View Full Version : Speedster convertibles...any survivors?

05-12-2008, 05:27 PM
I recall reading a short item, probably in the "Driving Around with Walt Woron" section of Motor Trend, in 1955. ( I was 12, had already been a subscriber for a year or two!)

A company (west coast?) was modifying Speedsters into removable hardtops. A few years later, there was a classmate at my high school in Manhattan Beach, CA who occasionally cruised about town in one of these. It belonged to his dad, a motion picture producer. The car was beautiful. I would guess it had all the torsional rigidity of overcooked pasta. (Never forgot the first time I used a bumper jack on my old '55 Commander coupe at school and discovered the doors wouldn't close.)

Any idea if any of these have survived?

05-12-2008, 05:33 PM
Never heard that story, but it sounds like a cool car. It could also be one reason why Speedsters are rather rare today. ;)

Between these folks on the West Coast, and Bill Frick on the East Coast, all sorts of interesting things were happening with Studebakers in the '50's... [:0][8D]

Matthew Burnette
Hazlehurst, GA

05-12-2008, 08:38 PM
Would an inquiry to Motor Trend be able to recover the article?

05-12-2008, 08:41 PM
I have some 55 Motor Trend magazines but I haven't seen the article.

Do you know what month it was in?

Leonard Shepherd


05-13-2008, 08:25 AM
Not sure if I still have it, either. I'll rummage for it this weekend and share the reference if I find it.

As I recall, the company had started this conversion with the '53 or '54 K bodies. I remember a photo of long rods anchoring the top to the windshield pillars.

05-13-2008, 08:41 AM
I remember the car. It was in the Auto-ship class a couple of times there (Mira Costa High School). For the life of me I can not remember the persons name though. I also remeber that he had a Chysler 300D.

05-13-2008, 09:46 PM
Yup, it was Mira Costa. I'd forgotten all about the Chrysler 300. The guy was nice enough. He survived driver's training class (including my misadventures in a really terrible 'tan 57 Ford Six 3-speed stick training car) in reasonably good humor. The "good" training car was a white '59 Galaxy. I had recently transferred to Mira Costa from a very small midwestern high school. Maybe the old "Mustangs" yearbook is around here somewhere. Would be great to know what happened to that lemon/lime Speedster removable hardtop.

(Class of '60)

quote:Originally posted by gthawkguy

I remember the car. It was in the Auto-ship class a couple of times there (Mira Costa High School). For the life of me I can not remember the persons name though. I also remeber that he had a Chysler 300D.

Dwain G.
05-13-2008, 11:32 PM
I don't have anything in my files about the '55 convertibles appearing in Motor Trend. Walt Woron did do about a half page on a stock Speedster in the September '55 MT. I think the article you remember is this one from May '55 Motor Life. It was also reprinted in January '76 Turning Wheels.


Dwain G.

05-14-2008, 12:43 AM
I wonder if the pricing quote is still accurate? I could have a car down there tomorrow for the treatment. Anyone have the number? I can't find him in on Mapquest.


05-14-2008, 07:40 AM
I have the old TW with the '53-'54 convertible conversion explaining who the Los Angeles shop was who did the swaps. I'll try to dig it out. The removable hard top worked on so many cars out there..Gotta love So Cal, only there can you take a heavy hard top off without a soft top as back up and not worry about rain for 8 months. We can't go three days up here..

05-14-2008, 10:08 AM
You're right about the rain up here in Sacramento too. It has stopped raining here and we don't expect any more appreciable rain till November. We may get a smattering here or there, but for the most part, it's done. The way I like it. Much of California is considered desert anyway.