(first posted 9/7/2012) I saw this car on the way to work this morning, cruising out the Sunset Freeway towards the coast on this perfect summer day, and just had to share it with you. It flat out stunned me. This is not my photo. I was driving my Miata with the top down, it’s just not safe and not possible for me to snap CC-worthy photos and drive at the same time. I did get up alongside, ogled it all around, and gave the driver and his companion a huge full-arm thumbs-up, which they appreciated, in spite of the fact they must get that about every five minutes in this magnificent creation. This photo is from Autotour, which has more fine photos and a good story on his genuine curbside find. I hope he doesn’t mind. Old Cars Weekly has a complete and fascinating interview with owner/restorer Steve Hudson and more fabulous photos. It’s even in the New York Times.
Sadly, Studebaker never offered a convertible version of its classic Starlight coupe (CC here). As Jim Cavanaugh observed in a comment there, Studebaker kept its frame “willowy” on purpose to soften the ride. That did not turn out to be a good idea, not just because it prevented a factory convertible. This car was created by Frank Forster of Portland from a ’56 Golden Hawk hardtop with a caved-in roof. He strengthened the frame, added sheetmetal and trim from a ’53 coupe, and installed a ’64 Dodge Dart top, but didn’t finish the project. It sat in a barn for awhile, and ended up in Steve’s hands in ’95. He brought the car up to custom car show standards, and installed a supercharged R2 289 from a ’63 Avanti. Go to Old Cars Weekly for the full story from Steve and gorgeous pictures.
This car looks even better on the road than it does in photos. I spotted the brilliant red a mile away, asked myself as I caught up “is that a Stude?” and was floored by what I found. What a wonderful exciting creation. I believe it’s the most beautiful car I have ever seen. Kudos and thanks to Steve Hudson for sharing it on the open highway, and to Autotour and Old Cars Weekly for the photos and back story.