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1955 Studebaker Commander

1955 Studebaker Commander in Wonder Woman, TV Series, 1976-1979 IMDB Ep. 3.17

Class: Cars, CoupÚ — Model origin: US

1955 Studebaker Commander

[*] Background vehicle

Comments about this vehicle

AuthorMessage

ahight US

2006-12-17 08:04

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car on left.

Firebird86 US

2006-12-17 18:28

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Studebaker Hawk?

bent8rover UK

2006-12-17 21:20

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Studebaker Champion 2-door Coupe, 1955 model year

Firebird86 US

2006-12-18 06:27

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Isnt the Champion the full size model and the Hawk is the smaller 2dr?

bent8rover UK

2006-12-18 19:02

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It might be, were they not the same platform? I thought Champion, Hawk, Speedster and Starliner were different editions on same platform, with major frontal treatment differences. I chose Champion due to the bi-colouring and swage line, but it could well be a Hawk. Thanks.

Firebird86 US

2006-12-18 23:36

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1955 Studebaker Commander link

JLJac US

2009-08-29 21:23

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This car still exists and I have owned it since 1979. See www. stude.net at page 5. It is a 1955 Commander Regal Starliner Hardtop with factory ordered 259 cu. in V-8, electric windows, and power front seat, power steering and brakes, which makes it rare when it was built and more rare at the time Wonder Woman was being filmed. It was owned by George Russell of Anaheim between 1971 and 1979 when he died in a motorcycle crash. He was probably driving it from Ananheim to Douglas in Long Beach where he worked when the image was taken. In 1955, Studebaker Commanders and Presidents had V-8 engines while Champions had 6-cylinder motors. The following year (1956), this model became the 1956 Golden Hawk and later the 1958 Packard Hawk and finally the 1962 Gran Turismo Hawk. The link from Firebird86 is from my website at Stude.net and I took that image. The gas station in that image was moved from its site around 2007 and was supposed to go to the Petersen Auto Museum.

-- Last edit: 2009-08-29 21:41:28

Commander 57 US

2009-08-29 22:27

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I assume you belong to the Studebaker Driver's Club, JL, as do I (since 1974).

I have a 1957 Commander Deluxe Sedan.
My uncle was a Studebaker dealer from 1952 until the end in 1966.
My father owned a '50 Champion and a '51 Commander. My Commander was sold by my Uncle to my Grandfather new in January of 1957 and I got it from him in 1971.
It was my first car at age 16 and I've kept it all these years.

-- Last edit: 2009-08-29 22:32:13

JLJac US

2009-09-01 23:58

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Hi Commander 57. As stated at the first page of my web site at Stude.net, I joined the Driver's Club in 1968 when I was 15 years old and already have my 40 year pin. There is a good slide show about me and Studebakers on that first page.

The '51 Commander was the first year for the Studebaker V-8 at 232 cubic inches and there is an ad about it in the slide show and at page 2 of my web site. Studebaker had an OHV-8 before Ford, Chevy, Nash or Pontiac, and same year as Chrysler. If one more "expert" tells me it is a Cadillac V-8 will go ballistic on him. They don't look at all the same, inside or outside and have a different firing order too.

I noticed something as a result of the link posted by Firebird86. First look at the photo on this page above. Notice a clear spot on the right side of the bumper where a bumper sticker was for many years. Then click on the link Firebird86 posted. The same rectangular clear spot shows very clearly in the image that Firebird86 posted. I took that image but never noticed that before. Strange that Firebird86 picked the exact car in the image on this site. Well done!

-- Last edit: 2009-09-30 18:31:19

Commander 57 US

2009-09-02 03:19

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I'll check out your site, JL.

Somewhere, I have several old B&W photos of my uncle's Studebaker dealership taken back in 1952.
Will see if I can find them.

Commander 57 US

2010-02-17 21:23

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I'll go with Champion coupe as I see no indication of rear fender nameplate, which Champions did not have (unlike Commanders and Presidents).

JLJac US

2010-05-01 19:31

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I don't know how or why Champion entered into the discussion. All Champions had 6 cylinder engines, and there is clearly a V-8 emblem on the trunk in the photo. The V-8 emblem means it must be a Commander or a President model. By way of analogy, a 1960s Chevy with a V-8 motor might be an Impala or a Bel Air, but could not be a Biscayne because that was the 6-cyliner model. Firebird 86 found exactly the correct car in the image with his link.


It is also a "hardtop" K-body, not a "coupe" C-body. The rear passenger side window is too big to be a coupe. The person who runs this web site classified the car correctly, although it should be a "Commander Regal" because of the two-tone paint. The Hawk first came into existence in 1956. That year Studebaker had the Golden Hawk (hardtop with Packard V-8) Sky Hawk (hardtop with Stude V-8) Power Hawk (coupe with Stude V-8) or Flight Hawk (coupe with Champion 6-cylinder motor). This web site shows the different 1956 models. http://www.1956goldenhawk.com/diffhawk.htm

-- Last edit: 2010-05-01 19:54:24

Commander 57 US

2010-05-02 17:47

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Whoa there.
We cannot say that is a V-8 trunklid emblem from this distance. The Champion had a V-S emblem in the same position with the same interlaced design.

The reason Champion came into the discussion is because there is no visible side nameplate. Commanders and Presidents had a nameplate on the leading section of the rear quarters while Champions had no side nameplates at all.
While I admit the photo is blurry and there COULD be a plate there I can't see, I went with Champion based on the visible evidence.
(Firebird's link DOES show a nameplate on the rear quarter so that one is definitely not a Champion.)

That also sure looks like a "B" pillar on the photo'ed car. Again, the photo is blurry and it could just be the window border but owing to its apparent thickness, I went with a coupe listing.

Does anyone else want to weigh in? Should we leave this as Commander or change to Champion?

-- Last edit: 2010-05-02 22:41:39

Commander 57 US

2010-05-19 14:56

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Since there has been no further dissent or thoughts, I am changing this back to Champion.

JLJac US

2010-06-23 20:55

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I don't know why you would "change this back to Champion" when it was correctly classified as a Commander in the first place. Firebird 86 found an image of exactly the same car at my website stude.net (final page) with the same small clear spot on the bumper which has never been re-chromed. Additionally, my car had NO model name plate on the rear fender when I got it in 1979 because the rear fender was from a President. The holes were there, but there was no name plate until I added one. The passenger's side rear window is too large to be a C-Body coupe, which was most commonly used for the Champion model which had a lighter body and fame. "K-Body" hardtops were usually for V-8 Commanders and Presidents. Finally, 1955 was one of those rare years when the Commander outsold the Champion (58,792 vs 50,368), and more Commanders than Champions have survived since then, so if you simply made a guess, Commmander would be the better guess. In summary, you fixed something that was not broke.

-- Last edit: 2010-07-01 22:06:21

Commander 57 US

2010-06-23 22:17

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My apologies.
Don't know why I failed to note you owned this exact car - it's plainly in your 8-29-09 post!
I based my ID on lack of a fender nameplate, the only visual way to differentiate from that angle.
(Glad to hear you have added the correct plate.)

Happily changing this back to Commander!

JLJac US

2010-06-23 23:06

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No problem. The lack of a name plate on the rear quarter panel gives me one more reason to be certain the car is mine. I have pretty neat musical slide shows that include the car at stude.net at the bottom of pages 1,3 and 5. In the first slide show near the end, there is a close-up of me in the car with the Commander script on the rear fender. It does not fit exactly right because the holes were drilled for a President and the reproduction scripts are a little smaller than an original, which was used to make a castings for the repro scripts. You can see that the car was more of a blue-green ("saginaw green") when I got it and the white was an off-white.

If one went to a Studebaker car show today, one might believe that Studebaker built mainly V-8 engine Hawks, Avantis and convertibles in nice colors. But back in the 1950s and 1960s the average Stude was a six-cylinder, 4 door Champion or Lark with rust in the fenders, and painted in a pee-yellow, maroon or pink-salmon color. Our Champion also left a trail of smoke coming out the tailpipe, as in the Jim Carrey movie "The Mask" which has a great Studebaker scene where it is a "loaner" car that quits on a bridge in Chicago at night. When Jim Carrey kicks it, it falls apart. These days the 6-cylinder models like the Silver Hawk and Scotsman get the attention at car shows because the type of cars that were once the most common are now rare. I just noticed that The Mask is at your web site under Studebaker Champion and I agree with that classification.

-- Last edit: 2010-07-01 22:09:23

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