View Full Version : Early 53s with Mercedes 3 pointed star

10-04-2017, 07:00 AM
I just noticed my 53 has an early ashtray with the upside down Mercedes 3 pointed star on it. Any idea how far into production these were made?

Wiki told me this:

The Studebaker company had a problem with the Mercedes-Benz company. A few years in the future, Studebaker would be the American distributor for that brand, but in 1953, the M-B tri-star emblem was turned upside down and put on the front and rear of Studebaker cars, minus the encircling ring. (Mercedes-Benz cars were still relatively unknown in America at that time, so most people[who? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Words_to_watch#Unsupported_attributions)] probably would never have drawn any connection between the two brands.) In the upper part, the Commander had a gold “8” while the Champion a gold “S”. The upside-down tri-star was used elsewhere in the car. The wheel covers, back-up light lenses, radio delete plate, horn button and the rear ashtray on the Starliner/Starlight coupe—all had this emblem. M-B complained and Studebaker hastily re-designed the emblems. On the hood and trunk, they removed the M-B look-alike and on the Commander, replaced it with a large gold “8” in the middle of a chrome “V” (basically they removed one of the three arms of the "star", changing it into a "v".) On the Champion, a gold “S” replaced the “8”. When the other items ran their course, they were replaced by non-tri-star items. These are now collectors items.


10-04-2017, 12:56 PM

10-04-2017, 04:12 PM
Unlike an important mechanical part that was improved, there was no Starting Serial number for minor body detail changes like these. When they ran out of the Old, sounds logical to me.

The only thing actually "Noticeable", were the Hood and Decklid Emblems.

10-04-2017, 07:24 PM
As Rich indicated, items like the radio delete and rear seat ash tray door persisted quite some time after the tri-star hood and deck emblems and wheel covers were modified; I suspect owing to a combination of them being less obviously noticeable, as well as a production run that made them too incidental to scrap.
Can anyone check in here who has a '53 that does NOT have the tri-star radio delete or rear ashtray door? And when was the rear armrest w/ashtray replaced with simply an armrest?

"Wiki told me ... These are now collectors items." :woot::lol:

10-04-2017, 08:31 PM
The 1953s that were assembled in Vernon (LA) utilized the tri-stars, even on the hood and trunk, through the entire model year.

10-04-2017, 09:40 PM
On a related note, when did they begin leading in the C pillar seam? My '53 coupe was built in March (Body 10xx) and it is not filled.

10-04-2017, 09:54 PM
On a related note, when did they begin leading in the C pillar seam? My '53 coupe was built in March (Body 10xx) and it is not filled.

I do not know the answer to your question, other than early in production. Also, some were filled by dealers.

Does your car have the "Commander" nameplate on the trunk? Early cars did not have this. Of course, it could have been easily added later (even before delivery).

10-04-2017, 10:01 PM
On a related note, when did they begin leading in the C pillar seam? Pretty early on, Tom. Though I suspect there is no record of the seam being unfilled before Serial No. xxx or filled after said Serial No. No doubt they would be even rarer than other tri-star models. Might even add $15 or $20 to the value. I don't see folks sand blasting the lead out of the C pillar and falsifying a production order to misrepresent the provenance.

10-05-2017, 06:32 AM
Does your car have the "Commander" nameplate on the trunk?

It had it when I bought it in January '59, don't know before that. Good to hear it's a plus, I was afraid it would be a minus. ....