Cohort Pic(k) Of The Day: 1957 Studebaker Provincial – Providential Survivor

Thanks to these images by William Oliver at the Cohort, here’s a rare find that was a rare sight in its day. A 1957 Studebaker Provincial, one of 3,995 built that year.

If the Hawks are taken out of the equation, Studebaker’s late 50s offerings are a mystery to most. Understandable, since the company was going through much turmoil at the time. The Packard merger was a bust, and the ’56 bailout courtesy of Curtis-Wright resulted in the reshuffling of corporate chairs. S-P’s planned lineup for ’57 got canned in the process, and new president Harold Vance ordered restyles of the existing models. Done on the cheap, of course. Hence, the ’57s as we know them. Or don’t, more precisely.

Designer Duncan McRae did what he could, but much of the ’58s lineup clearly shows late ’50s trends just tacked on to the old bones. Still, it was part of S-P’s intent to keep a full lineup, and thus the 4-door Provincial wagon. The model carried Studebaker’s 259 V-8, with 180 hp, and a price of $2561. Only the Broadmoor wagon was above it, with the 289 V-8 and a cost of $2,666.

From a styling viewpoint, it’s obviously a compromised product with some curious and jarring details. But I’m not gonna pile on its aesthetics much more. It’s a rare and providential survivor, a product of a painful transition just as terminal decline was setting in. I’m just glad this one exists, no matter its condition.

Regardless of the company’s ailing situation, there was goodness under the Provincial’s bones, as JP’s previous ’57 Commander post explains. To those who purchased one, this Stude provided a car that “gave their owners a very tough and long-lived car.”


Further reading:

Curbside Classic: 1957 Studebaker Commander – Eureka!