No April Fool: 1949 Studebaker convertible has become affordable

The Pick of the Day is an attractive example that shows decline in post-war classic values

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Studebaker
The Studebaker Champion gleams in Bahama Blue paint

This being April Fools’ Day, I was planning on an elaborate joke for Pick of the Day, something on the order of a pristine Lamborghini for a surprisingly low price. April Fool!

But since we’re already feeling these days like the rug’s being pulled out from under us, I decided to drop that idea.  So let’s focus instead on an actual trend, the decline in value of once-desirable American collector cars from the 1940s and ’50s. 

This was not unexpected as generations pass and tastes change, but it’s still sad to see. Those stylish but lumbering beasts of the post-war era seem to be dropping in worth as fast as the Dow Jones. But like the stock market, it has exposed some real bargains. 

The Pick of the Day is a good example, a 1949 Studebaker Champion convertible, rare and quirkily attractive with just over 40,000 miles showing and in what looks to be terrific condition. The styling changed the following year to the controversial “bullet-nose” front; this one’s not so oddball.

Studebaker

“Factory-born convertible unchanged with original low-mileage driveline and body panels,” according to the Hilton, New York, dealer advertising the Studebaker on ClassicCars.com, noting the 80-horsepower straight-6 engine and 3-speed manual transmission. 

The convertible has a new replacement power top, the seller says, and the interior has been redone.  The Studebaker is fitted with optional fog lights, directional signals and backup lights, as well as a chrome package, armrests, tinted glass, full vehicle cover, sports package and luxury package.

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Studebaker

“We have gone through this car and it is every bit as good if not better in person than in pictures,” the dealer says. “The chassis and undercarriage (are) as nice as the topsides.  The Bahama Blue is absolutely gorgeous. It shines a great deal in sunlight. Very straight, and very pretty!

“Beautiful driving car that looks great from 2 to 200 feet away. Love the color combination and truly a comfortable car to drive.”

Studebaker

Not so many years back, you’d expect a Studebaker convertible like this to be priced somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.  The asking price today is $22,495. 

And that’s no April Fools’ joke.

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

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.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, prices on 40’s-50’s cars have gone very soft. For example here are some listed for sale in my area: 1949 Studebaker Champ Conv, very nice car (I have seen/driven), 13K asking. 1948 Studebaker Land Cruiser, 7K actual miles, all original like new, 15K asking. 1949 Chrysler Windsor, 38K miles, pristine original, 12.5K asking. Tough choices!

    • Hello,
      I was just reading your post here about Studebakers in your area for sale. I need to be selling, but I’m always interested when I see a 1948 Land Cruiser. ( I guess it’s because that’s the first car I wrecked when I was 12 years old.) What do you know about the one you mentioned here? Color, transmission, condition, and where is it located?
      Thanks,
      Sam Ensley (Member of SDC)

  2. Not exactly true. The highly desirable cars will remain strong. I don’t consider 40’s or 50’s Studebakers in this category.

  3. Sorry, but this particular car never was worth $40,000. Let’s count the problems… Grille is warped. Entire front end is installed crooked. 1950 steering wheel and horn button. Door panels and kick panels severely warped. Wind lace falling off. Heater fan knob missing, and defroster fan knob installed in its place. Wiring harness strung across radiator top hose. Engine repainted wrong color. I’m sure there is more than I’m missing. This may be a decent car that needs the details cleaned up, or it may be a cobbled together mess. Hard to tell from the pictures.

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