Honest Hauler: 1949 Studebaker 2R5 1/2 Ton Pickup – SOLD!

by | Apr 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

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May 2, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “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.

South Bend Indiana-based Independent automaker Studebaker often developed innovative designs during the company’s history that other automakers copied later on. While Studebaker’s new 2R line of trucks launched in 1949 looked much more modern and streamlined than the competition, the unique steel bed floor and double-walled side beds made these trucks genuinely tough enough for hauling stuff.  This driver-quality 1949 2R5 1/2 ton was originally available in April 2022 on Craigslist in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  The seller provided a very detailed and honest description of his truck and what its current needs are.

Currently offered for $16,000, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their 2R5 priced between this guide’s #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $9,000 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $18,000.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $13,050 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $19,000.

Studebaker wasted little time after WW II answering the peacetime call for new trucks. South Bend’s 2R series of trucks rolled out as 1949 models looking decades more advanced than the trucks they replaced–the dowdy but historically significant M series.  The wheelbase of the new 1949 Studebaker truck was 112 inches and the bed length was 6 1/2 feet. At a road weight of 2,840 pounds, it was lighter by an average of 400 pounds than its five principal rivals. This gave it a maximum allowable payload of 1,760 pounds or 620 pounds more than a comparable Chevrolet. Front suspension consisted of lever shocks in conjunction with the two 40 x 1.75-inch eight-leaf springs. Lever shocks were used in the rear with nine-leaf springs. A progressive-type rear spring was also available at extra cost, a Studebaker exclusive.

Frame side members were seven inches deep and featured a reinforcing “K” member at the front. Full box-section cross members fortified points of stress. The 18-gallon gas tank was mounted horizontally amidships between two frame rails.

The engine was the 169.6-cubic-inch Champion L-head six, which had been introduced in the spring of 1939. It was by far the lightest engine in the truck field, yet at 80 horsepower, it produced more horsepower per cubic inch than any of its competitors. Studebaker called it the Econ-o-miser, and for good reason. In the Champion passenger car, it consistently beat out all rivals in supervised mileage contests. The engines were equipped with a vacuum-operated automatic spark control and incorporated an octane selector to adjust the timing to correspond to the octane rating of the gasoline.

When coupled with the standard three-speed transmission and 4.82 rear, it could deliver in excess of 22 mpg at a 40-mph average. Even better results could be expected if one opted to spend the extra $93 charged for optional overdrive (another Studebaker exclusive in the truck field).

During our search for a related video, we came across this one from September 2021 that is clearly the same truck.  It’s a nice overview of the truck, so we’re not sure why the seller doesn’t reference it in their listing:

This 1949 Studebaker 2R5 is just a nice old, simple vintage truck in need of a fresh set of tires and figuring out what is causing it to be speed limited.  The only corrosion noted is in the front lip of the hood.  Otherwise, this looks to be a very solid example sourced many years ago from California.

Here’s the seller’s detailed description:

“1949 Studebaker, model 2R5, half ton, short bed truck. For sale by long-term owner. I bought it in California in 1980 and brought it to Virginia. In 1980 it had been recently painted and upholstered before I bought it. This paint and upholstery still look good. I put it in storage in 1988 and began reviving it in 2013 and have been making improvements since then. Some of the items that were addressed during this revival include cleaning and painting the underside of the body, replacing and lining the fuel tank, converting to a dual master cylinder, installing a working speedometer (actual mileage is unknown), and adding three-point seat belts.

The engine is a 170 cu in flathead six-cylinder, known as the Champion engine. It is not the original engine. The transmission is 3-speed, column shift. The differential ratio is 4.82:1.

This truck starts easily and runs well and dependably. The steering is easy and does not pull to either side. The brakes are firm, and they stop straight with no pulling. It is clean, and the maintenance is up to date. I have maintenance records from the year 2000. All maintenance and repairs were done by me.

This truck is a lot of fun to drive. It is easy to drive, but it keeps both hands busy. There is no doubt that this truck is a historic artifact. Its driving characteristics are primitive. My use for this truck is for short-distance, low-speed errands, typically within five miles or so from my house. I enjoy that use. I never see another one while I am driving mine. It is often complimented when it is out.

The bed is double wall with a steel floor which is not typical for this era.

All lights work. The wipers do not. There is no horn. There is no fuel gauge sending unit, so I do not know if the fuel gauge works. The other gages do work. The window and door mechanisms work well.

This is a very nice truck. No work is needed to enjoy driving it as I do. In order to drive it farther and faster, three items would need to be addressed: 1. I still use the tires that were on the truck when I bought it. The date code shows 1977 manufacture, so they are very old. 2. Something that I have not found limits engine rpm to 2100, which makes a 35 mph top speed. 3. The differential gears look good, but something seems to be amiss in their setting.”

Show or go: What would you do with this 1949 Studebaker Pickup?  Please comment below and let us know!


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