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  • 54 studebaker champion

    Which is more sought after a 53 hardtop/ coupe is there a difference? Or a 54 hardtop? Little confused cause they look the same besides side grilles.
    hunter stanley

  • #2
    The hardtops are more sought after than coupes. The '53's have the glory of being the first of their line, so tend to be worth more than '54's. But the '54's were generally built better, as Studebaker worked out the kinks of building an all-new body style.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      Wasn't the frame thicker on the 54?
      Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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      • #4
        ...and don’t forget about the cross member!

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        • #5
          Not just the cross member (batwing) but much better brakes too. Personally I like both years, and to this day still can't pick which I like better, coupe or hardtop. Also still can't decide if I like painted headlight rings or chromed ones better. I do prefer the 53 grills over the 54, but prefer the 54 tail lights over the 53's. In addition, I always prefer the more conventional Champion dashboard to the 'futuristic' Commander dashboard. As a collectable car goes, what Gord says I have to agree on ...most would be seeking a 53 hardtop with the V8.
          Last edited by junior; 04-01-2021, 06:52 AM.
          sigpic
          1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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          • #6
            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like the original 1953 Starliner the best. For a car of that age, appearance is more of a concern than transportation value (unless a resto-mod). I like the 1953 parking light assemblies (grille bars), Commander dash and front bumperettes better than those on a 1954. I have converted to later V8 brakes (not a visual change).
            I am not a fan of the Starlights (they are ok). The car was designed by Bob Bourke to be a hardtop. I do not know why a coupe was added. Park a similar color stock Starliner and Starlight next to each other and then compare.
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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            • #7
              A -55 with -54 grilles are my choise & ofcourse I prefer the Starlight as the pretty little rear side window (together with the front fender vents) really makes it a Studebaker!
              That's me having bad taste...
              sigpic

              Josephine
              -55
              Champion V8
              4d sedan

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              • #8
                The hardtops (Starliner) are viewed as sportier, prettier; but they are also more prone to wind noise , rattles and leaks around the windows; while the coupes (Starlight) are a tad more conservative, but better sealed and quieter.
                "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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                • #9
                  Like Gary said, in post #6, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder". When I started looking for a car to build, I knew what I wanted , and I had a price "not to exceed". I found a pretty nice 54 Starliner, early on, within my budget. BUT, I wanted a Starlight. I ended up paying more for a coupe than I could have purchased the HT for. I compromised on the Price I paid, BUT, I would not compromise on which one I wanted. To each his own.

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                  • #10
                    Better to pay extra for what you really want than to go cheap and be reminded the rest of your life every time you look at (whatever) it.
                    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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                    • #11

                      Not sure what you are confused about; the 2 Years or the Coupe vs the Hardtop, but the latter are VERY different.

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                      Last edited by StudeRich; 04-03-2021, 12:08 PM.
                      StudeRich
                      Second Generation Stude Driver,
                      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                      • #12
                        I know it means little now, but 53's were among the worst cars I've owned. Restored it make little difference, because we assume that the problems are corrected during restoration. For me it's all about condition. Maybe that comes from having driven these when they were my transportation. Looks are only skin deep, that's why I prefer the 55's. They still retain most of the looks without the rest of the bagage. I know this will not get much traction here, but it's hard to ignore sixty years of driving these things.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skyway View Post
                          ...and don’t forget about the cross member!
                          The are only a few changes from 53-54 and if I remember right the frame up grade was 55 and the bad wing was 56 or 57 the dash boards for the commanders were changed some, along with the tail lights, front side grille surrounds, hood emblem and trunk handle placement, for those liking and wanting a project 53 starliner I have one for sale in California.
                          Candbstudebakers
                          Castro Valley,
                          California


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                          • #14
                            I’ve got 2 54’s; a Starliner and a starlight. Both commanders. At this stage in the game, I think the differences between a 53 and 54 are negligible at best as they won’t be driven daily and neither will likely be 100% identical to the way it left the factory. A 54 Starliner just sold on bringatrailer for 47k while Wayne Carini’s 54 might bring double that?! Point being... two 54’s have sold for big money while I am not sure of any all stock 53’s being offered for sale in a big auction recently. Would a 53 Starliner have sold for more than the 54 on BaT? Hard to say.

                            I do greatly prefer the grille on the 53’s though. I may change the grille in the yellow/green one down the road to the 53 style. s2D already has the 53 grilles. I do think a 53 star liner is the most desirable studebaker of them all. And the looks of a red/white Starliner is to die for.

                            But having said that Today, I’d say condition is paramount and the minute differences between the 2 mean less than they did when the cars were expected to be driven as transportation. condition condition condition
                            Last edited by J_Cole; 04-04-2021, 12:30 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, when I started the search for a Studebaker it could only be a 53 or 54 coupe because I wanted a Bonneville inspired car, I agree that the Starliner is more attractive stylewise, I learned a lot after buying a rusty 53 coupe which now sits on a 58 Hawk chassis.

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