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How many automatics compared to manual transmissions were built for studebakers in certain models?

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  • How many automatics compared to manual transmissions were built for studebakers in certain models?

    Curious as to why almost every Studebaker I look at on craigslist for sale or on ebay seem to be 3 on the tree manuals.. Were more manuals produced? were they cheaper to produce? are automatics rare?

    Granted I have only been looking at Larks, champions and starlight coupes... but maybe I just hit a patch of all manual vehicles..

    I am going to focus more on finding a 50-51 Starlight coupe come next spring and plan to spend around the $8000 range.. are there different versions of the starlight that came with the automatics?

  • #2
    I think the main reason why you see so many manuals available is that Studebaker owners traditionally valued economy and Studebaker generally delivered that with 3-speed manuals plus overdrive in most models. Plus...Studebaker seemed to build mostly low cost cars...the factory built what dealers ordered. Look at the time period involved...automatics were available but not the norm except in higher grade autos from most manufacturers. Most everyone learned how to drive on a manual...not like today.
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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    • #3
      1950 was the first year for the automatic transmission in Studebaker. It is going to be quite a bit rarer than a standard.

      The Starlight Coupe was a body style that was available in the Commander or Champion models.
      The '50 Commander and/or Land Cruiser had a 245 cid flat head six and was mated to the Borg Warner DG200 automatic or the Borg Warner T86 standard 3-speed or 3-speed w/OD.
      The '50 Champion had the 170 cid six and was mated to the DG150 automatic or the T96 standard with or without overdrive.
      1951 was the same as 1950 except, the Commander and/or Land Cruiser was fitted with the new 232 ohv V-8.
      "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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      • #4
        I think the other reason is that automatics in those days were less than reliable and few folks buying at the low end of the spectrum wanted tha huge repair bills related to automatics. The BW standard trans in studebakers usually outlasted the cars.
        ed ellis

        sigpic

        the "SUPER COUPE"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 63avanti. View Post
          Curious as to why almost every Studebaker I look at on craigslist for sale or on ebay seem to be 3 on the tree manuals.. Were more manuals produced? were they cheaper to produce? are automatics rare?

          Granted I have only been looking at Larks, champions and starlight coupes... but maybe I just hit a patch of all manual vehicles..

          I am going to focus more on finding a 50-51 Starlight coupe come next spring and plan to spend around the $8000 range.. are there different versions of the starlight that came with the automatics?
          I would guess that in 1950, fewer people were interested in the "newfangled" automatic transmissions, so fewer were ordered and produced.

          I wish you the best in looking for a Starlight coupe, by the way. I searched about 2 years before finding mine, but I was looking for a Commander specifically. I have found that most nice Starlights are in the $12 - 15k range, but you may get lucky and find a nice one for less.
          sigpic

          1950 Commander Starlight Coupe
          Regal Deluxe Trim
          Automatic transmission
          46k original miles, 4th Owner

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          • #6
            My 51 Commander State has the Detroit Gear transmission.

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            • #7
              My 1950 Land Cruiser was equipped with the DG200 Borg Warner automatic. Very nice riding and driving automobile!
              Granted, it was a top-o-line car for the 1950 lineup.
              Last edited by 57pack; 08-30-2013, 12:38 PM.
              sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

              "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
              Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
              "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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              • #8
                I believe the extra cost was by far the biggest factor. On both the Commander and Champion in 1950 the Automatic was a $160 option which amounted to approx 10% of the average cost of the car (e.g. A Champion Regal Deluxe 4-dr sold for $1565 F.O.B. factory). The overdrive was an extra $87 on the Champion and $93 on the Commander. "Whatever the question is the answer is money."
                Richard Quinn
                Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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                • #9
                  It really depends on what year and Model you are looking at/for. As others have said early Cars 1950 to 1955 were rarely ordered with Automatic, especially those with 6 Cyl. Champion 170 cid Engines.

                  If you ever drove one you would know what I mean, there just is not enough power to push a 3100 Lb. car AND drive an Automatic Transmission.
                  Last edited by StudeRich; 08-30-2013, 01:06 PM.
                  StudeRich
                  Second Generation Stude Driver,
                  Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                  • #10
                    The early automatics in general, not just Studebakers, were seen by many people as unreliable. I knew many people who avoided automatics. The extra cost would have also been a big factor. I still prefer an 3 speed with overdrive in a Studebaker.
                    "In the heart of Arkansas."
                    Searcy, Arkansas
                    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                    1952 2R pickup

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                      It really depends on what year and Model you are looking at/for. As others have said early Cars 1950 to 1955 were rarely ordered with Automatic, especially those with 6 Cyl. Champion 170 cid Engines. If you ever drove one you would know what I mean, there just is not enough power to push a 3100 Lb. car AND drive an Automatic Transmission.
                      amen!!! i usually have to go to "low" (1st) gear to get out of the neighborhood on to the "main drag" if i see a vehicle within a 1/2 mile.

                      i ass-u-me that "Detroit Gear" is the "DG" "Borg Warner DG 200" - is that correct? gotta replace some leaking gaskets (which i have) and adjust the linkage, it goes to 3rd from starting off in "D" (2nd) way too early. going to be a long fall/winter working on her!

                      for the OP: there are automatics out there - more in the late 50's thru 66. and as mentioned, if you find a $8K bullet nose starlight - it's probably going to need a lot of work...
                      Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

                      '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

                      '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Corvanti View Post
                        /Cut/i ass-u-me that "Detroit Gear" is the "DG" "Borg Warner DG 200" - is that correct?
                        Yes and No, Technically the Studebaker Automatic Drive (3 Band) was called "DG-150, DG-150M, DG-200, DG-200M, DG-250, DG-250M" because it was made by Detroit Gear Div. of Borg Warner, so not really known as a Borg Warner.

                        "Borg Warner" usually refers to the Studebaker Flight-O-Matic version which is the Borg Warner Cast Iron case Automatic similar to those used by Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Nash/AMC, Kaiser Jeep, '57-'58 Packard, Mercedes Benz, H.D. Aircraft Tow Vehicles etc.
                        StudeRich
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                        • #13
                          I think what you're trying to say Rich is you can't burn rubber with one,but it will go down the road just the same
                          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                          It really depends on what year and Model you are looking at/for. As others have said early Cars 1950 to 1955 were rarely ordered with Automatic, especially those with 6 Cyl. Champion 170 cid Engines.

                          If you ever drove one you would know what I mean, there just is not enough power to push a 3100 Lb. car AND drive an Automatic Transmission.
                          Joseph R. Zeiger

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                            ... there just is not enough power to push a 3100 Lb. car AND drive an Automatic Transmission.
                            Rich, I must assume you are referring to the Champion. My '51 Commander with DG200 can light up first and chirp second!
                            "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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
                              Rich, I must assume you are referring to the Champion. My '51 Commander with DG200 can light up first and chirp second!
                              Post #9= "It really depends on what year and Model you are looking at/for. As others have said early Cars 1950 to 1955 were rarely ordered with Automatic, especially those with 6 Cyl. Champion 170 cid Engines."

                              If you ever drove one you would know what I mean, there just is not enough power to push a 3100 Lb. car AND drive an Automatic Transmission. "
                              StudeRich
                              Second Generation Stude Driver,
                              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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