HomePick of the Day1965 Studebaker Commander Wagonaire

1965 Studebaker Commander Wagonaire


The Studebaker Commander Wagonaire looks to be in good condition
The Studebaker Commander Wagonaire looks to be in good condition

Interest has been growing in vintage station wagons as fun collector cars, mainly focused on the Detroit behemoths of the 1950s through the ’70s, although smaller, quirkier wagons have their fans, too.

Take, for instance, the Pick of the Day, a 1965 Studebaker Commander Wagonaire, which might seem small compared with the domestic wagons of the period. But typical for Studebaker, the Wagonaire offered more for less.

The wagon has an innovative sliding-roof panel for tall cargo
The wagon has an innovative sliding-roof panel for tall cargo

Most innovative is the sliding rear roof portion that allowed the boxy Wagonaire to carry taller objects that wouldn’t otherwise fit, creating a wagon that doubled as a pickup truck. This was an inventive feature that set the Studebaker apart, although it has been attempted since with varied levels of success.

The sliding roof also has a famous name in automotive design attached to it.

“Studebaker Wagonaire’s roof design was the invention of industrial designer Brooks Stevens who was charged by the automaker’s president Sherwood Egbert to expand the company’s limited model range without spending vast amounts of capital on retooling,” the Gray Court, South Carolina, dealer says in the advertisement on ClassicCars.com.

The upholstery looks like it's been redone
The upholstery looks like it’s been redone

The Studebaker looks sharp in the photos in shiny black paint with red highlights. Although the seller makes no mention of mileage or restoration history, the Studebaker appears in the photos with the listing to be in good condition with a nice interior and ready to go or show.

This wagon was fully equipped from the factory, the seller notes, with the preferred 283 cid Thunderbolt V8 engine, rated at 195 horsepower, automatic transmission, power brakes and steering and air conditioning. Just 2,695 Wagonaires were so equipped, according to the seller.

The asking price seems fairly stout at $35,000, although this is indeed a handsome and drivable wagon that should spin the wheels of every Studebaker collector or any old-car enthusiast who wants to relive the family-oriented station-wagon culture of a bygone era.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. How surprised I was to see my recently acquired Midnight Black, 1965 Studebaker Commander Wagonaire as Classic Cars.com’s pick of the day. This is really a nice car that came from an avid Studebaker lover. It is a loaded car with the 283 V8 engine, Power steering and factory Air conditioning. I hope to find it a new home to another Studebaker lover who appreciates these, very rare, sliding roof Station Wagons. Just give me, Ron, at Classic Cars of SC a call on cell at 1-864-313-2908 to talk about how we can make my Wagonaire your Wagonaire

  2. A couple of things about the Studebakes. First, the 259/289 engines were discontinued in 1964, at which time assembly was moved to Hamilton Ontario Canada. I bought my 66 Wagonaire on March the 8th, 1966, the day that Stude ceased building any automotive vehicles. In 66 there were only 540 wagons built for US sales, and about 200 were sold as “Knockdowns”, most going to Australia and sold with righthand drive. 1965/66 cars were equipped with GM McKission 283 industrial small block V8 engines which are about 80 lbs hevier than the standard block, The 6cyl engines used the GM 230 and 235 OHV industrial engines. Something that is not well known is that a very small number of 66 Wagonairs were built with solid or non sliding roofs because of leakage problems with the 1963 thru 1966 wagons.
    The price quoted for this 65 is pretty far above what Blue Book and other collector price guides quote for the 63-66 wagons. #1 condition, (as new) is between 13-14 thousand, That would be totally restored.
    Good luck on your sale.

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