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Fond Memories: 1956 Sleeper Stude

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  • Fond Memories: 1956 Sleeper Stude

    I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this cute little F2 (cheapie) Commander Custom 2-door:



    I have no idea whatever became of it, and I don't remember seeing it around the dealership at [barely] age 10.

    But "build it" in your mind, if you would: The cheapest, lightest, lowest trim level 1956 Studebaker V8 offered; single side spear barely getting into the rear fender, solid dark gray metallic, blackwall tires, with Power Kit 259 and stick overdrive. It had to be a runner; no radio, no power anything. The only item that seems superfluous would be the wheel covers, but those could be popped off in a heartbeat for a night of street racing.

    Odd that the only other real stick shift, high-performance Studebaker sold new at Palma-Rhoads Motors in 1956 was the famous Cambridge Gray Golden Hawk with overdrive. They sold one other Golden Hawk, but it was an automatic.

    What a curiosity: The two highest-performance Studebakers they sold in 1956 were both dark, solid Cambridge Gray in an era when virtually everything was 2-tone, and even monotone cars had more exciting colors than dark metallic gray. I guess they were 'way ahead of the times, since half the cars on the road today are some variety of silver or gray. Ugh.

    'Good memories of a time when barely $2,500 would buy you that much fun and high performance. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
    But "build it" in your mind, if you would: The cheapest, lightest, lowest trim level 1956 Studebaker V8 offered; single side spear barely getting into the rear fender, solid dark gray metallic, blackwall tires, with Power Kit 259 and stick overdrive. It had to be a runner; no radio, no power anything. The only item that seems superfluous would be the wheel covers, but those could be popped off in a heartbeat for a night of street racing.
    I have already 'built' that car in my mind.
    But the one in my mind is gonna be even better!!!

    This will be my starting point---



    Just sayin'





    StudeDave '57
    StudeDave '57
    US Navy (retired)

    3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
    SDC Member since 1985

    past President
    Whatcom County Chapter SDC
    San Diego Chapter SDC

    past Vice President
    San Diego Chapter SDC
    North Florida Chapter SDC

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds like something cousin George could have ordered Bob!
      Frank van Doorn
      Omaha, Ne.
      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD

      Comment


      • #4
        Cool, Dave; like you, I prefer the '57s.

        Yes, Frank; that's close to what George (or me) would have ordered, but we would have dispensed with the foam front seat cushion and full wheel covers. We probably would have ordered the oil filter, but not too sure about the oil bath air cleaner.

        It was dusty in rural Illinois, so Dad generally ordered oil bath air cleaners on everything. The farmers and local gas station personnel were used to servicing them, whereas today a request to service one would likely be met with a blank stare. BP
        We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

        Ayn Rand:
        "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

        G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
          I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this cute little F2 (cheapie) Commander Custom 2-door:


          'Good memories of a time when barely $2,500 would buy you that much fun and high performance. BP
          Well Bob, in my part of the world, (back then) Studebaker cars were kinda rare, and V8 Studebakers, even more. In that regard, I'd say that ALL V8 Studebakers were sleepers.

          Good memories indeed...'cept for the poor kid in 1956 just outta high school working for minimum wage (one buck an hour). At an annual wage of $2080.00, it would be a struggle to justify $2,500.00 for a new car. Living expenses, twenty five cent per gallon gas, difficult credit terms, was the reality for a youngster of the era. I suppose that is why my older brother kicked around the county in broken down discards of others.
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975

          Comment


          • #6
            I have one just like it in the barn except mine is light blue.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, I see what you mean by 'sleeper' Bob. Even as tired as Ol' Bess is, she's still got a surprising amount of pep left in that old 259. As to model years, I really like the front of both the '56 and '57 models (big surprise as to how similar they are). However, I detest the tail of the '57. Mostly it's the way they surrounded the tail-light, not the light itself. Click image for larger version

Name:	smiley-sick009.gif
Views:	2
Size:	2.0 KB
ID:	1691833 The whole thing looks just... tacky.
              Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
              K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
              Ron Smith
              Where the heck is Fawn Lodge, CA?

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              • #8
                Yeah Clunk, but there was a horsepower and glitz race going on in '57. Public tastes were different than now. I like the shiny stuff myself. Of course, Scotsmans have their appeal as well! I used to wonder just when some brightwork would start to show up on cars - the last few years have provided an answer. Now the question is: When will two-tone sedans come back? It's certainly just a matter of time.
                No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by studeclunker View Post
                  However, I detest the tail of the '57. Mostly it's the way they surrounded the tail-light, not the light itself. [ATTACH=CONFIG]37224[/ATTACH] The whole thing looks just... tacky.
                  What's NOT to love Ron?



                  Now compare it to a '57 Pontiac~






                  StudeDave '57
                  StudeDave '57
                  US Navy (retired)

                  3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                  SDC Member since 1985

                  past President
                  Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                  San Diego Chapter SDC

                  past Vice President
                  San Diego Chapter SDC
                  North Florida Chapter SDC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've always liked the '56 sedans. Topping off that Power Kit 259 with a blower would be a necessity, though. <GGG>

                    George
                    george krem

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by R3 challenger View Post
                      I've always liked the '56 sedans. Topping off that Power Kit 259 with a blower would be a necessity, though. <GGG> George
                      Get outta my head George!!!



                      Say, speaking of sleeper '56s- here is a "how to" of sorts compliments of Allan Songer. (and bams50- now known 'round here as Bob Andrews)

                      http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...ghlight=songer

                      I sometimes wish I had sold my '57 to Allan back when he was on the hunt.
                      Oh well...




                      StudeDave '57
                      StudeDave '57
                      US Navy (retired)

                      3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                      SDC Member since 1985

                      past President
                      Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                      San Diego Chapter SDC

                      past Vice President
                      San Diego Chapter SDC
                      North Florida Chapter SDC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As the cowardly lion would have said: "Let me at 'em, Let me at 'em".
                        Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Agree, that would have been a fun car to own back in the day.

                          What does the Shop Manual say the rear gear would have been? That most of the OD Studes came with 3.73 or 3.90 gears is why they could beat the competition off the line and still hold their own in overdrive on the top end.

                          Since it was the year before TwinTraction, that right rear tire, spring and axle shaft would have lead a short, hard life. On the hot-tar-and-gravel roads of the deep south, a teenager could completely shred a tire in a three-day-weekend. BTDT

                          Stude did learn the T86 didn't like being speed-whooped in street races or drag strip work. That's why most of the later 289"s got the T85. And the limber-neck column linkage is why 99% of the seriously worked cars and trucks got a floor shift conversion.

                          jack vines
                          PackardV8

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            According to the 1956 Full Line brochure, the standard Commander rear axle ratio was 3.92:1 when Overdrive was ordered. BP
                            We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                            Ayn Rand:
                            "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                            G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                            Comment

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