CC Outtake: 1951 or 1952 Studebaker Champion – An Unauthorized Restyling


A note came from St. Petersburg (the one in Russia, not Florida). This car’s been recently saved from the crusher by its current umm… keeper. He believes it to be a 1951 Studebaker Champion, but… with some unusual modifications. Putting aside the inevitable question (how the hell did it get there ?!), I’d prefer to concentrate on this unauthorized restyling.

As a rule, the results of such exercises vary from ungainly to horribly ugly. But this time ?.. Well, at least in my opinion – this is an exception. It may be not as impressive as what Studebaker did itself, but still.

The front end reminds me of the Glas 2600 GT coupe:


Note the rear license plate slot, which was obviously designed for a pre-1980 “white-on-black” square rear plate – that may give you some idea about the date of this “restyling” (at least, some part of it):


I can’t say where the taillights came from, but if you ask me – they blend in pretty well.



The interior seems to be largely original except for the upholstery, but we don’t see the dashboard. Absolutely love the “suicide” rear doors, despite the name. I almost forgot how massive these 1940s – early 1950s cars looked; even my 1965 Volga has thinner roof pillars.



It seems the fuel tank was moved forward. A safety concern, perhaps ? The transverse reinforcement bar confirms this.


Sadly, there is no engine. Or any traces of it, either. The Volga’s hydrovac brake booster and other parts of the Soviet origin hint, however, that whatever has been here recently – hadn’t been built by Studebaker. Some parts (regulator, valves, pressure gauge) even suggest that the car ran on Liquified Petroleum Gas rather than gasoline most of the time.

By the way, the car is for sale, and for a very modest sum of money at that (around $1000). However, the lack of vehicle title or any other paperwork would be a major obstacle on the way of any brave soul wishing to give it a second life.

So, what do you think, would Raymond Loewy have approved it ?


Related reading: 1951 Studebaker Design Analysis