Only Going: 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe Convertible – SOLD!
August 19th Update – While updating our past Topless Thursday listings, we confirmed the private seller deleted their Craigslist post, so we’re calling this beautiful Studebaker “Sold!”
Following the end of World War II, the first truly new cars to hit American streets were Studebaker’s offerings for 1947. While critics mocked the two-door Champion Starlight Coupe’s unique rear window (“You can’t tell if the car is coming or going”), the convertible was a much more traditional looking piece. We agree with the private seller’s assessment this restored 1949 Tulip Cream over dark red leather example currently listed on Craigslist in Bedford, New Hampshire with an asking price of $24,900 is a striking example. Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their Champion priced between the #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $28,000 and the #3 “Good” estimate of $19,200. While the private seller provides a screenshot of a similar Champion sold at Mecum for $45,000, keep in mind the real hammer price for that car was $40,500 (Mecum includes the ten percent buyer’s premium in their results listings) and it pre-dates 2019 as you can no longer find that listing in the Auction House’s search engine. Prices for these Studebakers have been on the decline since that car sold.
Hagerty Insurance provides a great summary of the Champion in the price guide:
“Studebaker resumed automobile production quite quickly following World War II with the Champion’s introduction in December of 1945. The car was a very lightly disguised 1942 model, and shortly thereafter, in June of 1946, Studebaker announced the America’s first all-new post-war model (conveniently ignoring the new Kaiser-Frazer product line).
Styling of the new Studebaker Champion was executed mainly at Raymond Loewy’s studios, with much of the work was actually accomplished by Virgil Exner. The car’s appearance was stunning and somewhat polarizing, and the Starlight coupe’s large four-part wrap-around rear window in particular so closely resembled a front windshield that comedians wondered aloud if the car was coming or going. Nonetheless, the design was futuristic and proved to be influential as the rest of the American auto industry was forced to play catch-up
The 1947 Studebaker Champion came in five body styles, including a four-door sedan with rear-hinged rear doors, a two-door sedan, three- and five-passenger coupes (available in Deluxe and Regal Deluxe trim), as well as a Regal Deluxe convertible. Pricing began at $1,535 and ranged up to a starting price of $2,060 for the convertible. The 169.6-cid Champion flathead six of 80 hp carried over, and the car utilized a 112-inch wheelbase (up two inches from 1947).
Advanced designs were plentiful on the Studebaker Champion, with Bendix self-adjusting brakes, no-glare instruments, pull-type door handles, and both one- and two-piece panoramic windshields. More than 100,000 1947 Studebaker Champions were sold.
The 1948 model year saw few changes other than a revised grille and trim alterations, with prices now up to a minimum of $1,555. By 1949, the Big Three had released all-new models, which leveled the competitive landscape, and Bob Bourke’s all new “bullet-nose” design was brought to the Champion in 1950. Under the Champion’s body, an all-new independent coil front suspension replaced the prior transverse leaf sprung front independent set-up, and a thoroughly advanced automatic transmission became available.
While some criticized the “bullet-nose” look, which continued into 1951, the cars remained popular with buyers. In 1952, the bullet-nose look was scuttled as an all-new, bifurcated grille and “power-bulge” hood gave the cars a new look. A two door “convertible” hardtop (using the doors and side windows of a convertible, with no metal door pillars around the glass and no body pillars between front and rear side glass) made its debut under the Starlight sub-series moniker.
Today the Studebaker Champion of this era is very popular with Studebaker aficionados and others seeking something a little different. In particular, the 1947 Starlight coupe, the later bullet-nose cars, and the pretty Starlight hardtop coupe are quite popular. Like many cars of the era, many didn’t survive extended daily use in northern states, which can make good examples of the car harder to find than their production numbers would suggest. Nonetheless, the cars are worth the search, as they are unique in appearance, economical to run at 28 mpg, and enjoy great club support through the Studebaker Driver’s Club.”
Not only do we like this private seller calling out “No Dealers” in his great description, but the following YouTube videos also provide a great example of how much better your car will sell online using just a smartphone to record it. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Hey Studebaker Fans – going to the Studebaker Swap Meet and Car Corral at the Dunkirk NY Fairgrounds this fall? Gotta have this one!
This car is out of California and the body and floors are solid. Last two owners garaged this car in Michigan and New Hampshire.
This is an extraordinarily well presented and great daily driving example of this very striking 1949 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe Convertible
Taking this car to a cruise night or car show will almost guarantee you would have the only Studebaker droptop. All stock and would make a great addition to your car collection.
Be prepared for lots of smiles and stories from onlookers and strangers who remember when they had one or their parents or grandparents owned one.
Please take the time to check out these photos for the correct details of this stock 1949 convertible:
-Original engine; 2779 cc | 169.6 cu in. | 2.8 L; 80 HP (58.88 KW) @ 4000 RPM. Three on the tree shifts seamlessly with Over Drive – vehicle drives very well and overdrive allows the car to easily be driven at 60 MPH.
-Front kingpins and steering suspension rebuilt.
-New stainless brake lines, master cylinder, brake shoes.
-Fuel tank removed, cleaned, sealed and reinstalled with new fuel tank sending unit and new fuel pump.
-Rebuilt carburetor with automatic choke.
-Correct Studebaker paint code – restoration several years ago and still looks like new with a few blemishes if examined closely – notice the rear fender body parts were individually painted and then assembled with the fender welting like new and never been painted just as it would have at the factory.
-Convertible top is heavy duty canvas and a special order with a rear cutout opening sized just for the two piece glass rear window. Boot matches interior.
-One piece curved glass windshield was an industry leader for this era.
-Period correct aftermarket rear fender skirts mount and remove easily with rear handle brace without marking the fender paint.
-Studebaker NOS amber fog lights with chrome plated brackets and model correct control switch on dash.
-Floorboards and trunk are original metal and solid.
-Original radio restored.
-Chrome bumpers and accessories are in excellent condition.
There are a few items which could use a little TLC and this is typically true for any driver quality car of this era.
Clear New Hampshire Title.
Please advise if you have questions.
NOTE the last photo FYI – a similar well appointed Studebaker Convertible was auctioned at Mecum – note the selling price. [Mecum Auction sold for more $$ than the price on this beautiful specimen.]
Offered at $24,900 or best offer – EMAILS WITHOUT LEAVING PHONE NUMBER WILL BE IGNORED.
Do you have a Studebaker Champion story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!