Same Family 5 Decades: 1928 Studebaker Dictator

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

In today’s world, a car named Dictator just wouldn’t work. But in the 1920s when Studebaker applied that name to its entry-level car, it meant that the automobile “dictated the standard” for others to follow. This nice-looking, non-running example has been owned by the same family for at least 50 years. That’s at least half the total time this 96-year-old vehicle has been around (built in 1928). The motor is stuck, so that will need attention, but the rest looks remarkably good.

Studebaker introduced the Dictator in 1927 and it was in production through 1937 (though they skipped 1933 due to financial woes). The Dictator was the successor to the Standard Six, but the changes were mostly in labeling. This was the “everyman’s” kind of car that we suspect kept Studebaker afloat in the years following The Great Depression. While the Dictator used an inline -6-banger engine, an 8-cylinder was optional. Perhaps Studebaker execs realized the double meaning of the car’s name, so the Dictator was known as the Director when sold overseas.

Given that the seller provides a video of this car on a trailer, we assume he/she purchased it from its long-time owners. No title comes with the auto (perhaps it was lost over the decades) so a bill of sale will have to suffice. The odometer reflects 16,000 miles, so either the car has been off the road for longer than we think, or it was only driven to church on Sundays.

We’re told this is a complete vehicle – right down to the wooden wheels and badging. Despite adding Marvel Mystery Oil to the cylinders, the engine will not respond. It’s available in Mansfield, Texas, and here on Facebook Marketplace where $11,500 is the asking price. BTW, the seller says he/she will process a bonded Texas title for the buyer for an additional $400. Thanks to T.J. for this tip – they always please!.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HadTwo

    The Studebaker President’s had a straight 8.
    Same basic body style, a bit fancier.

    Like 4
  2. Bill W.

    I suspect this has a good chance to become a hot rod. Unusual, but could be cool.

    Like 0
  3. Thomas Pickering

    Not “too” it should be “toe toe”

    Like 1
  4. CarbobMember

    If the engine is seized and needs to be rebuilt could you find the necessary parts? If you can’t use the existing engine and you have to replace it maybe a SBC or something similar would be feasible. But $11,500 for this non runner seems way too much to me.

    Like 5
  5. Mike Hutt

    I watched a 31 Chevy sell at Mecum in Indy a couple weeks ago. It was a very similar car in like condition with a title and it sold for 5,000.

    Like 1
  6. Connecticut mark

    Not running ! 400 bucks for a title extra? Who is the Dictator here? Forget it .

    Like 4
  7. Jim

    I wonder if the president or the dictator had a govenor

    Like 3
  8. Paul R.

    Everything is too much these days.
    Very cool looking car though.
    Maybe I’ll get into model making.

    Like 1
  9. Lawrence Smith

    It would make a great Hot Rod ,with say a 302 & stick shift, would love it if i could afford it,lol

    Like 0
  10. Jim

    Chop top New suspension and driveline 340 4-Speed and away you go smile every mile

    Like 0
  11. Bunky

    Unless it’s had a catastrophic mechanical failure, which I doubt, the engine can most likely be freed, cylinders honed, and continue beyond the 16000 miles it’s traveled so far.

    Like 1
  12. JGD

    This has triggered some memories. My 1st car was a 1930 Studebaker Dictator 6 four door sedan that I purchased from the original owner in 1958, a 28 year old car with 23,000 original miles. Price: $100.00. The original bill of sale was longer than the mortgage for my 1st home.

    The seller’s car is an excellent candidate for restoration but, recent prices paid for restored examples seem to top out around $25K. which makes the BIN price a tad high. There’s one on Hemmings Auction with a $40K bid that did not sell. Maybe that seller is trying to recoup his restoration costs.

    I note that the seller’s car has the small cowl lamps (which my car lacked), a single tail lamp and also a golf bag compartment below the right rear quarter window. FWIW, the ignition switch incorporates a steering lock. The seller makes no mention of an optional heater.

    My car also lacked a heater but there was a provision on the back of the front seat to hang a lap robe. No need for dark tint windows in 1930, the pull down shades on rear quarter and back windows of my sedan provided privacy. There was a chrome plated folding foot rail for rear passenger comfort.

    I learned to double clutch when shifting the non-syncro gearbox (a skill I’ve not needed since). IIRC, 2nd gear was good for 40 mph. According to period literature, the Dictator 6 was good for 60 to 70 mph but, I think that baby buggy suspension and mechanical brakes would have had me gripping the wheel with white knuckles at those speeds. BTW, my mom showed me how to change a tire on those split rim, wood spoke artillery wheels (just like her 1929 Chev of years past).

    I got my first taste of car repairs when I had to replace exhaust manifold gaskets that looked like an asbestos ring sandwiched between two flat copper donuts.

    The wiring harness ran along the steering column and under the Stromberg updraft carburetor. As I approached an intersection, a spark from the wiring lit up the carb and I could see flames through the hood side louvers. I hit the brakes, turned off the ignition and stopped. As I and a buddy bailed out, an alert mechanic from a corner gas station ran to the car with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire. My dad helped me fabricate a new wiring harness before I could get the car back on the road.

    Having learned that “one owner low mileage” doesn’t always translate to trouble free motoring, I sold my Dictator 6 a few months later to a wannabe collector and cashed the check before the ink dried.

    Like 0
  13. HadTwo

    haaaaaaaaa, GOOD story!!!!!! Thanks!
    “The wiring harness ran along the steering column and under the Stromberg updraft carburetor. As I approached an intersection, a spark from the wiring lit up the carb and I could see flames through the hood side louvers.”

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds