We Are The Champions: 1948 Studebaker Convertible

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At least for me, this is just about the perfect barn find. It’s a Studebaker, and that will always get my attention. And it’s a 1948 model, which makes it rare and cool, and even better, it’s a hard-to-find convertible! Officially, this is a 1948 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe Series 7G Convertible, of which 9,996 were made. This old beauty is for sale here on craigslist and is located in Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York, with an asking price of $9,000.

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It’s certainly unusual to see one of these in any condition now, and this car really does look remarkably solid. With only 42,000 miles claimed, it’s possible this was a summer car housed at a vacation home. Connecticut and New York cars of this vintage usually rusted fairly quickly, so its low mileage and apparent lack of rust in the body and chrome likely means it was not driven during winters.

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The seller says this car has been sitting in a barn on the eastern end of Long Island since 1965. The Connecticut registration sticker shown on the windshield is from that year, backing up the claim that this car has sat for more than 50 years.

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What a fantastic looking dashboard – and even the steering wheel is in nice shape.

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While the ad does not include photos of the engine compartment or undercarriage of the car, the seller says that “all the stainless steel trim is in excellent shape” and that there are “absolutely no signs of rot what so ever.” The seller rightly suggests that this old Studebaker is a candidate for restoration, but also suggests leaving it the way it is for its “patina.”

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There should be a 170 cubic inch six cylinder engine making 80 horsepower under the hood and a three speed transmission on the column behind it. Even though the Champion was a light weight car at 2,875 pounds, acceleration was leisurely, to say the least.

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If I had the resources, time and energy to buy this car, I think I’d go with the full-on restoration choice. Given its 50 year hibernation, every mechanical system will need work and you may as well go all out to make it perfect again. This would be a fun and challenging project. And I’d lean on the members of the excellent Studebaker Driver’s Club for assistance.

Studebaker
Image Courtesy of AnAmericanClassic.com

Here’s a similar car that has had a complete restoration. Even in barn “as-found” condition, I love this car, and wish it could be me in the driver’s seat one day. But I have to satisfy myself just imagining how this car will look when it’s been brought back to life. Will some one among our readers take the plunge with this Studebaker?

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Comments

  1. Fred w.

    Love it! If it were closer to me and I wasn’t in the middle of a project already….

  2. Jesper

    Wow a nice car.
    But like Fred, i stay in the middle of a projekt. Its also fahr from Denmark :-(
    But if i had 11,000$ for a new projekt, i gladly put it in a container :-)

  3. packrat

    I might leave this as a runner/ driver for a bit on the way to a potential resto; it would certainly turn heads. And the club for this group is the Studebaker *Driver’s* Club, and the locals I knew in the day would certainly enjoy seeing someone chugging up in this one.

  4. RoughDiamond

    Wow! What potential for a beautiful ride.

  5. Irish Bill

    I had a 1950 Studebaker convertible in the 70’s with the same color combination. It was a reliable and fun car to drive.

  6. Nova Scotian

    Mmmmm….restore with a modern drive train. That’s where I’d go with it. Sure it’ll ruin the originality of it, but that is not important to me. I prefer reliability.

  7. Jon

    Amen to that…. Exactly what I would do … a little ride height adjustment. Big motor and overdrive, appropriate wheels and tires.. interior and paint, and then drive the heck out of it…!!! Fun !!!

    • GOPAR

      I can’t see any point in ruining a rare,low-mileage car like this to build a street rod. Make the necessary repairs (brakes, tires, new top, get it running, etc.) and just enjoy it. These old Studebakers were very reliable when treated to minimum upkeep. Then, maybe a cosmetic restoration at some point in the future. This car has made it this long without being violated, so why violate it now? There are plenty of other, lesser cars available that might actually benefit from all the engine, tranny, and wheel swapping, but this one should be left intact. Old Studes are hallowed ground to me. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

  8. charlie Member

    Automobile Driving Museum in LA has one they take out often. They were remarkably well put together compared to Fords and Chevy’s of the time.

  9. Joe Muzy

    Pretty rare post war car. The online 6 was a song little engine but not a speed demon
    Got 3 other Studebakers and always do real well at car shows because they are different. Thinking about bidding on this even if it is an East coast car

  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Of course you know I like it….and I think he will come off that price a little….hey it’s a convert !

  11. AlphaRoaming.com

    I would personally hold out for a ’50/’51 Bulletnose

    • Jon

      Does anybody know if either the 50 or 51 front clip would fit the 48…I like the 50, 51 nose but like the 48 from the cowl back….

      • Bill McCoskey

        46 to 52 are the same body, but Champions and Commanders are different front ends, so make sure the donor car is the correct series.

      • Jon

        Bill McCoskey,
        You mentioned that there are differences between the 46-52 model years, and that happens to be with the different series. So just out of curiosity, where do those differences come into play? And how many different series where there? Thanks.

  12. Chuck Foster Chuck F

    I’m thinking the 50-51 clip would fit, a buddy in NE IN had a 49 convert I always wanted to get and put a bullet nose clip on.

    • Jon

      Thanks Chuck F and Charlie….

  13. Charlie Member

    I have been wrong before, but there were Commanders and Land Cruisers which had a longer wheelbase, but the same engine, and I think the difference was all behind the firewall, so the ’47 – ’52’s were likely all the same forward of the firewall, although the front suspension of the ’51 and ’52 might have been beefed up for the bigger engine (a V8) that showed up in ’51.

  14. Joe Howell

    I was born in 1951 and brought home from the hospital in my granddad’s 1948 Commander. Guess that’s why I have warm spot for Studbusters. He told me that he tried it out once and it topped out at 85 mph. I got to go along with him when he traded it on a new 55 Chevrolet, a 210 with a six and three on the tree. That 55 was his favorite car of all time.

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