Studebaker Speedster

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Studebaker Speedster
Green Studebaker Speedster.jpg
Manufacturer Studebaker
Model years 1955
Assembly Studebaker Automotive Plant, South Bend, Indiana, United States
Body and chassis
Class Personal luxury car
Body style 2-door hardtop coupé
Platform Studebaker President
Related Studebaker President
Engine 259 cu in (4.2 L) V8 [1] [2]
  • 3-speed Borg-Warner manual
  • 3-speed Borg-Warner DG250 automatic
Wheelbase 120.5 in (3,061 mm) [3]
Length204.4 in (5,192 mm) [4]
Width70.4 in (1,788 mm) [4]
Height56.3 in (1,430 mm) [4]
Curb weight 3,301 lb (1,497 kg) [3]
Predecessor Studebaker Champion Starliner
Successor Studebaker Golden Hawk

The Studebaker Speedster is an automobile produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana during the 1955 model year. The vehicle was considered Studebaker's halo model for the 1955 season. [2] Studebaker had previously used the Speedster name in the early 1920s, and was a marketing strategy revival of the President during that time.



The Speedster was a member of the President series, and was based on President hardtop coupe. For 1955, the company heavily restyled its models to incorporate a larger front bumper and a massive chrome grille more in keeping with American cars of the era. [5]

An initial run of twenty Speedsters was made to be displayed at car shows for the 1955 model year. [5] [6] Reaction to the show cars caused Studebaker's management to put the car into production mid-year and offer it for the rest of the model year, [5] after which it was replaced by the previously planned Hawk series. [1] [2] It allowed the company to offer a competitor to the Ford Thunderbird.

Power came from Studebaker's 259 cubic inches (4.2 L) V8 engine producing 185 horsepower (138 kW) and 258 pound-feet (350 N⋅m) of torque. [4]


The Speedster's list price started at $3,346, [1] ($31,935 in 2019 dollars [7] ) or about $800 more than a base 1955 President State hardtop. The reason was the 1955 President Speedster was loaded with standard equipment including: choice of Studebaker Automatic Drive or overdrive transmissions, power steering, power brakes, four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, "Shoemaker-stitched" diamond-quilted genuine top-grain leather seating, carpeting front and rear, a map pocket (but no glove box) an eight-tube push-button radio, an machine turned instrument panel with a Stewart-Warner 160 mph (260 km/h) speedometer and an 8,000 rpm tachometer, turn signals, electric clock, tinted glass, cigarette lighter, oil filter and oil bath air cleaner, dual backup lamps, triple horns, two-speed electric wipers, [3] tubeless whitewall tires, simulated wire wheel covers [5] [3] and fog-light bumperettes. [3] [4]

There was also Speedster-specific trim including a hood-length hood ornament, [3] stainless roof band, [1] Speedster nameplates and checkered emblems as well as chrome-plated ashtrays, rear-view mirror, moldings and tailpipe extensions. [3] They also came in 2- and 3-tone paint jobs, [6] the most famous of which was Hialeah Green & Sun Valley Yellow, called "lemon/lime" by the public. [5] [6] The green was a gold flake metallic.

Studebaker produced 2,215 Speedsters during the 1955 model year. [1] [3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Lyons 2005, p. 90.
  2. 1 2 3 Ebert 2013, p. 25.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Koch 2006.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Speedster by Studebaker (brochure), Studebaker-Packard Corporation
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Lyons 2005, p. 89.
  6. 1 2 3 Bonsall 2000, p. 293.
  7. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–" . Retrieved January 1, 2020.

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