) they would exit to the side instead. Gorgeous all around. Reliable as they get and you’ll never get lonely at a gas station!

    Like 1
  8. M/K

    i stand corrected. thank you.

  9. Jim Mc

    “This is one beautiful car, or I think it is.”

    No need to second guess, you’re right on this one. It’s a beauty. And it’s likely worth the ask.

    I need to bone up on my Stude history and how they went out of biz. They had everything going for them – a FP factory at a major rail center, a union workforce willing to to work with management, I know the recession of ’58 was a rough one but still…? And beyond that? What bad deal went down?

    Need to read some more.

    • Ed P

      The Ford-Chevy price war of the early fifty’s cut the financial heart out of Stude. They never fully recovered. If not for Packard, they would have ended by ’56.

  10. Vince Habel

    These were called a hardtop sedan. There was never a Lark style car from 59-66 that were called a coupe.

    • Bill W

      Studebaker did have a two sedan (Deluxe series), a body style many call a coupe. The 1962-66 two door sedans were on a 109″ wheelbase while the four door models were 113″. The 4″ was in the rear seat floor. Which just encouraged people to call the two door post models as coupes.

      Like 1
  11. Glen

    This Hawaiian green is an interesting colour. The more I look at it, the more I see the green, but there is blue also. I guess that is what turquoise is, and I do like it. It is a heavy car, but has decent torque. I’d like to take this out for a spin.

  12. jeff6599

    The shipping weight for a Lark was 3034 lb. and you’re calling it heavy? Every real muscle car made outweighed it! As an appraiser I always tell my clients that the absolutely best way to value a car is at a larger suitably auction. You get the best value for your money and the investment will likely be around and better than many many mutual funds so you can profit suitably come sell time. This is an investment car, boys. Drive it lightly, enjoy the crowds, keep it clean.

    Like 1
  13. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I love Studebakers…we always had one in the driveway growing up. The last one was a final year Golden Hawk.

    That said, the Lark just looks wrong without a B pillar.

    I’ll thumbs down myself on the way out, thank you

  14. Paul R.

    Golden Hawk, President Speedster Coupe, Avanti… Some of the most beautiful cars that were ever produced. The Lark is one of the ugliest in my opinion.

    Like 1
  15. Scot Carr

    ~ In ’63 my Dad found a ’59 Lark hardtop sedan VI with 26k, a very cute little car. I’m sure that he paid less than $500. Pillarless Larks were scarce even then. I drove it to high school then and wish it was still around. Slower than snot.

  16. rmward194 Member
    • RayT Member

      Yup. Seems like the same car. Did that dealer throw it in the auction to get it off their hands?

      I don’t know how deep the pool of Lark enthusiasts is (or how deep their pockets are), so am unsure if the $22.5K was too optimistic. I wouldn’t go that high — unless Uncle Powerball smiled upon me, and maybe not even then — but it’s just as well. A Serious Collector would frown on this car going to me: I’d drive it, and let the stone chips fall where they may….

  17. Bill Pressler

    I love the car, but wish someone hadn’t painted the top white. Studebaker offered no two-tones in ’59.

    • Ed P

      It could be a dealer added feature. It was common for dealers to do that, at the time. Anyway, I like the combo.

  18. Vince Habel

    Howard.

    When Studebakers had dual exhaust from the factory they came straight out the back. They usually had extension that turned down or had the ones that looked flat on top but turned down on botttom side. 55 and 56 were different than 57 and later.

  19. Vince Habel

    exhaust extension are close to one of the styles the factory used.

  20. Jeff Surratt

    I like the car, but that is just too much BLUE for me. I bid $1, lol.

  21. Joe Muzy

    Studebaker made a great car but if you read the history of the company it was poor management decisions that was their undoing. They also had higher labor cost than the Big 3 which ate into their profit margin.

    • Bill W

      Studebaker’s high labour costs were due to the company agreeing to workers’ demands in the post war period to avoid a strike. Kaiser-Frazer and, to an extent, Hudson was the same. All other manufacturers let the workers strike. The workers would go back when they realized management was not going to budge.

      The second problem was Studebaker tooling up for two bodies for 1953 – one for the sedans and the second for the coupe/hardtop. Nothing interchanged between the two. That increased the costs of production as neither body sold enough cars to cover the tooling costs.

      Studebaker also had problems with their bodies rusting, yet management never went after engineering to correct the problem.

      The Avanti was a completely new design and shared no body parts with the Lark, The Avanti had a steel roll bar just behind the front seat, hidden in the B pillar. The body itself was fibreglass to lower tooling costs. It, too, never made any money for Studebaker.

  22. Arthur Brown

    They failed, not for the product but the business practices of the maker and dealers!

  23. Joe

    This Stude will bring all the money … look at the attention it is getting already !! An iconic piece of Americana .

  24. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Actually the little Lark saved them for awhile after the purchase of Packard almost brought them down….the Avanti – not so much…and they just updated the C/K body….oh well.

    On another note – I did have one of these – just can’t remember much except I sold it at a swap meet….I kinda was an early flipper I guess. Nice car – I like my 63/64’s….

  25. '63 Lark Daytona ragtop

    No way it’s worth $15K-$20K. I’d say $10K, but you never know at a high profile auction. Join the Stude club and be patient. I’d hold-out for a ragtop, in slightly lesser condition (like my ’63!) for under 20K

  26. Ralph Robichaud

    These were fun to drive… overall handling at the time was not high on the list of attributes of North American cars,but these Larks handled curves ,hills and swallows quite well , not hard to outrun the price range competion.such as Ramblers, Chevy !!, Valiants and Falcons. I had a 62 with the 259, scat, would chirp the rear tires at 35mph, coming out of 2nd gear. Also had a 66 Cruiser with the GM 283- nice car but just that a nice car. Notable- great interior space for exterior dimensions.

  27. '63 Lark Daytona

    Fresh from the “Studebaker Addicts International” FB page. $5500 for a less desirable 6-cyl. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2209016075/permalink/10153849492571076/

  28. Bill Pressler

    Packard bought Studebaker, but by ’56, they were the bigger loser of the two. Business Week reported that while Studebaker sales in ’56 were down 33%, Packard’s were down “a thumping 67%”. The ’56 loss was $43 mil. ’57, without Packard, the loss was $11 mil. $13 mil loss in ’58, and the biggest profit in Studebaker’s 107-year history in ’59–$28.5 million. Also made a profit, although much, much smaller, in ’60.

  29. Mark P

    Let me see, one guy said Mason, another saw Manson, the Mason guy was correct in his statement, did the Manson guy ever realize his mistake?

  30. Alan (Michigan)

    Sold, at $14,500 + commissions and taxes.

    Nice car.

    • '63 Lark Daytona

      Wow! That’s the money a decent ragtop goes for, if you’re a patient Stude club member.

  31. Ralph Robichaud

    I actually thought it would bring more….Lucky buyer say I.

  32. Bill W

    Forgot to mention the Deluxe was the base line and the Regal the fancy one. The Deluxe did not have the chrome surround on the grille or around the headlamps. That was Regal trim,

    Inside the Regal was fancier with higher grade upholstery and shiny trim along the interior door and quarter panels. Also the trim on instrument panel on the upper edge and along the lower was Regal only.

    The Big Three came out with their compacts for 1960 and that hurt Studebaker as the Lark was basically a 1953 Studebaker with the rear axle moved 4 inches forward and the front axle moved 3½” toward the firewall. The roof was carried over from the 1953-58 models so they could keep the seats basically where they were. Which is why the Studebaker was so roomy.

  33. Brian DeFrancesco

    Very nice looking little birdie, but hey–NADA–hop on the reality bus. A perfect ’59 Lark Regal 2dr ht would be hard pressed to find a buyer at $16k much less 20. It’s a Lark, guys. Not a Golden Hawk or an Avanti.

  34. Ralph

    Comment is a little belated, the post having been from two years ago. BTW the right price is what someone will pay, not speculate about!

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