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Studebaker Indy car #37 to be auctioned Aug. 16-17

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  • Studebaker Indy car #37 to be auctioned Aug. 16-17

    The green #37 Indy car built in 1931 and raced 1931-33 was owned by the late Bob Valpey. It will be auctioned by Gooding & Co. at the Pebble Beach auctions on Aug. 16-17. It won’t go cheaply, but if you ever wanted one of these cars, this is the chance to get one. I’ll be sorry to see it leave New England, but all cars need a new caretaker eventually. I’d rather see it bought by someone who will drive and race it than have it moldering in a museum someplace.
    Attached Files
    Gary Ash
    Dartmouth, Mass.

    '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
    ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
    '48 M5
    '65 Wagonaire Commander
    '63 Wagonaire Standard
    web site at

  • #2
    I'd love to own it, but don't have the cash, a place to keep it, and frankly - my fat hindquarters wouldn't fit behind the wheel even if I could climb onto it. But it would look great at a Stude meet.... or a local car show.
    The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers


    • #3
      Gary, any idea of its value?

      That is a beautiful car!
      Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.


      • #4
        I saw Bob’s 1917 touring car on eBay a week or so ago, and was wondering what was going to happen with the Indy car.

        I know I’ve never seen any of the Indy cars come up on the open market. I’m anxious to see what it brings. A quarter million, at least?

        I’ve driven a ‘31 President roadster a couple of times. Would love to drive the race car version someday.


        • #5
          It has been many years since I was in that car. At least I believe that I would still fit in it.
          Perhaps, if it has to go to a museum, it goes to the Indy museum.
          To be driven, it would probably be best to go to some rich person on the West Coast. That is where most of the historic races are.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer


          • #6
            Think I saw that car at the International in ‘95 at Dearborn MI

            Home of the Fried Green Tomato


            1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire


            • #7
              #37 is the only Studebaker Indy car built in 1931 and won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb that year. Following year joined by four others to make the team.

              Stan Smith Jr and his dad restored that car in the late 1970's. and Stan later sold it to Bob Valpey.
              He said he was sorry to see it go but it did pay for his daughter to go to college for four years, with some mad money to spare.

              Here are pictures of its public debut at the Atlantic Zone meet in Boalsburg, PA in 1981. Stan lived less than a mile from this event and drove it to the show, even though he had not yet gotten the carbs synchronized.
              Wish I had taken better quality pictures four decades ago.

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              Brad Johnson,
              SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
              '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
              '56 Sky Hawk in process


              • #8
                The Indy Museum already has a Studebaker Indy 500 race car in their collection so I'm guessing that they will not interested is adding another. I would like to see it added to the museum in South Bend but I'm guessing the cost to procure the car would prevent that. I know Richard Quinn had a story on the Studebaker 500 effort but I don't remember if it was in the Antique publication or Turning Wheels and I think Ed Reynolds Sr may have also written a story in the 70s about the cars. Ed supervised the restoration of one of the cars and Studebaker used it in 1962 when they paced the 1962 500.


                • #9

                  HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


                  Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

                  Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


                  • #10
                    Some folks I know who are interested in the car have talked to the Gooding folks directly about this car. If you note in Jeff's post above there are no details on the car as they did not have them at that time and still don't However, they did discuss expected value and potential sale price. Their estimate was mid six figures. You can bid by phone or in person if you desire but you better have really deep pockets.
                    sigpicSee you in the future as I write about our past


                    • #11
                      Would mid six figures (assume $400-600k range) make this the most expensive Studebaker ever sold?


                      • #12
                        I just hope whoever buys this car is someone with deep enough pockets and true "historical car passion," to appreciate and care for the vehicle to ensure its proper care and preservation. Someone with the kind of facilities and resources of a Jay Leno or Jerry Seinfeld. It doesn't have to be a celebrity, but for a truly significant vehicle, it should be cared for and housed in something much better than the old drafty cobbled together pole barn like the one I have.
                        John Clary
                        Greer, SC

                        SDC member since 1975


                        • #13
                          Most of the offenhauser roadsters from the fifties go for from 175 to 300. 500K seems a lot to me, but I couldn't afford 175K either in any case.
                          Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.


                          • #14
                            Offenhauser equipped cars from the fifties are plentiful. They were to most common platform of their era. Few are going to be able to approach the historical significance of #37, arguably the most successful stock based car of the "junk car" era.


                            • #15
                              This is a unique and different Indy Race Car. This was the prototype for the Studebaker Race team of the mid-30's era. In 1932 the Studebaker team was a 4 car team. There are only 4 of these cars. The Valpey car was the first of these. The other three still exist and there whereabouts are known but none of them are available for purchase. Now, if a museum was successful in purchasing this car, and it was classified in their collection as a "mixed-use" vehicle" that means it still could be raced in vintage car races. The Studebaker National Museum does not own an Indy Car and if you look at their collection list you will see this is one of the top items they would like to have. Since it is one of 4 and powered by a Studebaker engine, it becomes more valuable to a collector of racing cars. Gooding's estimate is 1/2 to 3/4 of a million dollars for this car. Anyone interested in putting together a group to pursue the purchase of the car? It's a worthy effort.
                              sigpicSee you in the future as I write about our past