Stored 20 Years: 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire

Wagons are hot right now and Studebakers are cool, what a great combo that makes for this 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire. Yes, the one with the rear portion of the roof that folds back. This cool/hot wagon can be found listed here on eBay in Clarklake, Michigan and the current bid price is $4,200.

That grille! Some would argue that the SUV has replaced the wagon and GM actually offered a similar sliding-roof vehicle in the GMC Envoy XUV in 2004 until early-2005. I would argue that the Envoy XUV will eventually be at least somewhat collectible in a decade or two.

Others may argue that recently-dearly-departed Lee Iacocca’s minivan drove the final nail in the wagon’s coffin. Families were soon buying as many minivans as companies could make and wagons fell to the wayside. Now wagons are popular again and minivans are uncool, although I’m not sure if minivans were ever considered cool? Will minivans ever be as cool and hot as old station wagons are considered to be now? Maybe the turbo Dodge/Plymouth variations and the early manual-transmission Ford Aerostars?

The interior looks very nice for such an old vehicle. The back seat looks like new other than what looks like a split on the passenger side, and the cargo area under that sliding rear roof could handle most loads even without sliding the roof back. The glove box houses a fancy Studebaker staple, a vanity glovebox makeup-applying area, or whatever a passenger would use a mirror for. From what I understand, early roof seals on the Studebaker Wagonaire caused some leakage and also the drainage tubes can get clogged up causing water to infiltrate into the cabin. That’s never good. The sliding roof feature would go away in 1966.

The seller says that this Wagonaire has been parked in a garage for the last 20 years and after new plugs and points and a few hours of tinkering, it started up and runs fine now. The engine should be Studebaker’s 259.2 cubic-inch V8 which would have had 180 hp with a 2-barrel carburetor. This looks like a pretty solid example of a rare car in a nice color, with a nice interior, and with a good-running V8 – I don’t know what’s not to like here?

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Comments

  1. Bob C.

    Everytime I see a Studey of this vintage, I light up. They were pretty much outdated looking by this point, but there is still a lot to love about them.

    13
  2. ccrvtt

    Michigan car – inevitable rust, and not just on the lower edge of the tailgate. But it mostly looks good and the color is perfect. I know a guy who just bought a 4-door in this style and the same color. I’ll send him a link.

    I come from a family of station wagons. My mother loved them and my dad used them for fishing trips. My sister and brother each had a few. I was the only one who had minivans and I still have my last one.

    Minivans got a totally undeserved negative connotation from the early ’90’s yuppies. Yuppie women of that era in particular who were so embarrassed to be on the Mommy Track detested the immediate association with young children. That’s how the great SUV revolution began.

    This is all true. You can look it up.

    Wagons are definitely cool and went out of favor for the same reasons as minivans. But the utility and comfort and looks are making them attractive again. Pinto Squires and Vista Cruisers, Country Squires and Roadmasters are the stuff of dreams.

    This Stude is very nice. Hope it goes to someone who will drive it.

    8
  3. Fred W

    It was once just as inconceivable that station wagons would ever be desirable as it is inconceivable today that minivans would ever be desirable. Believe It – Or Not!

    4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      … in your best Jack Palance voice.. (remember that show?)

      3
  4. Steve R

    I like these Studebaker wagons. I’m not sure about the ad, I hate the use of the word “solid”, which means absolutely nothing when used in an ad for an automobile. I really wish they would have taken detailed pictures of the floors and other rust prone areas. They also need to lose the surf boards and fake retro stickers, they are tacky and makes them seem like they are trying too hard.

    Steve R

    2
  5. Rube Goldberg

    Leave it to Scotty to write up a very rare car. Studebakers were a tough sell, even in Indiana. Of the few sold, wagons were probably the most popular, and the sliding roof model was non-existent. They had a tendency to leak and jam, it was not a popular option. People used pickup trucks to move refrigerators, their claim to fame with these. Too bad, Studebaker had a lot going for it, great mechanicals ( except the sliding roof, of course) that swing down step on the tailgate, took Detroit 40 years to offer that, disc brakes, electric wipers, they were great cars. Studebaker and Rambler duked it out for a while as #4 car maker, obviously AMC was the winner there, but Studebaker always made great cars and trucks, and these were no exception.

    8
  6. FordGuy1972

    This Studebaker wagon has a lot going for it. According to the seller, the floors are solid. While there is some rust to be seen here and there, overall this wagon looks pretty good. Original paint should polish up well and the interior seems to have survived in remarkable condition. Having a V-8 is also a plus. A rare wagon in original condition with the very rare sliding roof should attract strong bids.

    Will minivans eventually become collectible? Sure. When Hell freezes over.

    5
  7. XMA0891

    Nice write-up. I had no idea the Wagonaires were as-scarce as they apparently are. There were not one, but three of these tucked into the corner of a salvage yard I used to frequent. I made a point of checking them over every time I went. All were in good-enough shape to have warranted doing something about them rather than just keep on walking. Yet another lost opportunity.

    2
  8. Larry

    I used to have one of these only it was black. I loved that rear sliding roof. This is the 1st one that I have seen since I sold mine over 30 years ago. If I didn’t have over 75 classic cars now in my block long warehouse, I would be a player for sure on this one. I just don’t have any inside storage left

    5
  9. Rube Goldberg

    I believe “Willlllbur” would approve. This ad aired in 1963 on the Mr. Ed show. Studebaker was the sponsor, and everybody drove Studebakers. It was the most popular TV show at the time, and helped sell a couple Studebakers, anyway. BTW, did you know, there was nothing “Mr.” about the horse, it was a female and you probably know why,, :o
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5bI0jG741E

    5
  10. On and On On and On Member

    That was great Rube, love the kids and dog hanging out the back at highway speeds with mom and dad smiling and driving.

    6
  11. Mrtinwoodie

    Great ad
    As a male 13 yr old I always enjoyed looking at Wilbur’s wife, Carol’s jugs in the tight sweater she used to wear.

    3
    • Rube Goldberg

      Ha! You weren’t the only one. I read Connie Hines came to Hollywood with like $5 bucks in her pocket and waited for the phone call from Mr. Ed producers at a gas station.

  12. Keruth

    Uncle had one of these, red over red. Dad had the 4dr. in this “rose” color, same year.
    Uncle gave it to mom when we moved to the sticks, tranny started going, developed a crack, would add STP to slow down the leak!
    Uni-body, rotted bad in NE Ohio, remember the fenders bubbling on top (I’d pop them with my finger nails, paint was tough ,lol)

    I like this, just want a better one to start with!
    Now if you find a Daytona ‘vert,,,,,.

    • WayneC Member

      Studebakers were never “uni-body”, they were always body on frame construction. Also by reading your post it sounds like your Uncle had a 2-door. Sorry, but 1960 was the last year for a Studebaker 2-door wagon. Yes, they did have leaks in the roof at first but improved them as time went on but they all seemed to slide open well without hang ups, but eventually they could be ordered with a fixed roof. Actually, quite a few of these wagons were produced and with the advent of the Avanti, any engine/trans combination could be ordered. One of my best friends had a mist blue 1963 Wagonaire with the supercharged R-2 engine with 4-speed complete with the factory traction and sway bars. It was quite a runner.

  13. Will Owen Member

    There’s a sweet one in the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo; been a while, but I remember it as a nice blue-green color, very attractive. That sliding roof was of course another one of Brooks Stevens’s ideas, one our best designers and a lot less of a glory hound than Loewy. For one thing, he did most of the work himself … The Lark, of course, is just the Loewy studio’s ’53 Studebaker with its ends chopped off, which looked a bit ungainly until an alliance with Benz let them do a kinda-copy of the Mercedes radiator shell. For my money, any of the wagons is better looking than the sedans, but that could be just Mr. Wagonlover talking.

  14. Johnmloghry Member

    Paying deposit does not allow you to inspect the car. I guess a buyer is expected to buy unseen.
    God bless America

    • Bill McCoskey

      Actually, in reading the ad it encourages a potential buyer to check it out before bidding, or have the car inspected by a 3rd party. What the ad does say is that if you do win the auction and provide a deposit, it’s your car and backing out of the deal because you didn’t inspect it first is no excuse. You lose the deposit if you don’t buy the car.

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