1937 Studebaker President Coupe

The name President was an apropos choice for Studebaker’s new range topping cars. These were automobiles with a commanding presence; ones that company boss Albert Russel Erskine envisioned would demonstrate Studebaker’s ability to build the finest cars on American roads. First introduced in 1926, the President featured a 354 cubic inch “big six”, but was quickly refined to a smaller but smoother and more modern 312 cubic inch inline-eight cylinder. The more prestigious eight cylinder became synonymous with the President through the rest of its original lifespan – which lasted through 1942 (though revived in 1955, it was a very different car by that time). Studebaker used the President as a showpiece for its engineering and design talents, successfully campaigning the engine in racing and record breaking cars around the world.

Studebakers wore fresh styling for 1937 courtesy of the legendary designer Raymond Loewy, who began his long and fruitful relationship with Studebaker just one year earlier. Interior furnishings were penned by the equally great Helen Dryden, who worked closely with Loewy’s design firm. Dryden was a prolific illustrator and industrial designer contracted by Loewy to help him with styling Studebaker interiors. The involvement of these two famous designers just adds another degree of interest to this already fascinating automobile. Lowey’s signature touch is found all over this magnificent design; from the linear grille, which flows into the hood, the unadorned body sides, and finishing off in a clean rounded tail punctuated by a distinct and extremely cool triangular split rear window.

This handsome and incredibly rare 1937 Studebaker President Coupe has been treated to a fresh, comprehensive body-off restoration and presents in beautiful condition overall. Finished in a subtle but attractive shade of dark red, it shows very well with straight bodywork, consistent panel fit and high quality finishing. Approximately 130 President Coupes were produced in 1937, and according to experts within the Studebaker club, only 5 are known to exist. This car is very well known and has been fully vetted by experts within the Studebaker club, confirming it as one of the handful of remaining genuine President Coupes. Outwardly, there is little to distinguish it from its lesser counterparts, but the most notable is the lack of side mount spare tires that give President its sleek, clean and unadorned look - classic Raymond Loewy. Black wall tires on painted steel wheels with chrome trim rings give the car a lower, longer appearance.

In the comfortable and well-appointed cabin, you are met with a magnificent Art Deco instrument panel and a rare, period correct banjo steering wheel. One look at the dash is enough to understand why Helen Dryden was the highest paid woman in America in 1937. Her talents created a dash that is worthy of hanging on a museum wall. The upholstery has been completely restored and trimmed in rich, dark caramel colored leather, which is carried over on the rear rumble seat. The spare tire mounts discreetly behind the passenger seat, hidden by a panel.

Lifting the hood reveals what makes a President a President – the silky smooth 250 cubic-inch L-head inline 8-cylinder engine. It is very nicely detailed with proper fittings and finishes and it runs smooth and strong. The engine is mated to a 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive, making this a very fine choice for club touring. This Studebaker President is of suitable quality to show at a club or regional concours level, while still being completely usable. It has the additional cachet of extreme rarity; being one of only five known examples, as well as being supremely cool thanks to the work of two of the greatest industrial designers of the Twentieth Century.

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