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Customs 1953 Studebaker Starliner: Ahead of it's time?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, May 6, 2014.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,285


    Model T1 likes this.
  2. 28 chevy
    Joined: Mar 5, 2006
    Posts: 512

    28 chevy
    from NE Pa

    All Stude's were ahead of their time.
  3. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,261


    It really is a magnificent design that holds up well today.

  4. Timeless.
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  5. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,506

    dirty old man

    The '53 coupes and Starliners were ahead of their time in styling for sure. I always loved them and drove a '53 coupe for quite awhile. Had a 327 sbc, and was fast in it's day.
    But other than styling, they were not so great. The 232 cid engine had major problems, as it had a bad problem with camshaft and lifter wear from the beginning that gave them a bad reputation from the start. The little flathead 6cyl. in the Champion was a good engine, but of an obsolete design and grossly underpowered.
    Brakes were not really up to getting you stopped quickly, especially on the Champion, just too small.
    Body integrity on the Starlight 2 door hardtop was miserable and the coupes weren't much better. Door hinges too weak for the long, heavy doors, water leaks, and other nuisance problems.
    But Geez, they were the sleekest, most streamlined design you could find for many years, and I would still like to have my old coupe.
    Model T1 likes this.
  6. Alex Yohnk
    Joined: Sep 7, 2005
    Posts: 828

    Alex Yohnk

    They look good breaking 200 mph on the salt too.
    390cad likes this.
  7. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,793

    Jalopy Joker

    yep the original design plus, a roof chop made them great for Bonneville too. there has been one For Sale a long time in Nor Cal - pic

    Attached Files:

  8. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,361


    Blows all the other cars of the time (even the Vette, I think) out of the water, in terms of styling. Advanced, tasteful, and practical. You rarely get all three of those at the same time. a home run for sure. Good topic, JB. I always enjoy what you drag in.
    Model T1 likes this.
  9. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200


    They were ahead by more than a decade,but like most car companies that were starting to fail,they didn't put the money into the mechanical end.Raymond Loewy was probably the designer on the body,but I don't think anybody wants to take credit for the mechanical aspects of the car.
  10. kfien5354
    Joined: Nov 19, 2013
    Posts: 68


    Glad to see a Studebaker article. They are a very unique car.
  11. I"ll add here-here to all the above.Had one in HS in mid 60"s 283 bored to 301,went off to Arizona to elect school and Dad sold it.Sure wish I had another.
  12. Zerk
    Joined: May 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,419


    The body and frame weren't the strongest, but the styling was among the best ever.

    That basic V8 engine was in production eleven years, from 224ci. to 304ci., in everything from Larks to medium-duty trucks. It was far from the worst attribute of the Loewy coupe.

    I'm thinking a fair example might make a good driver. Most repair parts are available. I wonder if front clips are reproed?
  13. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,674

    frank spittle

    stude28.jpg Raymond Loewy owned the design studio but employee Bob Bourke sketched out the timeless design.
    And a Chrysler Hemi will fit in the engine compartment like it came in it.
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  14. edwardlloyd
    Joined: Aug 2, 2003
    Posts: 2,065

    from Germany

    Very European in style and size, but all the European cars which look similar came out years later so I think it was the first to use many late fifties styling cues. And despite being the first it's totally perfect. An amazing achievement.
  15. 7car7
    Joined: Jun 8, 2009
    Posts: 38

    from Washington

    Model T1 and 390cad like this.
  16. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094


    Certainly more modern styling for it's day but better looking than many of it's contemporaries from the "Big Three", I think not.
  17. studebaker eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,509

    studebaker eric
    from Diablo Ca.

    [​IMG] Stylewise they can't be beat. The original 53-54 was prone to a lot of problems that were worked out by the 55 model year, including functional brakes, however the nose was over chromed, and it lost a lot of its simplicity. mine is a 55,with a 53/4 front clip, and it took many years to find all of the front end sheetmetal components. It definitely turns heads everywhere it goes, and is a fun car to drive.
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
    Model T1 likes this.
  18. Yes, Bob Bourke really should get the styling credit. They went up a gauge in chassis material for the 54's.

    They are on my wanted list.
  19. Silverplate
    Joined: Mar 4, 2011
    Posts: 183


    A truly beautiful car. Thanks for posting.
  20. paul v
    Joined: May 11, 2010
    Posts: 4

    paul v

    They truely were a head of their time. Someday I'll get a '55.
  21. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,793

    Jalopy Joker

    very Cool for cruising the street, or chopping for Bonneville. one has been For Sale for a long time in San Joaquin County, CA area (not mine) DSCN7763.JPG .
  22. My Dad had a 53 Starliner when I was 8 or 9. I looked for years to find a nice clone of his car. Found one last year! Even the same colors. Nice two owner (Father then Son) car that looks stock, but with a 63 Hawk engine, 55 Borg Warner auto trans and 62 brakes. Happy Happy! Sorry no pictures.
  23. hdman6465
    Joined: Jul 5, 2009
    Posts: 652


    HPIM0875.JPG I have had 1 for about 20 years, and keep getting sidetracked whenever I get back on it. I think I am afraid to finish it, I may want to sell it if I do.
  24. 5brown1
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 196


    Here is my recently completed 55 Speedster. 63 289 w/ 700r4

    Attached Files:

  25. 40fordtudor
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,503


  26. bulletnose
    Joined: Sep 24, 2006
    Posts: 24


    Yeah I really like the direction they went in '53 .... my first passion was for a Lowboy but I ended up building a '50 Tudor Champion instead.
  27. bulletnose
    Joined: Sep 24, 2006
    Posts: 24


    '55 body with a '54 front clip ?
  28. bulletnose
    Joined: Sep 24, 2006
    Posts: 24


    Not to worry .. taken me 16 years and I'm still not finished my '50.
  29. studebaker eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,509

    studebaker eric
    from Diablo Ca.

    yes. I guess I forgot to mention that part.
  30. olds34dude
    Joined: Aug 8, 2010
    Posts: 62

    from florida

    I was three in '53 when my father bought a new Champion coupe with the little swing out rear quarter windows' my first real memory of the family car. I do remember mostly the "fixed" armrest in rear and trying to sleep over it when we went to the drive-in- no TV in our house then. It was a beautiful bright red with a white roof and red interior, 6 cyl. stick with o/d, I remember later my father saying he got somewhere in the mid twenties mileage wise, as he put a lot of miles on as a travelling salesman at the time, his territory being all of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. We had it until late in '57 when a new Mercury Montery replaced it.

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