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huje
06-21-2005, 11:37 AM
I've got a '53 starliner coupe in storage that my dad had owned since the mid sixties at least. He past away in '89 and I'm trying to verify what I've heard about the car. This car's hardtop unbolts and comes off. I've tried to find info on the lift off top, but I've come up empty handed. Were these actually built for the public? I've been told that it was a prototype built for the auto show, but that could just be family legend. Anybody have any info on this?

65cruiser
06-21-2005, 12:13 PM
It's a one-off. I'd send to the museum and get the build sheet. That would tell you more. It definitely wasn't a factory offering.

________________________
Mark Anderson
http://home.alltel.net/anderm
1965 Studebaker Cruiser

studegary
06-21-2005, 12:56 PM
The factory made one soft top convertible prototype for 1953 that was updated to 1954 appearance. That car still exists. The factory did not make a lift off hardtop. There were many of these lift off hardtop conversions made in the '50s-'60s. I think that some were even written up in custom car magazines of the time. The factory build sheet, from the SNM, will tell you about your car as originally built.
By the way, there is no such car as a "starliner coupe", unless you are lumping all C/K models as coupes. A Starliner (K body) is a hardtop, and what would be used to make a lift off top car, and a Starlight (C body) is a coupe.

Roscomacaw
06-21-2005, 02:05 PM
Not "factory".... but aftermarket customization piece? Quite possibly. It'd be the first one I've ever even heard of so I'd bet it's a custom, home-made deal. I believe the general term for these was "Carson Top".[:I]
How about a picture or two?:D

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

huje
06-21-2005, 02:49 PM
thanks for the info, I will see if I can get some pics the next time I'm down there. I can't believe that my dad would have anything to do with anything 'custom' but who knows. It's red with a white top just like this http://hem.bredband.net/b284654/

huje
06-21-2005, 02:55 PM
doesn't look like thats a good link, I'll get pics soon

Chris Pile
06-21-2005, 03:06 PM
Mr. Biggs mentioned a "Carson Top" - these were padded removable hardtops, usually on customs. The original intention was to get the look of a convertible for summer, and the benefits of a hardtop during cold or wet weather. They were usually very expensive, too.

huje
06-21-2005, 07:35 PM
this is very factory looking, the top bolts to the windshield frame in a few spots and the back slips into the gap between the trunk and body. I really can't see this being done after the car was built, I'll have to get pics up ASAP. Thanks again

studegary
06-23-2005, 12:44 PM
The kind of removable hardtops on Starliners that I remember from the '50s-'60s are not of the Carson Top variety. (I have seen more recent write-ups of Carson Tops on Studebakers.) People took a factory Starliner and made the factory top removable. A friend of mine made one. I seem to remember that he used convertible hardware/latches to fasten the front of the top to the windshield frame. Bolts at this location does not seem like a factory approach, or even a good custom shop practice. I believe that some of these customs with removable hardtops were written up in period custom magazines, probably those little pocket size ones from the '50s-'60s. I have done quite a bit of investigation of '53 Starliners and I was friends with Bob Bourke. I do not recall hearing anything about the factory building a removable hardtop and I don't remember it being in John Bridges' book on the C/Ks. If you get the build sheet for your car you will find out how it was when new. The Studebaker prototypes that I am familiar with, such as the '53 convertible, do not have body number or serial number plates.

steve_smith54
06-26-2005, 11:55 AM
For as long as production passenger cars have existed there have been coachwork shops that modified them. Modifications such as making a car into a stretch limo or making a car into a convertible are probably more common than we realize. Today, I don't think any of the American cars that are available as a convertible actually come from the factory as such. My understanding is that the original manufacturer leaves certain parts off and that the car is then sent to the coachwork shop. Whether or not that information is correct, it is possible that the factory, a dealer, or even the original owner sent the '53 Starliner to a coachwork shop to have the conversion done. Then again, maybe the car was indeed a prototype for an auto show. That is certainly in the realm of possibility. It would definitely be worthwhile to contact the Studebaker museum and try to locate the build sheet. If more information becomes available, please post it. This is quite intriguing. I hope the soft top convertible prototype, mentioned in an earlier post, is still around. What a piece of automotive history! The same is true of the removable hardtop if it turns out to indeed have been a prototype.

StudHawk60
06-26-2005, 12:36 PM
Wasn't Raymond Leowy's personal 53 customized with a removable hard top?[?][?] Maybe. Just maybe.............................

Chris Pile
06-26-2005, 01:32 PM
[quote]Originally posted by StudHawk60

Wasn't Raymond Leowy's personal 53 customized with a removable hard top?[?][?] I seem to remember his '53 as having a Targa top, with the removable portion in front, and a hard top over the rear seats. Anybody have pix of his car to post?

Roscomacaw
06-26-2005, 02:36 PM
Yup - only the roof over the front seat was removable. I've always thought that while it was cool-lookin' (actualy, I personally thought it was dorky-lookin'![xx(]) I'll bet it wasn't any joy to ride in that rear seat from a windage standpoint.[}:)]

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

Dwain G.
06-26-2005, 04:24 PM
Do you know if this car has ever been in California? Could be a car done by an LA dealer. A '55 is shown, but they may have done some earlier cars by request, or a owner in another part of the country saw this and had a local body shop do one:

http://home.comcast.net/~jdwain/Stude.remove.top.jpg



Dwain G.

Roscomacaw
06-26-2005, 06:40 PM
I've never seen one out here or anywhere, for that matter. Sure sounds like the conversion that started this thread.:)

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

Chris Pile
07-03-2005, 11:40 AM
There is a scale model of Raymond Loewy's '53 similar to what we've discussed. Check it out!http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6967139383&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

big jim
07-03-2005, 03:19 PM
Dang Huje ...your site is terrific.. where did you get those pics of Barksdale Motors in Bossier, when i came back from Germany i used to go down there and dream. By the way, that building still stands today, unless its been torn down in the last 2 years..Guess i shoulda got some pics of a bldg in shreveport...when they were building shreve square an old building was torn down revealing the following sign on the side of another "Buckelew Hardware..dealers for Studebaker Wagons and harness" afterthoughts...hmmm

52hawk
07-04-2005, 11:19 AM
A picture of Loewy's 'Targa top' is in the sept 2003 issue of TW.[in the almanac by Richard Quinn. Says it was referred to in company correspondence as a Landau. "loewy had it until it was recalled by the factory in feb.1956"
This edition of the almanac shows 3 different 'Loewy Cars' great reading,as are all the almanac stories!

Everybody's Uncle Used To Have One!