How can you not love the bullet-nose Studebaker? This 1950 Champion
Convertible is a delectably rare example from the Studebaker Bros.
of South Bend, featuring a gorgeous Maroon paint job, a comfortable
interior, and a top that goes down. Restored several years back yet
still running like a top today (we can barely hear the smooth
Inline 6 run at times), this classic American throwback helps
remind us that The Big 3 weren't the only ones manufacturing
beautiful cars in the '50s.
Thanks to the benefit of long-term ownership (current owner
purchased it in 1989), this nicely restored Champion is a
great-looking little car that's perfectly set up for touring and
car shows alike. Repainted in 1982 to a very high level, the finish
has held up incredibly well throughout the years - the direct
result of approximately only 20K or so miles logged on the car
since the restoration. Affordably priced, it looks like it should
cost thousands more (especially when you consider the rarity), with
a sparkling Milano Maroon paint job borrowed from the 1966 Corvette
color palette draped over laser-straight sheetmetal. It's not a
perfect show piece, as you're bound to acquire an imperfection or
two after almost 40 years of care, but this Champion still presents
incredibly well with a high-end, driver-quality curb appeal that
really impresses. The sleek shape of the bullet-nose Stude's was
obviously inspired by the incoming jet age following the war, and
few cars on the road in 1950 were as modern-looking as the
Studebaker Champion. The front end screams "Red Baron" and is pure
drama distilled into steel, the shapely hood and fenders could
almost shame a Wonder Bra into modesty, while the rear quarters and
long deck lid are pure 1950's Art Deco style. You'll also note that
the chrome is in great shape too, from the iconic "bullet nose" to
the extra-protective bumpers, to all the shiny stainless that
frames the windows, lights, and trim.
The future arrived inside as well, where there's a surprising
amount of space for a rather smallish two-door convertible.
Completely restored inside back in 1982, both benches were
upholstered in lovely maroon-and-white vinyl with pronounced piping
that's period-appropriate, while the slick door panels are taut
with a contrasting band of chrome at the bottom, which looks
awesome and ties the whole car in together. The maroon-painted dash
is quite modern, with an instrument panel that mirrors the
front-end, jet-age styling. The gauges themselves appear to be
impeccably preserved originals, while the large replacement
speedometer and clock in the center show-off squared-off digits
that are pure 1950s cool. Options are scarce, as was the case for
most cars in 1950, but you do get working heat/defrost, a
functional original AM radio, and a power convertible top. Chrome
accents on the dash and steering wheel help things really pop
inside, and the wonderful condition of little things like the
tissue box and various knobs in the dash are further evidence of
how incredibly well-cared for this Stude's always been.
Three-on-the-tree shifting is easy, and the car starts simply by
pressing the clutch pedal to the floor. The trunk is also
impressively sized, complete with a mat and a matching full-sized
spare and complete jack assembly.
Champion performance is lively thanks to a 185 cubic inch
inline-six that was swapped-in as a new piece in 1998, with only
20,328 miles on the clock ever since (the speedometer was replaced
and odometer set to zero when the new motor was installed). It's
energetic as well as thrifty, running so darn smooth the car
practically sneaks up on you, and it fires right up with a faint
burble from the single exhaust that sounds 100% period correct.
With smartly selected ratios in the 3-speed manual transmission
that also features overdrive, it zips around town easily and keeps
up with traffic without breaking a sweat. The engine bay is clean
enough to earn an AACA prize badge, with an olive green engine,
very nice cast iron manifolds, and fully restored accessories like
the black oil-bath style air cleaner and horns up top. The wiring
harness and plumbing appear to be correct reproductions, and even
the battery is an accurate-looking piece that now runs 12-volts.
Underneath, it's quite clean with smooth and solid floors, nicely
detailed suspension components, and an exhaust system with a lot of
life left in it. The original steel wheels were painted maroon to
match the exterior and then adorned with chrome beauty rings and
Baby Moon hubcaps, then finally fitted with vintage-looking
American Classic wide whitewalls.
Documented with a factory buildsheet, original owner's and service
manuals, and a verifiable history that goes back several decades,
this '50 Bullet-Nose droptop is an incredibly special car. Grab
yourself a piece of forgotten American history. Call today!