Live Auctions

Stude-What-O? 1981 Studemino

Have you ever dreamt about a car that you wish had been built but sadly never came to be? Well that could very much have been the driving factor of building this unique “Studemino”. Appearing to be an ’81 El Camino with body grafts from an iconic Studebaker “Bullet nose” this is certainly a one of a kind ride. With surprisingly good looks and attention to detail, this modern Studebaker UTE could be a cool driver for someone who wants classic looks in a more modern package. All of this exclusivity, and rarity can be your for $11,000. Check it out here on craigslist out of Cameron, Texas. Thanks to Marc G for this wild submission!

A bit blurry, the interior appears to be a standard El Camino interior with a wood rim steering wheel, and a Studebaker badge added to the dash. Appearing clean and tidy, there is little to point out about the interiors condition other than some wrinkles in the seat upholstery from the covers being too loose from either being too big, or from the seat foam breaking down. Although there is no engine photo, I think it is safe to assume that there is a Chevy 350 under the hood, and the seller mentions that the engine is new and produces “500 horsepower” while backed by a 700R4 transmission. 500 Horsepower seems like a bit much for this pickup, but to each their own.

Looking at the back of this Studemino reveals the El Camino origins, but also reveals more parts from yet another auto brand. Cadillac taillights have been grafted into this machine and for the most part fit the looks of the truck. A classic taillight option would have been a bit more charming and believable on this custom Bullet Nose, but there is no missing those Cadillac taillights when illuminated. One thing that I can appreciate is that the builder not only grafted the front end onto this Chevy, but also grafted the rear fenders really rounding out the looks of this unique machine. Although this custom may light some fires for the purists, this El Camino is a neat and charming dedication to an iconic classic, featuring a modern drive-train with a little “umph.“ What do you think of this of this Studemino, and would you drive this sleek custom?


  1. Lee Hartman

    I would drive this!

  2. 68custom

    looks well done but the lime stripe has got to go!

    • Dick Johnson

      Right. A 1950s stainless trim spears if needed. There should be plenty out there. Oh. Wait. I know there is. I’ve got some.

      Neat machine.

      Like 1
  3. Snow Dog Farms

    This is indeed a Studemino, a kit available for any 1978-87 Malibu or El Camino. Check out their website if you’re interested in building your own.

    • Steve R

      There was one running around the east bay, across from San Francisco, for years.

      Steve R

  4. David carter

    I really like this beauty

  5. Mountainwoodie

    Sweet…………….needs a 4 speed………….

  6. DavidL Member

    I’ve come down hard on some of these ‘hybrid designed’, match ups but this one is well done, well proportioned. I like it! Reminds me that my grandfather always wanted a pickup that looked like a car. I think he would have loved this. And this year Studebaker is one of my favorites.
    Only drawback is the bilious lime stripe. Easily taken care of though.

  7. Antonio Labao

    I wish there was a two-door station wagon version of this

    • Doug

      Actually, if you can do it to an El Camino, you can do it to a Malibu / Chevelle 2 door wagon….or sedan. I’ve seen a couple of really nice El Caminos with a ’65 GTO front clip, which is basically a bolt on. On one, the guy had even swapped in a Pontiac 421 tri-power engine. With so much less weight in the back, I’d wager he either had a light right foot or a heavy tire bill ……..

  8. Adam T45 Staff

    I have bagged out a few of these “hybrids” that turn up from time to time. However, I’m quite taken by this one. The lime stripes would need to go. The only other thing that just niggles at me a bit is the rear bumper. Having a classic chrome one on the front and a colour-coded (Aussie spelling) one on the rear is a minor irritation. And that would be the only thing that I would look at changing. A rear bumper to match the front one would complete this fine vehicle.

  9. 86 Vette Convertible

    Interesting machine. I agree the stripe has to go but otherwise it’s very interesting and I’m sure fun to drive.

  10. whmracer99

    Like the car — hate the ad. You’d hope that someone looking for an $11K sale would spend more effort than 3 pictures and 1 line of text.

  11. Lawyer George

    I love it. I could tow the ’84 White Olds Wagon home with it. I’d need a few days as I can’t drive at night anymore. LOL. See I can write short posts.

  12. Lawyer George

    It should be Red sans the stripe and white leather buckets and a replacement dash for the GM cookie cutter dash and heater panel. The owner had the presence of mind to jettison the just possibly the ugliest of GM inventory of ugly steering wheels ( I wonder if GM makes a wheel out of chain links. I certainly don’t need all that horsepower anymore but I am sure there are those that do so could trade it out for one more suitable to my needs–e.g. gets 20+ rather than 10-mpg.

  13. Rube Goldberg Member

    1st of all, just an amazing build. I tell ya’, these folks in Texas don’t do anything half-azzed. Personally, I don’t care for it. I mean, you can put a front clip of anything on an El Camino chassis, I think these 2 styles of cars clashes terribly. Still, a great job, wow.

  14. Big Mike

    I saw a converted Malibu Station wagon at a car show in Springfield, Mo. It was pretty sharp, I had heard for a few years that you could buy a kit, and fits right up to them.

  15. Royal Ricci

    I would get rid of the stripes and redo the interior. I hate the dashboard.

  16. TriPowerVette

    Until this minute, I thought it was IMPOSSIBLE to make these old Studebakers look good.

    If you recall, in the movie “The Mask”, this model of Stude was used as the quintessential hateful piece of ugliness.

    Jim Carrey would be proud to get this as his “loaner”. I would, too.

    I stand corrected. This car is handsome in just about every way. Kudos to the customizer for his / her vision and skill.

  17. Fred w.

    I agree. For a plastic retrofit, this one just works- I especially like it without the front bumper. But I have an ’84 ElCamino, and can’t imagine spending $5500 for the kit , all that energy and another 4K on a good paint job. I’d have 15K in it and a car (truck) worth under 11K like the one listed.

  18. Whippeteer

    Here’s a website for the kit.

    • fish56

      Thanks for the link!

    • Tony, Australia.

      Just sold my El Camino last week because I had no further use for a ‘UTE’ and someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, damn, should have bought a kit like this and done it up, probably would have been the only one in Australia. The “El Camino Classic’ badges would have been perfect on this.

      • Loco Mikado

        Also Australia has a very large Studebaker following. The are importing cars and parts by the container load and actually reproduce some unavailable parts that are sold worldwide.

  19. jeff6599

    Except that is not a rear bumper. In the truck world, it is called a rolled pan. No strength, just a smooth filler panel to sometimes hold taillights/ license plate.

  20. Madmatt

    While I think it looks cool,those colors are hideous together!
    would look better black or even pink!,LOL
    I also like the taillights,but would have went
    with something from the 50’s.I don’t know
    if I would have spent the money
    for a supposed 500 hp? for this vehicle.
    That seems very unrealistic for a streetable 350,
    probably more like 375 – 400 hp,
    which is still a lot out of a sbc,but everyone wants to “Brag”
    at how much hp they have,…….but can’t use to its full potential!
    neat car,but would get rid of that stripe before I even drove it home!LOL.

  21. jeff6599

    If it is a true 500 HP and not just some exaggeration, then it is likely not a 350. There are extremely few SBCs that can make 500 in streetable trim. Most likely a BBC. If it were an SBC, then the interior would be cluttered with additional signs of it as in gauges, controls, etc.

  22. Dean

    Why “Studamino” and not “ElCabaker”or “Studallero”?

    • Mark S.

      I was thinking Elcastudo would work.

  23. JMB#7

    Texas license plates? All this needs to top it off are some antlers mounted to the top of the cab!

  24. JB

    Apparently it’s just me but I find this whole thing hideous. Should call it a studemistako. Blech!

  25. That Guy

    These kinds of retro kits almost always look cheesy and ridiculous. This is an exception – it works pretty darn well. What a fun car!

  26. sam

    we have a yellow 1 at all our shows in southern ohio. sitll has the camino taillights. wins a trophy every time

  27. Thearle Lacey

    I’d love to own ity. At 734, it would be a heck of a blast to drive this to do my chores and medical appointments.

  28. Ron Bunting

    Looking at the Studemino site I see a lot of differences between this one and theirs. The advertised car looks to have either been an early one ,prototype maybe where actual Stude steel parts were used or it’s a one off made by someone else. The studemino efforts look like something Boyd Coddington would have cooked up in the 1980’s where as this looks to be more of a stude than the others.

  29. jeff6599

    Because the guy who developed the kit could call it anything he wanted.

  30. Bob

    Saw this Mercamino at a car show in Vermont, although I think the car is from Mass.

    So does this mean that somewhere out there is a Cadillac with Studebaker taillights?

    • Loco Mikado

      But somewhere out there are a few Bill Frick Studebakers with Cadillac V8 engines,

  31. DonC

    The lime stripes are perfect with the blue. Sell it to a Seattle Seahawks fan!

  32. Michael S

    Personally, the grafted Stude front end is impeccable, however my own taste would be to delete the Studes rear fender to complete the smoother lines down the body sides, of the Elky. Lose the front bumper, but keep the nerf bars to protect that beautiful front end. Perhaps a set of the Camaro split front bumpers to enhance the wrap around look and not clutter that nose, yet still work with nerf bars. Maybe add lower air dam below lower front chin.

  33. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    There was one of these lurking on Nashville CL sometime in the past year. I couldn’t tell from the photos but I believe the owner did indeed go the route of chrome side trim and a tailgate spelling out S-T-U-D-E-B-A-K-E-R.

  34. Cris Carver

    This is not an isolated incident, as I’ve seen a matching black one at the “Back to the 50’s” here in St. Paul, Minn. Except for the goofy looking stripe, I kinda like it.

  35. Bob

    These all kind of remind me of those fiberglass front ends for VWs that converted them into “Rolls” or “39-40 Fords!”

  36. DrinkinGasoline

    Weld up and have chromed, a matching rear bumper to integrate over the rolled pan. Ditch the stripes and opt for the spears, replace the mirrors with period (or close to) correct ones and put some trim rings on those rims…..
    I would cruise it !
    (Let’s see if My post actually shows up this time).

  37. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Here is a picture of the Stude/Malibu wagon combo from their website.

    • Tony C. Australia

      I love the pickup and the wagon purely because they’re different and where would you see another one, they stand out from the crowd and being ‘different’ has a lot going for it as long as it’s done properly !

  38. James DeAngelo

    I’m looking for a Studemino for sale if anyone knows of one I’d like to hear from you. Thanks 814-456-5584 Jimmy

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