One of the oldest names in the automobile industry, the Studebaker Company was formed in 1852 as a wagon manufacturer. By the late twenties, Studebaker was a successful manufacturer of mid-market cars that offered luxury, comfort and stylish designs at an affordable price.
In 1928, Studebaker made a bid for the high-end car market with the introduction of the new President, featuring a new high-output eight-cylinder engine. According to Studebaker, the new President found “a parallel in sustained speed only in the light of comets, meteors, and other heavenly bodies.” Marketing aside, it was this engine that earned Studebaker a strong reputation in the performance world.
In 1928, three Presidents circled the Atlantic City board track for 25,000 miles, averaging 68-mph. Later, in 1931, the engine was upgraded to nine main bearing design and the horsepower was increased to 122. That year, modified President won the Pike’s Peak hillclimb. Studebakers were also quite successful at the Indy 500, regularly finishing in the top 10.
Despite the effects of the 1929 stock market crash, Studebaker was still a major force in the automotive world in 1931. Struggling with the acquisition of Pierce-Arrow and burdened with a diverse product line, the company rallied around the new President model to establish an image of spirited performance and luxury. Collectors today consider the 1931 Presidents to be the high point of Studebaker’s pre-war production.
The cars were built on the long, 130” wheelbase chassis which was designed to make the cars appear low and lean. These cars are a blend of art-deco and early mid-century design elements which made them look contemporary, clean and elegant at the same time. One look at the V-shaped radiator and matching bumper, the simple and clean dashboard and the unique ovoid-shaped Glo-Lite headlamps make one appreciate the uniqueness of what Studebaker was attempting to achieve. Making its debut in 1931 was a new model called the Four Seasons Convertible Roadster which resembled a roadster with the top down but was designed with roll up windows.
A high point restoration and a well received show car, this desirable and scarce 1931 President Four Seasons Convertible Roadster is in outstanding, restored condition. It is the recipient of the coveted Primary, Senior and Premier First Place Awards by the Classic Car Club of America. Most recently, this Studebaker’s restoration was cosmetically and mechanically re-freshened at La Vine Restorations where it received a new black Hartz top, a new gray leather interior, a re-restored engine bay and a custom, fabricated radiator. The exterior paint remains in nearly new condition showing virtually no signs of wear. The chrome plated accessories are like new. The engine bay and chassis are extremely well detailed throughout. Mechanically, the car runs and drives great.
The Four Seasons Roadster is equipped with many accessories and factory options including a rumble seat dual, side-mounted spare tires with pedestal mounted, rear view mirrors, a rear mounted luggage rack, radiator stone guard, Trippe driving light and the proper Studebaker radiator mascot. The 80-R Four Seasons Roadster represents one of the most useable two-passenger Full Classics in existence. The roll-up windows offer fully enclosed dry motoring when needed, and disappear easily at the sight of top-down driving weather.
There are only 54 1931 Studebaker President Four Seasons Roadsters registered in the Classic Car Club of America and Studebaker Club combined. This example will always be an extremely desirable tour and show car and, more often than not will be the only one of its kind at any event.