1955 Studebaker Commander news, pictures, specifications, and information
The Commander was Studebaker's middle of the line model. This particular car is a 1955 model, but was built in November, 1954. Cars built after 1/1/1955 had a wrap-around windshield with a nearly-vertical A pillar.
This car was awarded a First Place Plague at the 1992 Antique Automobile Club of America National Show.
The Studebaker was founded in 1852 in South Bend, Indiana. Their original success was in making wheelbarrows for the California Gold Rush followed by supplying wagons to the Union Army in the Civil War. After a fire in 1874 destroyed their factory, they built a new brick factory covering 20 acres which became 'the largest vehicle house in the world.' Some of their carriages could cost up to $20,000.
Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles, all sold under the name 'Studebaker Automobile Company.' They operated in partnership with the EMF and Superior Coach Companies until the first gasoline cars manufactured exclusively by Studebaker were introduced in 1912.
Over the next five decades, the company established a reputation for quality and reliability. The last Studebaker car rolled off the line in 1966.
Beginning in the 1920s and continuing (off and on) through the 1960s, Studebaker used the Commander name. The 1955 model was the mid-level entry in the line priced from $1,870 to $2,455. The cars weighed 3,060 pounds were powered by a 224 cubic-inch V8 producing 140 horsepower.
The Studebaker Commander was produced for several years, representing several bodystyle changes, and first appeared in the 1920s. The company would continue to use the name until their demise in 1966. There were only a few years where the Commander did not appear in Studebaker's line-up during that time; those were in 1936 and 1959-1963.
When the name first appeared in 1927, it was Studebaker's middle-series. As the years progress, it would move up and down market, often changing positions from year to year. The name would continue until it was dropped in 1935, only to reappear in 1937 where it served as the company's least expensive model, taking the place of the previous Studebaker Dictator. The company had decided to do away with the 'Dictator' name, due to the negative political connectors associated with the name. Mainly, Adolf Hitler in Germany had tainted the word 'dictator.'
The Commander moved up-market in 1939 when Studebaker introduced the Champion model. After the Second World War, Studebaker dropped its President moniker, and repositioned the Commander in its place. At the same time, Studebaker introduced an extended wheelbase model known as the Land Cruiser.
The President name reappeared in 1955; the President model became the premium model range and the Commander was demoted to the mid-range model. The name would continue until 1958 and reappear in 1963 for the 1964 model range. It was positioned next to the lowest-priced Lark model and above the entry-level Challenger model.By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2008
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