Texas Preserved: 1952 Studebaker Starliner

As Studebaker’s first hardtop coupe, the Starliner was quite a head-turner in the early-1950s and they still are today. This 1952 Studebaker Starliner can be found here on eBay in Dunnellon, Florida. There is a single bid of $4,500 and no reserve so it’s selling to some lucky bidder.

This is such an elegant car and this is the car’s best angle, in my opinion. The beautiful sweeping and graceful downward-sloping curve is all Studebaker and for the following year, 1953, the Starliner would radically change from what was still a decidedly 1950s-looking car to something more from the future. The ’52 Starliner was a nice bridge between old and new for me and this car really looks like it’s in nice shape. The seller says that it was in dry storage for many years in Texas.

Raymond Loewy, the designer of this beautiful car, said, “I don’t know why it took so long to get into production.” He infers that Studebaker management didn’t feel a need to make a hardtop coupe but Chevrolet and Ford sales of over 200,000 hardtop coupes in 1951 made them change their minds. The seller says that this car is mostly original and is dent and rust-free. Rust-free, my two favorite words in the classic car world. Here’s a similar 1952 Studebaker Champion Starliner hardtop coupe in almost perfect condition here on YouTube.

That is one simple dashboard layout and it looks really nice inside. Have any of you owned a car with a dash-mounted rearview mirror? Dumb question, of course many of you have. I have not owned one like that and I’ve heard stories that they weren’t too popular when three people were crammed into the front seat. The front seats look great, can that be original fabric? The back seat looks equally nice and other than some work on the flooring materials, and maybe some new windlace, this looks like a reasonably easy interior to tidy up.

This car should have Studebaker Champion’s 85-hp 170 cubic-inch flathead-six. The seller doesn’t mention too much about it other than to say that it’s had a recent partial rewiring and also the overdrive solenoid has been rebuilt. They say that they’re selling it because they have too may Studebakers. Is that even possible?! I assumed that would be like being too rich or too thin. I’ve got the thin part down but I couldn’t imagine having too many Studebakers. Have any of you owned a Studebaker Starliner?


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  1. Bear

    Nice looking car! :-)
    Looks very solid.
    However, it always bothers me when a Seller says “rust-free” & then I can clearly see RUST in the pictures (left rear lower corner of trunk lid). Seller does also say, “V/G paint, with 2-3 areas of recent surface bubbling.” so perhaps he isn’t being completely dishonest, but that is RUST, it isn’t just old or defective paint.
    No mention of how well the engine runs, how the car drives, and whether or not there are any issues that the new owner will need to address.
    Also, I have to laugh whenever a Seller includes pictures that include a For Sale sign in the window, or (in this case) under the driver’s seat! I guess it is safe to say that $10500 is the Seller’s desired selling price. OR perhaps that was the asking price when he bought it?
    All that said, it still appears to be a very nice nice car.
    IF the price doesn’t climb too high it will be worth considering.
    You certainly won’t see another one at your local Cars & Coffee gathering on Sunday morning!

    Like 11
  2. snarky

    I agree with Bear’s caution. I see the rust in the deck lid, also remnants of a puddle under spare tire as well as water stains on the trunk mat. Very concerned by the rust stains and the delamination of both door cards!
    Also, it looks to me that the headliner is coming down in the passenger rear corner.
    This looks like a really nice car that has been sitting wet for a long time. A shame
    If it can be bought right, it’ll be a nice ride for someone with time and talent.

    Like 4
  3. Bob McK Member

    This could be a nice flip if bought right. I agree with Bear about rust. I once went to look at a Cadillac that was advertised as having a perfect interior and no rust. When we got there, there was a transmission sitting on the back seat and you could put your fist through the rust holes. We just shook our heads….

    Like 5
  4. John Member

    Was born and raised in South Bend, Stude’s rusted very badly and early but S.B. used tons of salt, and had huge chuckholes. Stude’s had a habit of rusting around and on top of the side vents….1st thing, also had the transverse springs in front which after some salty winters rusted and the vehicle would lean to the drivers side, had to install “rotors” in them to get them to work. They had poor management, and LOTS of union problems. They had 2 people for every job, W/one working and the other hanging out a window of the factory, they couldn’t afford it.

    Like 5
    • Dex

      Great looking car and a good buy, especially if price doesn’t get much higher. I agree with the South Bend salt and road issues, but there are many that didn’t stay in that area. I have owned Stude’s that had no rust and were also very well built.

      Like 4
  5. Del

    A wonderfull old Studdy.

    Wished I lived closer.

    This has to be the DEAL of the week here.

    Like 2
  6. IkeyHeyman

    Studebaker owners tend to be very loyal and will often own multiple examples of the brand. I’m not crazy about the pictures of the interior, I’m sure it has that moldy smell that hits you when you open the door.

    Like 1
  7. w9bag

    Being a Hoosier, I’ve always had a penchant towards Studebakers. My Great Aunt & Uncle always had a Studie. This is a really nice car !

    Like 1
  8. Bob C.

    Darn, I was hoping to see the 232 v8 under the hood, obviously not a Commander. As for the dash mounted mirror, I remember it was a staple with Mopars from the late 50s to early 60s.

    Like 1
  9. TimM

    The price is right!! That’s for sure!! Would love to see some underside pictures of this car!! So basic and simple under the hood!! I haven’t seen one of these in quite some time!!! A friend of mine had one of these when we were kids we drove it in the fields!!! No 100% sure it was a 52 though!!! His was black!!!

  10. linda crawford

    My parents owned a 1953 starliner. Flamingo pink under cream. My mom cussed every time she drove it. She could hardly get in and out of it. It was a sporty little car.

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