2022 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction

1938 Studebaker Commander Business Coupe (RHD)




Engine In-line 6-cylinder, 226-cid
Gearbox 3-speed manual
Body Work Coupe
Colour Matt Bronze
Interior Bronze & White
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Steel Disc
Brakes Hydraulic Drums


This lot is no longer available

Hailing from South Bend, Indiana, the Studebaker Brothers began building horse-drawn wagons and buggies in the late 19th Century, before developing an electric powered vehicle designed by the legendary Thomas Edison in 1902.  By 1904, Studebaker had supplemented their battery-powered cars with a new gasoline-fuelled model and like most of the American auto industry, the internal combustion engine quickly became the mainstay of production.  By 1913 the Studebaker was available in both four and six-cylinder models, both using a monoblock engine casting.  Four-wheel braking was adopted as a standard feature in 1926 and Studebakers were some of the most advanced and stylish cars sold in America during the Roaring Twenties.  Studebaker fell on hard times after the Great Depression, the takeover of Pierce-Arrow in 1928 proving a financial disaster, and the Company ultimately went into receivership in March 1933.  Following a major shake-up (and ensuing publicity campaign with the slogan “Studebaker Carries On”) a rationalised model range was launched in 1934, with three distinct models – the Dictator Six, the Commander Eight and President Eight.  In addition to modern all-steel styling, technical innovations adopted by Studebaker over the next few years included “Planar” independent front suspension developed by engineer “Barney” Roos, along with Warner overdrive, an automatic choke, vacuum-powered brakes and the “Hill Holder” system, a coupling between the clutch and brake system that prevented the car from rolling backwards when the clutch was engaged.  Studebaker employed talented industrial designer Raymond Loewy to restyle the model range for 1938, with six-cylinder model rebadged the Commander after the Dictator name-plate was understandably dropped.  Powered by a 90-horsepower flathead six, the 1938 Studebaker was sold with the optional “Miracle Shift” for one year only, a manual shifter operated by vacuum pressure to make changing gears a much easier operation.  Loewy’s futuristic styling incorporated unique headlamps echoing the prow-like shape of the grille and was available as a Business or Custom Coupe, Club or Cruising Sedan and the Convertible Sedan.