The Champ: 1960 Studebaker Champ

Here’s a pickup that you don’t see every day: a 1960 Studebaker Champ. This nice example is listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $1,600 but the reserve isn’t met. There are still over five days left on this auction and this Champ is located in Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

This truck looks like it’s in great shape but the seller says that it “looks to have been refreshed” several years ago. They also say that it’s “very solid, very little if any rust other than the surface rust on the cab roof.” 1960 was the first year of the short run (1960-1964) for the Studebaker Champ. Although Studebaker knew a thing or two about manufacturing vehicles in which to haul things, the company didn’t have mounds of cash like Chevrolet and Ford did for truck development so the Champ was somewhat of a cobbled-together design. The cab began life as a four-door Lark that was cut in half with a new rear piece being the only new stamping needed. The Champ did have a new grille that was supposed to be “tougher looking” than the Lark grille was. Sales were good in 1960 but they fell off after that and truck production ended at the end of 1963 with remaining models sold off in 1964.

In 1961, Studebaker offered a full-sized box, the “Spaceside“, by using tooling purchased from Dodge. It became the standard box in 1962 and it was maybe not the best looking design as it was wider than the Champ’s cab was and it stuck out on each side. It’s unfortunate that the company didn’t have the money to design their own box or to even modify that wide box to fit the cab. I’m sure that some owners have remedied that by modifying their Spaceside boxes to better fit the Champ cab. The box on the truck for sale here is what Studebaker has used previously for several years.

With a modified Studebaker Lark cab, the Champ was one of the first models to offer car-like comfort in a pickup. And, as you can see this one is pink! Now that’s a cool truck, at least it’s highly unusual in sort of an oxymoron’ic way. The seller says that the headliner is “in good shape, door panels need work, seat is also in good shape.” This truck has 102,300 miles on it so it’ll need work as they all do. There is a box of parts on the passenger side floor to rebuild the loose front end.

This is Studebaker’s 259 cubic-inch V8 with around 180 hp. The top of the radiator (rad, for our Studebaker friends in Canada) looks a little beat up but other than that things look fairly tidy for a 57-year old truck. The seller says that it runs good with no smoke and the 4-speed manual transmission and clutch work good, too. Someone changed out the generator for an alternator and I’m sure that it all works fine. Unless the next owner is planning a concours restoration it’s most likely better than what the factory provided in 1960. Are there any fans of these unusual Studebaker Champs out there? Are you a Spaceside fan or do you prefer the early bed design like on this example?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Always liked the “El Champero”. It’s a little known fact, the Champ was the 1st pickup to offer a sliding rear window standard, almost standard on all trucks today. Nice Champs bring 5 figures all day, and I’m sure the owner knows that. Great find, very few today, they, like most Studebakers, rusted away, but a great example here. Personally, modern drive train.

    • Wm Lawrence

      My 1957 Land Rover 109 pickup had a sliding rear window…

      • Jeff DeWitt

        It’s commonly known in the Studebaker world that the Champ had the first sliding rear window, but like many things that are “commonly known” it’s not quite true. The Champ WAS the first modern (relatively speaking) American truck to have the sliding window, but it wasn’t the first, that honor goes to another Studebaker, the Coupe Express, back in the 30’s.

        However, it was a popular option on the Champ, and like a lot of other good ideas Studebaker had it was adopted by the other truck makers.

  2. Moe G

    Nice truck! I much prefer to see these barn finds rather then 80s mini trucks. I hope this champ goes to a good home!

  3. Red Riley

    A bit of an acquired taste, with the old 2R rear fenders, but still a better fit than the slapped on Dodge bed. I’ve always wanted to see one with a set of 65 Chevy stepside fenders. I think that would look just about right.

  4. Ed P

    This bed is better suited to the Champ. The Spaceside bed looked like a home made truck made from whatever was laying around.

    Like 1
  5. Rustytech Member

    Man I love this. Rare and unique. Clean it up and use it for what it was designed to do, Haul Stuff!

  6. '63 Lark Daytona ragtop

    I’d hold out for an earlier model. I always thought the Champ looked like a warmed-over Lark. (Oh wait, it is!)

    • Jeff DeWitt

      Not really, the cab was adopted from the Lark but underneath it’s all truck.

  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    We’re talking American Lawrence

    Lawrence

  8. Bill Wilkman

    I’ve always liked this little pickup. Overall, it appears to be a solid vehicle. Spare tire looks to be too big, as it does not sit square in the well.

  9. Jeff DeWitt

    Love those Champs and look forward to getting mine back on the road!

  10. juan

    Here in Argentina they came in CKD and were assembled, however we had an unique model exclusive ot our country, the Special Champ, they assembled in a Lark chassis with MC Pherson front axle and the cargo box made here (way much more quality than anything around) very much like the F100 (most of the owners put a F 100 “banana” tail lights), here is a picture of mine.

    • wcastor Member

      Juan, I would like to correspond with you about your Champ Pickup. I have some information on them that is different than yours and I would like to compare yours with mine. If so, please contact me at wcastor@yahoo.com

  11. juan

    Here is another, note the weist line that comes almost the same like the 62to 66 F 100.

  12. Dustin

    These use the bed off of a Studebaker R-Series.

  13. Dustin

    I hope there’s a mechanic’s shop in Mechanicsburg.

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