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View Full Version : Why was the '47-'50 Land Cruiser larger/longer than the '51?



PackardV8
10-05-2014, 04:18 PM
In another thread about the '51 Land Cruiser raffle, it mentions the LC was the largest and most luxurious of all post-war Studes.

When a '50 is parked beside a '51 at a show, the 124" wheelbase and front fender length of the '50 makes it 211.9" long, noticeably greater than the '51's 119" and 201.5".

Yes, the V8 is slightly shorter than the Commander 6-cyl, but has anyone seen any published explanation why the '51 was shortened?

When I was a single-digit youngster, a family friend bought a mint burgundy '50 LC at a give-away price because no one around there considered an old flathead 6-cyl stick-shift a luxury car. I loved it, especially the suicide rear doors. Wish I still had it, because to me, a V8-only guy, the '50 Land Cruiser was the ne plus ultra of luxurious post-war Studes.

jack vines

jclary
10-05-2014, 04:29 PM
I was always told that it was because of the big six commander engine. Anything else is speculation on my part, but...could be that someone in management finally realized the "economics" of the size difference did not make sense. The other speculation is that perhaps Studebaker was thinking about bringing back a straight eight. After all, Packard, Buick, Pontiac, and others were still using long straight eight engines. Since Studebaker had success with their V8, no need for the extra length. Could be that it took a little longer to realize the extra length was not needed.

mapman
10-05-2014, 04:58 PM
The '51 wasn't shortened necessarily so much as it just wasn't lengthened. The 50 length is evident in the length of the back door, but the front fenders are also longer. The '51 remained the same length as the commander but had more refinements and the working back wing windows.
Rob

Corvanti
10-05-2014, 05:09 PM
i would think it's a case of "follow the money". was there any Studebaker using the longer wheelbase in 1951? could some fancy "doo-dads" make a Commander into a Land Cruiser? no need to bring back a straight 8 by '51 since the V8 was ready to go.

i seem to recall that the '51 underpinnings were quite a bit different than the '50 and earlier post war models...

just thinking out loud.:)

Mark L
10-05-2014, 05:16 PM
I've heard it was to standardize parts between models to save on production costs. The front end sheet metal for the '51 models was the same on the Champion, Commander, and Land Cruiser. Even then, they still had six body styles in 51, four 2-door bodies (coupe, sedan, business coupe, and convertible) and two 4-door bodies (standard sedan and Land Cruiser). Each had a few unique parts.

Mark L

BRUCESTUDE
10-05-2014, 07:48 PM
As Mark L stated, the '51 front sheet metal was the same on all models, in '50 the Commander series had different front sheet metal than did the Champions. The '50 Champion series front fenders are basically the same as '51 and, with another piece or two added, the '52's.

bezhawk
10-05-2014, 08:41 PM
The 50 Land Cruiser wheelbase was 124" not 119!. And the dash board was much nicer. They just cheapened it (in 51)for the bean counters in New York. The 50 suspension was very close to the 51 in design, but built much better, the frame was 7" deep, not the flexible flyer cross section of the 51 and up!. The Houdaille shocks were adjustable and rebuildable too. The rear springs had sheet metal gaiters covering them and had grease fittings, and front and rear stabilizer bars were standard. They rode like the best Cadillac.

Jim B PEI
10-05-2014, 09:01 PM
Due to the length of the Commander six, I thought, which I believe is longer than the V8. Both the Champion 6 and V8 fit the same compartment. That being said, I think that as a driver's car, I would love to have a top notch Commander 6 Land Cruiser, 48 being my favourite (in front end looks) year with 1950, and 47 and 49 just a wee titch behind.

PackardV8
10-05-2014, 09:29 PM
As several have stated, since the Commander 6-cyl fit in the shorter wheelbase versions, that is obviously not the reason for the 124" wheelbase of the '47-50 Land Cruisers. I'd guess it was shortened in '51 just to lessen the body count.

The '50 Land Cruiser is still an under-appreciated Bullet-Nose Stude. I've sworn in front of God and three responsible witnesses never to own another 6-cylinder Studebaker. However, if the right '50 Land Cruiser came along, I might have to take my chances with the hereafter.

jack vines

John8E40
10-05-2014, 09:32 PM
I would have to agree with the Commander 6 engine size. I have a 60 Lark VI and a 60 Champ with the Commander 6.The Commander 6 is a very tight fit in the Champ pickup. Kinda similar to the Hawks with the 259/289 vs the 352 Packard under the hood. I owned a couple Dodge cars with similar problems one had the 383 big block when most of that model came with the 318. Only one way to change the plugs on the 383 was to go underneath and reach up through the torsion bar suspension. And I have a Commander 8 in my herd of Studes, now that is a long engine.

Roscomacaw
10-05-2014, 09:36 PM
Of all the postwar Land Cruisers, I've only ever driven a tired '47. That said, I was amazed at the way that thing rode!

clonelark
10-06-2014, 12:35 PM
A 47-49 Studebaker 4 dr or Land Cruiser with a Big Block Chevy would make such a great sleeper.

skyway
10-06-2014, 01:24 PM
"The other speculation is that perhaps Studebaker was thinking about bringing back a straight eight."

This has always been my understanding; mebbe even substantiated by one of the (30+ year)OLD Fred Fox articles?

8E45E
10-06-2014, 02:40 PM
A 47-49 Studebaker 4 dr or Land Cruiser with a Big Block Chevy would make such a great sleeper.

About 15 years ago, there was a '49 Land Cruiser in the local PYP yard here with an aborted Buick 430 engine transplant. The body was not all that bad on it, but the interior was completely gutted. I did grab all four doors and a couple of undented fenders on a weekend special when they had all body panels for $9.95 each.

Craig

rockne10
10-06-2014, 03:02 PM
"The other speculation is that perhaps Studebaker was thinking about bringing back a straight eight."

This has always been my understanding; mebbe [sic] even substantiated by one of the (30+ year)OLD Fred Fox articles?Fred would quite probably be the one to know. I believe he has been driving a '50 Land Cruiser for many years.

I once bought one for $400 nearly forty years ago and drove it home with a bent rear axle but never did get around to its restoration. :( Others have been saved by its many parts.

studegary
10-06-2014, 03:31 PM
Fred would quite probably be the one to know. I believe he has been driving a '50 Land Cruiser for many years.

I once bought one for $400 nearly forty years ago and drove it home with a bent rear axle but never did get around to its restoration. :( Others have been saved by its many parts.

Fred's father bought that 1950 Land Cruiser new.

deco_droid
10-13-2014, 05:40 PM
I've heard it was to standardize parts between models to save on production costs. The front end sheet metal for the '51 models was the same on the Champion, Commander, and Land Cruiser. Even then, they still had six body styles in 51, four 2-door bodies (coupe, sedan, business coupe, and convertible) and two 4-door bodies (standard sedan and Land Cruiser). Each had a few unique parts.

Mark L

That seems to make sense to me as well. Fewer fender/front end pieces, regardless of engine size, equals higher profit margin.... but I still love the long fendered Commanders for some reason. ;)