Studebaker Ute

It isn’t every day you see a custom Studebaker coupe. Really, I think what people say to themselves before changing any metal of the Studebaker coupe body is…The coupe is a perfect car – why change it? I certainly don’t have plans of truly customizing my own ’55 Studebaker. Metal flaking the roof, moon discs, and some pinstriping is as far as it’ll go. But I do love customs – so every time I encounter a custom Studebaker coupe I get pretty excited!

This year at Grand National Roadster show I encountered not just one – but three custom Studebakers! I’ll be unveiling each one (and hopefully one or two more) in the coming weeks. To start with…the Studebaker Ute, a.k.a. Kart Hauler.

I first encountered this custom Studebaker Ute at the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show – and now once again at GNRS 2011. In 2009 it was in the hall of cars previously shown at GNRS, commemorating the show’s 60th anniversary. This 1953 Studebaker coupe was customized in the late fifties into this wagon-style Ute for the 1959 Oakland Roadster Show. It was then renovated to its original glory by then-owner Dick Steinkemp in time for the 2009 GNRS.

Who would’ve imagined that the Studebaker Coupe would so nicely turn into an ute?! As you can see, its the front frame of the coupe with the rear-section of the top chopped-off and the rear window moved forward, creating a 2-seater. Interestingly enough, its rear window is the original rear window flipped upside-down and angled differently.

The entire car, including the original go-kart that went along with it, have been finished and renovated with such skill. The car really is beautiful sporting an original Studebaker color – 1953 Chippewa Green.

One thing I think is so neat about this custom, is that it actually looks so good and “normal” that it appears as if it could’ve come out of the Studebaker factory just like this!

And as it still runs a Studebaker engine, this one very well could have come from the factory! If I ever have the urge to customize my Stude – I know who I’ll be taking some notes from!

Be looking for more custom Studebakers to be shared at…I can’t wait!

6 Responses

  1. JP

    My dad’s best friend used to have a cart like that!. His was a McCulloch powered one. he and dad were working on it once and they were running it up and down the street until hid friend missed a turn and hit a phone pole, climbing some distance up it.

    As for the Ute, damned cool, and I like the rear window treatment. I’ve seen a ’66 Mustang done like that. People give the owner a hard time about cutting up a classic, but it was actually built back in the 60’s when the car was new.

  2. Lori

    That’s beyond cool! Gorgeous pictures too. There’s so much I didn’t see at GNRS. Thanks for being a second set of eyes!

    • Russ Bellinis

      I’ve been looking at some of your old posts on the site. I think that Studebaker Ute was originally a 1954 Studebaker two door station wagon. My parents bought one new at the end of 1953 when hey first came out. It looks like the builder cut the roof off behind the front door and spliced the the back window and surrounding sheet metal onto the cab. The rest of the “truck” bodyy is the back half of the wagon below the belt line with the stock tail gate and rear end.

      I’m not sure how many people even know that Studebaker built a station wagon in 1954.
      That one is a really nice treatment and a lot more Studebaker than you might have thought! SWEET!

      • Kristin Cline

        Good guess Russ – but no, it was actually a coupe, I spoke to the owner myself and he told me the story behind it. Myself, I’m eyeing a ’63 or ’64 Studebaker wagon with retractable roof!

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