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1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype Sportster / G222901 Vehicle Information

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype photograph

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype
High bid of $75,000 at 2016 Mecum : Monterey. (did not sell)
Sold for $390,000 at 2019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction.
This 1947 Studebaker Sportster is known as the 'Gardner Special.' Vincent E. Gardner of South Bend, Indiana, bought a new 1947 Studebaker Champion three-passenger coupe off the assembly line. He took it home, tore it down and made a Sportster out of it.

The firewall and cockpit were moved back 18 inches. He fitted it with a new grille, hood, deck and taillights. The exhaust was routed through the tail lights, something that made the pipes look red hot at night. Sedan doors were used by reworking the top section. Bumpers were from a 1949 Studebaker Commander. The hood and deck are equipped with an automatic lift operated by compressed air. Many other modifications were accomplished in this vehicle.

This vehicle competed against some of George Barris' creations at 1950 National Roadster Show in Oakland, California.

High bid of $75,000 at 2016 Mecum : Monterey. (did not sell)
Sold for $390,000 at 2019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction.
Vincent E. Gardner won the Fisher Body Craftsman Guild award while he was still in high school. He quickly moved up the automotive design ladder while under the supervision of Gordon Buehrig at Auburn and later under Raymond Loewy at Studebaker. After four years working with Loewy, Garner purchased a new 1947 Studebaker Champion 3-passenger coupe which he quickly disassembled and transformed into a low-slung sports car. It was his interpretation of the type of car that Studebaker should be producing.

Gardner's Special had the signature Studebaker bullet nose and rear fender treatment. The windscreen, firewall, cockpit and door hinges were moved back 18 inches, towards the rear of the car. The hood and cowl, however, were lengthened and lowered. In the back was a custom rear deck that was fabricated with a hydraulically-operated rear hinge and exhaust exiting through the center of unique round tail lamps.

Powering the Gardner Special was Studebaker's 169.5 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine that was given a 7.7:1 finned aluminum head, twin-carburetor intake manifold and cast split exhaust manifolds.

The unique creation was entered in the inaugural Press-On-Regardless 24-hour rally, where it won with a score of 903 of 1,000 possible points.

The car was then given what is believed to be the world's first bubble top on a 'concept' or 'custom' car. It was entered in the inaugural National Roadster Show in Oakland, California at which the car received the first ever 'Most Magnificent Custom Roadster' award.

Unfortunately, Gardner's wife never liked the car and later convinced him to get rid of it. The car was later rescued by W. Alan Canty, Jr. Cantry returned the car to its former glory and used it for many years. After Canty's death in 1985, the car changed hands on several occasions, later coming into the care of John Allen of Naples, Florida.

Mr. Allen entrusted Fran Roxas of Vintage Motorsports to perform a restoration. The car was returned to its initial 1949 configuration with no expenses spared. When the work was completed, it made its restoration debut at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in the spring of 2012, followed by a second-in-class ribbon at Pebble Beach the same year.


By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016



2019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $350,000-USD $450,000 
Sale Price :
USD $390,000

2016 Mecum : Monterey

High Bid (Lot was not sold)
USD $75,000

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1947 sales)
1947 Studebaker Gardner Special
Chassis#: G222901
Sold for USD$390,000
  2019 Bonhams : Quail Lodge Auction
1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype image  1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype image  

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1947 Studebaker Gardner Prototype's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1947 Studebaker Gardner SpecialG22290I2016 Mecum : Monterey$75,000  

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