To be OFFERED AT AUCTION at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale event, April 1-3, 2016.
Chassis No. 4287574
Estimate: $ 45,000 - $ 60,000 US
When we think of “light duty” or “pickup trucks" today, the many offerings of the Big Three usually come to mind. However, Studebaker was an early force behind the development of light-duty commercial vehicles, beginning with limited numbers of gasoline and electric-powered vehicles in 1904. In fact, the Suburban of 1908 was perhaps the earliest forerunner of the modern pickup truck. A dual-purpose vehicle, it was easily converted from an open passenger car to a cargo and luggage transporter by benefit of its innovative removable rear seat.
After the Studebaker-EMF merger of 1911, a series of panel and express delivery models were introduced. Following the end of World War I, however, Studebaker ceased production of its light-duty commercial vehicles until 1927, when a wide range of new models appeared, based on the Dictator passenger car chassis and front sheetmetal. Again, Studebaker largely abandoned this market from 1931 until 1937, when it released the Coupe-Express. Featuring attractively rounded, Art Deco-inspired teardrop styling, the Coupe-Express was perhaps the most attractive, comfortable and well-equipped light truck in America. While never produced in large numbers, the Coupe-Express continued through 1940, and was Studebaker’s best-selling light truck model to date.
To go along with the incredible styling; the Coupe-Express was likely the best appointed and most comfortable truck of its era. This particular example has been restored; it has a fantastic look as it is presented in appealing tones with impeccable design features. It is driven by a 217.8-cid, 86-hp L-head inline six-cylinder engine that is paired with a three-speed manual transmission. The vee’d grille is handsome and distinctive and seamlessly blends with its standard low roof line.
In an age where the bed floors were made primarily from wood, the Coupe-Express was made from 16-gauge sheetmetal with double wall construction and a steel floor. The cab also has vent windows; another unique feature for this period of light-duty trucks. A covered passenger side sidemount, bullet-shaped headlights and taillights, skirted fenders, radiator ornament, artillery wheels, whitewall tires and hubcaps are also part of this uncommon package. The Studebaker Coupe-Express offered here is one of just 3,125 examples originally built in 1937. According to knowing enthusiasts, there are approximately 15 to 18 similar vehicles known to be fully restored in the United States, making this a very unique opportunity to acquire one of these stylish Studebakers. 1937 Studebaker J5 Coupe-Express Pickup