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Need Help with my 1955 Commander Custom 2 Door Sedan

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  • Need Help with my 1955 Commander Custom 2 Door Sedan

    Hopefully someone can help with some questions I have on my 1955 1/2 Studebaker
    Commander Custom 2 Door Sedan.(16G8 - F2 ) built in Los Angeles.

    I have had the car since 1995.

    I recently purchased a production order from the Studebaker National Museum,and
    this is the information that I received.

    The sales order number is (8019) was written on July 22nd 1955.
    The factory order number is ( X10203 )hand written and still visible on the firewall.
    There is no final assembly date,but the car shipped on August 12th 1955 to
    Marks Motors in Portland,Oregon.

    Question: How close was this built towards the end of the 1955 model year?

    The car has the following:

    Hill Holder
    Directional Signals - AC 2700
    Climatizer - AC 2715
    Electric Wipers
    Axel Ratio - 3.73
    HI-Comp CYL Head

    The Trim Code is (8283-IC 233).
    The Commander Custom had no side trim,could this have
    been installed at the factory,or the dealership?
    Any ideas on what type of trim this is,and is this unusual?

    Note:you can see that the body seam filler/welt has been removed
    and filled in by the owner we purchased the car from.
    I think it makes the car look longer.

    See attached Photos:

    The serial number is 8848238 and the Body Number is 460.
    Question: Why such a high serial number and a low body number?
    The Serial Numbers on the Commanders ran from 8843001 to 8849083.
    The engine Serial Number is VL-5347.

    According to Turning Wheels-February 1994-
    There was a total of 170 of the 1955 Commander Custom 2 Door Sedans built in Los Angeles.

    1955 F1 = 85
    1955 F2 = 85 ( Mine )

    Of all the Studebaker shows that I have been at over the past 20 years,
    the car has always been a mystery.

    Which makes me wonder how many are left and does this equate to value

    Thanks in advance for any help
    that you may provide.

    Last edited by 1955- Cmndr; 02-11-2018, 03:57 PM.

  • #2
    hi, sorry that I have no information for you. Just wanted to say what a beautiful car you have! I'm sure you will get some good information from other folks, with more knowledge. I am curious to see what they say about the high comp cylinder head.


    • #3
      Having owned it for over twenty years I'm surprised this is your first visit.

      '55 Commander Custom 2 doors with black walls on the left and white walls on the right are extremely rare ! I DO have a soft spot for these oft-neglected but sturdy sedans. Very nice.
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"


      • #4
        The side trim looks very much like the trim used on 54 models. Maybe the dealer spruced the car up with parts on hand.
        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

        17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
        10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
        56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
        60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


        • #5
          Agree with Roy, that's 1954 Regal trim. Could've been added at the dealer or anyone else after 1955.

          The "low" body number isn't that low. The body tags are sequential only within the same series of models/trim levels/body styles. Given how few second series '55 Custom F body two doors were built, 460 is a high number.

          To answer your last question.. Yes, it's rare, even in Studebaker circles; mostly from 60 years of Studebaker enthusiasts being more enamored with the C/K lineup than the sedans. No, rarity is not relevant to value in this case.

          The assembly date info you posted is interesting to me. My '55 Commander Regal Conestoga was also assembled in Los Angeles. The "date written" on the build sheet is July 18, 1955. Factory order number X9913, serial number 8848072, body number 906, and engine number VL5035. My car was probably assembled in the same week as yours.

          There's no final assembly date or destination listed on the build sheet, but I'm 90% sure it was sold new at Frank H. Afton in Inglewood, CA.

          Welcome to the forum, glad to see another west coast '55.

          Click image for larger version

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          Last edited by mbstude; 02-11-2018, 05:17 PM.


          • #6
            Really nice car - and being a low end model, chances are you will not see another, even at an International meet.

            Not 100% sure, but I think the transition month from one model year to the other was August, but probably would swing either way depending on market forces...someone will correct me if I am wrong.


            • #7
              Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
              The side trim looks very much like the trim used on 54 models. Maybe the dealer spruced the car up with parts on hand.
              Some dealers would, as RadioRoy points out, spruce up a less ornamented model with some shiny trim. An example, about a decade later: my family's dealership would add the Commander side trim to the Challenger models to dress them up and make them stand out a little more.
              Winston-Salem, NC
              Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


              • #8
                It is a nice car.
                What is the S/N range that you posted? Vernon (LA) 1955 Commander production started with 8,841,201. Perhaps your number 8,843,001 was the start of second series 1955s. Keep in mind that these are only the small percentage of Commanders that were assembled in Vernon (LA). South Bend and Hamilton each had their own numbering series. Your car is 89% of the way through assembly of 1955 Commanders in Vernon.
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer


                • #9
                  Since that car was delivered new in Portland, Oregon...I do remember a late ‘55 F2 Commander in SE Portland way back in the 60’s and 70’s with the same green color. I was driving Hawks at the time but I liked F Body sedans, and this one was unique with the lowest trim level yet a V-8 overdrive. A unique package. Given the rarity I would think it was the same car.
                  It did not have the ‘54 side trim on it when I knew the car. Likely the person who did the bodywork to blend the vertical seam added it.


                  • #10
                    'Trim' on a production order usually refers to the interior upholstery. I don't have the book with those codes, but I guess probably Airway Grey fabric.


                    • #11
                      Thanks guys for all of the information you have provided.
                      What would you think that this car would be worth on the market?



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 1955- Cmndr View Post
                        Thanks guys for all of the information you have provided.
                        What would you think that this car would be worth on the market?

                        Put it on eBay with a low opening bid to get the auction action started and place a reserve that you can live with. The market will tell you the price. If you do not want to sell at any price and just want a value for insurance, go to the SDC Insurance Evaluator.
                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        SDC member since 1968
                        Studebaker enthusiast much longer


                        • #13
                          Kind of neat that you saw this in S.E Portland in the 1960's.

                          I was told that there were 2 owners in Portland.
                          The Original owner,and then the 2nd owner was a firefighter in Portland.

                          I was told this by the the 3rd owner,Bob Carney who at that time was a member of the
                          Greater Seattle Chapter.

                          A few pics I have from Bob, it shows the Regal trim without the vertical seam filled in.
                          The car was also the original Saginaw Green,but was then repainted using GM Seafoam Green by
                          Keith Jensen.

                          Bob was the 3rd owner,Keith Jensen was the 4th and I was the 5th.

                          Just thought I'd share

                          Last edited by 1955- Cmndr; 02-13-2018, 03:11 PM.


                          • #14
                            Just saw the thread. I know Bob very well, I rode in it when Bob had it. It was a decent car, when Bob sold it to someone north of Seattle, Snohomish County, I believe. I was surprised when Bob decided to sell the car. The new owner painted it, but I doubt that it would have been a car that anyone would want to paint today. Original paint and rust free, you got a good one! As an aside the pictures that you have are taken at the Mukilteo lighthouse, just south of Everett Washington.


                            • #15
                              Getting rid of the useless and awkward looking 'fake door' body seam certainly improves the looks. Can't help but think Studebaker would have been able to sell a lot more of this sedan model if they'd done this from the git-go.
                              Last edited by Jessie J.; 03-05-2018, 08:41 AM.