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1953 coupe and hard top styling?

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  • 1953 coupe and hard top styling?

    I've always been a big fan of the 53-55 coupes and hardtops, but never realy looked into the history behind the design. I do know who designed them. What I would realy like to know is.... What was the thought process in the design? What were they shooting for.
    For some reason I always thought the idea was to combine American and European design. Kind of a European luxury sport car. I always picture these cars cutting some curves on a winding road somewhere.
    Am I wrong in thinking that? Can someone fill me in on this?

    Orlando FLA
    Orlando FLA

  • #2
    If you took away the long rear trunk area and shorten it I always thought the mid to late Camaros kind of had the same shape and proportions.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      First car manufactured in the U.S. under 5' high; lower center of gravity, less roll, lending credence to your image of the winding road.
      STUDEBAKER'S FINEST by John Bridges recalls the design process.

      Any hunk of rolling sheet metal could have been designed under 5' high.
      The early C/K's attained a level of design that qualified them as works of art in an industrial field. And it certainly created headaches for the engineering department.
      "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"

      Comment


      • #4
        I do not think the handling and cornering was ever intended to be on a par with a period MG or Jag, to do fast turns like you describe with that much weight, but you have the rest about right! [^]

        Definitely a European styled car, longer looking and much lower than contemporary Chevys. and Fords, and could easily out handle them due to the low center of gravity and firm suspension, but not a Ferrari or Alpha Romero!

        Americans were not quite ready for that advanced of a design, and some were actually frightened by the great forward and CLOSE visibility (like driving a VW Bug!). The '53-'54 Coupes and the somewhat "stodgy looking" Sedans were a huge sales failure!

        Acclaimed by many in the Art World, as one of the most beautiful Automobile Designs in the World, ever! []

        StudeRich
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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        • #5
          Follow the link; scroll down to the second article: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2...-new-wore-off/

          Keoni Dibelka / HiloFoto
          In Hawai'i; on Hawai'i; on the Windward Side
          If da salt air never chew 'em up bumbye da lava will...

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          • #6
            Bob Bourke started the design of the 1953 Starliner as a show car design with an eye toward keeping the design close enough to a production car so that it could be produced.
            Bob initially wanted one glass in the side, like a later Camaro/Firebird, but was told that the door/glass would be too large. That is how the Starliner ended up with quarter windows. Bob drove a second series Firebird, that he bought new, for many years.
            I don't know how this agrees with the references above. I am just giving input from my memory of discussions with Bob.

            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

            Comment


            • #7
              A key element is that Bourke was supposed to be working on a "concept car", but he kept production limitations in mind. Loewy then sold Studebaker management on the design for a production car. Bourke drew a lot of inspiration, particularly the sloped hood and fender shape, from the Lockheed Constellation airliner. And yes, they were promoted as the "New European Look" Studebakers.


              Steve Hudson
              The Dalles, Oregon
              1949 "GMOBaker" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
              1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
              1953 Champion Starliner (custom/rod project)
              1954 Champion Coupe (daily driver)
              1960 Hawk (future project?)

              Steve Hudson
              The Dalles, Oregon
              1949 \"GMOBaker\" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
              1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
              1953 "Studacudallac" (project)

              Comment


              • #8
                Do any of you remember this,I think many years ago in TWs.an artical on the 53 coupe,the clay model was all set as was Raymond,though some"can'nt remember who" came in and said this is not going to work,the roof line is to low,and said "people wear hats you know"and you need to raise the roof up more! so there was two lines scribed in the clay to show where it was raised,but the lines were there just to play mind games and was kept at the origional height.and the go ahead was given,I thought that was quite the thing to do.

                Joseph R. Zeiger
                Joseph R. Zeiger

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                • #9
                  Joseph,

                  The hat story I heard was; executives were shown a prototype and commented that the roof was too low for a gentleman wearing a hat. The designers were directed to raise the roof enough for a 6 foot tall man to drive with a hat on. That may be the reason for the uphill rake of the roof line. Whether this is true or not, it makes a great story.

                  Pat

                  Pat Dilling
                  Olivehurst, CA
                  Custom '53 Starlight aka Stu Cool

                  LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611
                  Pat Dilling
                  Olivehurst, CA
                  Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL


                  LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So the Studebakers of 1953 were the reason men stopped wearing hats at about that time?[:0][8D]
                    "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"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think Pat has it right. Since the standard C/K's DO provide the requisit head clearance, it seems unlikely the "fake out" story is true. The "6 Foot Gentleman wearing a hat" was a standing requirement at the time, and Bourke would have known that. Note Pat's chop, as well as the one on my old Starliner, is called the "Gentlemen's Chop" because it just takes out that extra lift done to satisfy the head room specification.
                      [img][/img]


                      Steve Hudson
                      The Dalles, Oregon
                      1949 "GMOBaker" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
                      1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
                      1953 Champion Starliner (custom/rod project)
                      1954 Champion Coupe (daily driver)
                      1960 Hawk (future project?)

                      Steve Hudson
                      The Dalles, Oregon
                      1949 \"GMOBaker\" 1-T Dually (workhorse)
                      1953 Commander Convertible (show & go)
                      1953 "Studacudallac" (project)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've read about the hat requirement before... Its interesting that was more of a concern than leg room. I've been experimenting with moving the seat back from the stock location since at 6'-1" I find the leg room to be really poor. One reason I don't drive the car on longer trips and have cruise control. My ankle cramps up from the ackward contortions needed. On the other hand, yes, there is good head room and no worries about hitting my head getting in/out!

                        When did wearing a hat (and not a ball cap or feed/seed corn one) out in public go out of style? Early 60s? As a kid in the 70s, the "older" folks would wear hats to church, men took theirs off but the ladies left them on. Anyone in the 30s or younger didn't wear them.

                        Jeff in ND

                        '53 Champion Hardtop

                        Jeff in ND

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                        • #13
                          Officially, the notion that hats were required for any formal activity was brought to a screeching halt when JFK was the first President to not wear the requisite silk top hat to his inauguration. Hat popularity had been declining but his action put a lot of manufacturing and sales on the ropes.
                          Today, wearing the proper hat can still add the finishing panache to the presentation of your classic Studebaker.

                          Brad Johnson
                          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                          '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
                          "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"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            the mystery to me is [and i have been into 53/54 c/k studebakers since the early 60's] is why they decided to build both a c body and the k body. nobody has ever been able to satisfactorily explain why they decided to go in that direction given the higher tooling costs,the increased cost of the requisite parts inventory as well as the complications on the assembly line.
                            ed ellis

                            sigpic

                            the "SUPER COUPE"

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                            • #15
                              IMHO the Starliner is a much prettier car. That being said, I would have rather had a coupe to replace my first one. First decent body I found was a hardtop so that';s what I,ve got.
                              Bob

                              Own '53 Commander Starliner. Red w/beige top. 350 Chev/700R4. Tilt,cruise,A/C.http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j3...ontheBeach.jpg
                              Own \'53 Commander Starliner. Red w/beige top. 350 Chev/700R4. Tilt,cruise,A/C.http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j30/Bobphyl/StudeontheBeach.jpg

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