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Home/News and Feature Articles/*Featured Cars and Trucks/ Studebaker Featured Cars/


The 1953 Raymond Loewy Studios designed Studebaker Commander was an automotive design winner way ahead of its time. John Ashburn's all original Coral Red and Monterey Beige hardtop is a great example of the car.

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Just like he had in high school -- John Ashburn's 1953 Studebaker Commander Hardtop
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As seen at the Goodguys 24th Summer Get-Together

One of the neat things about a Goodguys event is that among all the muscle cars, hot rods and trucks you see some really cool original cars from past eras. Such a car is John Ashburn’s 1953 Studebaker Commander. 

While Oldsmobile and Cadillac introduced the “modern” overhead valve V8 in 1949, Studebaker followed with their own OHV V8 in 1951( matching Chrysler but 3 years ahead of Ford and 4 years ahead of Chevy).

The 232 V8 that bowed in 1951 would remain the basic V8 engine for Studebaker until their demise. It would grow to 259 CID, then drop to 224 CID, then up to 289 CID, and eventually to 304 CID in Andy Granatelli's famous R-3 and R-4 powerhouses.

Two years after the V-8's introduction, in 1953, the dramatic and beautiful Studebaker Commander debuted. Designed by Robert Bourke of the Raymond Lowey Studios, this low slung, long hood/short deck coupe was years ahead of car design. The car won a Gold Medal for Fashion and Design from the prestigious Fashion School of New York.

John Ashburn had a 53 Stude when in high school and always had a yearning to (some day) get another. Well that day came 1 ½ years ago when he purchased this all original 1953 Commander hard top.  This outstanding example is painted the original Coral Red and Monterey Beige two-tone with all original chrome trim and emblems. The car rides on 15” steel rims with factory optional wire wheel covers.

Under the hood is the original 232 V8. John did replace the factory 2 bbl carb and intake with an aluminum Offenhauser intake and (rare) Stromberg 4 bbl carb. He mated an equally rare Offenhauser air cleaner top to the stock Studebaker air filter system.

To insure adequate fuel flow, he replaced the stock mechanical fuel pump with an electric one.  He also added a dual exhaust system to help out the horsepower of the small V8. The car retains its original 6 volt electrical system. Power is transmitted to the stock Studebaker 3 speed standard transmission equipped with Overdrive. The stock column shifter stirs the gears.

The interior of the Commander is all original. John added seat belts for safety purposes and a small radio/CD player under the dash. The Commander came equipped with full instrumentation in three “pods” on either side of the steering column.

John has a lot of original documentation for his car including the original Dealer Option Catalog. It’s always nice when you can find your “first car” after many years. We know that John will be enjoying his for many years to come.

Click here to see original 1953 Studebaker advertisements 

This is John Ashburn back in the day with his original 53 Studebaker Commander

The all original 232 - upgraded with Offenhauser intake and (rare) Stromerg 4A Aeroquad carburetor.

The interior is all original save for the seat belts and radio/CD player under the dash

The car rides on stock 15" wheels with optional wire wheel covers

One fine Studebaker - check out that V8 hood emblem !

Says it all !