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The 1953 Commander:
 
1953 Studebaker's would be the most talked about, most written about, and also the last all new car design in Studebaker's history, albeit the 1963/64 Avanti.  A Lowey design, with the actual lines laid down by Robert Bourke.  This design, at least the center sections, would be used until the end of Studebaker production.  It will be present in all the Hawks; the 1956 to 1958 Sedans and Wagons (albeit with new front and rear fenders, hoods, grilles, and deck lids); and the entire Lark series with a stubbed up front and rear-end.
 
1953 is the point at which Studebaker first created two very different body style designs.  The first group, the two and four door sedan models and the Land Cruiser.  The second group would be the Starlight coupe and the Starliner Hardtop.  This design distinction would carry through in the sedan line until 1958 and the Hawk series until 1961.  To further explain, think about the two door sedan vs: the two door Starlight coupe, both two door automobiles, but having nearly nothing in common in the body structure.  The doors, hood, trunk, and fenders are all different.  Only some trim and interior parts are interchangeable.  How did this happen?
 
First 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.  Because of the late start, 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.  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 Commanders were offered in two trim levels, DeLuxe, and Regal.  Body styles were 2 and 4 door Sedans, Land Cruiser Sedan, Starlight Coupe and Starliner Hardtop.  There would not be a Wagon or Convertible in 53.
 
Commanders and Champions had identical model line-ups and used the same sheet metal (Commander did not offer the Custom trim series.)  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, front and back, however the Commander had a small “8” above it where Champions would have a small
“S”. 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 where the “8” or “S” would be larger and contained within the “V”.  The time frame for this change was sometime in January. Coupes have a side badge just behind the door, circle "V8" for Commanders and “S” for Champion's.
1953 Champion 2-door sedan shown, Commanders had the same flaw.   
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.
 
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 gauge steel) 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.
 
Commander's have their own unique instrument panel with four circular hooded pods.  Far left (gas & amps), far right (Oil Pressure & Temp), center left (Speedometer), and center right (Clock).  A chrome panel above the pods, contained up to six toggle switches, the key switch, and radio.
1953 Commander Tells:

Commander 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.

Commander 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.
 
Restoration Information:
Click here to see the Options and Accessories listing.
 
Specification 1953 Studebaker Commander
Engine OHV V8
Bore (inches)
3 3/ 8
Stroke (inches)
3 1/4
Displacement (cu. in.)
232.6
Horsepower
120@ 4,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)
190@ 2000 rpm
Compression ratio
7.0:1 (optional 7.5:1)
Carburetor
Stromberg model WWUVB-26 two-barrel
Electrical Equipment
Delco-Remy
Spark Plugs
Champion H-10
Battery
Willard HDW-1-100
Tire Size
7.10 x 15
Wheel Base Commander
116.5 inches
Wheel Base Commander Land Cruiser
120 1/2 inches
The entire engine except the valve covers was painted olive green. The valve covers were black. Replacement fans or oil filler caps were black. Electrical components were black, except the overdrive relay. The air cleaner canister was black. The carburetor, fuel pump, coil clamp, voltage regulator base, overdrive relay, air cleaner wingnut, battery clamp wingnuts and washers, hose clamps, and radiator cap were natural metal color. The oil filter canister, if factory installed was olive green. The battery box was body color, but the top clamp was black. The radiator, radiator support frame, and upper radiator air deflector were black. The hood latch base in the air deflector was natural metal. Olive Green over spray was common on the starter (if factory installed). There were decals on the air cleaner, oil filler tube cap and oil filter canister. The bell housing and transmission were olive green, the rest of the drive train and chassis were painted black.
Capacities
Gas Tank (gals)
18
Cooling System (qts)
17 1/4 ( with climatizer add 1 1/2)
Engine (qts)
6 (w/oil filter add one more)
Rear Axle Ratio
4.09:1
With Overdrive
4.55:1
 
1953 Interior Upholstery Materials for Commander's
Models
Standard
Optional at Extra Cost
DeLuxe Commander (W,F,C)
Brown and Blue-Green Striped
Mist Blond Woolen Broadcloth
Scarlet Red Pleated Leather
Golden Tan Pleated Leather
Regal Commander (W,F,C)(except K)
Gold-Striped Airway Gray Nylon
Scarlet Red Pleated Leather
Golden Tan Pleated Leather
Commander Regal Starliners (K)
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.
Land Cruiser
Two-tone Striped Blue-Gray Broadcloth and Dark Gray Broadcloth
Two-tone Airway Grey Nylon and Sable Taupe Nylon
Two-tone Fog Blue Nylon and Salute Blue Nylon
 
Scarlet Red Pleated Leather
Golden Tan Pleated Leather
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.
Floor Covering:  Deluxe Commander's have black rubber floor covering in front and carpet in the rear.  Regal Commander and Land Cruisers have carpet front and rear. Deluxe & Regal Commander sedans have rubber mats in the trunk.  Deluxe & Regal coupes (Starlight & Starliner) and Land Cruiser have Mattex mats in the trunk.
 
Theexterior paint information was was on a label, glued to the bottom of the glove box.  Often these labels have fallen off.  However, the original paint information can be found on the production order for your car.  You can get a copy of your car's production order from the Studebaker National Museum.
 
Exterior Paint Colors: 1953 Studebaker Commanders
Color Supplier Number South Bend
Wheel Color
Los Angeles
Wheel Cover
Canadian
Wheel Cover
Velvet Black Jones-Dabney 7696 Velvet Black Comanche Red5 Manchester Maroon
Tahoe Green1 Dupont 8494 Tahoe Green Tahoe Green -1
Chippewa Green Cook 8592 Chippewa Green Tahoe Green Ivory Mist
Lombard Green2 Jones-Dabney 8595 Lombard Green Lombard Green Lombard Green
Tacoma Gray Cook 8607 Comanche Red5 Comanche Red5 Manchester Maroon
Olympic Gray Cook 8586 Comanche Red5 Comanche Red5 Manchester Maroon
Monterey Beige1 Jones-Dabney 8583 Monterey Beige Comanche Red5 -1
Maui Blue Dupont 8452 Nocturne Blue Nocturne Blue Nocturne Blue
Nocturne Blue2 Jones-Dabney 8491 Nocturne Blue Nocturne Blue Nocturne Blue
Manchester Maroon2 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 Red5 Ivory Mist
Bombay Red3 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
1Not available from
the Canadian plant.


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


3Spring color.


4Canadian production
only.


5Was also a 1950-51
car color
Ivory Mist Maui Blue2 1106 2466 Nocturne Blue
Olympic Gray Tahoe Green 1107 2467 Tahoe Green
Chippewa Green Lombard Green2 1108 2468 Lombard Green
Lombard Green Chippewa Green 1109 2469 Chippewa Green
Coral Red Ivory Mist 1110 2470 Ivory Mist
Nocturne Blue Ivory Mist2 1111 2471 Ivory Mist
Maui Blue Ivory Mist 1112 2472 Ivory Mist
Manchester Maroon Olympic Gray 1113 2473 Comanche Red5
Manchester Maroon Olympic Gray 1113 2473 Manchester Maroon4
Monterey Beige Coral Red 1114 2474 Coral Red
Salem White3 Bombay Red3 1115 2501 Bombay Red
Color Used Only On Two-tone Models Non-body Wheel Cover
Color Supplier Number Color Supplier Number
Salem White3 Cook 8653 Comanche Red5 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 Commander Series 4H, 116 1/2” / 120 1/2” wheelbase
1Model
2No. Doors
2Passengers
2CCD Price
1TW Price
1No. Produced
Deluxe Starlight Coupe (C3)
2
5
$1,921.00
$2,127.00
6,106
Deluxe 2dr sedan (F3)
2
6
$1,894.00
$2,089.00
2,371
Deluxe 4dr sedan (W3)
4
6
$1,927.00
$2,121.00
10,065
Regal Starlight coupe (C5)
2
5
$2,001.00
$2,213.00
14,752
Regal Starliner hardtop (K5)
2
5
$2,282.00
$2,374.00
19,236
Regal 4dr sedan (W5)
4
6
$2,006.00
$2,208.00
7,454
Regal Land Cruiser sedan (Y5)
4
6
$2,151.00
$2,316.00
15,981
Total
75,965
Source:1TW August 1994 (prices are late summer 1952) 2Classic Car Database (CCD) TW & CCD agree exactly on the production numbers, but like normal CCD's price is lower on average about $200.00
 
Serial Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
8,290,001
8,354,900
Los Angeles
8,826,801
8,836,800
Canada
8,955,401
8,956,750
 
Engine Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
V-207,001
VC-282,500
Canada
VC-3,501
VC-4,940

The 1954 Commander:
 
Last years release of the all new 1953 Studebakers, left little to be done this year, especially to the exterior. However, the new Conestoga two door station wagon in both Deluxe and Regal trim (model D), is the big news 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.
 
Left Photo: 1954 grille and hood ornament, also note the use of the late 1953 hood badge.
 

The exact same model line-up is seen in 1954 as was present in 1953, except 1954 would have two additional models, the Deluxe and Regal 2-door Conestoga Station Wagons.  Other changes are 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 are new, with different housings and lens.  The lenses now mount with two screws and are rounded instead of flat.  The bars that segmented the 53 lens are gone.  The front bumper guards are redesigned, now blunt (flat) at the front and seen on all models.  The DeLuxe and Regal Sedans and Wagon have a new Hood Ornament as standard equipment.  C & K models could add a Strat-O-styled hood ornament using AC-2610.  DeLuxe sedans and wagons (looking at sales brochures) have the narrow side trim on the rear quarter from last year.  New longer and wider side trim is fitted to Regal sedans and wagons (The Regal wagon show right above, is shown with the Deluxe sedan rear trim, however every Regal Station Wagon I found on the internet, plus later sales photos show that the longer wider Regal Sedan trim was actually used.)  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, is “STUDEBAKER” and right of the lock is either “COMMANDER” or “CHAMPION”.   This theme would also be seen on the 1955 models.  The three radiating lines on the full wheel covers are eliminated shortly after 1954 production started.  The exterior sheet metal, for each body style, is the same for Commanders and Champions, as it had been since 1951.
 
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 to1942.  The steering wheel, garnish molding, dash, door panels, headliner, and floor covers are color matched on all trim levels.
1954 Interior Upholstery Materials for Commander
Models
Standard
Photo
Deluxe Commander Sedans & Wagon (F,W, &D)
Sedan seats are stairweave flat cloth, capped in pattern point nylon-face fabric. The wagon trim is all vinyl.
 
Regal Commander Sedan (W)
Checkered lattice flat cloth is pleated on seats with bolsters of pattern point nylon-face fabric.
 
Regal Commander Wagon (D)
Two-tone wolf-grain vinyl.
Regal Starlight Coupe (C)
Checkered lattice flat cloth on the seats cushions and backs, capped with wolf-grain vinyl.
 
Commander Regal Starliner (K)
Seat cushions and backs are frieze nyle-tuft nylon, with vinyl trim. All-vinyl interiors are available at no extra cost.
 
Land Cruiser (Y)
Seat cushions and backs are chevron nylon bolstered in nylon twill.
 
 
All Commanders come with color harmonizing headlining, instrument panel and steering wheel, coordinated to the exterior color. All Commander interiors were available in two-tone green, blue, tan or gray. All the Regal model door panels have pleated sections. All Deluxe door panels were covered in flat three-tone vinyl. The information above is captured from the 1954 Sales Brochure D-170E 11-53
On the C & K cars 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. The four hooded pod style gauges are gone in favor of a oblong circular surround, which now holds the same four gauge pattern seen in 1953. This would be the last year the Commander and Champion 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 rear 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 point (See Spec's Chart Below). New clutch petal shaft part are used and 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:
Specification 1954 Studebaker Commander
Engine OHV V8
Bore (inches)
3 3/ 8
Stroke (inches)
3 1/4
Displacement (cu. in.)
232.6
Horsepower
127@ 4,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)
202@ 2000 rpm
Compression ratio
7.5:1
Carburetor
Stromberg model WWUVL-26 two-barrel
Electrical Equipment
Delco-Remy
Spark Plugs
Champion H-10
Battery
Willard HDW-1-100
Tire Size
7.10 x 15
Wheel Base Commander
116.5 inches
Wheel Base Commander Land Cruiser
120 1/2 inches
The entire engine except the valve covers was painted olive green. The valve covers were black. Replacement fans or oil filler caps were black. Electrical components were black, except the overdrive relay. The air cleaner canister was black. The carburetor, fuel pump, coil clamp, voltage regulator base, overdrive relay, air cleaner wingnut, battery clamp wingnuts and washers, hose clamps, and radiator cap were natural metal color. The oil filter canister, if factory installed was olive green. The battery box was body color, but the top clamp was black. The radiator, radiator support frame, and upper radiator air deflector were black. The hood latch base in the air deflector was natural metal. Olive Green over spray was common on the starter (if factory installed). There were decals on the air cleaner, oil filler tube cap and oil filter canister. The bell housing and transmission were olive green, the rest of the drive train and chassis were painted black.
Capacities
Gas Tank (gals)
18
Cooling System (qts)
17 1/4 ( with climatizer add 1 1/2)
Engine (qts)
6 (w/oil filter add one more)
Rear Axle Ratio
4.09:1
With Overdrive
4.55:1
 
Click here to see the Options and Accessories listing.
 
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 Commander Series 5H, 116.51 / 120.52 in. wheelbase
 
Model
No. Doors
Passengers
CCD Price
TW Price
No. Produced
DeLuxe Starlight Coupe (C3)2
2
5
$2,030.00
$2,233.00
2,868
Regal Starlight Coupe (C5)2
2
5
$2,130.00
$2,341.00
3,151
DeLuxe Sedan (F3)1
2
6
$1,940.00
$2,136.00
1,086
DeLuxe Sedan (W3)1
4
6
$1,980.00
$2,179.00
4,615
Regal Sedan (W5)1
4
6
$2,080.00
$2,287.00
2,571
Regal Starliner HT (K5)2
2
6
$2,220.00
$2,502.00
5,040
DeLuxe Conestoga Wagon (D3)1
2
6
$2,230.00
$2,448.00
1,912
Regal Conestoga Wagon (D5)1
2
6
$2,280.00
$2,556.00
2,878
Regal Land Cruiser Sedan (Y5)
4
6
$2,230.00
$2,438.00
6,383
Total
30,504
 
Serial Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
8,354,901
8,380,6011
Los Angeles
8,836,801
8,841,2011
Canada
8,956,751
8,957,6011
1These number are taken from the starting 1955 serial numbers.
 
Engine Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
V-282,501
V-312,7001
Canada
VC-4,941
VC-5,7001
1These number are derived from the starting 1955 224 cu. in. V-8 engine numbers. We don't know for sure the last 232 V-8 engine number. However, the span seems consistent with production.
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 Commanders.
 
The Commander and Champion 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 Commanders from the exterior, is that they have a rear-quarter panel name badge, as did the Presidents. The upper badge on the trunk has an “8” where Champion has a “S” and the right side of the deck lid lift handle said “Commander.”  The basic difference between Commanders and Champions is the engine. Commanders have V8's and Champion's have flat-head sixes.
 
Commanders now come in three trim levels.  In Custom trim, a 2dr Sedan, a 4dr Sedan (left center photo).  In Deluxe trim, a 2dr Sedan, a 4dr Sedan, a Coupe, and a 2dr Conestoga Station Wagon (left top & right bottom photo.)  In Regal trim, a 4dr Sedan, a Coupe, a Hard-top, and a 2dr Conestoga Station Wagon (left bottom and right top photo.)  The Custom series have painted headlight rings and painted tail light housings, no side trim and no moldings around the windows. The Custom 2-door sedan would still feature that weird looking full height break line at the "C" pillar, creating that illusion of a rear door without handles.  Deluxe and Regal Commanders have chrome headlight rims and taillight housings and window & belt-line chrome trim.  The Deluxe 4dr Sedan has a full length narrow side molding just below the door handles.  The Deluxe 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 Deluxe 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 Deluxe 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 Sedan's have all the trim of the Deluxe Sedans, plus the “Butter Knife” (sweep spear) trim which extended just below the Deluxe side trim.  The Regal 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 Wagons and Regal 4dr Sedans have a stainless mini-sun visor above the windshield.  Both Commander Wagons have a round “V8” plastic medallion built in the belt-line molding at the “B” pillar, have a "Commander" badge on the side and have “Conestoga” badge on the tailgate.  The photo at the left is of a Deluxe model.
 
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 or Hardtops for $22.58.   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 “V8” are placed in between the dials.  Regal models had full circle horn ring with a gold horn button.  Commander 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.
 
1955 Interior Upholstery Materials for Commander
The following information is provided as a sample of the many interior standards and options available at different times during the 1955 model-year.  These are taken from the January 1955 Sales Brochure and are likely different then what was seen at the start of production in the fall of 1954 or after the final changes were released in April of 1955.
Models
Standard
Photo
Deluxe Commander Sedan (F4 & W4)
Ripple-weave cord cloth with Point pattern nylon caps and appointments. Only the 4-door sedan was shown in the Sales Brochure, but most likely was the same for F4

Regal Commander Sedan (F6 &W6)
Corded cloth with pattern point nylon caps and appointments. Only the 4-door sedan was shown in the Sales Brochure, but most likely was the same for F4

Regal Starlight Coupe (C)
Checkered lattice flat cloth with pattern pointed nylon caps and appointments.

Deluxe Commander Wagon (D4)
Two-tone Vinyl.

Regal Commander Wagon (D6)
Two-tone Vinyl.

The information above is captured from the 1955 Sales Brochure D-221 1-55.  After initial production began in the fall of 1954 there were at least two major interior revision for the 1955 model year, they were January of 1955 and April of 1955.
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 windwings & 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 “V8” between the dials would be eliminated . Early Commander 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 (Commanders & Presidents).
 
Restoration Information:
Specification 1955 Studebaker Commander
224 Pace-setter (earlier) OHV V8
Bore (inches)
3 9/16
Stroke (inches)
2 13/16
Displacement (cu. in.)
224.3
Horsepower
104@ 4,500 rpm / 1124@4,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)
202@ 2,800 rpm /1209@3,200 rpm
Compression ratio
7.5:1 optional 8.0:1
259 Bearcat (late) OHV V8
Bore (inches)
3 9/16
Stroke (inches)
3 1/4
Displacement (cu. in.)
259.2
Horsepower
162@ 4,500 rpm /2182@4,500 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)
250 @ 2,800 / 2?
Compression ratio
7.5:1 optional 8.0:1
Carburetor
Stromberg model WW two-barrel
Carburetor (opt. 4bbl)
Carter WCFB four-barrel
Electrical Equipment
Delco-Remy
Spark Plugs
Champion H-11
Battery
Willard HWD-1-100
Tire Size
6.70 x 15
Wheel Base Commander F,W&D
116.5 inches
Wheel Base Commander C&K
120 1/2 inches
1The four-barrel option was not introduced until after the 224 V8 was discontinued, however it was pushed as a dealer installed option.  1&2The additional HP listed above could only be achieved if the duel exhaust accessory was also installed.  The entire engine except the valve covers was painted Alberta Blue (a 1954 exterior paint color).  Some time late in the year, the engine color changed to Turquoise, the same color would be used on 1956 and 1957 engines. The valve covers, oil filler cap, and air cleaner were painted silver.  Electrical components were black, except the overdrive relay.  The carburetor, fuel pump, coil clamp, voltage regulator base, overdrive relay, air cleaner wingnut, battery clamp wingnuts and washers, hose clamps, and radiator cap were natural metal color.  The oil filter canister, if factory installed was engine color, add-on Fram oil filters were Fram orange with black lids.  The fan would be engine color, but some fans were black.  The battery box was body color, but the top clamp was black.  The radiator, radiator support frame, and upper radiator air deflector were black.  The hood latch base in the air deflector was natural metal.  Engine color over spray was common on the starter and fuel pump (if factory installed).  There were decals on the air cleaner, oil filler tube cap and oil filter canister.  The valve covers have engine decals, either “Pass-master” or “Bearcat”.  The bell housing and transmission were engine color, the rest of the drive train and chassis was painted black.
Capacities
Gas Tank (gals)
18
Cooling System (qts)
17 1/4 ( with climatizer add 1 1/2)
Engine (qts)
6 (w/oil filter add one more)
Rear Axle Ratio
4.09:1
With Overdrive
4.55:1
 
Click here to see the Options and Accessories listing.
 
Exterior Colors: 1955 Cars & Wagons
Solid Colors
Color
Sedan & Coupe/HT Code
Station Wagon Code
Velvet Black
2580
2597
Encino Cream1
2581
2598
Saginaw Green
2582
2599
Pima Red1&2
2583
2601
Cascade Green1
2584
2602
Tilden Grey
2585
2603
Alpine Blue
2586
2604
Windsor Blue1
2587
2605
Shasta White3
----
2614
Rancho Red1&4
2653
2654
Shoshone Red5
?
----
1Not available on Custom models.
2Early Color.
3Available only on Ambulet.
4Spring Color.
5Canadian 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 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
---
?
---
1Early combinations.
2Spring combinations.
3Not available on President Deluxe Sedan.
4Not available on President Deluxe Sedan & Station Wagon.
5Very late combinations.
6Canadian combinations.
Early Sedan and Coupe/Hardtop codes may have been used on some very early station wagons.  Two-tones were not available on Custom models.  Wheels were painted the “lower” color.
* In January 1955, the two-tone break line on 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 Commander line:
South Bend @ 8,397,201 - Los Angeles @ 8,843,001 - Canada @ 8,958,101
 
11955 Studebaker Commander 16G8
Model
No. Doors
Passengers
CCD Price
TW Price
No. Produced
Custom 2dr Sedan (F1 & F2)
2
6
$1528.00
$1,873.00
1,413
Deluxe 2dr Sedan (F3 & F4)
2
6
$1,617.00
$1,969.00
6,834
Custom 4dr Sedan (W1 & W2)
4
6
$1570.00
$1,919.00
2,082
Deluxe 4dr Sedan (W3 & W4)
2
6
$1,664.00
$2,014.00
16,768
Regal 4dr Sedan (W5 & W6)
4
6
$2,058.00
$2,127.00
9,985
Deluxe Coupe (C3)
2
5
$1,678.00
$1,989.00
6,975
Regal Coupe (C5)
2
5
 
$2,094.00
4,639
Regal 2dr Hardtop (K5)
2
5
$1,901.00
$2,282.00
3,296
Deluxe Station Wagon (D3 & D4)
2
6
$1,961.00
$2,274.00
4,280
Regal Wagon (D5 & D6)
2
6
$2,058.00
$2,445.00
2,516
Total
58,788
“TW Price” was advertised delivery price. Odd body codes 1,3,5 are early models with conventional windshields.  Even body codes 2,4,6 are wrap-around windshields (Ultra Vista). C&K models were only produced with conventional windshields.
 
1Serial Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
8,380,601
8,397,200
Los Angeles
8,841,201
8,843,000
Canada
8,957,601
8,958,100
 
1(224) Engine Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
V-312,701
V-331,100
Canada
VC-5,701
VC-6,200
These number rounded up to the nearest 100
 
1(259) Engine Numbers
Location
Start
End
South Bend
V-331,101
V-363,750
Los Angeles 
VL-101
VL-6,300 
Canada
VC-6,201
VC-8,100
These number rounded up to the nearest 50 or 100
1Source TW February 1994 (Fred Fox Featured Article)