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Difference between 55 Champion and Commander 2-door

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  • Difference between 55 Champion and Commander 2-door

    I don't actually have a Studebaker (yet), but am hoping to get some questions answered, so I don't make a bad decision. I am looking at what has been advertised as a 55 Champion. In the little bit of research I have done, I have not found any kind of chart or diagram to point out the differences between the two models. In looking at photos, I have noticed some trim pieces, wheels, etc on cars that are described a both Champions and Commanders.

    I know cars, but not much about Studebakers and want to make a good decision one way or another. Are trim pieces commonly swapped between models? Are there any sure-fire ways to tell Champion from Commander? Is one more desirable than the other?

    Is there anything in particular that I should check for on these cars, like specific panels to check for rust, etc?

    Any information that any of you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Quick and dirty: the Champions were 6 cylinders and the Commanders were all V8 powered in the 1950's.
    --------------------------------------

    Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

    Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

    "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 1962larksedan View Post
      Quick and dirty: the Champions were 6 cylinders and the Commanders were all V8 powered in the 1950's.
      Except 1950, the Commander had the big six (245 CID) and the Champion the 170 CID engine. The Champion was the entry level vehicle, while the Commander was more upscale with more options (and trim).

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      • #4
        Ok, the car I am looking at says it is a 6-cylinder, so that part matches. What about trim pieces? On some cars, I have seen a chrome strip that runs almost the entire side of the car, but some don't have this. Some have what I would call a chrome hoop that goes over the top of the car, just above the rear window. Further, some cars seem to have a smaller chrome piece that extends from the c-pillar down to the chrome strip that runs the length of the car.

        Within the Champion model line, were there different packages/trim levels that had different specifics?

        As far as value is concerned, assuming well-sorted mechanicals and no rust, but overall solid driver condition with a few period accessories, are there general price ranges out there that these cars are going for?
        Last edited by mx5nutP729; 06-11-2012, 06:12 PM.

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        • #5
          They had three different trim levels, the Custom, DeLuxe, and Regal. With each level up you would go, you'd see more trim. Hardtops would also have a little more chrome for the window glass. Here's a database with some production numbers from Studebaker history: Click Here

          PS - 1962larksedan: The odometer's one shy of 1,000 posts. Post something and tick that thing over!
          '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

          "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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          • #6
            There are a lot more qualified people than I to talk about car values (pretty much everyone on this board), but in my humble opinion, the best price is the one you're willing to pay. It's so hard to say that a car like a Studebaker is worth X dollars, because after 50 or more years of aging, parts swapping, and using, no two cars are exactly alike. If you find a car with NO mechanical issues, you'll probably pay quite a lot more than you would for one with a few things you can fix. (On top of that, it would probably be foolish to buy a Studebaker and not immediately do a few basic maintenance things, like brakes, bearings, and whatnot.) There was a pretty darn sharp one not too long ago on ebay, and the bidding stalled out before the reserve, only hitting $3800 or so. Hope that helps at all!
            Last edited by JimC; 06-11-2012, 09:11 PM. Reason: There's an "L" in humble.
            '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

            "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

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            • #7
              It will also make a difference what kind of two door you are looking at, coupe or sedan. The two door coupe and hardtop are worth more than a two door sedan in the same condition.
              Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

              40 Champion 4 door*
              50 Champion 2 door*
              53 Commander K Auto*
              53 Commander K overdrive*
              55 President Speedster
              62 GT 4Speed*
              63 Avanti R1*
              64 Champ 1/2 ton

              * Formerly owned

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mx5nutP729 View Post
                I don't actually have a Studebaker (yet), but am hoping to get some questions answered, so I don't make a bad decision. I am looking at what has been advertised as a 55 Champion. In the little bit of research I have done, I have not found any kind of chart or diagram to point out the differences between the two models. In looking at photos, I have noticed some trim pieces, wheels, etc on cars that are described a both Champions and Commanders.

                I know cars, but not much about Studebakers and want to make a good decision one way or another. Are trim pieces commonly swapped between models? Are there any sure-fire ways to tell Champion from Commander? Is one more desirable than the other?

                Is there anything in particular that I should check for on these cars, like specific panels to check for rust, etc?

                Any information that any of you can provide would be greatly appreciated!
                Look for rust just forward of the doors on the vertical face of fenders

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                • #9
                  Jim, thanks for the good information. I do expect to do a few maintenance items, as with any car I would purchase.

                  Don, I realized that I did not make the distinction after I posted. I think I am looking at a two door coupe because it has thicker b-pillars. If I remember correctly with the hartop, there is essentially no B-pillar and the window area is completely open when both front and rear windows are wound down.

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                  • #10
                    A sedan has a higher body all together, you'll easy see it on top of the front wheels, (the fenders), & the roof, it's just a higher car.
                    But then you have the coupes... they come both with pillars, called Starlight & pillar-less/H.T., called Starliner.
                    Google "1955 Studebaker" & go in on "images"!
                    This is where that picture-that-refuses-to-get-in-here would be...

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                    • #11
                      Your observatioons mean alot, but THE way for us to tell what you are looking at is to give us the numbers off the embossed tag that's mounted to the right of the windsheild wiper motor. Tell us what the first of the two lines says and we'll tell EXACTLY what you're looking at. It's that easy.
                      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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                      • #12
                        More than the engine is different mechanically. The transmission , brakes, and frame are lighter duty too. Pre 55, the dashes, and general trim were totally different too.
                        Bez Auto Alchemy
                        573-318-8948
                        http://bezautoalchemy.com


                        "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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                        • #13
                          There was also the mid-year redesign of the windshield, among other things. Mid-year brought the wrap around windshield. The earlier ones we refer to as "straight windshield," even though they are also curved--just not as much. I think there was also many exterior trim changes at that time as well.
                          KURTRUK
                          (read it backwards)




                          Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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