Concours Classic: 1955 Studebaker President Speedster – Look What They’ve Done To The Starliner

(first posted 8/31/2011)    One of the more…um, unavoidable cars at the Cottage Grove Concours was this very colorful 1955 Studebaker President Speedster. Now I just don’t have the time to do a more extensive write-up today, and I am saving myself for a more complete CC on the 1953 “Loewy” coupes (update: here it is). But this is just too spectacular to pass up, even if it is from a car show. Put your shades on!

Do I have to give this crowd a quick refresher of what the original ’53 coupe looked like. Naw, but like so many brilliant new cars that represented some real vision, the manufacturers just couldn’t wait to screw them up with lots of chrome, everywhere. The very clean and graceful and’53 Starliner was another sensation in Europe, like the ’60 Corvair, but I doubt the ’55 President would have made a similar impact. Crazy Americans!

Yes, this car is crazy; no make that psychedelic. From its fish-mouth maw,

To its heavy chrome side cladding,

And its over-the top interior, front (awesome dashes Studebaker had at the time),

and rear,

The President Speedster was a limited production (some 3k units) one-year-only wonder. It clearly paved the way for the Hawk that succeeded it in 1956.

The Speedster came standard with Studebaker’s most potent engine that year, a 185 hp version of the 259 cubic inch V8.

This particular car struck me as somehow familiar. I though it might have been from one of my youthful “trips”, but it turns out to have graced the cover of the October 1986 issue of Collectible Automobile, which I happen to have.

With that, I must run and leave you to add your color commentary. Shouldn’t be difficult.


CC: 1953-1954 Studebaker Starlight Coupe – Star Light, Star Bright