Coming or Going: 1950 Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe – SOLD!

by | Sep 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

September 23, 2021 Update – We confirmed the seller of this Studebaker “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

History proves that while some vehicle design elements can so iconic, they can also be polarizing at the same time.  One of the more famous in the early Post-World War II era was designer Virgil Exner’s wraparound rear window design on the Studebaker Starlight Coupes such as this survivor-quality 1950 Champion originally listed September 2021 on Craigslist in Stow, Massachusetts for $11,450. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Starlight Coupe priced between this guide’s #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $10,600 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $19,800.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #4 “Fair” estimate of $6,550 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $11,725.

Studebaker offered a unique two-door body style from 1947 through 1955 on its Champion and Commander car lines. Virgil Exner, who later became known for his “Forward Look” Chrysler designs of the late 1950s, developed the body style while he was still working as a designer for Raymond Loewy Associates. (Loewy took credit for many of his designs such as this one, but that’s a story for another time). Unlike other pillared two-door sedans that use two side windows separated from the rear window by roof supports, Exner created a roof rounded at the rear with a wraparound window system that provided a panoramic effect, similar to a railroad observation car. The curved window was achieved with four fixed panels of glass. The roof was supported by two wide “B” pillars immediately behind the doors and in front of the wraparound back window. By 1949 Studebaker called the models featuring this window system Starlight coupes.  In addition to the unique rear window, another controversial feature was the extremely long, almost hood-like cover over the luggage compartment. Critics of the radically styled models commented by asking the rhetorical question, “Which way is it going?” The viewer’s astonishment was compounded by the great expanse of the wrap-around rear window. Previously cars had tended to shroud back-seat passengers.

For 1950, all Studebakers received a freshening of the 1947 design with the addition of the “bullet nose” front sheet metal design, sharing a similar appearance with the 1949 Ford sedan. originally designed to house a rotating headlight, the bullet simply became a grille element on Studebaker’s bean counters deemed the technology too expensive for production.  When combined with the Starlight body style, Studebakers looked comparatively futuristic at the time. This version of the Starlight body style continued until the end of the 1952 model year when it was sold side by side with a hardtop “Starliner” version of the same model.

The Cars & Stripes YouTube Channel features this 1950 Studebaker commercial:

We would love to hear the story of this survivor-quality Studebaker Starlight. Until recently, the values of these cars remained very low, so restoring one was often a labor of love rather than a shrewd business decision. Times may be changing, so now may be the time to give the car a fresh paint job as well as an interior update.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“A real clean and solid ORIGINAL 1950 Studebaker Champion “bullet nose” Starlight coupe.
170ci flathead inline-six.
Three on the tree manual transmission with WORKING overdrive.
Trim is real nice.
Paint presentable. Portion of nose is in primer a result of something being spilled on her while in storage.
Tires are almost new radials.
Seats are in amazing shape as is the dash.
Has ultra rare factory clock and tissue holder options along with the push button radio.
100 MPH speedo showing mileage at 54,891
Neat storage under both rear seat armrests.

It needs a headliner, the carb rebuilt (kit included) and the trunk lock adjusted (key included).
Have a couple boxes of related parts that also go with the sale.


The pictures tell the story.
Additional pic’s and info available by request or set up a visit and see for yourself.

Show or go: what would you do with this Studebaker Champion survivor?  Comment below and let us know!


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