1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner

I guess I always liked Studebakers, and it started early in my life. In high school, one of my friends had a '53 hardtop. His father was Studebaker dealer. When I bought my second car, it was a 1953 Starliner, dark green on the bottom and light green on top. I needed a car for my second year of college, so what better than to have one with class! I found the car at a gas station, for sale after being vandalized by some kids with a can of red spray praint and a hammer they used on the windshield. For $300 I had a real Starliner! [Remember, this was 1962.] Equipped with a 232 cubic inch V-8 engine and automatic transmission, the body was straight and solid, and it needed only attention to the vandalized items. Fortunately, the red spray paint was pretty fresh, so that some fine steel wool and rubbing compound got rid of it well enough. I found another '53 Champ coupe with a dead engine for $50, took the windshield and a few other pieces, and junked the rest of it. In a couple weeks, I had myself a running Starliner that looked pretty sharp.

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How is the Starliner different from other '53 models? It is a true 2-door hardtop, without a roof pillar. The '53 coupes with the pillar are Starlite models. Also, the Commander Starliner has the V-8 engine. My car was made early in the production run since it had the tri-star emblem with the '8' symbol. Mercedes-Benz complained about the use of the tri-star symbol, so a mid-year change was made to a 'V' and an '8'. An interesting bit of trivia is that Studebaker was distributing Mercedes cars in the U.S. at that time. The hardtop and coupe bodies were offered in 1953 and 1954, then served Studebaker as Hawks of various types through the 1964 model year.

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After a year or so, the car started to use a lot of oil. There were probably easier ways to fix that problem, but I solved it by buying a 259 cu. in. V-8 from a wrecked '59 Studebaker and dropping it into the car. I converted everything over to 12 volts so that it would start reliably. Now I had a pretty fast machine, though the brakes were really not up to their job. After a few stop-light drags, I twisted the rear springs out of the car, and had a shop make up some new, stronger main leaves. I put a lot of miles on the car in the next couple years in trips up and down the East Coast. Eventually, though, my fickle nature surfaced, and I sold the car so that I could buy a Triumph motorcycle. I have always missed that car. I sold it to a kid in north Baltimore about 1964. He repainted it dark green all over, raised the back end, and may have hot-rodded it. Does anyone in Baltimore remember this car? Maybe it still lives in Maryland...

If anyone has a nice, 2-tone green '53 Starliner for sale, I would be glad to give it a good home. That is, just as soon as I get the truck finished.