Mythical beast: GMC/Studebaker melded into one-of-a-kind street rod

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Studebaker
A 1950-51 Studebaker front end is grafted onto a GMC Caballero

Want to attract attention?  Want people to do double takes as you cruise by?  If so, then this street-rod mashup of a GMC Caballero (aka Chevy El Camino) with the face of a 1950-51 Studebaker should do the trick.

Looking like a low-flying rocket ship with a pickup bed, the Pick of the Day is listed as a 1983 GMC Caballero, although the Long Island, New York, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com refers to it as Studemino.  I’d call it Studenstein, with no disrespect intended.

Because how could you not respect this wild mongrel?  According to the ad, it is a “one-of-a-kind custom car by Las Vegas, New Mexico, car artist and restorer John Gonzales.”  Bravo, Mr. Gonzales, for your imagination and creativity, as well as your workmanship.

 

Studebaker

The “bullet-nose” Studebaker was a unique design in its own right, and street rodders have been building cars out of them for decades; removing the front bumper accentuates the jutting shape.  That’s like this one, but with its streamlined Caballero cargo bed, it’s something else again.

Note that the custom flares on the bed sides reflect the shape of the Stude’s original rear fenders.

The car/truck, which actually is located in Albuquerque, the seller says in the ad, is powered by its original V8 with automatic transmission and dual exhaust.  It has just 63,000 miles on its speedometer and “runs great and feels even better in the driver’s seat.”

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Studebaker

The Studemino has had recent mechanical work and is ready to go, the dealer adds.

Painted in a glowing shade of Champagne, the custom car certainly looks special, especially standing on a set of what appears to be 20-inch wire wheels with knockoffs and ultra-low-profile tires.

In the photos with the ad, the body looks straight and what appears to be the original GMC interior seems to be in decent shape.  A “suicide spinner knob” is affixed to the steering wheel, which appears to be from a Studebaker, and the column shifter has some kind of large, ivory-colored handle.  Otherwise, the cabin looks stock.

Studebaker

The asking price seems cheap for such an original street rod, at $12,500.  The ad says the seller might consider a trade for “a good commuter car/SUV commuter of equivalent value,” giving the examples of a Toyota Prius or Highlander.

Maybe the seller is just trying to achieve a lower profile, but what a come down from this weirdly fabulous custom rod.

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

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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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Let me start by saying that I have never been a fan of the bullet-nose Studebaker anyway. It’s definitely a very controversial style that never appealed to me. For the many who are, I mean no disrespect; we’re all entitled to our opinions.
    While I recognize the talent of the builder in this…-thing; what we’re left with is a semi-practical, horribly unreliable GM product from its darkest days that’s been further defaced with some of the ugliest sheet metal ever to grace an automobile! The builder was very talented because this car looks like it was made that way. Even GM or Studebaker couldn’t do a better job at making all the panels fit the way they do here. GM’s lack of quality control in the 1970’s and 1980’s helped to sell millions of Toyota’s and Honda’s.

  2. This front clip is from a 1950 Studebaker, not a ’51. The ’51 had a painted ring on the bullet chrome because the Studebaker engineers thought the all chrome nose was too gaudy.

  3. Hasn’t anyone mentioned that the “Studemino” was a kit, commercially available? You can see where the crown of the hood meets the windshield, forward visibility is slightly compromised. Otherwise, as I recall, owners were happy with this mod. There is additional customization on the rear quarters.

    • There is a gorgeous navy and copper colored one in Sydney, British Columbia, Canada. Its the first one I have seen and I believe the only one here on Vancouver Island.

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