HomePick of the DayCool custom ’53 Studebaker coupe packs serious performance

Cool custom ’53 Studebaker coupe packs serious performance


The groundbreaking 1953 Studebaker coupes from designer Raymond Loewy’s studio are often the subjects of customization, including turning their streamlined forms into Bonneville Salt Flat speed-record racers.  Other times, they are transformed into exotic auto show creations, for better or worse.

The Pick of the Day is a tastefully customized 1953 Studebaker Commander coupe that seems to enhance the elegance of the original design, rather than lathering it up with over-the-top street rod embellishments.

The hubcaps are NOS originals

The Studebaker, called “a classy and elegant cruiser” by the Charlotte, North Carolina, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com, looks gorgeously finished, and it is powered by a performance-tweaked Chevrolet LT1 V8 and 4-speed automatic transmission.

“A solid South Bend dandy that has no problem charming onlookers, this pristine Studebaker is the beneficiary of a $130K ground-up restoration that wrapped in 2012,” the seller says in the ad description. “The pros behind that professional rebuild were none other than Slatersville, Rhode Island’s Xtreme Restorations.

“All-original sheet metal is layered in rich Cashmere Taupe 2-stage, which reflects a bright white roof. And that quality pigment highlights distinctive, retro character that reminds us just how cool vintage metal can be!”

The pearlescent paint color is called Cashmere Taupe

The sleek body looks original with most of its trim and emblems intact, aside from removing the large emblem from the nose for a cleaner look.  The ’53 coupe was a lovely ahead-of-its-time design, and it seems only right to celebrate the iconic styling.

The seller gets downright poetic in the description of the 383 cid powerplant.

“Lift the car’s whittled hood and you’ll find a $13K Lingenfelter LT1 that, with the help of $8K of street and performance bolt-ons, twists 450 horsepower into 430 lb./ft. of tarmac-twisting torque. At the top of that blueprinted stroker, a bowtie-branded air box feeds a Lingenfelter-branded throttle body.

The Corvette VB was built up by Lingenfelter

“That throttle weaves wind into electronically injected fuel, which combusts at the behest of loomed MSD plug wires. Above those wires, CNC-ported LT4 cylinder heads wrap polished covers and a polished breather around heavy-duty springs, titanium retainers, one-piece stainless valves and stainless Comp roller rockers. 10.8 to 1 compression is created by a computer-balanced rotating assembly, which is finished with a forged Lunati crank, billet Oliver connecting rods, forged JE pistons and Speed Pro plasma moly rings.”

There’s more glory pointed out in the ad, including Hedman Headers, dual exhaust, 4L60E 4-speed transmission and 10-bolt Trans Am rear axle.  All that is housed in a chassis rebuilt with performance upgrades, improved steering, disc brakes and custom steel wheels with BF Goodrich radials and NOS Studebaker hubcaps.

The interior has been restored in original style

“The car’s warm and welcoming interior looks straight out of boomtown, America, complete with tight leather, tasteful fabrics and ornate telemetry,” the dealer adds.

The custom coupe appears to be very well done and in brand-new condition, and seems well worth the asking price of $69,900.

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. Beautiful car and the dealer puts it so eloquently, She has a damned fine drive train, body and interior. I’m sure that it’s worth the asking price.

      • I had a ’53 Stude Champion 4-door. It was one of the prettiest and sweetest cars I have owned, inside and out, until the floor boards rotted and developed holes through which you could see the pavement. A month after I traded it in the dealer told me he had given it to his father, but the engine fell through its mounts within two weeks. I had earned a reputation of knowing exactly when to trade cars.

  2. One of the best ….if not the best car that I have seen….would buy in second, if I could….great custom….thank you for showing….Charlie, sykesviille, md

  3. Sweetheart of a car. Great idea too. Studies don’t hold their value anyway, and I could never understand why. This is the kind of resto all Studies deserve.


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