1948 Studebaker Champion Convertible
This third generation version, up for consignment, is a 1948 Studebaker Champion convertible which attracted motorists and this writer with its ultramodern styling. This particular car spent 35 years in a barn in western PA. Some recent work to bring it up to snuff mechanically has been performed including new motor mounts, professional carb rebuild, new muffler, and a new convertible top all within the past year. Their car is a very smooth runner and will need just a bit of TLC to get it up to snuff visually.
Pontoon styling, an aircraft-esque nose with giant hood ornament, smooth fender lines and nice chrome all bathed in yellow graces our Hallowed Halls here at Classic Auto Mall. It is a convertible with a black canvas roof that is like new as it was replaced last year. A nicely rounded over and slight bump out rear quarter frames the sides of what is a sleek and wide rear deck. The trunk lid is beautifully squeezed into a V form and has another bulb on its turndown, and with the horizontal tail lighting, and the slightly tarnished bumper below gives the car a futuristic look and definitely from the 40’s. Some chrome trimmings for the fronts of the rear quarters in ribbed plate form, a chromed rocker, and somewhat stubby front end, featuring a vertical ribbed inset grille and another lightly tarnished bumper below, and I see the look of love! The glass is all in good condition, the paint has a few faults, slight dulling, and patches where some rust has been repaired. There is rust in the rear fender lowers, and evidence of previous rust remediation on the door panels particularly in the lowers near the seams. 15-inch steel wheels are yellow painted and sport flat round hubcaps in their centers. These wheels are wrapped in 185/65R15 blackwalls from the 4th week of 2020.
With top down we have full visual access to the interior and it is all in brown canvas and vinyl. The door panels are simple smooth brown panels with a thin chrome trimming running through the center and shiny actuators and cranks with a small black arm rest. Ribbed chrome is on the lowers. Inside, a front split bench and full rear bench float in new brown carpeting, These front split bench is covered with a canvas covering and does have seat belts. The rear bench back is the give away for how the actual seats were originally in brown vinyl. The rear bench has the canvas covering on the seat lower. We note the side panels are also original in back and are of a lighter saddle brown color with a crank for the rear glass and the obligatory ashtray. The dash is original, also in the lighter brown covering for the elongated rounded off instrument cluster featuring a trio of circular gauges evenly spaced out throughout the rectangle. A rectangular gridded speaker covering is just to the driver’s right of the instruments. The dash top is painted black steel as is the glovebox on the passenger’s side. The lower dash under the instrument cluster is a black strip and has several knobs and pulls along with the radio. The factory steering wheel is fronting this dash that has nice chrome in its center for the horn ring and central hub. A rear view mirror sits atop the steel dash and all is in fair condition with a few faults throughout but still nicely preserved.
Under the hood is an unrestored engine bay. It shows some rust on the block which is a 169.6ci L-headed inline 6 cylinder with a large oil bath air cleaner. A new 6V battery and wiring is installed and as noted, the 1-barrel carburetor has been completely rebuilt. A 3 speed manual with pull out knob OD is in for the transmissions and a rear axle is on at a designation of 4.10 gears.
Heavy surface rust is throughout with plenty of invasive rust in the rockers’ innards is seen underneath. Surface rust is all on the floor pans and inner fenders. Independent coil springs are on the front with leaf springs for the rear. Drum braking is on all 4 corners. A Flowmaster muffler equipped single exhaust is snaking its way from front to rear.
This car fired right up and ran like there are not enough O’s in smooooooooth to describe it. Easy shifting and the OD works although you need to pull it out when finished or it will drain the battery. Good handling, nice ride and the convertible top down gives it the 40’s feel. I had two friends along for the ride and they loved it! The headlights do not illuminate, the heater doesn’t blow and the radio doesn’t belt out any tunes. I also noted that the car pulls a bit to the left when braking is pressed hard.
A good example, very smooth operator and good looker if you like something out of the ordinary as to futuristic styling. Leave it to Studebaker and this 1948 Champion to fulfill all your late 48’s dreams!
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