PDA

View Full Version : 1950 Commander v. Champion



handworn
05-06-2013, 05:15 PM
Hi all,

Just joined, so this is my first post. I like the 1950 models best, but I haven't really been able to find this out: apart from the engine, the wheelbase and the trim, what are the differences between the Commander and the Champion of that year? Mainly I'm trying to figure out whether, other things being equal (like optional equipment, trim packages and that sort of thing), the Commander was really more luxurious in interior appointments overall, and in what ways.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Matt

Corvanti
05-06-2013, 06:01 PM
hi! welcome aboard. :)

here's some info about 50 & 51's to start with while others find more info: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1950-1951-studebaker.htm

some of the "narrative" may not be quite correct. such as: around here, it's not "proper" to call a "Champion" a "Champ";). the Champ is a Studebaker pick-up...

i have a '51. the main downside of the '50 i believe is the availability of some parts, if i recall correctly some were one year only. still, there are many parts vendors on the forum and the SDC that have most of what you may need if you purchase a '50...

let us know what you're looking for, we may be able to help.

StudeRich
05-06-2013, 07:27 PM
As Corvanti said the '51 is a whole LOT easier to deal with repairs, parts etc. because many mechanicals like brakes were used up to '53 and some others like Suspension and Steering were used all the way to 1966.

The '50 Champion Steering and Brakes etc. are not even close to each other, or the '51 and on.
The Commander is a heavier, larger Car like a Buick or Olds, and the Champion is in the Chevrolet class.

In the same trim levels, both Interiors are very comparable, but not the same, the Commander being nicer, and the Commander Land Cruiser being the nicest.

Of course a Big difference on Commanders between '50 and '51 would be the "245" 6 vs the "232" V8.

BobPalma
05-06-2013, 07:34 PM
Matt, if you prefer the 1950 models, you should consider buying the 1950 Land Cruiser offered for sale by Andy and Cathy Hess of our Indy Chapter SDC [Indianapolis].

It is a drop-dead gorgeous car in soft green with Automatic Drive. They are only asking $15,000 for it. It was allegedly the subject of a $40,000 restoration before they bought it. I can believe it.

I've looked the car over carefully and that price is a genuine bargain. You couldn't start with an average one in running condition and get it half that nice by the time you had spent $15,000. :D BP

rockne10
05-06-2013, 08:29 PM
Dang it, Bob! You know some of us have the fever! Where can I see that '50 Land Cruiser? I let mine get away thirty years ago.:(

bezhawk
05-06-2013, 08:37 PM
The Commander is like the LTD of the Stude world, and the Champion is more akin to the Pinto!

BobPalma
05-06-2013, 09:15 PM
Dang it, Bob! You know some of us have the fever! Where can I see that '50 Land Cruiser? I let mine get away thirty years ago.:(

PM sent, Brad. You'll find the car to be exactly as Andy or Cathy describe it, and that is very nice. :!: BP

StudeRich
05-06-2013, 10:05 PM
Wow, I'll bet the condition of this Restored baby is very close to the original unrestored condition of Fred Fox's Family owned since New Tan '50 Land Cruiser, one of the best unrestored in the Country. :!:

dnevin
05-06-2013, 11:25 PM
The Commander is like the LTD of the Stude world, and the Champion is more akin to the Pinto!

Wow, that's a little harsh. Could we at least get the Champion up to Maverick status?

;)

rockne10
05-07-2013, 03:28 AM
Wow, that's a little harsh. Could we at least get the Champion up to Maverick status?

;)Champion=Ford, Commander=Mercury, Land Cruiser=Lincoln
or,
Champion=Belair, Commander=Impala, Land Cruiser=Impala SS

tbredehoft
05-07-2013, 08:30 AM
The most major difference in appearance is in the front fenders/grill (such as it is). The headlights and parking lights are eight to ten inches farther forward (from the windshield) on the Commander, making it look less 'stubby." Couple those fenders with a business coupe body and you have one striking vehicle.

studegary
05-07-2013, 01:20 PM
Wow, I'll bet the condition of this Restored baby is very close to the original unrestored condition of Fred Fox's Family owned since New Tan '50 Land Cruiser, one of the best unrestored in the Country. :!:

I agree with your statement about the Fox LC. I can think of only one dealer installed deviation from build that was done by the dealer at Fox's request.

Commander Eddie
05-07-2013, 03:19 PM
As you can see from my avatar that I own a '50 Commander. Here are the differences that I see between it and it's Champion counterpart:
The heavier Commander still uses the Houdale (sp) rear shock absorbers rather than the hydraulic rear shocks on the Champion that were new at the time.
The trim is a little nicer. Check the difference between the hood ornaments for example.
The Commander has more power and is more likely to have come with the Hill Holder which was an option on the Champion.
The brakes on the Commander are larger.
There is a little more leg room in the back seat.
The instrument panel looks nicer on the Commander in my opinion. More Art Deco.
The Commanders tended to be more optioned up than the Champions, although many of the options were available for the Champions.
I like the ride of the Commander a little better. Smoother and more luxurious ride.
The Commanders are a bit more rare as fewer of them were built and sold. This makes their value higher.

I am sure if I gave it more thought I could come up with more examples, but these are the things that most readily come to mind.

StudeRich
05-07-2013, 08:34 PM
I think Ed's list is fairly complete, but I would add that the Power train: Clutch, Transmission and Rear Axle were all built for the more powerful Engine, so they were the Heavier Duty versions (Models) of the same high quality Manufacturers Parts. That is: Borg & Beck, Borg Warner and Dana Spicer. :)

rockne10
05-07-2013, 10:49 PM
You'll find the car to be exactly as Andy or Cathy describe it, and that is very nice. :!: BP

Bob, you can't imagine how I wish. The comfort of that long wheelbase ride and the sofa-like interior are etched on my memory. I sorely miss it. I still need another bay to house one I already have! :eek:

50starlite
05-08-2013, 01:11 PM
The Commander is like the LTD of the Stude world, and the Champion is more akin to the Pinto!

Brad,
Ouch!!! That really hurts! :( I bought a Pinto new and I now have a 50 Starlight.
Dick

bezhawk
05-08-2013, 02:22 PM
It was supposed to be tongue in cheek....I should use emoticons more!:rolleyes:
I am more partial to the Commanders though!

Corvanti
05-08-2013, 03:36 PM
It was supposed to be tongue in cheek....I should use emoticons more!:rolleyes:I am more partial to the Commanders though!

thanks for the clarification. :) i was about ready to rip you a "new one"! :ohmy::lol::eek:

dnevin
05-08-2013, 07:06 PM
It was supposed to be tongue in cheek....I should use emoticons more!:rolleyes:
I am more partial to the Commanders though!

I knew you were, but it was too easy to feign being hurt (being a Champion owner...) :p

Sdude
05-08-2013, 10:18 PM
The Commander is like the LTD of the Stude world, and the Champion is more akin to the Pinto!

Yeah, I agree that's a little harsh. I would say the Commander is like an Impala and the Champion is like a Bel Air.

studegary
05-09-2013, 12:49 PM
Yeah, I agree that's a little harsh. I would say the Commander is like an Impala and the Champion is like a Bel Air.

I do not think that represents a large enough delta. An Impala and a Bel Air share the same body and most of the choice of engines (at least for most years). The Commander and the Champion do not share front sheetmetal or engines (for 1950). Maybe an Impala and a Nova (for most years) would be a better comparison.

deco_droid
05-09-2013, 04:07 PM
As Corvanti said the '51 is a whole LOT easier to deal with repairs, parts etc. because many mechanicals like brakes were used up to '53 and some others like Suspension and Steering were used all the way to 1966.

The '50 Champion Steering and Brakes etc. are not even close to each other, or the '51 and on.
The Commander is a heavier, larger Car like a Buick or Olds, and the Champion is in the Chevrolet class.

In the same trim levels, both Interiors are very comparable, but not the same, the Commander being nicer, and the Commander Land Cruiser being the nicest.

Of course a Big difference on Commanders between '50 and '51 would be the "245" 6 vs the "232" V8.

I wouldn't say the Commander is heavier like a Buick or Olds. My car is barely 3200 lbs. which is relatively lightweight. I looked up a 1950 Ford and it was about the same weight. The curb weight on a 50 Buick was about 3800 lbs. I think the longer fenders just give the illusion that Commanders are heavyweights...

Oh, and let me throw out a -- Welcome, Matt!

2R Truck Seeker
05-10-2013, 12:25 AM
Didn't the Commanders also have 5-lug wheels, while the Champions used four-lug ?

studegary
05-10-2013, 12:53 PM
I wouldn't say the Commander is heavier like a Buick or Olds. My car is barely 3200 lbs. which is relatively lightweight. I looked up a 1950 Ford and it was about the same weight. The curb weight on a 50 Buick was about 3800 lbs. I think the longer fenders just give the illusion that Commanders are heavyweights...



The weights between the 1950 Commander and Buick might not be similar, but the base pricing was. A 1950 Commander DeLuxe two door sedan $1902 and a 1950 Buick Special two door sedan $1856.

hawk58man
05-10-2013, 01:46 PM
Welcome to the club!..

handworn
05-13-2013, 07:18 PM
Hi Bob,

I do love a bargain, and that sounds like one, but as I understand it, the Land Cruisers were only 4-doors and the Starlight coupes were only 2-door; I like those Starlights. I've always loved railroads, and the Starlight coupes are so like those classic observation cars. (So you get a P-38 Lightning on the front with an observation car on the back!) Also I usually prefer manual transmissions. But thanks for the idea!

Matt


Matt, if you prefer the 1950 models, you should consider buying the 1950 Land Cruiser offered for sale by Andy and Cathy Hess of our Indy Chapter SDC [Indianapolis].

It is a drop-dead gorgeous car in soft green with Automatic Drive. They are only asking $15,000 for it. It was allegedly the subject of a $40,000 restoration before they bought it. I can believe it.

I've looked the car over carefully and that price is a genuine bargain. You couldn't start with an average one in running condition and get it half that nice by the time you had spent $15,000. :D BP

handworn
05-13-2013, 07:57 PM
Thanks for all the welcome, and the advice! In particular the greater ease of repairs to the '51 is valuable information. I would assume the '51 Commander V-8 is more powerful, of course, but what did it do to Studebaker's famed fuel economy? Not that that's foremost in anyone's mind when thinking of a car of that era, but saving gas is always nice.

And it looks like Starlights were offered in both Commander and Champion lines in both '50 and '51-- is that right?

rockne10
05-13-2013, 08:54 PM
Yes, Starlights in both models. In '50, the Commander would have a longer hood and larger headlight doors than the Champion. In '51, either of them would appear more like the '50 Champion. Surprisingly, the early V8's got reasonably good fuel mileage, as long as you weren't burying your foot. Much depended, of course, on the choice of transmission and rear axle ratio. Properly equipped Commanders could match Champions mile for mile.

studegary
05-14-2013, 12:31 PM
To give you an idea of quantities: 1950 Starlight 64,335 and 1951 Starlight 46,157.
I don't have the Champion/Commander breakdown here. You could check the Fox Feature Articles.

Pat Dilling
05-14-2013, 06:07 PM
Though the cars look similar aka the "Bullet Nose," Studebaker made a lot of changes in 51 including the front suspension and the V-8 motor. The V-8 from years all the way up to '64 can easily be swapped into a 51, not so easy in a '50. I believe that some suspension and brake parts also interchange with later models. These are things to consider, especially if you are not buying a "finished" car that will need parts replaced or upgraded.

deco_droid
05-31-2013, 01:36 PM
The weights between the 1950 Commander and Buick might not be similar, but the base pricing was. A 1950 Commander DeLuxe two door sedan $1902 and a 1950 Buick Special two door sedan $1856.

Okay, I see, I guess in that way, they would be similar. Reminds me though, when I first got the car and had to replace the worn out tires, the guy there was concerned that the radials I was interested in would not be up to the task of supporting the car's weight. I told him the car only weighs about 3200 lbs. -- he couldn't believe it. These cars are quite visually imposing...

Commander Eddie
05-31-2013, 02:45 PM
Okay, I see, I guess in that way, they would be similar. Reminds me though, when I first got the car and had to replace the worn out tires, the guy there was concerned that the radials I was interested in would not be up to the task of supporting the car's weight. I told him the car only weighs about 3200 lbs. -- he couldn't believe it. These cars are quite visually imposing...

I agree. I talk to people a lot who are surprised at how light my Commander is. They see all the metal and just assume it is a very heavy car.
As for price, I would imagine that a $46 difference in price seemed like a lot more in 1950. That would have been several months groceries for a family of four. And if the price of the Champion was closer to the Buick, you might still go for the Buick to get all the features not present on the Champion.