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  • Building a Coupe Express from a sedan

    Recently, there have been a couple of mentions of building a Coupe Express from scratch or from the front half of a Commander/Dictator four-door sedan.

    JMHO, but if one were considering such heresy, starting with a President 2-door sedan would seem to be the basis for the ultimate CE. The longer doors would give the required additional leg room for taller drivers and the longer hood and straight-eight engine would be the cherry on the sundae.

    IIRC, there has been at least one original Coupe Express modified here in the northwest with President front fenders which have the distinctive headlights molded into the top of the fenders.



    A quick search did not turn up any photos of '37 - '39 President 2-door sedans, so it would seem there are not many remaining. Anyone have any photos to share?

    Thoughts on such a project?

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  • #2
    I have seen at least one president ce here a few years ago. It looked pretty nice. I believe it was for sale but don't know if or for how much it sold for.
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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    • #3
      Really based on any of the body styles a CE should look pretty nice. longer doors and a larger cabin would be nice.
      Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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      • #4
        Ford Stoecker used a 1937 President, two door, sans bussleback trunk, to build his sedan delivery. Very rare when built, and I've never seen another W/O the external trunk. Ken Poreous is, or was the owner of a restored 1936 President which we think might be the only survivor.

        Bill

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        • #5
          I believe Richard Dormois also has a CE conversion from a President.
          "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.
          '33 Rockne 10,
          '51 Commander Starlight,
          '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
          '56 Sky Hawk

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          • #6
            Why not start with a more-door? There should be more of them available and the conversion to a two door truck is not that difficult if you can do the rest of the mods. A young friend took two different 50 Packard four door sedans and converted both of them to two door by extending the front doors with metal from the back doors and moving the B-pillar back.

            It looked like this during the conversion including a chop. Convert the back to a pickup to get a CE with a 37-39 Stude.

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            Bob

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            • #7
              I know of two 1939 President Coupe Expresses and two '38s (have photos of all of them). Simpliest way to build is to start with a coupe express cab and box, install on a President chassis (with front sheet metal) and add the box. That is the way all four of these were done. Much better/simpler than trying to modify a sedan. Click image for larger version

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              Richard Quinn
              Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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              • #8
                Oh, and re the President two door sedans, the original production on those were miniscule and I know of no 1937 President survivors, no 1938s and two 1939s. In these latter two years they were called Club Sedans. See photo. Believe you can probably give up on that possibility. Click image for larger version

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                Richard Quinn
                Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Studebaker Wheel View Post
                  I know of two 1939 President Coupe Expresses and two '38s (have photos of all of them). Simpliest way to build is to start with a coupe express cab and box, install on a President chassis (with front sheet metal) and add the box. That is the way all four of these were done. Much better/simpler than trying to modify a sedan.
                  Yes, that's logical, simpler, but not better.
                  No, it's not practical, as real people cannot fit in and operate a Coupe Express cab. It's just way too small for some of us; if I could fit in one, I'd have owned a CE forty years ago. That's why I started the discussion with the desirablity of longer doors to get more leg room.
                  Maybe, can anyone confirm the 2-door doors are actually longer than the front doors of 4-drs?

                  Why not start with a more-door? There should be more of them available and the conversion to a two door truck is not that difficult if you can do the rest of the mods. A young friend took two different 50 Packard four door sedans and converted both of them to two door by extending the front doors with metal from the back doors and moving the B-pillar back.
                  For true, Bob; with sufficient time, money and talent, anything can be made into/from anything. However, if a 2-door sedan were available for the same price as a 4-door, an extended cab CE could be made for reasonable money. because it's just grafting on the rear cab wall section. Starting with a 4-door, extending both doors, remaking the B-pillar, more than doubles the fabrication labor. Since there don't seem to be any 2-door Presidents for donors, it's moot.

                  jack vines


                  PackardV8

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                  • #10
                    Does the two door donor/seed car have to be a President? Aren't there two door Commander/Dictator sedans out there?
                    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

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                    • #11
                      Roy,

                      Maybe but then you are using three cars. I guess if they are parts cars it doesn't matter, but when they are gone you can't bring them back.
                      Last edited by Hallabutt; 06-20-2020, 11:55 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Several years ago I was seriously considering making my ‘37 Coupe-Express into a President Coupe-Express. All I needed was a President chassis, the hood, hood side panels and fenders.

                        If you study the chassis dimensions and mounting points in the ‘37 shop manual, everything is the same for President and Dictator bodies from the cowl back. My Coupe-Express is actually on a Dictator chassis because I wanted to have Planar suspension. All the body bolt holes lined up.

                        I know of at least one ‘37 President coupe that started out as a Dictator coupe. (change the instrument panel and use higher quality interior and stick that Dictator body on a President chassis with President fenders, hood and hood side panels and you’re all set).

                        I took an 1800 mile round trip to Florida to look at a ‘37 President sedan. It was great for what it was — an unrestored, unmolested sedan. It wasn’t running at the time, and while it looked fine, the last time I had a ‘37 250 straight eight rebuilt I had over $10,000 in the engine alone and the shop that did it said “never again”. I just couldn’t justify the cost of the car and the potential cost of engine rebuild to make the deal. Not to mention the thought of just trashing that absolutely rust-free President body (it came out of Arizona).

                        The idea of a ‘37 President Coupe-Express still haunts me.

                        Tom

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tomlewis View Post
                          Several years ago I was seriously considering making my ‘37 Coupe-Express into a President Coupe-Express. All I needed was a President chassis, the hood, hood side panels and fenders.

                          If you study the chassis dimensions and mounting points in the ‘37 shop manual, everything is the same for President and Dictator bodies from the cowl back. My Coupe-Express is actually on a Dictator chassis because I wanted to have Planar suspension. All the body bolt holes lined up.

                          I know of at least one ‘37 President coupe that started out as a Dictator coupe. (change the instrument panel and use higher quality interior and stick that Dictator body on a President chassis with President fenders, hood and hood side panels and you’re all set).

                          I took an 1800 mile round trip to Florida to look at a ‘37 President sedan. It was great for what it was — an unrestored, unmolested sedan. It wasn’t running at the time, and while it looked fine, the last time I had a ‘37 250 straight eight rebuilt I had over $10,000 in the engine alone and the shop that did it said “never again”. I just couldn’t justify the cost of the car and the potential cost of engine rebuild to make the deal. Not to mention the thought of just trashing that absolutely rust-free President body (it came out of Arizona).

                          The idea of a ‘37 President Coupe-Express still haunts me.

                          Tom
                          As long as we're getting all the best parts together in a phantom build, do those who know think a President 337" Indy engine would fit in a '37 President Coupe Express? Would it make more power than the 250"?

                          jack vines
                          PackardV8

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                          • #14
                            Click image for larger version

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                            Originally posted by PackardV8 View Post
                            Yes, that's logical, simpler, but not better.
                            No, it's not practical, as real people cannot fit in and operate a Coupe Express cab. It's just way too small for some of us; if I could fit in one, I'd have owned a CE forty years ago. That's why I started the discussion with the desirablity of longer doors to get more leg room.
                            Maybe, can anyone confirm the 2-door doors are actually longer than the front doors of 4-drs?

                            For true, Bob; with sufficient time, money and talent, anything can be made into/from anything. However, if a 2-door sedan were available for the same price as a 4-door, an extended cab CE could be made for reasonable money. because it's just grafting on the rear cab wall section. Starting with a 4-door, extending both doors, remaking the B-pillar, more than doubles the fabrication labor. Since there don't seem to be any 2-door Presidents for donors, it's moot.

                            jack vines

                            (KISS) Your original premise is not correct. All that is required to make a standard Coupe Express into a comfortable driver is to modify the seat. I am 6'2" and have the seat in my '38 CE modified so that I actually have trouble reaching the pedals. If all of this fabrication theory is based solely on driver comfort issue you are really wasting a lot of time and money. Incidentally I have owned eight Coupe Expresses. To me the motivation for building the President Coupe Express would be twofold. First the longer hood and fenders of the President are aesthetically more pleasing than the shorter Dictator/Commander. Second the larger more powerful 250 c.i. President Eight engine would get you down the road a little faster.

                            Oh and regards to the using the big 336 c.i. President engine that would not be a wise choice. Firewall modifications would have to be made and in the end the smaller 250 has a better h.p. to weight ratio so definitely not worth the effort.

                            Last edited by Studebaker Wheel; 06-18-2020, 07:07 PM.
                            Richard Quinn
                            Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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                            • #15
                              This is an incredibly interesting thread. This is all way too cool. Dictator body on President chassis etc.. Too bad that one would have too find these donors. It would be a labor of love though.

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