There are certain vehicles which, for various reasons, are labelled as “gangster” vehicles. From the 1964 Impala to the Lincoln Continental, these cars have a definite “bad guy” image that people crave.
One car I would never have considered for a mobbed-out gangster mobile is a Studebaker. But, I suppose that’s what makes me different from the guys at Kicker Audio. Their booth at SEMA 2013 featured this evil 1950 Studebaker Champion.
When I think of the San Francisco Bay Area, I think of hippies, hilly streets, cable cars, cloudy days and sourdough bread. The last thing I think of is hot rodding, which I associate strongly with southern California.
But if you venture over to Pleasant Hill, California, a little town in the East Bay area, you’ll find Hill’s Rod and Custom and their amazing 1951 Studebaker woody project. I saw this car on display at the Dynamat booth at SEMA 2013.
When I visit a classic car show, there is never a shortage of Fords, Chevrolets, Chryslers, and other American muscle cars. However, it’s rare to see a Studebaker at the local cruise-in night. Why is that? The simple answer is that Studebaker just didn’t build a whole lot of cars.
Take this 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk for example. It is one of just 4,009 produced in 1963. In that same year, Ford sold 63,313 Thunerbirds and Pontiac sold 72,959 Grand Prixs. As you can tell, this car was definitely not a big seller, which makes it all the more special to have spotted this GT Hawk at the Scottsdale Pavilions.
My friends and family often ask me why I go to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show so often. “Don’t you get tired of looking at the same cars all the time?” they inquire. While you do see a few of the same cars, it’s different enough to be interesting. You just never know what might roll its way into the Pavilions, and today’s post is a perfect example of what I am talking about.
This car is a 1947 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe. I’ve never seen one before and with only 13,299 ever produced (and far less than that surviving today), I doubt I’ll see very many more of these things around.