1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe Hot Rod with clone Avanti R4 motor

For sale: 1951 Studebaker Commander Starlite

Technical specifications

Item location:
Castro Valley, California, United States
Metallic Maroon
Number of cylinders:
Interior color:
Vehicle Title:
Contact the seller / ! Report


The iconic 1951 Studebaker offered here is an excellent road ready Resto Mod Hot Rod car that is set up as a driver.

So if you are not to fussed with having your car judged, but want a great road car that presents well and will give you years of service going forwards, then this car is exactly what you are looking for.

I am selling this car on behalf of a friend of mine. See my other listings for other Studebaker's from this private collection.

a fully rebuilt R4 clone made up from a standard 289 block bored out to 304 cubic inch V8 motor with an Avanti R4 dual 4 barrel carbs with a late model (post 1958) Studebaker automatic transmission. The motor has been rebuilt by the Thoms brothers of Studebaker's West in Redwood City, California. These guys are the local Studebaker experts. Mallory breakerless electronic distributor installed and a genuine Studebaker rebuilt power steering setup fabricated and installed on the original steering box. Since 1951 Studebaker's never came with power steering this is a huge improvement.

Interior is immaculate and the car is tastefully trimmed in high grade buff and cream leather with contrasting maroon piping. Headlining has been replaced with maroon broadcloth. New black high quality carpets have been installed. The interior is simply stunning.

Options include:-

  • Power Steering
  • Quick Ratio Steering arms
  • Quick Ratio Steering arms
  • Dave Thiebault Rear Sway Bar
  • 12 volt Alternator replaces the original 6 volt Generator
  • Up-rated Drum brakes
  • American Racing polished aluminum mag wheels.
The front end has been rebuilt with quick ratio steering arms added. Brakes have been up-rated to Hawk style drums on the front. The car has a TT (twin Traction label on the trunk, but it does not have a Twin Traction differential installed.

The handling has been smartened up with the addition of an aftermarket rear sway bar. Thankfully, the car has power steering. Original wheels have been replaced with a set of American Racing polished aluminum mags. The car does have a set of whitewall tires fitted, but these are turned inwards. The wheels can easily be changed to original style wheels with reproduction original hubcaps if you want a more original look. A new aluminum exhaust system has been fitted.

The metallic maroon paint is good, but showing its age with scuffs and marks in spots. There is some evidence of minor rust bubbling in the lower front door, front fender and trunk lid. It is still very presentable. Body wise the car is good having been sold originally in Texas before moving to San Francisco. The floors have been patched on the drivers and passenger side footwells. Under the original trunk mat there are some holes in the trunk floor and surface rust as pictured.

Chrome is excellent.

Some work has been carried out fitting a new radio and Studebaker tachometer, but this has not been completed and will need sorting.

I see a lot of road cars listed for sale that don’t seem too reliable when I look at the pictures, but this one is properly prepared and ready to go. Sure, it could use some tidying up in places, but it looks the part and drives really well and with the R4 clone motor sitting in it, the car just flies off the mark.

The previous long term San Francisco owner of this car had 15 Studebaker's in his collection, all of which are similar to this car. All cars had nice options, retrimmed interiors, recognized Studebaker upgrades and had a ton of money piled into them mechanically. All cars were his road cars and were often parked outside his bar in Fisherman's Wharf. They are probably the most photographed Studebaker’s on the planet.

Shipping is the responsibility of the buyer. We are able to help with loading the car. For international buyers we have contacts with international shippers for Containerization or RO-RO shipping.
We offer 30 days free storage from time of sale and $200.00 per month after that.
Personal Check, Cashiers Check, or cash on pickup.
Viewing by appointment only at my Hayward California Studebaker workshop
For more information call Bob on 510 266 2522 Pacific Standard Time. More images are available upon request. Please contact me directly at candbstudebakers@sbcglobal.net
Thanks for looking.

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