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Twice A Barn Find: 1927 Studebaker Commander

This old Studebaker has an interesting history. The owner died and left the car to his sons who couldn’t decide who should get it. Without a solution as clever and wise as Solomon’s, neither won so they put their father’s car up on blocks and forgot about it. In 1983 the seller’s dad bought it for $5,000 at an estate sale. That’s about $12,000 in today’s dollars. He wanted a project for his sons. Now the family farm is for sale and it has to go so they have listed it here on eBay for $11,000. This Studebaker is completely original right down to the window shades. It runs but has not been driven for many years.

The interior is dusty, torn and tattered but is all there. It looks like it might be usable with just a good cleaning. The window shades are likely too delicate to use.

These commander engines were very sturdy and reliable and set several endurance records.  This engine is likely a 226 CID version with about 50 horsepower. This engine runs but there’s no word on how well it does.

Here’s the Studebaker in 1983 on the way to its new home. It doesn’t look like it’s changed much in the last 34 years. I think it would be great to do as little cosmetic work as possible and whatever mechanical work is necessary to get this Studebaker driving again. This car is a very original survivor and hopefully can be preserved.


  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    Bonnie and Clyde, here we come. That is one complete looking ride there, hope it goes to a good home.

    • Metoo

      Good analogy, as long as you don’t meet the same fate they did.

    • MSG Bob

      Bonnie and Clyde (Clyde predominately) preferred to steal Ford V8s.

      Like 1
  2. jw454

    Interesting ignition system. There is only one small wire on the coil which runs to the distributor. How does it get primary power from the charging system to run? I also like the points advance system too. I’ve seen control rods such as you see on Ford Model A’s for example but, This is the first cable driven system I can recall.

    • Jim Morris

      It probably comes in from the bottom. The next pic shows a mounting bracket of the type that would normally be mounted to the firewall so that the bottom of the coil is inside the car or be under the hood with an armored cable going to the bracket. There is an armored cable coming out of the firewall with wires in it but it doesn’t attach to anything.
      A switch on the dash controls primary power. If the car was locked, it was difficult to hot-wire it. There also appears to be a wire under the coil.

  3. Mark S

    Think how much more this car could be restored. I hope it goes to a buyer that do just that, I know these days the popular thing is to leave these old cars looking like a bag of $h!t, but I’d rather see what it looked like in its glory days. I’m not saying it should be over restored either but rather I would like to see it as it came out of the factory. It needs a new single stage paint job, new but correct fabric and mechanical components cleaned repaired and repainted correct colours. Restoring cars as many of you have put it will leave you under water, I guess that leaves you with a problem if your looking for an investment, but I say how often is a car a good investment they’re certainly not a sure thing and if that is all your in it for I think that you should look else where to put your money. If this were my car restoration would be the only way to go, it gives cars like these a greater shot at being saved for the future. Most museums are not filled with rust buckets they may have one or two as found examples but the lions share are restored. People want to see the cars as they were its like stepping back in time. Enough said JMHO.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Mark. I totally agree with you. Restore a car to ‘Driver Quality.’ Single stage paintjob and fix it up to be presentable yet driveable. Too many people get so involved in their projects that they find themselves ‘OWNED’ by their cars instead of the other way around. I’ve met people at car shows who have done all the work on their cars but when it comes time to drive them, they actually do. I’ve also met some who would become the segment on ‘Captain Kirk’s’ Rescue 9-11 if someone actually touched their cars, or worse yet, a sea gull flies within ‘bombing’ distance. I own my cars and trucks; they do NOT own me, …..

      • waynard

        You are merely a caretaker of your cars. They will more than likely outlive you by a wide margin and then go to the next caretaker.

  4. Brad C

    Paint looks fantastic, albeit really dusty. I’d do everything I could to save it before stripping it — thousands of dollars and it’d suddenly look like all the other trailer queens. What a fantastic survivor.

    • Metoo

      Well, thankfully you didn’t use the word “patina” .

      • Brad C

        Ha! I know, the p-word has jumped the shark… but I’m wearing out the thesaurus trying to express my love for worn paint.

  5. nessy

    I do like cars from the 20s very much but an 11k starting bid for a Studebaker sedan? The starting bid needs to be lowered to get the wheels rolling here. There will be no bids at that figure. You will see. This Studebaker would move fast at 5k to 6k. That rare 26 Cadillac coupe posted today in about the same condition was 1000 times a better deal at 13k.

  6. Sheldon Braffman

    Clyde Barrow wrote a letter to Henry Ford, thanking him for building great cars.

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