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Disclaimer:  TW articles written by Fred Fox are the source of most of the information presented on this page, however it has been summarized, revised, and translated.  Any deviations, misinformation, or mistakes are mine, as this is not a direct translation of the data and information found in those TW article.  If you find an error please let us know using the  "Contact Us" page on this website.

The 1953 Champion:
 
1953 new car design would be the most talked about, most written about, and also the last all new major car redesign in Studebaker's history.  This was a Lowey design, but the actual lines were laid down by Robert Bourke.  This design, at least the center sections would continue on until the end of Studebaker production.  It would be found present in all the Hawks.  In the 1956 to 1958 Sedans and Wagons (albeit with new front and rear fenders, hoods, grilles, and deck lids.)  And in the entire Lark series with a stubbed up front and rear-end.

Two separate body styles evolved during the 1953 design cycle.  First was the Sedans (W, F, & Y), later the Coupes (C & K).  While the Sedan design was in progress, Bourke, during his spare time, was working on a Coupe design (C&K cars.)  It was intended as a styling study, with hopes it might be built as a show car.  However, when Lowey presented Harold Vance and the Studebaker board with the Coupe design, they decided to put the Coupe series into production. Some think the sedan design should have been reworked to follow the coupe design, but there just was not enough time to do that before fall production would need to start.  Remember, the Coupes would not be available to the public until the 26th of January.  Then when the Studebaker front ends did not match up with the Budd built bodies, further delays resulted.  Fred Fox speculates, in his TW article (February 1995), that the public most likely would not have been ready to purchase a Sedan, 57 inch high, with limited trunk space, and very low seats.  He also points out quite correctly that when looking at 1953 Studebaker Sedans we should be comparing them to Sedans from the big three, not Studebaker's 1953 Coupes.  1953 Studebaker Sedans are lower and more streamlined then anything offered by Chevrolet, Ford, or Plymouth.  These two styling groups would remain with Studebaker until the South Bend closure.  The Coupe design would evolve into the Hawk series and the Sedan design would evolve into Sedans, Wagons and eventually Compact Larks.  The only other Studebaker all new car would be the 1963-64 Avanti.  What the two styles have in common is that both are very streamlined and are nearly devoid of excess chrome, when nearly every other car manufacture was adding chrome.  But hold on, we will fix this problem in 1955.

Studebaker offered only 16 models for 1953, across three lines, Champion, Commander, and Land Cruiser.  The Champion's were offered in three trim levels.  Custom (Champion's only), DeLuxe, and Regal.  Body styles were 2 and 4 door Sedans, Starlight Coupe and Starliner Hardtop.  See the chart below for a complete listing of body styles.  There was no Wagon or Convertible in 53.
 
Champions and Commanders had an identical model line-up and used the same sheet metal. (exception, no Commander Custom.)  This makes it hard to tell them apart.

The exterior “Tells” between them are the front and rear badges.  At the beginning of the year both lines have the tri-star emblem (left photo), front and back, however the Champion has a small “S” above it where the Commander had a small “8”.  Commander's also have a “Commander” badge on the trunk and a V8 badge on the front fender vent door.  Lowey seems to have been a big fan of the tri-star and they were seen inside, outside, and on many of the accessory items.  It seems that Mercedes-Benz didn't like the infringement on their trademark and to keep the peace Studebaker would replace the front and rear tri-stars with a “V” style badge (upper right photo) where the “S” or “8” would be larger and contained within the “V”.  The time frame for this change was sometime in January.

Champion's had their own unique instrument panel a chrome surround with three circular gauges under glass. Speedometer in the center, Gas & Amp to the left, and Temp & Oil Pressure to the right.  Flanked by four toggle switches two on each side.

 

 

Coupes have a side badge just behind the door, circle “S” for Champion's and V8 for Commanders.



 



Studebaker 2 door sedans would have, until 1956, a strange ½ rear door without handles.  This design flaw is generated when for what ever reason, Studebaker had the two and four door sedans share the same rear-quarter panel.  At least in some of the 1955 models they covered that rear seam with trim.  The reverse curve indentation side theme would also continue for several years ending in Sedans and Wagons in 1956 and Hawks in 1957.
 


1953 Champion Tells:


Champion Custom (2 & 4 Door Sedans).   No chrome trim, except for the grille which was the same on all Champions.  Painted headlight rings and taillight housings.  Small dog dish hubcaps.







 
Champion Deluxe (2 & 4 Door Sedan and Starlight Coupe).  Chrome headlight rings and taillight housings.  Stainless trim around the windshield and rear window, none on the side windows.  Small dog dish hubcaps.   A single side trim strip over the rear fender wheel well.







Champion Regal (2 & 4 Door Sedan, Starlight Coupe and Starliner Hardtop).  Same as DeLuxe with the addition of stainless trim around the side windows and full wheel covers.





The coupes (C&K ) did not have the trim strip above the rear-quarter wheel well, but rather had a trim strip on top of the rear-quarter panel.  The DeLuxe Starlight did not have trim around the side windows where the Regal Starlight did, however this trim was quite different from that found on the Regal Sedans.

 

Mechanical changes were few. Power Steering was first offered as an option. Studebaker started with a mechanical PS system, but it proved to be to noisy and to expensive. Few were made, if any production units. The final version would be a Saginaw hydraulic unit. An all new frame was designed for the lower body design. It was lightweight (13 gage stelel) and meant to flex. This did not workout very well as excessive body noise rapidly resulted, especially in the hardtops. In later years, these frames would be prone to rust through. Champions with Automatics had a half-point increase in compression.

Restoration Information:

Exterior paint information:  Was on a label, glued to the bottom of the glove box. Often these labels now are gone (have fallen off). However the original paint information can be found on the production order for your car.  You can get a copy for your car's production order from the Studebaker National Museum.

Floor Covering:  Custom & Deluxe Champions have black rubber floor covering front and rear. Regal Champions (except Starliners) have black rubber floor coverings in the front and carpet in the rear. Champion Regal Starliners have carpet floor coverings in front and back.

Engine colors:  Olive Green for the block, head, pan, and fan. Air cleaner, generator, starter, coil, voltage regulator, horn relay, radiator, upper radiator air deflector, and spark plug wire looms are black. The fuel pump, carburetor, and overdrive relay are natural metal. The hood lock plate assembly was unpainted. Oil filter units (factory installed) black body and lid, (dealer installed) oil filters were generally Fran with orange body and black lid, both units had bare metal clamps and top bolt. Both normally had decals on the top and side.


1953 Champion Interior Upholstery Materials
Models
Standard
Optional at Extra Cost
Champion Custom
Tan Striped Bedford Cord
Scarlet Red Pleated Vinyl
Golden Tan Pleated Vinyl
Champion DeLuxe
Taupe Striped Pile& Cord
Scarlet Red Pleated Vinyl
Golden Tan Pleated Vinyl
Champion Regal
Brown and Blue-Green Striped
Mist Blond Woolen Broadcloth
Scarlet Red Pleated Vinyl
Golden Tan Pleated Vinyl
Champion Regal Starliners
Airway Grey Nylon
Cardinal Red Nylon1
Scarlet Red Pleated Vinyl 2
Golden Tan Pleated Vinyl 2
Flax Vinyl 3
Leather was available on special order, but not listed listed as an option.
1 Late in the model-year, all Starliners ordered with red nylon were fitted with Flax vinyl cappings and the pleats in the drivers seat backs were eliminated.
2 Vinyl was an option, but there was no extra charge.
3 Flax (cream color) vinyl leatherette was introduced with the Salem White/Bombay Red color combination in the spring. It was also available in mid-year single-tone Bombay Red Starliners. There is no information to indicate it was available with any other colors.
Other Notes: The vinyl and leather pleats were 1 ½ inches wide. Starliners with Airway Grey nylon seats have Dove Gray vinyl headlining and trim. Starliners with Red Cardinal nylon seats have Flaxed Antiqued headlining and trim.
Exterior Paint Colors: 1953 Studebaker Champions
Color
Supplier
Number
South Bend
Wheel Color
Los Angeles
Wheel Cover
Canadian
Wheel Cover
Velvet Black
Jones-Dabney
7696
Velvet Black
Comanche Red
Manchester Maroon
Tahoe Green 1 
Dupont
8494
Tahoe Green
Tahoe Green
1
Chippewa Green
Cook
8592
Chippewa Green
Tahoe Green
Ivory Mist
Lombard Green 2
Jones-Dabney
8595
Lombard Green
Lombard Green
Lombard Green
Tacoma Gray
Cook
8607
Comanche Red
Comanche Red
Manchester Maroon
Olympic Gray
Cook
8586
Comanche Red
Comanche Red
Manchester Maroon
Monterey Beige 1
Jones-Dabney
8583
Monterey Beige
Comanche Red
1
Maui Blue
Dupont
8452
Nocturne Blue
Nocturne Blue
Nocturne Blue
Nocturne Blue 2
Jones-Dabney
8491
Nocturne Blue
Nocturne Blue
Nocturne Blue
Manchester Maroon 2
Cook
8580
Manchester Maroon
Manchester Maroon
Manchester Maroon
Ivory Mist
Jones-Dabney
8574
Ivory Mist
Ivory Mist
Ivory Mist 
Coral Red
Jones-Dabney
8577
Coral Red
Comanche Red
Ivory Mist
Bombay Red 3
Cook
8650
Bombay Red
Bombay Red
Bombay Red
Two-Tones (Available first only on Starliner hardtops - K Bodies.)
(Later available as an extra cost option on Starlight Coupes - C Bodies.)
Upper Color
Lower Color
Sales Dept.
Comb. No.
Prod. Dept.
Comb. No.
Wheel Cover Notes
Nocturne Blue
Maui Blue
1105
2465
Nocturne Blue
1 Not available from
the Canadian plant.

2 One source indicates
this color or color
combination was not
available from the Los
Angles (Vernon) plant.

3 Spring color.

4 Canadian production
only.

5 Was also a 1950-51
car color
Ivory Mist
Maui Blue 2
1106
2466
Nocturne Blue
Olympic Gray
Tahoe Green
1107
2467
Tahoe Green
Chippewa Green
Lombard Green 2
1108
2468
Lombard Green
Lombard Green
Chippewa Green
1109
2469
Chippewa Green
Coral Red
Ivory Mist
1110
2470
Ivory Mist
Nocturne Blue
Ivory Mist 2
1111
2471
Ivory Mist
Maui Blue
Ivory Mist
1112
2472
Ivory Mist
Manchester Maroon
Olympic Gray
1113
2473
Comanche Red
Manchester Maroon
Olympic Gray
1113
2473
Manchester Maroon 4
Monterey Beige
Coral Red
1114
2474
Coral Red
Salem White 3
Bombay Red 3
1111
2501
Bombay Red
Color Used Only On Two-tone Models
Non-body Wheel Cover
Color
Supplier
Number
Color
Supplier
Number
Salem White 3
Cook
8653
Comanche Red 5
Cook
8337
Interior Metal Trim Color
 Color
Supplier
Number
Loma Gray
Cook
8598
Note:  Bombay Red  Starliners with Flax vinyl upholstery had Monterey Beige metal trim.

1953 Studebaker Champion Series 14G, 116.5
1 / 120.52 in. wheelbase
Model
No. Doors
Passengers
Original Price
TW Original Price
No. Produced
DeLuxe Starlight Coupe (C3)2
2
5
$1,687.00
$1,868.00
9,422
Regal Starlight Coupe (C5)2
2
5
$1,765.00
$1,995.00
16,066
Custom Sedan (F1)1
2
6
$1,574.00
$1,735.00
3,983
DeLuxe Sedan (F3)1
2
6
$1,661.00
$1,831.00
4,564 3
Regal Sedan (F5)1
2
6
$1,739.00
$1,917.00
2,968
Custom Sedan (W1)1
4
6
$1,606.00
$1,767.00
5,496
DeLuxe Sedan (W3)1
4
6
$1,692.00
$1,863.00
17,180
Regal Sedan (W5)1
4
6
$1,770.00
$1,949.00
17,897
Regal Starliner HT (K5)2
2
6
$2,038.00
$2,116.00
13,058
Total
90,634
Serial Number SB 1,197,501 - 1,274,000 LA 917,701 - 927,400 CA 745,101 - 753,300
Starting Engine Number SB 1,004,001 - 1,090,000 CA C-46,501 – C-55,781

Source: CCD production numbers and models exactly match TW except for the production number for F3's where TW reported exactly 3,000 (7,564)3 more.   Most likely a data error on either TW or CCD.  CCD's Original price is about, but not exactly, 10% under the TW price.   James Moloney's Crestline Studebaker Cars, agreed with TW on price, for the models they listed.


The 1954 Champion:
 
With the release of the all new Lowey designed 1953 Studebaker, little is done this year, especially to the exterior.  However,the Conestoga two door station wagon in both DeLuxe and Regal trim is a new model (D) for this year.  Designed under the direction of Robert Bourke (Lowey and Associates).  It used most of the sheet metal from the “F” series two door sedan's, but did have it's own unique rear-quarter panel.  
 
Exterior “Tells” for 1954
Other changes were in the appearance of the grille, which was nearly the same, except for five vertical teeth on each side, attached to the
“53” center bars.  
 
 
The taillights were new, with different housings and lens.  The lenses now mounted with two screws (see photo right) and are round instead of
flat.  The bars that segmented the 53 lens (see photo left) are gone.  The front bumper guards are redesigned, now blunt (flat) at the front and used on all models (See the grille photo.) 
The DeLuxe and Regal Sedans and Wagon have a new Hood Ornament as standard equipment, Custom and C & K models could add a Strat-o-styled hood ornament using AC-2610.  
 

 
 
Custom sedan models have painted headlight rims and taillight housings and no side trim and  Dog dish hubcaps.  No hood ornament.
 
 
 
 
 

 
DeLuxe & Regal have chromed headlight rings and taillight housings and dog dish hubcaps.  DeLuxe sedans and wagons (looking at sales brochures) have the narrow side trim on the rear quarter from last year.  New hood ornament.
 
 
 

 
 
New longer and wider side trim is fitted to Regal sedans and wagons.  
The Champion Circle "S" is also added just behind the front fender vent door.  New hood ornament and full rim hubcaps.
 
 
 
The trunk handle/name plate is redesigned to include the trunk lock which was
separate on the “53's”.  The “53” had “SUDEBAKER” centered in handle, now left of the lock, it said “STUDEBAKER” and right of the lock it said either “CHAMPION” or “COMMANDER”.  This theme would also be seen on the 1955 models.  The three radiating lines on the dog dish and full wheel covers (right Photo) are eliminated.  The exterior sheet metal, for each body style, is the same for Champions and Commanders, as it had been since 1951.  The instrument panels would remain different.
 
Interior's are the second greatest change, (after the new wagons) and involve new colored fabrics and interior paint, selected to harmonize with the exterior color, not done since mid-year 1940 to 1942 cars.
 
 
 
The Custom seats are gray “gold-striped” nylon fabric with vinyl trim.  The door panels have two sections separated with three narrow straight chrome strips and no arm rests. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
The DeLuxe seats are “rippleweave” cord with a matching deeper shade of nylon-face fabric.  DeLuxe  door panels have three sections separated with four narrow straight chrome trim strips and have arm rests.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
The Regal seats are “striped cord” with nylon-face fabric on the bolsters and caps.  Regal, like Deluxe, have door panels have three sections separated with four narrow straight chrome trim strips and have arm rests.  
 
 
 
 
 
Interior color combinations are not listed for Custom trim, but it seems that DeLuxe trim is limited to three colors and Regal trim had four colors.  The steering wheel, garnish molding, dash, door panels, headliner, and floor covers are color matched on all trim levels.
 

 
The C & K cars have different three section door panel, with one large section on the K car being pleated.  The rear center arm rest is a removable version, unique to 1954 only.  
 
The hand brake handle changes from pistol grip to horizontal T-bar.  Only minimal 
change is made to the dash and instrument panel of the Champion.  This would be the last year the Champion and Commander would have different instrument panels.
 
 
Mechanical changes were few.  The frame is modified with an extended engine rear cross member on sedans and wagons.  An additional frame cross member is added to the C&K bodies.  Both much needed improvements.  The front brake drum size is increased to 10 inches and self adjusters are eliminated in favor of manual adjustment.  Engine compression ratio is increased by ½ a point, but HP remains at 85.  New clutch petal shaft part are used and the Automatic Drive valve body is modified so the transmission now starts in low gear instead of intermediate.  Tubeless tires are introduced during this model-year.
 
In June of 1954 Studebaker introduced the Ambulet in both the Commander and Champion lines, a Conestoga wagon fitted with special emergency equipment that included sirens, red flashers, and cots.  Also offered in the commercial line would be a Sedan Delivery, essentially a wagon with the rear windows blanked out and the rear seat eliminated.
 
On October 1st, 1954 Studebaker and Packard would become the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.  Neither company would significantly improve it's status from the agreement, especially Packard.
 
Restoration Information:
 
Engine color: Olive green with black generator, starter, coil, spark plug cable bracket and air cleaner. Fan olive green (some times black). Carburetor and fuel pump were natural.
 
Options and Accessories: The list is extensive, about 90 items. To see a complete listing see page 10 of Turning Wheels August 1986.
 
1954 Exterior Paint Colors
Passenger Car Two-tones (Upper/Lower)
(Not Available on Champion Custom Model)
Passenger Car Solid Paint Colors
Combo No.
Colors
Safford Cream
Sandusky Beige
1158
Azore Green/Lance Green1
Azore Green
Elko Grey3
1159
Lance Green/Azore Green
Vista Green
Cadet Grey
1161
Ontario Blue/Safford Cream
Lance Green1
Chadron Red
1162
Nocturne Blue/Vienna Blue
Vienna Blue
Shoshone Red
1163
Sandusky Beige/Chadron Red
Alberta Blue1
Velvet Black
1164
Sandusky Beige/Shoshone Red
Nocturne Blue2

1165
Ontario Blue/Elko Gray3
Station Wagon Solid Colors
1166
Shoshone Red/Sandusky Beige
Azore Green
Elko Grey5
1167
Velvet Black/Safford Cream
Lance Green1
Shoshone Red
1168
Velvet Black/Chadron Red
Alberta Blue1
Mesa Tan
?
Cadet Grey/Nocturne Blue2
Vienna Blue
Safford Cream5
?
Nocturne Blue/Cadet Gray4
Cadet Grey
Velvet Black
?
Ontario Blue/Cadet Gray2
Shasta White6


Station Wagon Two-tones (Upper/Lower) (Not Available on DeLuxe Conestogas)
Combo No.
Colors
1200
Mesa Tan/Safford Green5
1201
Ontario Blue/Elko Gray5
1204
Nocturne Blue/Vienna Blue
1205
Lance Green/Azore Green
1206
Azore Green/Lance Green1
1207
Sandusky Beige/Shoshone Red
1208
Elko Grey/Alberta Blue1
South Bend Only1 Canada Only2 Not Available Canada3 Mid-year color combo NA from LA Plant4
Los Angeles Only5 Extra Cost color for Ambulet Only6
 

1954 Studebaker Champion Series 15G, 116.51 / 120.52 in. wheelbase

Model
No. Doors
Passengers
Original Price
TW Original Price
No. Produced
DeLuxe Starlight Coupe (C3)2
2
5
$1,795.00
$1,972.00
7,042
Regal Starlight Coupe (C5)2
2
5
$1,895.00
$2,080.00
5125
Custom Sedan (F1)1
2
6
$1,595.00
$1,758.00
2,653
DeLuxe Sedan (F3)1
2
6
$1,705.00
$1,875.00
4,449
Regal Sedan (F5)1
2
3
$1,805.00
$1,953.00
1,066
Custom Sedan (W1)1
4
5
$1,635.00
$1,801.00
2860
DeLuxe Sedan (W3)1
4
6
$1,745.00
$1,918.00
9,668
Regal Sedan (W5)1
4
6
$1,845.00
$2,026.00
7,286
Regal Starliner HT (K5)2
2
6
$2,045.00
$2,241.00
4,302
DeLuxe Conestoga Wagon (D3)1
2
6
$1,195.00
$2,187.00
3,910
DeLuxe Conestoga Wagon (D5)1
2
6
$2,095.00
$2,295.00
3074
Total
51,435
Serial Number SB 1,274,001 – 1,316,500 LA 927,401 – 932,500 CA 753,301 – 758,200
Starting Engine Number SB 1,090,001 – 1,138,000 CA C-55,782 – C-60,500
Source: Turning Wheels August 1986. CCD production numbers and models exactly match TW. CCD's Original price is about, but not exactly 10% under the TW price. James Moloney's Crestline Studebaker Cars, agreed with TW on price, for the models they listed.




The 1955 Champion:

This is the year that Studebaker decided to get into the chrome and color game with the big three, GM, Ford, and Chrysler.  Harley Earl of GM fame, once stated “if a little chrome is good, then a lot of chrome is better.”  Some would say that this departure from the Lowey, “remove all the trim”, 1953 design, was radical and on-necessary.  Others think it is the most typical 50's look Studebaker ever produced.  No question it was a mix of both, the slopping 53 design, and lots of chrome.  Love it or leave it.

Several things happened this year which made 1955 cars survivors.  First the built quality was much better then 53 & 54, especially the early 1953's.  The chrome is better then either of the prior two years and this is the first year vinyl covered wiring is introduced.  A lot more options are available which made the cars more user friendly, like power steering, power brakes, power windows, and power seats.  Even air conditioning is offered on V8's, however little help to the Champion line.

Exterior “Tells” for 1955

The Champion and Commander Models for 1955 were identical, as were their sheet-metal and trim.  Even the dash is nearly identical across the entire Studebaker line-up.  The thing that clearly identifies Champions from the exterior, is that they do not have a rear-quarter panel name badge like Commanders and Presidents.  The upper badge on the trunk has an “S” where Commanders and Presidents had an “8”” and the right side of the deck lid lift handle said “Champion” instead of “Commander” or “President”.  The basic difference between Champion's and Commander's was the engine.  Commander's were V8's and Champion's were flat-head sixes.

Champion's came in three trim levels:


Custom, two models, a 2dr Sedan and a 4dr Sedan.  These were very spartan cars offered only in solid colors.  They had no side trim and no stainless around the windows or belt-line moldings.  The 2dr Sedan, still featured that ½ door with no handle, just below the rear window, caused by using the 4dr rear-quarter panel, that had been seen in 1953 and 1954.  They also had painted headlight rims and taillight housings (making them easy to ID).


Deluxe, four models, a 2dr Sedan, a 4dr Sedan, a Coupe, and a 2dr Conestoga Station Wagon.  Deluxe had chrome headlight rims, chrome taillight housings, a stainless belt-line, and stainless trim around the windows (except wagons).  The 4dr Sedan had a full length narrow side molding just below the door handles.  The 2dr Sedan has a wide vertical trim piece that covers that seam at the rear “C” pillar and then has a horizontal narrow trim extending thru the center of the vertical trim, longer in the rear then in the front.  The Coupe has window and belt-line treatment like the sedans.  It has no side trim, but has trim on top of the rear quarter-panels.  The wagon has no stainless around the side windows and no lower side trim, but does have front and rear window stainless and a belt-line molding.

Regal, four models, a 4dr Sedan, a Coupe, a Hard-top, and a 2dr Conestoga Station Wagon.  Regal has all the trim of the Deluxe cars, plus the “Butter Knife” (sweep spear) trim which extended just below the Deluxe side trim.  The Coupe and Hardtop have full length side trim with the “Butter Knife” treatment.  The Regal Wagon has it's own unique side trim, which is wider and ends with a flair right at the reverse indented curve behind the door.  Regal Champion Wagons have “Studebaker” badges on the rear quarters, where the Deluxe Wagon did not.  Regal Wagons and Regal 4dr Sedans have a stainless mini-sun visor above the windshield.  Both Champion Wagons have a round “S” plastic medallion built in the belt-line molding at the “B” pillar and have “Conestoga” badge on the tailgate.

The bodies for 1955 are a continuation of the 1953 design (1954 for wagons).  The big news was a new grille with a floating center insert.  The center section was the same across all models, but the side sections which held the parking light were not interchangeable between the Coupe/Hardtop & Sedan/Wagon.  Except for the Conestoga Wagon rear bumper, the bumpers are made larger, thus the 1953 & 1954 bumper guards and fog lights will not fit 1955 cars.  These bumpers are now single piece design.  This bumper design would be used (with some bolt hole changes) on the front of 1956 Sedans & Wagons and later yet on 1964 C&K models.  The Conestoga rear bumper was the same as 53 & 54 Sedans and 54 Wagons.  The 55 Wagon taillight housing and lens were the same as 1954, but the Sedans and C&K cars had redesigned units.  The Sedans and C&K housing and lens were not interchangeable as the Sedan design was much larger.  The Sedan taillight housing actually wrapped around the edge of the rear fender.  Robert Bourke was in charge of all the 1955 styling.

As mentioned earlier, two-tone paint in bright colors was certainly in for 1955 and could be had on Deluxe or Regal Sedan models for $18.28, or on Coupes for $22.58, standard on Hardtops.  Interior fabrics and colors were also spectacular, designed by Eleanor LeMaire and changed several times during the model-year.  A new instrument cluster is used, featuring two large round dials mounted in a grooved panel (gold on early models) with four toggle switches mounted, two on each side.  Signal light indicators and a “S” are in between the dials.  Commander's had a V8 in this location.  Regal models had full circle horn ring with a gold horn button.  Champion Regal Hardtops had front and rear carpeting, Regal Sedans & Coupes had rear floor carpeting with black rubber on the front floor.  All other models featured all black rubber flooring.  For the third year in a row, the Coupe and Hardtop rear center arm rest is redesigned.  In 1953 it was fixed, in 1954 it was removable, and this year it is made to hinge down between the seats.

Mid-year (January) Studebaker would release in the Sedan and Wagons models it's Ultra Vista models (wrap-around windshield).  The C&K models would not get this treatment.  This was a significant modification requiring a new windshield, new windshield trim, new front doors, new wind wings & glass, new instrument panel, and a modified cowl.  The same “instruments would be used in the new dash, but the bezels would be changed.  The toggle switches would be replaced with push-pull switches and the “S” between the dials would be eliminated.  Early Champion Sedan and Wagon models have odd numbers (F1,F3, W1, W3, D3, & D5).  The later Ultra Vista Models would have even numbers (F2, F4, W2, W4, D4, & D6).  Several new accessories would be required which included radios and Climatizer.  Three new options are also introduced in January, power windows, power seat, and air conditioning.  Air was only available on V8's so this did not effect the Champion line.

No information about the interior fabrics is provided here.  However we know the number of color and fabric combinations, along with added color and fabric changes at mid-year, may have created the largest number of interior choices Studebaker would ever offer.  Those interested in addition information should study the following publications:

  1. Dealer Studebaker Perspectives on Value showroom book; both the original and revised pages.
  2. Model changes 1955 Studebaker catalogs, dated September 1954 and December 1954.
  3. Studebaker Passenger Car and Truck Color Combination Paint Chart catalog, June 1955. This catalog takes up 1/3 page for 1953 interiors and 2/3 page for 1954 interiors , and five pages for 1955 interiors.
  4. Beautiful New Colors for Spring folder.
  5. Questions and Answers catalog, October 1954
  6. The showroom sales catalogs (D 217—9-54 and D 221—1-55), the Speedster sales folder provide some interior information.

That flat-head six engine (185 Victory Six) finally gets some help with an increase in the stroke, to raise the cubic inches to 185.6 and HP to 101.  Makes dragging that Commander sheet metal around a little easier.  One other subtle change was to increase the diameter of the Champion tailpipe to 1 3/4 inch (1/4 inch increase.)  All 1955 Studebaker's were ignition key start.  Champion Sedans and Wagons run on 116.5 inch wheelbase while C&K run on 120.5 inch wheelbase.

Restoration Information:
The early engine color was Alberta Blue (a 1954 exterior paint color).  Later engines were painted Turquoise (the exact date of the change is unknown).
 
Item that are engine color are the fan, factory installed oil filter (all parts), and power steering pump and pulley (if equipped).  Dealer installed oil filters were usually Fram with orange canister body and black lids, the bolt being bare metal.
 
Champion air cleaner and oil filler cap are Cherokee Red (some earlier cars may have had black  air cleaner & oil filler cap as Studebaker used up 1954 inventory).
 
Items painted black include generators, starter, battery hold down, radiator fan shroud, hood rod, upper radiator air deflector, and power steering reservoir (if equipped).
 
Some generators may have natural metal end plates and pulley.  Other natural metal items are battery hold down nuts, upper hood lock, coil bracket, throttle linkage, carburetor, and fuel pumps.
 
Power Brake boosters were painted silver with black attachment brackets, later units were all black.
 
Decals are fitted to the air cleaner, oil filter canister, and oil filter lid.  The Champion engine decal (Victory Six) was placed on the spark plug wire guide (early engines may not have had a engine decal).
 
Exterior Colors: 1955 Cars & Wagons
Solid Colors
Color
Sedan & Coupe/HT Code
Sedan & Coupe/HT Code
Velvet Black
2580
2597
Encino Cream 1
2581
2598
Saginaw Green
2582
2599
Pima Red 1 & 2
2583
2601
Cascade Green 1
2584
2602
Tilden Grey
2585
2603
Alpine Blue
2586
2604
Windsor Blue 1
2587
2605
Shasta White 3
----
2614
Rancho Red 1 & 4
2653
2654
Shoshone Red 5 ?
----
1 Not available on Custom models.  2 Early Color  3 Available only on Ambulet  4 Spring Color  5 Canadian color in 1955.  Solid colors are not listed for Speedster, but they could be special ordered.  Wheels were painted body color.
 
 
 
Two-Tones (except Custom models and the Speedster)
Upper Color 
Lower Color 
Note(s)
Early Seden
& Coupe/HT
Code*
Late Seden
& Coupe/HT
Code*
Station Wagon
& Coupe/HT
Code
Windsor Blue
Alpena Blue
 
2588
2641
2606
Sonora Beige
Saginaw Green
1
2589 
2642
2607
Sonora Beige
Encino Cream
1
2590
2643
2608
Sheridan Green
Cascade Green
 
2591
2644
2609
Velvet Black
Pima Red
1
2592
2645
2610
Sheridan Green
Encino Cream
 
2593
2646
2611
Sonora Beige
Pima Red
1
2594
2647
2612
Pima Red
Tilden Grey
1
2595
2648
2613
Velvet Black
Rancho Red
2
---
2650
2655
Rancho Red
Tilden Grey
2
---
2652
2657
Shasta White
Saginaw Green
2
---
2658
2661
Shasta White
Rancho Red
2
---
2659
2662
Shasta White
Encino Cream
2
---
2660
2663
Shasta White
Velvet Black
2 & 3
---
2665
2664
Velvet Black
Coraltone
2 & 4
---
2666 
---
Coraltone
Shasta White
5
---
2667
---
Shasta White
Windsor Blue
2 & 3
---
2668
2669
Sonora Beige
Shoshone Red
6
?
?
---
Shasta White
Shoshone Red
2 & 6
---
?
---
1 Early combinations  2 Spring combinations  3 Not available on President Deluxe Sedan  4 Not available on President Deluxe Sedan & Station Wagon  5 Very late combinatons  6 Canadian combinations
* In January 1955, the two-tone break line on Champion Regal models was lowered to include the deck lid, upper rear quarter panels, and sometimes the B pillar in the "upper" color.
This change came at the following serial numbers for the Champion line:
South Bend @ G-1,326,201 - Los Angeles @ G-933,601 - Canada @ G-759,101

The paint information above comes from TW February 1994, which also contained Speedster Colors not printed here, but will be covered under Post-War Presidents when we get to that.  Most of the information presented applied to all lines, Champion, Commander, and President (other then Speedster.)  
1955 Studebaker Champion 16G6
Model
No. Doors
Passengers
Original Price
TW Advertised Price
No. Produced
Custom 2dr Sedan (F1 & F2)
2
6
$1528.00
$1,741.00
2,801
Custom 4dr Sedan (W1 & W2)
4
6
$1570.00
$1,783.00
3,290
Deluxe 2dr Sedan (F3 & F4)
2
6
$1,617.00
$1,841.00
7,666
Deluxe 4dr Sedan (W3 & W4)
2
6
$1,664.00
$1,885.00
13,621
Deluxe Coupe (C3)
2
5
$1,678.00
$1,875.00
5,572
Deluxe Station Wagon (D3 & D4)
2
6
$1,961.00
$2,141.00
3,517
Regal 2dr Hardtop (K5)
2
5
$1,901.00
$2,129.00
2,408
Regal 4dr Sedan (W5 & W6)
4
6
$1,752.00
$1,993.00
7,406
Regal Coupe (C5)
2
5
$1,750.00
$1,975.00
2,721
Regal Wagon (D5 & D6)
2
6
$2,058.00
$2,312.00
1,372
Total Production
 50,374
Champion serial numbers - South Bend, G-1,316,501 to G-1,357,374 - Los Angeles, G-932,501 to G-936,679 - Canada, G-758,201 to G-763,700*.
Champion Engine numbers - South Bend, 1,138,001 to 1,180,250* - Los Angeles (late), L-101 to L-3,200* - Canada, C-60,501 to C-66,000*
*Rounded to nearest 50 or 100.  The data listed here is taken from TW February 1994.