Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Found a '54 Coupe - Trying to gauge value

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Found a '54 Coupe - Trying to gauge value

    I am pretty new here and even more new to Studebakers. I've always loved the lines of the '53-'55 C/K cars and have located one and have all but purchased it and brought it home. I've searched around a lot and I think the price is on par but I'd like to throw it out here and get a second opinion.

    Here's the scoop:
    -'54 Commander Coupe
    -original 232 V8 and 3 spd column shift manual w/ electric overdrive
    -fuel tank looks clean and looks to have a new fuel line
    -Has undergone a NON-frame-off "cosmetic" restoration. Basically it has a nice new two-tone paint job (top is white, rest is red). The interior is original and fairly clean. Seats are recovered with one small tear in the material. Headliner is clean though looks to have some slight moisture staining around the quarter glass. I suspect this is because the quarter glass rubber is original and cracking. The underside of the dash looks surprisingly clean to me with just a small patch of surface rust. The carpet looks newer than original. The gauges look in good condition. The front and rear glass rubber looks original too but the door, hood seal, and trunk rubber looks new. To feel comfortable I would want to rewire the car because it appears to be all original wiring and I saw considerable insulation cracking/missing.
    It has painted wheels to match the car color, w/ cooper wide white walls and "dog-dish" covers that are in decent shape.
    The body and paint look quite good to me though it could use a good cut and polish of the single-stage acrylic enamel paint as there are some cat claw marks, etc. One area on the rear just outside the trunk line looks to have rust bubbling up but that's the only bad place I could find. There is surface rust on the underside/inside surface of that panel when viewed from the trunk. In my opinion the floors need to be replaced as there is some through-rust in places and a couple of patch jobs. The trunk appears to be very solid. The inner front feners are clean and painted. The front chrome is in decent shape with some minor pitting/"dots" on the headlight rings, grill, and bumper. There's also some rust staining on the lower areas of the front bumper. The rear chrome looks cleaner than the front but has a few pits as well. All of the badging and emblems are there though are also pitted somewhat. Although I was surprised to find out that Studebaker International has nearly all of these emblems and lens surrounds with exception of the grill/bumpers. Not sure how much rechroming costs to get it looking new again?
    The owner was very nice and pointed out everything he thought was wrong with it. It was running/driving up to ~4 years ago but I think the owner has some health issues that prevent him from keeping up with it so the car has been sitting under cover since. The engine is a bit rough but complete. There is surface rust on the engine and certainly had it's share of oil leaks from the looks of how greasy it is. When he was driving it he said it was strong but that it smoked so it'll need a rebuild.
    The frame looks pretty clean with minor surface rust.

    Overall the things that are wrong with it don't bother me as I could handle taking care of them. I can replace the floors and see that Classic Enterprises carries them in various levels. I'm not really interested in the engine and trans as I have other plans for this car(don't worry - not a SBC!) but I would like to initially get it running/driving so that will mean pressure washing the whole engine comparetment/underside, resealing the motor at a minimum, attending to the fuel system, plug wires, wiring, etc. From what the owner said, the main thing preventing it from having a new battery thrown in it and seeing what happens is that the oil pressure gauge hose is leaking so it's going to spit oil out and make a mess. My other initial tasks before driving it much would be just giving it a good wash down, and maybe replacing the floors before too long.

    So given that description, is it fair to ask the community for a ball-park price to feel comfortable paying? Although I've esentially already agreed to the price so I guess this whole post is about mitigating buyer's remorse!
    Wayne
    NEW Studebaker owner
    1953 Champion 2-door Sedan(project)


    1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe

  • #2
    This is really difficult, especially without seeing the car or even pictures of it.
    For the small price of that oil pressure sender line, I would replace it and start the engine before buying the car. Even simpler would be to replace the line with a plug, but then you would not know what the oil pressure is when the engine does start. I guess this doesn't matter so much to you since you plan on pulling the engine (why?).
    I don't know if the interior is done as stock or as a custom.
    My guesstimate, based on what is provided is $9,000.
    Last edited by studegary; 03-05-2014, 12:18 PM. Reason: missing l
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

    Comment


    • #3
      Buyer's remorse...hmmm... When it's in the driveway, you'll be so proud. When it's at the side of the road waiting for a hook, you'll be frustrated. Then you get that issue solved and you'll be so proud...then... it's a journey. Start with the best you can afford and then drive it. Eventually it will settle down and be YOUR car. An old renegade Scottish psychologist, R.D. Laing once described marriage. After the ceremony you won't feel any different, but you'll have a couple of hundred witnesses who keep telling you you're different. Studebakers are easy to love.
      Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

      Comment


      • #4
        Gary,

        Thank you for your response to my less than detailed and perhaps undefined post. I'd rather keep photos out of public domain for now out of respect of the seller and also until things are a little more concrete for me. My feelings keep fluctuating on the matter but in all I think it's a good deal. As with anything the lower the price the better, but again, with ones I've seen come and go it seems to be in the ball park. There was a '55 President in my neighborhood for sale a year or so ago that had been restored and had a SBC/350 trans in it and he was asking 14k. Recently a '53 Coupe was being sold off from a mixed collection locally that I went to look at and it had what seemed to be a very nice but very new paint job, a carbed 3.8L turbo Buick V6 and 350 trans transplant and it sold on eBay for 11,500. It had more rust on the chrome than this car I'm looking at, and was very unfinished as it was tossed back together after being painted, and had a cracked driver's door glass. I went to see about the horn honking and the whole horn ring fell off in my hand. But someone bought it sight unseen off eBay. The one I'm looking at is slightly less than your estimate.
        Part of my worry is if I don't pick one up now they're all going to be gone if I go looking a few years down the road. They'll either be rust buckets more weeds then steel and the rest will be $30k+ "resto-mods". I'll never be able to afford/justify such a thing unless I build it myself and make it my own.
        The interior on this one is either original or restored to as original as I can tell. The current owner didn't build it but bought it and drove it for some time before having some failing health.

        My initial plan which would last for at least a few years would be patch it up, make it more presentable mechanically where I pay attention to what I can see will fail and drive it like that (weekends, cruises, maybe some low key shows, etc) and call it good. I enjoy working on cars so am not deterred by the need of work/maintainence. I'm still young and have young children I'd like to pass that knowledge down to. Though the latter is also the reason I couldn't devote large amounts of funds to the project. But at the same time, the original interior and wide white walls are certainly not my style.
        My long term plan? I am also into Buicks. I have some good big block Buick candidates that I think would fit so nicely into this car and would be oh so fun. This would obviously include a transmission swap (either a BOP 400 which is already on hand) or a 5/6 spd conversion, an adapted 12 bolt rear end, and a modernized front suspension/steering/brakes. At the same time I'm torn on the original vs modified argument and lean more towards if it's a clean original that mainly just needs some attention then someone who wants that look should have it and I should find something more picked over to modify. So I could always use this one as a "Studebaker in the bank", clean it up and upgrade it's driveability status(IE: original reliablility) then sell it when a rougher candidate comes along for the modifying. I will have certainly at least gained more knowledge in Studebakers by then.
        Wayne
        NEW Studebaker owner
        1953 Champion 2-door Sedan(project)


        1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by warrlaw1 View Post
          Buyer's remorse...hmmm... When it's in the driveway, you'll be so proud. When it's at the side of the road waiting for a hook, you'll be frustrated. Then you get that issue solved and you'll be so proud...then... it's a journey. Start with the best you can afford and then drive it. Eventually it will settle down and be YOUR car. An old renegade Scottish psychologist, R.D. Laing once described marriage. After the ceremony you won't feel any different, but you'll have a couple of hundred witnesses who keep telling you you're different. Studebakers are easy to love.
          Dave, I certainly can't argue with that logic. Now if I can just have my wife convinced that this is as important as a desicion as marriage...

          With as recent as I've been involved with Studebakers there's already such an interest. A couple weeks ago I trailered home across the state(and mind you, TX is a big state!) a '53 2-door sedan project car and every stop we made we got smiles and questions. So I don't anticipate any remorse with reguard to Studebakers. Buicks are probably the less than plentiful in the GM realm so I'm used to that aspect and enjoy it. I guess I'm just looking for some pats on the back and a place to sleep after I bring it home... Wait a minute, it's got bench seats - problem solved!
          Wayne
          NEW Studebaker owner
          1953 Champion 2-door Sedan(project)


          1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe

          Comment


          • #6
            Do most of what you mention,as long as you can do the work yourself.. I can't imagine NOT making a little profit if you decide to sell it.Those floor pans are available [-repro] and almost any part for that car is available-nos,repro,or used! Chrome is very expensive,especially those pot-metal grille shells.
            I would inspect the car with a MAGNET though,if you find large areas where the magnet won't stick,it's full of bondo.
            Oglesby,Il.

            Comment


            • #7
              '54 Studes are quite rare compared to '53's. Far less than half as many were made.
              Tim-'53 Starlight Commander Custom and '63 Avanti in Yuma, AZ
              https://www.jimsrodshop.com/project/53-resurrection https://www.jimsrodshop.com/project/always-ahead

              Comment


              • #8
                That's one thing I regretted not taking with me when I went to view it - a magnet. I'll take one when I go back with the trailer and could always walk away if suddenly it looks terrible. Not that this is tell tale but viewing down the sides of the car and looking at reflections in the paint it looks pretty darn clean. I think I saw one or two door dings in the whole car.
                I've replaced floors before. If I had to do high level body work I'd be a bit thwarted. That '53 2-door sedan I picked up came with donor car clean sheetmetal(front/rear fenders, doors, trunk lid) that I can transfer over so that one should turn out pretty smooth both literally and figuratively. That one I'm hoping to make a little profit on though am not sure how far to take it/how much to put into it since I know they're not as desirable. But the C/K is the one I'm looking to keep. I'm not deterred by any mechanical work and would only farm out the machine work unless there's something super complex about assemblying a 232 V8. I have the '53 service manual which should be the same for the '54 mechanical I'd think? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
                Wayne
                NEW Studebaker owner
                1953 Champion 2-door Sedan(project)


                1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe

                Comment


                • #9
                  Any Studebaker V8 should be a bolt-in. They solved a lot of problems by 54 and even more in 55. Later model brakes, sway bars and the bat-wing are subtle but great improvements. I don't think anyone would go to the trouble of block sanding a bondo bomb. If it's smooth, I bet it has been done right. The magnet should help.
                  Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wayne,
                    One thing you can do is check out the Old Cars Buyers' Guide. It's published by Old Cars Weekly and can be found in some public libraries. It'll at least give you some indication as to the value of the car based on its condition.
                    Rog
                    '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
                    Smithtown,NY
                    Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wayne, go for it!!!

                      it sounds like you have some near and long term plans. get her running and just (or more) important, stopping! you may also find that the V8 Studebaker engine will be something to keep in her. after purchasing a highly modified '63 Avanti (C-4 Corvette drivetrain and suspension mods), as my first Studebaker, i caught some grief from the "purists" here and elsewhere. don't let that worry you in your decisions.

                      oh, my current daily driver (for 2 years), is a '89 Buick Reatta. i sometimes call her "my fake 2 seater Avanti".

                      good luck, and pics will be enjoyed once you purchase her!!!
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rog,
                        Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to check it out.

                        Dave,
                        Ideally anything I do to the car I'd like to keep it reversable. One example is with the dash - a lot of custom jobs I've seen it looks like guys are putting in '56 Studebaker dashes which then open up the option of a flat panel for putting in any kind of custom gauge setup. And I assume all the original stuff could be swapped back in if desired? Does the '56 dash bolt in?
                        I'm aiming for adding crossmembers for engines/transmission instead of hacking or slashing original. Or at least surgically removing original crossmembers instead of with a sawzall... Or course this is all bench racing at this stage. I'll be able to tell a lot more once getting more intimately familiar with the car.
                        Wayne
                        NEW Studebaker owner
                        1953 Champion 2-door Sedan(project)


                        1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Corvanti View Post
                          Wayne, go for it!!!

                          it sounds like you have some near and long term plans. get her running and just (or more) important, stopping! you may also find that the V8 Studebaker engine will be something to keep in her. after purchasing a highly modified '63 Avanti (C-4 Corvette drivetrain and suspension mods), as my first Studebaker, i caught some grief from the "purists" here and elsewhere. don't let that worry you in your decisions.

                          oh, my current daily driver (for 2 years), is a '89 Buick Reatta. i sometimes call her "my fake 2 seater Avanti".

                          good luck, and pics will be enjoyed once you purchase her!!!
                          Kerry,
                          Thanks for the encouragement! I have to say, the allure of paying a little bit more for something with paint on it and nearly driveable is quite strong. I ceratinly would expect some kick back. Same thing as with the Buick crowd when one sees a SBC in a Buick. Travesty! But I figured I would retain SOME points for a not so common engine(Buick) in a not so common car(Studebaker).
                          Also, nice to see another Studebaker/Buick owner... I've always thought the Reattas were quite unique too.
                          Wayne
                          NEW Studebaker owner
                          1953 Champion 2-door Sedan(project)


                          1954 Studebaker Commander Coupe

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by paintim613 View Post
                            '54 Studes are quite rare compared to '53's. Far less than half as many were made.
                            81,939 vs. 169,599. I would't call that "Far less than half..."
                            If you really meant to say only C/K body styles, then you are correct.
                            Gary L.
                            Wappinger, NY

                            SDC member since 1968
                            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I understood what he meant. If I had a choice, it would be a 54.
                              Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X