Thursday, May 13, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1956 Studebaker President

The name President evokes grandeur, importance, celebrity status. But what about Studebaker? That name sounds a little less fancy. Studebaker was one of America's oldest car companies and this is the second one to be featured on this blog. President was Studebaker's top model in the 1930s, then was dropped after 1942. Then in 1955, the President was reintroduced as the premium nameplate on their cars. 1956 saw a much-needed redesign which brought the President more into the style of the day, with an upright front end and modest tail fins out back, although the basic body was the same as the 1953 model. In keeping with popular themes of the era, this '56 President also features bright chrome side moldings, two-tone paint and whitewall tires. V8 power was standard. Only 18,209 were built in 1956. The President series was dropped after Studebaker and Packard merged in 1958. Sales plunged further in a poor economy, and 1958 saw the advent of the "Packardbaker", a horrid mess that looked like a catfish. The President was now a lame duck and Studebaker changed its focus to the Lark compact.

Judging by the 1963-issued California black plates and the vintage San Francisco dealer frames, this car has been in the area for a very long time. It's a cool old car from the stable of the collector I call "Fifties Guy", a great example that shines nicely, shows very little rust and looks very clean from 20 feet. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves.

(Thanks to a reader for correctly identifying this as a regular President, not a President Classic.)

1 comment:

  1. FYI, this car is not a President Classic. This is just a regular President. The President Classic had a longer wheelbase and longer rear doors, with functional vent windows in them. The general appearance was the same, but the vent windows are a reliable visual clue. By the way, this looks like a nice car!