View Full Version : 1953 starliner

01-18-2005, 11:17 AM
I have found a 53 starliner that has been sitting in a metal building for the last 12 years. It is complete and has all the chrome and running gear. The interior is in great shape and it is a one owner car. Would someone give me a hint as how much this car is worth? I have restored other cars, but this a new one for me... Thanks, Steve

01-18-2005, 12:01 PM
You're gonna have to be more specific as to condition. Also, from a Stude faithful's standpoint, a Commander would be worth more than a Champion by virtue of their powerplant.;)

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01-18-2005, 04:25 PM
It is not cream puff... but, not rusted under the floor mats and the body is in good shape.. no dents, or busted glass. The tail lights are still good. All the instruments are in very good condition along with all the interior trim. After restoring a 1966 Coronet that had been outside for 6 years and being driven for years with little upkeep, this car is sweet. :) but, I just do not want to spend more than the car is worth. One more thing, this car belonged to the man who designed the 55 T-bird. Please let me know if you need more info. Steve

01-18-2005, 05:12 PM
You still haven't said if it's a V8 or 6, Steve. Sounds like it's easily worth 4 or 5 grand tho. Maybe a bit more if it's a Commander.

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01-19-2005, 07:53 AM
It is a 6 with a 3 speed... If there is anything else I should look at, please advise.. thanks again

01-19-2005, 11:20 AM
Look under the carpets, Steve. These things typically rust thru in the front foot wells and the trunk floors. Check those and the channels that hold the trunk lid seal, check the very bottoms of the doors, look for bondo at the rear lower portions of the front fenders, and check the chin pan to see what shape it's in. The chin pan, the rockers and many other patch panels (floorboards too!) are offered for repair. There's a fair amount of fiberglass stuff out there as well.
Bear in mind that there's a fair amount of pot metal on this car and it's expensive to plate such in good fashion. It's also just about impossible to find even reworkable front end brightwork for these cars so if this one has decent stuff, count yourself lucky.
The engine's a sweetie when right and parts are readily available should it need any. It's a bit anemic by today's standards but with a 3-spd Overdrive tranny and the 4.56 gears at the back, it'll cruise respectably so long as you don't expect lively performance. [|)]
I stand by my earlier assessment in that you can't go wrong at 4 to 6K if it's not a rust-bucket. All dolled up in original fashion, it could fetch 9 to $12K. Maybe even a bit more to the right person. [^]
A Commander edition would command even more. [:I] And as much as don't like to promote "cross-dressing", a cusstomized coupe or hardtop might bring more on the open market because of the erroneous notion that you "Better-fy" one by dropping in an SBC for motive power. But - your car, your choice - I say that to stay out of the argument about Chevy-izing everything with 4 or more wheels.
The car's original suspension is quite robust and durable. Surely moreso than the cure-all Mushtang too that seems to fix everything. Again, everything you might need to refresh that is readily available - up to and including a "modernized" tubular, bolt-on retrofit w/rack&pinion adaptation.[:0]
The 53's were the last year of an earlier style of drum brakes that Stude used. They were probably adequate for their "day". But in today's traffic, you want to upgrade to either later Stude brakes (they're really good in their V8 version and they even offered factory discs as well) OR there's several bolt-on upgrades that employ late GM discs. These REALLY give you stopping power. And you can get fronts and rears as well as dual master cylinder setups. [^]

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01-20-2005, 04:18 PM
The Starliner is one of the most beautiful cars ever built. To get a fairly good idea of its value, you can pick up a copy of the "Old Cars Price Guide" at a magazine rack. It'll give you a good idea of the value.
The car sounds like it's in pretty sound shape. Good luck.

01-20-2005, 04:47 PM
Studeroger, I never recommend the Old Car Value Guide to anyone as a marker of what these or any other car's worth. OCVG is GREAT for showing off to your friends, how much your prized gem's worth. But the info used to compile those guides is NOT from real world sales or appraisals. [xx(]
We all like to feel our cars are worth as much as we paid for them - or more. But the necessary vagueness of the OCVG's condition levels and the fact that most their figures are based on "Classic Car Auctions" leaves vast room for error. Auctions such as Kruse and the like are a BAD place to buy a "collector car". I've WORKED for such auctions and chuckled at the "facts and figures" they use to hype cars to the unsuspecting. [}:)]
I might suggest that Steve do research on ebay before he buys a bogus guide. Doing so is free and it's likely to give a better idea of what sort of Stude in a given condition can be worth.
About 8 months ago, I bought a '53 Commander Coupe out of a barn here in California. It's rock solid, straight as can be and runs. I paid the guy's asking price of $2K. Do I think I got a deal? You bet! The car was easily worth 2 or 3 times that. It needs cosmetics inside and out - both of which I'm addressing. But there's NO cancer or gross body damage to deal with and the old 232, tho caked with crud, runs right nice. [^]
I first bought the car with an eye to turning it for a fast buck on ebay. I would've felt fine with paying 5 or 6K for it in a heartbeat. MAybe even more if I'd wanted it for myself initially. But it was only after I got it home and got it running (it hadn't run since '72!) that I really fell in love with it. Of course, my wife's pleas to keep it helped me decide to. ;)
MAybe the guides are more honest for the Fords and Chevys. I don't know - I don't mess with such.

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