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1953 starlite

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  • 1953 starlite

    hi...i just got a 1953 starlite...but i don't know if it is a commander..or .the other one...can anyone tell me how to tell the difference between the two???...thanks...lee

  • #2
    The most obvious way to tell is by the engine, if it still has the original one. Champions had a flat head 6, and the Commander had a V8. If you have pics, that would be great. You can email them to me if you like and I can post them here, if you don't have a website.


    • #3
      As Matthew says, the engine is what defines a Commander vs. a Champion. Comm.-V8 Champ.-flathead 6

      If there's no engine in it, the little trim piece on the rear quaters tell the story too - assuming it's still on the car. a CircleS is a Champion and a V8 logo for the Commander. Of course, there's the body tag near the righthand (passenger's side) hood hinge. If it start out 4H it's a Commander 14G = Champion. There's other little distinctions as well. And over the years, alot of Champions have had V8s swapped into them since it's so easy of a power upgrade.

      Be careful about calling it a "Starlite" It's actually "Starlight" and the urban legend/exactness patrol will correct you in short order if you spell it otherwise.

      Also, technically, a Starlight is a "2-door post coupe. A hardtop (no posts) would be a Starliner. Very common to hear the two of them confused. Going back to that body tag, if it was a Commander Starlight, the top line would read 4H-C5 (or C3) If it were a Starliner it would read 4H-K5

      Tell us more - post a picture for us to swoon over!

      Miscreant at large.

      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
      1960 Larkvertible V8
      1958 Provincial wagon
      1953 Commander coupe
      1957 President 2-dr
      1955 President State
      1951 Champion Biz cpe
      1963 Daytona project FS
      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.


      • #4
        Another obvious distinction, and one more seldom changed than the engine, is the dash. The Commander (V8) had the gauges in four pods. The Champion (6) had the gauges clustered in a single trapezoid.

        Brad Johnson
        Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
        33 Rockne 10
        51 Commander Starlight
        53 Commander Starlight

        previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser
        "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.
        sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"