Hooniverse Truck Thursday: A Few Studebaker Pickup Trucks, with a Surprise!

Hello again and welcome to another Hooniverse Truck Thursday. Being the automotive experts that you are, I doubt that the Studebaker Pickup is unknown to you, except I found three rather rare ones, but I’m keeping the third as a surprise, as you will have to make the jump to see it…

Here is an ultra rare 1937 Studebaker Coup-Express J-5 Pickup, and all I have to say about this truck is WOW. It was one of the first trucks that tried to combine passenger car comfort with the utility of a pickup. According to the listing:

It was Created utilizing the Dictator Passenger Car Frame, Running Gear, and Cab. It is powered by an L-Head Six Cylinder Flathead Motor, and mated to a 3spd Manual Transmission with Centrifugal Overdrive. The All Steel Bed features a Corrugated Floor Design, and Double Wall Construction.

The All Steel Cab is Fully Insulated and Lined. Appointments include Variable Ratio Steering, Three Passenger Leather Seating with Adjustable Back, Full Car Instrumentation, Locking Glove Box, Warm Air Defroster, Ash Tray, Arm Rests, Vent Windows, and Interior Illumination. Additionally, this Coupe-Express is optioned with Radio and Clock. The ’37 Coup-Express was a milestone vehicle in the history of Studebaker, being its first mass produced Pickup.

Asking price for this unique truck is $48,495! Let me know if you think this truck is worth the asking price, and take a look at the listing in Hemmings here.

Almost as rare, here is a 1961 Studebaker Champ Pickup that has received a cosmetic restoration. It is equipped with a V-8, probably Studebaker’s own 289, but the listing doesn’t say so, as well as an Automatic Transmission. According to the listing:

Very Nice Restoration – It’s not everyday we see a Studebaker Pickup. This one is a very nice cosmetic restoration. Body and paint are extremely nice. Frame off done at Lafayette Auto Body. This beauty will turn heads wherever you go.

The original asking price for this Red and White machine was $24,995, but it has been marked down to $21,995. Is this Truck worth it? See the listing in Hemmings here.

Now for the Surprise. Here is a customized 1953 Studebaker Starlite Commander Coupe that has been reworked as a Go Kart Hauler, originally in 1958. This thing is beyond breathtaking, with a modified 1955 Studebaker President 259 CID V-8 with period correct accessories. I’ll let the listing do the talking:

A 1953 Studebaker with an Est. 200+ hp modified 1955 Studebaker President 259 cu. in. V8 engine, vintage Stu-V intake manifold with dual Stromberg WW carburetors, Borg-Warner/Studebaker T86 three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, independent front suspension, live rear axle, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

– First built and customized in 1958
– First shown at the 1959 Oakland Roadster Show
– Painstakingly restored by DIck Steinkamp and featured in numerous magazines
– Displayed again at the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show
– Invited to appear at the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show to join an elite gathering of the most historically significant customs in the world. “Customs Then and Now”

This stunning 1953 Studebaker coupe-based vintage show car was first built in 1958 by Lee Talbot and Sam Chakries and first shown at the 1959 Oakland Roadster show, known today as the Grand National Roadster Show. Combining the aerodynamic Studebaker frontal design of the early 1950s with a pickup bed, similar in concept to the Ford Ranchero or Australian “Utes” of the era, the Kart Hauler was literally designed to haul the fast go-karts that were popular during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The resurrected “Kart Hauler” includes a faithful reproduction of the popular late-1950s/early-1960s Rupp Dart “A Bone” go-kart. Features include twin West Bend 820 engines with 13,000-rpm redlines, an Airheart hydraulic brake and period-perfect wheels, tires and upholstery.

Asking price for this Minty Fresh Stude? $65,500, and it is negotiable. See the listing from Hemmings here.

What a great way to start the New Year with a Studebaker Truck Thursday… Let me know what you think.

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  1. njhoon Avatar

    They are all cool but too rich for my blood. I like the rear window on the surprise but the price….EEEKS.

    1. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      Want cheaper? Go back to Ted's Tuna Boats from yesterday and get the '47 fixer upper. Ted says it would make a "SUPER COOOOOOL RATROD HAULER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".

  2. BGW Avatar

    It's early and my reading comprehension (suspect at the best of times) is low. So when I scrolled quickly down and saw, bleary-eyed, the 2nd Starlite pic, all my brain could register was the steering wheel in the bed. It didn't see the rest of the go-kart or the text mentioning the go-kart. All it saw was a Studebaker-amino that appeared to be steered from the bed. I'm fairly certain I suffered a mild stroke at that moment.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Crap. Now that you've got me imagining a car steered from the rear — like a rumble seat — I have want one to exist. Something new to haunt my unfulfillable desires.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Several have been factory-built that way. Might make a good encyclopedia question, starting with the Bjering:
        <img src="http://www.bilrim.no/bjering1.jpg"&gt;

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    Dude, they are all pretty awesome, and that minty fresh piece of kit with a Go Kart is possibly the raddest thing ever. However, the Coup-Express gets my vote. I am just in love with the whole package. Sure, its pricey, but it is the most appealing. Love it.

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    As a daily reader of the Hemmings blog, I saw the '53 coupe pickup ad a few days ago. That back window is the stock '53 rear glass, turned upside down.

  5. highmileage_v1 Avatar

    The Kart hauler is drop dead gorgeous but it is the '37 that is spinning my crank today.

  6. Froggmann_ Avatar

    If I won the lottery that 37 Coupe Express would be sitting in my driveway right now. I just love the looks of those things.

  7. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I guess I will echo several others and express my love of that '37. $50k is a lot of money, but look at it. It's gorgeous.

  8. OA5599 Avatar

    Monday, when I was headed to lunch, I saw a restored-looking '62 parked on the street, with a vintage boat on a trailer behind it.

  9. CptSevere Avatar

    Yeah, the '37 is way classy, all the way down to the finned aluminum head, but that Studemino is really something else. It just looks right, you know what I mean? I'll bet the go-kart is a real handful. I can just imagine how it sounds with those two engines buzzing away at 13 grand. Like being chased by a colony of killer bees. Pissed off killer bees.

  10. tonyola Avatar

    They're all too expensive but the '37 is gorgeous. Just look at that dashboard – maroon with cream-colored instruments and that wonderful deco steering wheel.

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      And I may just have not been paying attention, but is that the only sloped tailgate until the 50s car/trucks? Nice touch.

  11. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    I snapped a photo while giving my boss's '38 Express the once over just about a week ago.
    One of the perks of working for a company with its own on-site Studebaker museum.
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/IMG_2916_scaled.jpg"&gt;

    1. tonyola Avatar

      I don't particularly like the 1938 nose – the split-grille '39 looks much nicer to me. Look how high the spare rides on the fender on the '38-'39 trucks compared to the '37. Looks a bit awkward sticking up above the hood.
      <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3498/3460146747_a94da461d8.jpg"&gt;

  12. longrooffan Avatar

    Jim: As a daily follower of Dan Strohl, I was wondering when you were going to tap the vault that is Hemmings. Nice finds for Truck Thursday. Keep them coming.

  13. facelvega Avatar

    Nobody else likes the Champ? I've always thought the Lark looked better as a truck than a car. $22k isn't anywhere near a steal, but it isn't unreal for a restored example that hasn't suffered from questionable modernizations like a 350 and big wheels. You'd have to get a good luck to make sure the "cosmetic" restoration has actually meant taking the whole thing apart and putting it back together properly, sorting the frame, all new wires, hoses, and wear parts, but I could imagine being in the market for a truck like this someday, and as much as I love the other two, I don't imagine I'll ever be agonizing over buying them.

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      I want to love it. But the resemblance between it and the Jeep trucks is too strong for me to identify.

      1. facelvega Avatar

        it's funny to think that the Champ was already in production before Brooks Stevens came to Studebaker to redesign the Hawk, around the same time that he designed the Jeep wagoneer upon which those jeep pickups were based. If he was influenced by the old Lark, he didn't show it when he completely changed the Lark's appearance in the refresh that came right after that. Those last series Stevens-designed GT Hawks and Lark Daytonas are for me the most desirable of all Studebakers, and I'd take either of them long before I bought a champ.
        But it's good to bring up the jeep pickup in this light, it's a fundamentally more robust vehicle than the Studebaker and $10k would suffice to buy an excellent one. I'd probably just do that if I suddenly bought a lake camp and thus could justify a vintage pickup. Lately with the crazy snow in NYC, I might need a vintage off road truck just to park around here.

        1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

          Heh. I wasn't even coming to the subject with Brooks Stevens in mind. Though, now that you've pointed it out, it makes sense of course. I was basing my observations on the upright lines and central grill (along with ignoring the rear fenders.)
          Also, why do the jambs not come even close to matching the body on a "frame off" restoration?

          1. facelvega Avatar

            Yeah, I am skeptical about that restoration too, just noticed that lazy treadplate rear bumper, and everything under the hood looks more like it was scrubbed off a bit than really checked over let alone replaced when necessary. Looks like a firm just getting its feet wet with real restoration work then balking at the cost of doing it right, which is why they are careful to say "cosmetic restoration" and not frame-off. At anything over $12k, pass.
            But yes, I'll take any excuse to rattle on about Brooks Stevens.

  14. MadKaw Avatar

    I remember reading a magazine feature on the minty Studeamino, within the last couple of years…pretty sure it was in Hot Rod Deluxe, and it included a few really cool original build photos from back in the day. Needless to say, I absolutely fell in love with the car then and there! As someone else said here, it just looks so right! Were I one of those mega millions lottery winners, it would be occupying my garage post-haste!

  15. jim-bob Avatar

    While all three are beautiful in their own right, for me it's the Studeamino go-cart hauler that takes the cake. Custom cars of the 1950's may not always have been in good taste, but when they got it right man did they ever get it right. The color, stance, etc. all conspire to make for one cool car/truck. Nice execution and great taste make me desire it above the other two stock-looking trucks. Plus, it's a two-fer-one deal with that neat, dual-engined kart to come along for the ride.

  16. Tim Avatar

    Here is a '53 custom that was done in early '50's and restored recently.