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Bob Bourke's Personal Commander?

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  • Bob Bourke's Personal Commander?

    Hi there,
    I am brand new to this group and the Studebaker owner community. We have recently inherited a 1954 Commander/Starliner. The family story is that this was Bob Bourke's personal commander that he purchased and modified to match his original concept drawings. How would we go about verifying whether this story has any truth to it?

    I don't have any pictures of the car yet but I do have the VIN if that would help.

    Thanks!
    Bryan

  • #2
    Welcome to the SDC and to the SDC Forum Bryan.

    Do you remember it having Custom Made Side Grills unlike any other? It was a Black Car.

    This Car was very historic, because it was his own attempt to convince Management to use his design for the mild redesign for the '55 Models that he envisioned. So much so that he Modified his OWN Car to present to them for consideration.

    It is too bad that he lost that one.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 09-13-2015, 10:44 AM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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    • #3
      That vehicle, I recall, used to be on display in the Studebaker Museum. Did they sell it off?

      Comment


      • #4
        It is a black car. I don't recall whether it has special side grills.

        It does have unique chrome exterior door handles. They are flush to the body with the exception of a "button" that you press to exposes a slim handle you pull to open the door.

        Thanks for the help!

        Bryan

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        • #5
          We would really like to see some pictures of you could please.

          Dean.

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          • #6
            Welcome to the SDC Forum!
            I knew Bob Bourke well. I did some of the restoration of his 1954 Starliner and provided parts for it.
            Bob owned this Starliner from when it was new until he passed. I believe that his estate donated the car to the SNM. Unless they sold it, it is still in the SNM.
            One of the big differences from stock were the small cast fins that Bob cast himself.
            Bob's 1954 did NOT have different door handles as someone else stated (EDIT: I now see that you are the one stating that your car has flush door handles. To me, this means that it is not the former Bob Bourke car.). (There is a member on this forum that has a custom 1954 with flush door handles.)
            I don't remember the Serial Number of his car, but it was a South Bend built 1954 Commander Starliner.
            Raymond Loewy also had a custom Starliner. His had a large, Buickish grille and was a 1953.
            Is the S/N of yours for a 1953 or 1954?
            Gary L.
            Wappinger, NY

            SDC member since 1968
            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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            • #7
              Hi Gary,
              The car we inherited is a black 1954. It came into the family in 1994. I helped air up the tires and move it about 4 years ago, and the door handle detail stuck in my memory. I can't recall the details of the grill.

              The family story is that it was purchased from a man in Chicago (I can't recall his name) and then my late grandfather-in-law had it restored and (climate controlled) garaged it ever since.

              Please excuse my Studebaker ignorance, is there a serial number separate from the VIN? I have the VIN if that would help.

              Bryan

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bravotango View Post
                Hi Gary,
                The car we inherited is a black 1954. It came into the family in 1994. I helped air up the tires and move it about 4 years ago, and the door handle detail stuck in my memory. I can't recall the details of the grill.

                The family story is that it was purchased from a man in Chicago (I can't recall his name) and then my late grandfather-in-law had it restored and (climate controlled) garaged it ever since.

                Please excuse my Studebaker ignorance, is there a serial number separate from the VIN? I have the VIN if that would help.

                Bryan
                1954 Studebakers, and other cars of that vintage, did not have a VIN. They had a Serial Number (on the driver's A-pillar), a Body Number (on the engine side of the cowl) and an engine number (stamped at the front of the V8 block). Some states used the S/N for a VIN and other states used the engine no. for a VIN. Post what you have for a VIN and we will see what we can make of it.

                I believe that Bob Bourke still owned his black 1954 Starliner in 1994, but the exact date of his passing does not come to mind.
                Does your car have cast fins on the top of the rear fenders/quarters?
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by studegary View Post
                  1954 Studebakers, and other cars of that vintage, did not have a VIN. They had a Serial Number (on the driver's A-pillar), a Body Number (on the engine side of the cowl) and an engine number (stamped at the front of the V8 block). Some states used the S/N for a VIN and other states used the engine no. for a VIN. Post what you have for a VIN and we will see what we can make of it.

                  I believe that Bob Bourke still owned his black 1954 Starliner in 1994, but the exact date of his passing does not come to mind.
                  Does your car have cast fins on the top of the rear fenders/quarters?
                  Hi Gary,
                  The serial number is V-299512

                  I can't recall whether it has cast fins. I'll try to get some pictures over the next few days.

                  Bryan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by studegary View Post
                    1954 Studebakers, and other cars of that vintage, did not have a VIN. They had a Serial Number
                    studegary,.....you need to be careful not to confuse people via semantics.

                    Vehicle 'serial' numbers, and vehicle 'VIN' numbers, for all intents and purposes, are one in the same!

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                    • #11
                      V299512 is an engine number. Installed in a 1954 Commander, 5H. It is 232 C.I.
                      The numbers are located on a machined pad at the front of the engine.
                      Texas used the motor number to identify and register the car in 1954.
                      The factory body and frame serial number will be a 9 digit number located on a stainless plate spotwelded to the drivers door post. [A pillar]
                      Also located stamped on the frame rear crossmember.
                      Studebaker referred to the body number mentioned in this thread as the serial number.


                      studegary is correct. See Post #13, below.
                      Last edited by 55 56 PREZ 4D; 09-14-2015, 09:47 PM. Reason: flubbed the info.
                      South Lompoc Studebaker

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
                        studegary,.....you need to be careful not to confuse people via semantics.

                        Vehicle 'serial' numbers, and vehicle 'VIN' numbers, for all intents and purposes, are one in the same!
                        I have to disagree with you on this. For example, the subject car utilizes the engine number, not the serial number, for a VIN (vehicle identification number).
                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        SDC member since 1968
                        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 55 56 PREZ 4D View Post
                          V299512 is an engine number. Installed in a 1954 Commander, 5H. It is 232 C.I.
                          The numbers are located on a machined pad at the front of the engine.
                          Texas used the motor number to identify and register the car in 1954.
                          The factory body and frame serial number will be a 9 digit number located on a stainless plate spotwelded to the drivers door post. [A pillar]
                          Also located stamped on the frame rear crossmember.
                          Studebaker referred to the body number mentioned in this thread as the serial number.
                          I disagree with a couple of your points.
                          1954 Studebaker serial numbers are six or seven (seven for all Commanders) digits (not "9").
                          Studebaker referred to the number on the plate on the A-pillar as the serial number, not the body number (on a plate on the firewall).
                          Gary L.
                          Wappinger, NY

                          SDC member since 1968
                          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I knew Bob pretty well and we met at 3-4 different SDC functions over the years and also corresponded frequently. The photo below is one that I took of Bob's car at the Indy SDC Intl meet in 1986. I assure you the Studebaker National Museum did not sell the Bourke car so the one now in your possession would not be the one he owned. Bob Doehler of Milwaukee a long time Studebaker stylist also had a mildly customized '53 or '54 Starliner that had the flush door handles that you mention (they were off a '50's era Simca). I also have photos of it.
                            Click image for larger version

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                            Last edited by Studebaker Wheel; 09-14-2015, 05:21 PM.
                            Richard Quinn
                            Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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                            • #15
                              Saw it in the Studebaker museum today.

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