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Mackstude
09-03-2016, 08:10 PM
I'm new to this site and new to studebakers. Well almost - I'm looking at purchasing my first a running 53 commander land cruiser that has 63k original miles runs good, looks real fair on outside with repaint and looks great on interior all new, everything is there and most everything works.

in my quest for info on this year and model I am finding next to none listed for sale and very little information on this car. Years prior and years after have much more info available.

I have two questions:
1- Is this year and model undesirable to the point nobody wants them?
2- where can I find more info as to fair market value and the ins and outs of this particular year and model from the perspective of a collector or anthusiast.

any info is appreciated.

drrotor
09-03-2016, 11:00 PM
Everyone has an opinion, so I don't claim to be right about mine... that being said, I would say most people would agree that the 4-door sedans in general, and in particular the '53-'55 variants are quite a bit less desirable than their low-slung "Lowey" style brothers of the same years. However... of all the '53 sedans, the Land Cruiser would be the one to have! It's on a much longer wheelbase than the other Sedans, and as a result it's styling is in much more in proportion than the others, and would almost certainly be better equipped with trim and options. It was a comparatively high priced model in it's day. Sounds like a lovely car. "Condition, Cost, Colors, & 'quipment", in that order, my boss in the car business used to say many years ago :)

TWChamp
09-03-2016, 11:18 PM
Is it a stick with overdrive? That would be my preference. 1953 has a beautiful grill, probably the nicest design ever for a passenger car. I have a 1952 Land Cruiser and really like it. It was my only driver for the late 60's and early 70's, until some neighbors vandalized it. I'd grab the Stude in a minute if the price fits your budget.

SN-60
09-03-2016, 11:20 PM
If it has an automatic transmission, be sure to drive it around the block a few times to determine if it's shifting properly.....Those early '50-'55 automatics are expensive to repair, and parts to fix them are quite scarce! :(

StudeRich
09-03-2016, 11:39 PM
All 1953 to 1966 Studebakers tend to have VERY well designed, dependable and quite Strong Mechanicals, so there are no really Big problems except the normal things to look for in Cars this old, like Floor and Trunk RUST, also the Rear edge of the Front Fender RUST, if the Price is in your budget as said in post #3, it could be a sweet, underappreciated, maybe under Priced Find! :!:

58050 The 1954's are more plentiful: 58051 58052 58053 The Land Cruisers were well into the Buick, Oldsmobile, Desoto and Mercury, Luxury and Price Class and Tom McCahill of Mechanics Illustrated Magazine called them a "Best BUY in Class!"

SN-60
09-04-2016, 08:49 AM
All 1953 to 1966 Studebakers tend to have VERY well designed, dependable and quite Strong Mechanicals, so there are no really Big problems except the normal things to look for in Cars this old, like Floor and Trunk RUST, also the Rear edge of the Front Fender RUST, if the Price is in your budget as said in post #3, it could be a sweet, underappreciated, maybe under Priced Find! :!:

58050 The 1954's are more plentiful: 58051 58052 58053 The Land Cruisers were well into the Buick, Oldsmobile, Desoto and Mercury, Luxury and Price Class and Tom McCahill of Mechanics Illustrated Magazine called them a "Best BUY in Class!"


......True, excepting for the transmission issue I've mentioned. ;)

Mackstude
09-04-2016, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the replays.
Are there any real concerns with the 53 frame? I looked for cracks near the engine motor and cross mounts and although it would be hard to see I could not see any visible signs of the frame rails being bent and all the doors look and feel
aligned very well.

StudeRich
09-04-2016, 12:23 PM
The Stude. frames are not usually a problem if you do not see collision damage.
Sometimes on 2 Door Sedans, Collision damaged or Very High Mileage Cars, there may be cracking starting at the large Rivet that fastens the front Crossmember to the frame side rails at the Coil Spring Pocket inboard.

A Gusset can be welded over the area to repair it.

Hallabutt
09-04-2016, 12:38 PM
Unless the car is from the rust prone eastern part of the country, or a California "beach car," or in some other way abused by accident or neglect, there shouldn't be any particular problem with the frame. The place to check is around the front spring perches where they do tend to develop cracks. Cracking here can be easily repaired, if the cracks have not been allowed separate.

Try to separate transmission concerns from personal preference comments that you may see. Studebaker considered their automatic transmission to be the best on the market when it came out in 1950. Some have been in service for over sixty years without problems. Fact is that if the trans is shifting properly and doesn't make any unusual noises there shouldn't be any problem. You're not going to spin the tires (maybe in low range) and it may seem like the car is underpowered from a stop, but that is the nature of the beast! With 120 hp and an AT it takes a bit to get the car moving, but this is a sixty three year old car! Learn to accept a bit of trans fluid seepage, it's endemic and the cure can be expensive. By 1956 when the unit cost of the trans became more then Studebaker could sustain, Jaguar thought enough of it to continue to use it well into the sixties. Bottom line is that the car that you are considered was their top of the line offering by Studebaker and it deserves more then just casual consideration!

TWChamp
09-04-2016, 12:41 PM
That first picture Rich posted of the 53 sure is a beautiful car. I like it much better than the 54 with the added side trim, but they are both nice looking cars.

I just found out my neighbor is selling his nice 1950 Champion for $7900. He says he has too many cars and needs to sell a couple. I think he should sell his 49 Jeepster and keep the Studebaker.

rockne10
09-04-2016, 12:43 PM
The sedans made by Studebaker 1953-1958 are considered some of their best engineered and most comfortable riding but not the sexiest of all their products. Other than the additional 4" in the frame and some sheetmetal, all mechanicals are common to all models, and just as easy to find.
And, as far as Ed's concerns about those automatic transmissions, the only '51 and '53 models I've owned still have their original DG200 automatics. I've adjusted the bands on one and replaced the park pawl on the other. With periodic service they are practically bulletproof; and between SI and Fatsco practically everything is available. His real concern may be that technicians familiar with them are getting scarce but, through the Studebaker Drivers Club network one will have no trouble finding those specialists.

SN-60
09-04-2016, 12:47 PM
Basically, I do agree with what 'Hallabutt' is saying....if the '53 has a good working unit, shifting well, and TC locking up as it should,..go easy with it and it will probably last for many more happy miles.:)

However, when you road test this car before buying it, if the automatic transmissions shows signs of problems, (other than minor leaks), expect very expensive repair bills 'down the road'!!:eek:

That's the 'bottom line' on this transmission subject...and don't let anyone tell you different!;)

Mackstude
09-05-2016, 01:11 AM
Well now you guys are in for it... I pulled the trigger on the 53 and i will have lots of questions to come. Meanwhile here are a few pics.


5808158082580835808558086

DougHolverson
09-05-2016, 05:05 AM
The sedans made by Studebaker 1953-1958 are considered some of their best engineered and most comfortable riding but not the sexiest of all their products.

I'm wondering how double-enders, Larks and Hawks rate against this?

TWChamp
09-05-2016, 06:00 AM
I'm sure you made the right decision, and one you won't regret. That car is beautiful and I'd have jumped at the chance to own it.

BobPalma
09-05-2016, 06:58 AM
:!: 'Looks lioke a nice car, from what can be seen. Congratulations. :cool: BP

62champ
09-05-2016, 08:19 AM
Back in the early 1970s, a family member told my father and Uncle about a 53 Landcruiser that was in good condition on a local used car lot in the central Texas area. When they went to look at it, they realized how well preserved it was - always kept inside, original paint and interior and showing 45K miles. They put it on a trailer and took it to the International meet in Dallas in 1975.

I drove it a number of times and it was definitely a good ride - loved the really nice interior and V8/automatic set up. Car was sold in 2000 to a gentleman in Houston - I was asked about buying it back a few years ago, but was told it had been sitting outside for years - breaks my heart to know it is probably nothing like I remember.

Here is a website that has some photos of it from @20 years ago. http://www.studebakersite.com/studebaker_1953.html

Good luck and post some more photos.

rockne10
09-05-2016, 12:47 PM
"That's the 'bottom line' on this transmission subject...and don't let anyone tell you different!;)" SN-60

Other's experiences may differ. There ARE no bottom lines. Keep an open mind.

55 56 PREZ 4D
09-05-2016, 01:38 PM
Is anyone else not seeing the first 3 attachments in Post #13 ?

StudeRich
09-05-2016, 02:00 PM
Yes 81, 82 & 83 are the wrong format or something, all I see is the rear view and the rear Seat.

Mackstude
09-05-2016, 08:56 PM
Second attempt at photos. Having an issue with format from my iPad.

58124 58125 58126

StudeRich
09-05-2016, 09:34 PM
Very nice, definitely completely re-upholstered but nice. :cool:

I would guess the Engine has been all gone though, or at least a Valve Grind, hence the Red Paint, they were Olive Green.

Mackstude
09-05-2016, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the compliment StudeRich.
It's a 3 stud/nut valve cover and I'm not sure what has been done to the motor as the prior owner was the third and has not touched the internals. At some point I will reseal, repaint and R&R timing chain at a minimum as well as clean up the engine compartment.

StudeRich
09-05-2016, 10:59 PM
It has Timing GEARS, quite dependable, and long lasting but by now if original, the Fiber Cam Gear could be due from all those years of Oil Soaking.
These never wear and cause poor Valve timing like a brand "X", but when they go, the engine just quits with no damage, unless you count the Tow Bill! ;)

kurtruk
09-05-2016, 11:00 PM
You won't find a timing chain to replace in a Stude engine, the use timing gears only. And I'd count the valve cover hold-down nuts again...
Looks like you got a nice car. :!:

Charlie D
09-06-2016, 12:17 AM
William,

That is a lovely four door sedan. You can be proud to drive it anywhere you desire.

Charlie D.

TWChamp
09-06-2016, 05:47 AM
The 1953 Studebaker is to automobiles what the Southern Crescent is to steam engines.............the most beautiful piece of transportation ever built.
You were very lucky to find such a beautiful 1953 Land Cruiser.
BTW, the Smithsonian has a Southern Crescent on display, and I took this picture of the Champion Starliner at the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend.

58134 58135 58136

8E45E
09-06-2016, 06:38 AM
Second attempt at photos. Having an issue with format from my iPad.

58124 58125 58126

That is VERY nice! A close mate to the '54 here: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?41378-The-BEST-day-Glendale!

Craig

Mackstude
09-06-2016, 10:13 PM
Ok so the valve cover stud/nuts = 4 per side. And it looks like I'll be painting the engine olive green when the time comes.
And no timing chain... Keep it coming I'm taking it all in. I'll be cleaning my garage out tomorrow Inprep for when I trailer the car home next week as is out of state now.

t walgamuth
09-07-2016, 06:05 AM
It looks very nice! Beautiful color!

56H-Y6
09-07-2016, 07:40 AM
Hi

Congratulations buying yourself such a nice example of the top-of-the-line Commander Land Cruiser Y-Body sedan! As you've surmised, the '53-'58 Y-body sedans are badly overlooked and underappreciated. The advantage for those who recognize their many fine qualities is one is able to procure great examples in high quality condition for a fraction of the price of the more popular models. As such, you have a Studebaker to be very proud of, enjoy, show and promote the model series to others to better appreciate.

Steve

t walgamuth
09-07-2016, 09:36 AM
Ironically if the spectacular Loewy coupe did not exist the more upright sedans and wagons probably would be considered very handsome cars.

Sort of like being Cheryl Teague's shorter slightly less slim sister. The world class model gets so much attention the very attractive sister is ignored.

rockne10
09-07-2016, 01:13 PM
Ironically if the spectacular Loewy coupe did not exist the more upright sedans and wagons probably would be considered very handsome cars.

Sort of like being Cheryl Teague's shorter slightly less slim sister. The world class model gets so much attention the very attractive sister is ignored.Precisely! Sit that Land Cruiser alongside ANY other manufacturers' 1953 offering and it will still look years ahead of its time.

TWChamp
09-07-2016, 01:17 PM
Just think about the beautiful cars Studebaker had to sell in 1953, then picture what a 1953 Chevy, Ford, and Plymouth looked like.
Why weren't people flocking into the Studebaker dealerships, and ignoring the big three?
There is just no comparison as far as good looks and as far as I'm concerned the quality was right up there too.
Even if Studebaker cost 10% more, or whatever it might have been, it would be worth it.

I type too slow, but I see rackne10 was thinking the same thing I was.

t walgamuth
09-07-2016, 01:43 PM
People tend to buy what they are used to. Also most folks simply have no taste!;)

We, the few, the enlightened, own studebakers!;)

warrlaw1
09-07-2016, 03:01 PM
Lovely car and it will be dependable if you drive it! Every little improvement is like getting into it for the first time.

StudeNewby
09-07-2016, 09:43 PM
Mack, that is a stunning Stude. Welcome to the forum and to Studedom!

56H-Y6
09-08-2016, 07:56 AM
"Just think about the beautiful cars Studebaker had to sell in 1953, then picture what a 1953 Chevy, Ford, and Plymouth looked like. Why weren't people flocking into the Studebaker dealerships, and ignoring the big three?"

So much more than styling affected purchase decisions: price, dealership availability and trust relationship, brand loyalty, perceived and resale value. Styling ultimate was a much lesser consideration.

Steve

jpepper
09-08-2016, 08:56 AM
Mack, beautiful car. My advice is to buy a build sheet from the Studebaker National Museum. It is a good reference on build specifics. I would also suggest you purchase a shop manual as well as a chassis and body parts manual. They are being reproduced and sold by Studebaker International as well as others. They are a wealth of information as you work on the car. Welcome to Studebaker ownership.

TX Rebel
09-09-2016, 12:18 AM
Congrats on a sweet ride and be sure to join the SDC & a local chapter so you do not miss out on the many good times you will be having with your Stude.
Anyone desiring a solid, running low mileage builder priced REALLY CHEEP, ask me about my 53 Landcruiser & my 58 Commander 4dr .
www.studebakersite.com

55 56 PREZ 4D
09-09-2016, 01:36 AM
What a sweet way to get into Studebakers. Beautiful ride there Dude.
A very good idea to replace the timing gear. The fiber camshaft gear should be the only one you need replace.
The steel crankshaft gear won't need to be replaced.
There are aluminum camshaft gears available, way way overkill for a stock daily or less driver.
The factory fiber gear in my 55 lasted for about 125000 miles and 56 years.
You may need to rig up a puller to install the gear, I could find none that had the correct thread needed. Do not hammer it on.
Also check the 3 rubber brake hoses. They age and can fall apart inside, look good outside but give you fits.
Same for the oil gauge hose. Turner brakes makes all the above hoses.
A dual master cylinder is a good idea also. Again, Turner Brakes.
http://www.studebakervendors.com/
http://www.studebaker-info.org/rjtechoct2014p2.html
http://www.studebakerdriversclub.com/valuablelinks.asp

t walgamuth
09-09-2016, 06:22 AM
Just think about the beautiful cars Studebaker had to sell in 1953, then picture what a 1953 Chevy, Ford, and Plymouth looked like.
Why weren't people flocking into the Studebaker dealerships, and ignoring the big three?
There is just no comparison as far as good looks and as far as I'm concerned the quality was right up there too.
Even if Studebaker cost 10% more, or whatever it might have been, it would be worth it.

I type too slow, but I see rackne10 was thinking the same thing I was.

The big three offerings in the late forties, fifties and early sixties are pretty bloated looking. The lithe and clean looking 53 and 54 studies are decades ahead in styling.

TWChamp
09-09-2016, 02:23 PM
The big three offerings in the late forties, fifties and early sixties are pretty bloated looking. The lithe and clean looking 53 and 54 studies are decades ahead in styling.

I agree, and the big 3 tubs handled like a boat on rough water. I remember when I'd get out of my 1962 Corvair Spyder and get into my 1955 Bel Air 4 door sedan, it felt like steering a huge ship.

studegary
09-09-2016, 02:55 PM
The big three offerings in the late forties, fifties and early sixties are pretty bloated looking. The lithe and clean looking 53 and 54 studies are decades ahead in styling.

I agree that the 1953-1954 Studebaker sedans had good styling for those years compared to others. I would be hard pressed to consider Dodges and Plymouths from 1955, 1962, 1963 or 1964 as "bloated".

Flashback
09-09-2016, 04:38 PM
Beautiful car and a great choice. I have had a 53 4 dr. sedan, but never a nice one. My favorite four doors in the Studes are the 53-55's. And my favorite of the three is the 53 Land cruiser.

t walgamuth
09-09-2016, 08:55 PM
I agree that the 1953-1954 Studebaker sedans had good styling for those years compared to others. I would be hard pressed to consider Dodges and Plymouths from 1955, 1962, 1963 or 1964 as "bloated".

Its all relative I guess.;)

StudeRich
09-11-2016, 05:25 PM
I wonder what the chances are that your "New" LC is a Movie Star?

See Post 607 here:

http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?18-Studebakers-In-The-Movies&p=1012396#post1012396