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.
“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.
“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.”
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.