Bring A Trailer Auction Preview: Well-constructed restomod of one of Raymond Loewy's most iconic designs.
1953 Studebaker Commander Coupe Custom
VIN – 8341977
Exterior Color – Black
Interior Color – Black
Engine – 360 cu. in. 380 hp crate motor V8
Transmission – 3-speed automatic 727 TorqueFlight
Current Miles – 7,231 miles (TMU)
Owner Purchase – Current owner purchased in 2001
Owner Miles - Approximately 5,000 since purchase
In the exciting and dynamic world of cars, few are more innovative, individualized, and American than Hot Rods, Custom cars, Street Rods, Lead Sleds, and T-Buckets. These cars collectively all contribute to the creative world of hand-built customs with a history spanning more than 80 years. And while hot rods quickly became a part of the custom scene in post-war America, the remarkably advanced 1953 Studebaker was a stunning low-slung design that looked like it had already been lowered, customized, and built for speed even before the custom wizards broke out their welders and torches.
The 1953 Studebaker came in hardtop or coupe design. Although the hardtop design was generally regarded as the more stylish of the two offerings, contemporary street rod builders smartly recognized that the coupe had the stronger body, which could structurally manage additional horsepower without body deflection, so the coupe received the most attention for custom builds. Rare in number, and rarer still as surviving cars today, the 1953 Studebaker Commander remains one of the most innovative designs of the 20th century. Custom builds such as this example have become more sought after by collectors who enjoy the classic looks of the original design with the added performance features and modern updates delivering a street rod that can be driven and shown with confidence.
History and Build Details of This Car
This 1953 Studebaker Commander was originally built as a custom in the mid 1990s. The initial build was conducted by the builder, located in Colorado. Multiple specialty shops were involved in the original construction including body work, paint, and drivetrain components. By 1997 the owner selected a 360 cu. in. 380 hp TRL crate motor from Mopar Performance mated to a Chrysler 727 TorqueFlight automatic transmission. The build included the following additional features:
1978 Ford Mustang II Rack and Pinion steering
Upgraded 11” front disc brakes
Stainless steel brake lines with braided hoses
Chrysler power steering pump
Dana 60 3.53 rear end narrowed 3”
1975 Chevrolet pickup truck tilt steering column
Lokar braided stainless throttle cable and kickdown
Plated Air-Tique King Cool air conditioning compressor
Sanderson headers with Jethot coating with 3” Dual exhaust
Billet aluminum dashboard knobs
1989 Dodge Daytona power seats with driver’s side lower lumbar adjustments
Rear seating Dodge Daytona
Black plush pile carpeting in cabin and trunk
Shaved doors with remote keyless entry
Smoke tinted glass
Dual electric cooling fans
The original builder sold the car to the current family owners in 2001. Within their past 23 years of ownership, the family has continued to enhance and improve this build with regular services, fluids, maintenance as needed, and improving the build with the following features:
New Clarion M508 stereo head unit installed
Custom speaker mounts for doors and rear
Custom subwoofer box with Morel Primo 104 10” subwoofers
Morel Maximo 5.25” Component speakers
MPS Mono Class D 550W amplifier
MPS Class AB 4 channel 400W amplifier
Dakota Digital 4-function (3-active) remote entry key fobs
Trunk Popper and remote entry
New power steering pump and pulley
Improved body bolts with rubber insulation pads
New power steering rack
New dual side mirrors installed
Built and installed custom rolled and louvered rear gas tank pan cover
New Lecarra Mark 4 Double Slot steering wheel
New American Racing VN507 Rodder Vintage wheels with diamond cut lip
New Continental Extreme Contact Sport SL 235/45ZR 17 front tires
New Continental Extreme Contact Sport SL 255/45ZR 18 rear tires
New starter motor
New FiTech Fuel Injection 30003
FiTech Go Street 400 hp self-tuning fuel injection system
Installed Longacre Racing battery cutoff switch
New Ron Francis wiring AR67 ice box cooling fan control kit
New Hurst ProMatic shifter 3838500
Installed Lokar LED shift boot with indicators
Stainless shifter trim panel fabricated and installed
New axle seals and axle housing gaskets
New Stewart Warner tachometer
New rear wheel brake cylinders
Today this Studebaker is ready to enjoy and show. Unlike the typical Ford or Chevrolet Street Rod you might more frequently see at shows and events, this Studebaker is unique in design and very well resolved. The deep black exterior finish is glossy and smooth, further enhanced by shaved door handles, frenched in headlights, body color bumpers, and no exterior emblems or fussy chrome trim. Importantly for those who know the factory construction on these cars, the rear fenders have been welded to the body for greater strength and rigidity. Subtle hand painted pinstripes decorate the distinctive nose and deck lid. The doors, hood, and trunk all open and shut easily, with very nice panel gaps particularly for the hidden latch doors and trunk which open via Dakota Digital key fob actuation. The overall body work has been very well done including the body rake, wheel position and stance, and body-tucked front and rear bumpers. The glass is in excellent condition including the wraparound rear window finished with matching black trim. The car sits on a staggered matched set of American Racing VN507 Rodder Vintage wheels with diamond cut lips, wearing a set of Continental Extreme Contact Sport SL front tires 235/45ZR 17 and 255/45ZR 18 rear tires.
The interior has been prepared with comfort and cruising in mind. The seats are finished in black and grey matching fabric based on front and rear Dodge Daytona seats. The driver’s seat features power adjustments, and the matching door panels are trimmed with stainless-steel door speaker panels and house power window switches. The center console features a Hurst ProMatic shifter with Lokar LED shift boot indicators. Outfitted with air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission, the interior also features a deluxe Clarion sound system with subwoofers and dual amplifiers. The dashboard is painted a matching black, fronted by a Lecarra leather wrapped steering wheel and finished with a Studebaker S in the center. A series of white dial Stewart Warner gauges include a centrally mounted speedometer and tachometer, flanked by a set of four smaller gauges for oil pressure, water temperature, volts, and fuel. 7,231 miles are indicated on the odometer, though total miles are unknown. The trunk is finished with matching black carpeting, a molded plastic battery cover concealing the 12V Optima battery, a space saver spare tire, and twin Morel amplifiers mounted on the rear subwoofer box. A battery cutoff switch is located behind the rear mounted license plate.
Under the hood, the 360 Mopar Magnum V8 engine is finished with finned valve covers and matching air cleaner, various polished and plated parts, and contemporary air conditioning. Both power brakes and power steering units are properly functioning. The engine has been updated with an FiTech Fuel Injection Go Street 400 hp self-tuning fuel injection system, which makes for excellent power and easy operation. A set of JetHot coated Sanderson headers, electric cooling fan, and modern alternator further contribute to the performance and quality of this build. The underside of the car is in good condition showing no signs of structural rust, and features Dynomax mufflers as part of the dual exhaust system, shortened Dana 60 rear end, stainless steel brake lines, and braided stainless hoses.
This is a very nice street rod with great build details and comfort amenities suitable for cruising and showing at any hot rod or custom car event. This Studebaker is titled in the name of the owner on a clear California title.
Items Included with the Car
This car is accompanied by a California Car Cover, fire extinguisher, four black floor mats, a battery tender, two Dakota Digital key fobs, GoEFI FiTech accessory and dongle, and a notebook with records of the build.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608