Vintage Review: Autocar Road Tests the 1939 Studebaker Commander Saloon – Our Oldest Vintage Review

1939 Studebaker road test

robadr1 uploaded to the Cohort a vintage review by UK’s Autocar of the new 1939 Studebaker Commander saloon (sedan). It’s a rather fascinating time capsule, and it’s pretty obvious that Autocar was somewhat ahead of the times in their testing regime. The one thing that really stuck out for me was the 3.5 turns lock-to-lock for the steering wheel. By the late ’50s, that was some 6 turns in a Studebaker. What happened?

“the steering is firm, and noticeably lower geared than has been general praise on American cars formerly…the steering gives accurate control at high speeds as well as low, and is light enough for manoeuvring, though inevitably not quite as light as a low geared mechanism”.  Did the bigger balloon tires require lower geared steering? Or just to make it easier for parking? Come to think, I do now remember the steering on the 1936 Plymouth I drove was similarly quick and a bit heavy. But I prefer that to the opposite.

1939 Studebaker review