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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

My two 1954 Studebaker Commanders are a dream come true

I grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and my parents took me to my first Studebaker show in May 1984, when I was 18 months old. As they tell it, I'd walk up to various Studebakers and critique them.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/member-stories/my-two-1954-studebaker-commanders-are-a-dream-come-true...
12 REPLIES 12
Tom_Bartlett
New Driver

Great story and a beautiful car. My older brother's first car was a '54 Starliner (sp?) hardtop two-tone green. It had the free-wheeling OD option. I absolutely loved that car.
DUB6
Specialist

   Easily my favorite story of the day.  I really like these cars and as I have related elsewhere, I once had a semi-partnership with a guy to build one into a drag car.  But I was a Chevy guy and he was a Mopar man.  We couldn't agree so I eventually walked away.  Closest I ever came to having one!

   When I was racing, there was a very cool one called the "Chevaker" (you can guess the powerplant) which I loved to watch.  I've also seen many of this body style at Bonneville.  The aerodynamics are obviously great for their time period.  They are just flat sexy to my eyes.  Justin has a cool pair of Studes for sure, and I envy him!  😊

J_cole
Pit Crew

Thank you sir!  It's a total dream come true.  I love these cars and always have.  And owning S2D is unreal, it's the nicest I'd ever seen in my life.  Never envisioned I'd one day own it.  

Studebaker advertised them as the first American sports cars and the fact they still dominate La Carrera Panemericana and Bonneville is a testament to their aerodynamic shape.  Since La Carrera was brought back in the 80s, I think they've won 30/33 races outright or something like that.  It's unbelievable!! 

audiobycarmine
Technician

Beautiful cars!
Such modern and sleek styling for the early 1950's, when excessive chrome and Everest-like fins would only be getting more garish.
The straight-on side shot of the black one shows just how truly elegant it is.

Kind of like the Continental MkII — timeless, classic styling.
We can see the shape of future Avanti forming here.

You neglected to mention the designer — was it Raymond Loewy?
Also, is the yellow one a convertible? Some top-down photos would have been great.
J_cole
Pit Crew

Raymond Loewy gets the credit as it was his design studio and he fought for production of the car but Bob Bourke was the true designer.  

and the yellow/green one is a coupe not a convertible.  It is funny, Studebaker did advertise the Starliners (the black one) as being hardtop convertibles though.  The Starliners are simply stunning!! 

eighthtry
Advanced Driver

One thing Studebaker did was try hard. They really had some good lookers as they marched toward the end.
GFCicotte
New Driver

The bankruptcy of Studebaker gave rise to a federal law upon which my 33-year career has been built. For that reason, I have every intention of adding a Studebaker to my car collection, which now consists solely of Porsches and BMWs. I know virtually nothing about Studebaker cars, other than I really want one. This Commander looks like a good model to learn more about.
tmcroberts
New Driver

What was Paul’s lsat name, I may have known him?
J_cole
Pit Crew

@GFCicotte Studebaker and Porsche were pretty closely intertwined during this period. The commander was inspired by the 356 and Butzi Porsche worked for Raymond Loewy for 1-2 years. Studebaker and Porsche were also collaborating on a sedan but John DeLorean killed the project. The collaboration saved Porsche as they used the profits from Stude to build their first major factory after the war. So a Stude and Porsche would make a great combo

@tmcrobertshis last name was Szikszai. He lived in South Bend and was often at the swap meets buying and selling. He probably built 10-20 cars in his life to drive. Not show quality but he drove them year round.

4RenT
Detailer

The father of a good friend was a Studebaker dealer. When he died I think he had 3 trailers of parts.
(the parts weren't "hot" items, just something that someone somewhere might need, someday...)
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I see fairly regularly a black Studebaker just like the one in the pictures here at some local car shows. Beautiful car.
Patrick1979
New Driver

I love when there is a story like this behind the ownership. That's what makes this hobby great!