Friday, July 22, 2011

Car Of The Day: July 22, 2011

Today's car of the day is from Firehawk73's collection and is Maisto's customized 1953 Studebaker Starliner.

The 1953-1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight/Starliner is the V-8 version of the daring and enduring "Loewy coupe" design, and is similar in most other respects to the six-cylinder 1953-1954 Studebaker Champion models.

The sleek European styling of the 1953-1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight/Starliner was matched by equally nice interiors trimmed mainly in vinyl or (for 1954 only) cloth, both color-keyed. There was also a slightly less posh DeLuxe-trim version of the fixed pillar Starlight offered in both years.

These could have been the cars that would have assured Studebaker's future, but, as the production figures suggest, they didn't. One reason was spotty assembly quality on the '53s, a result of the rush to get the design into production. Another was a flimsy frame on '53s, which was improved for '54. Still another reason was the company's miscalculation about the sales of the coupes versus those of other body styles.

Had Studebaker geared up to build more coupes, more would undoubtedly have been sold. As it was, the company thought the shorter wheelbase sedans and wagons, with scrunched-up lines based on the coupe styling, would sell better. Despite their greater rarity, the '54s seem to trail the '53s in value right now, but that may reverse itself in time.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Studebaker Starliner

We've featured a lot of Studebakers in the past month or so of Car Of The Day, and I for one welcome our new Studebaker overlords...

Pluses of the 1953-1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight/Starliner:
•Landmark American styling
•Still very affordable considering design merit
•Strong appreciation potential
•Both coupe and hardtop are Milestone cars
•Good performance

Minuses of the 1953-1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starlight/Starliner:
•A serious ruster
•Indifferent brakes
•Only fair construction quality, mainly '53s
•More expensive than 1953-1954 Studebaker Champion models, even though more survive

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