1951 Studebaker Commander State
Sold for $49,500 at 2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction.
The name Commander was used throughout most of the Studebaker Companies existence. It appeared in the 1920's and used consistently by the company with the exception of a few years, those being 1936 and 1959-1963. The Commander name had many duties during its existence with some of those denoting the companies premium model range.
The postwar Studebaker Commander had been the work of Virgil Exner and Raymon Loewy. Its bullet-nosed front end and use of chrome trim gave the vehicle a distinct appearance. Power was from a 233 cubic-inch overhead valve V8 that continued to rise in power as the years progressed. In 1952, the Commander was chose as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.
The 1951 Studebaker Commander State Convertible Coupe finished in red with red interior was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction in Monterey, CA where it was estimated to sell between $40,000-$60,000. It was offered without reserve. Since new, the vehicle has undergone a comprehensive restoration that included work being done to the chrome, paint and upholstery. On auction day the car did sell, netting $49,500.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
Sold for $30,250 at 2011 RM Auctions - Concours d'Elegance at St. Johns.
In the postwar era, Studebaker claimed 'First by Far with a Postwar Car.' Their dramatic Starlight coupe was introduced in 1947 and sales were strong, seeing levels not seen before the war. Studebaker achieved eighth place in the industry for 1949, before setting into a steady ninth as other automakers' production caught up with demand.
For 1950, Studebaker introduced their automatic transmission, developed in conjunction with Borg Warner. 1950 was also the year the cars were face-lifted with the aircraft-inspired 'bullet-nose' design. The following year, a V-8 engine was offered, a first for an independent automaker. The engine was a sturdy overhead-valve design that remained in production for over a decade.
This Studebaker Commander State Convertible is finished in light yellow with a saddle tan interior and a canvas top. It was restored in 1987 and has aged rather nicely. The engine is a 232.6 cubic-inch overhead valve V-8 that offers 120 horsepower. There is a three-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. It is equipped with AM radio, under-seat heater, backup lamps, directional signals, chrome fender skirts, full chrome wheel covers and a tissue dispenser. For 1951, just 3770 'State' Line convertibles were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011
In 2011, this Commander State Convertible was offered for sale at the St. John auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $35,000 - $45,000 and was offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $30,250 including buyer's premium.
Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles, and began producing gasoline -powered vehicles in 1904. They began using the Commander name in 1927, it was applied to various cars in company's product line-up from year to year. Say the name 'Studebaker,' and there is a good chance that the image that springs to mind is the 1950-1951 models, a.k.a the 'bullet nose' Studebaker.
This example is a 1951 Studebaker Commander convertible in Commander Red. 1951 models differ from their 1950 predecessors with some styling refinements in the front end with flush, rather than recessed, grille work.
This example was built on November 9. 1950, at Studebaker's South Bend, Indiana facility. It spent most of its life in Tucson, Arizona, where an amateur restoration was performed on it before it was sold to a new owner in California. The car was shown and received many awards at local car meets in the Los Angeles area. In 2003, it was housed in a storage garage which caught fire, scorching the paint and damaging the top and interior.
The current owner acquired the car about ten years ago and had it shipped to Indiana where he decided to commission a full professional restoration because the car 'looked very sad' but was not permanently damaged.' The restoration was completed by Westmoreland Auto Restoration in Blairsville, Pennsylvania.
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.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2008
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.