So now you’ve seen the advanced designs Studebaker offered in the middle of the 1950s, you’ll see how well it worked out for them. Ford and GM’s aggressive cost-cutting, stronger marketing, and high labor costs combined with quality control issues meant things didn’t pan out as hoped. So for 1956, Studebaker took what probably looked like a safe path and released designs that better matched the competition. Interestingly, you can kind of see the sentiment of company managers in the car’s “facial expression” – the headlights look like they have a bit of a furrowed brow, like they’re concerned about their prospects. Nevertheless, let’s look at this 1957 Studebaker President for sale for $3800 in Seattle, WA.
Things were so rough for Studebaker that this turned out to be their final full-sized sedan. Aside from the worried headlights, you’ll also notice the roofline remains the same as on the predecessor model (as well as the recent Nissan Armada/Infiniti QX56). Trim on the rear fins also aped what Chevrolet was doing, and the baby blue color is oh-so-1950s. In spite of being one of the final efforts for a dying company, it’s not a bad looking car and, as the seller says, a unique alternative to the ubiquitous Big 3 products.
This car in particular has had some notable upgrades to its respectable V8/manual specification, including a new Edelbrock carburetor and aluminum radiator. In addition, there are many new parts including the water pump, fuel pump, fuel and brake lines, battery, and a restored gas tank. Paint and trim is said to be in good original condition, and all lights and wipers are functional.
The seller has also performed plenty of valuable upgrades and repairs on the chassis. First and foremost are a Turner front and rear disc brake conversion, Turner dual circuit master cylinder, and 6″ wide steel wheels with radial tires. Repairs include POR-15 on the front frame and suspension, front hub and rear axle seals, front suspension bushings, and shocks front and rear. The car is said to have been in the seller’s family since new, and was stored from 1976 to 2009, but he’s not into the cosmetic part of the restoration so is moving it along.
Of course there are some downsides with an original car this age, including a fragile interior, missing carpets and insulation, limited body rust, disintegrated heater air ducting, and a clogged and bypassed heater core. That said, with all the attention to the running gear, and assuming the basic drivetrain is in good shape with its 65,000 miles, this should be a pretty strong driver you can improve when and where you wish.