1937 Studebaker Coupe-Express Pickup

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. Loewy’s signature touch is found all over this magnificent design; in addition to a more pointed grille, an alligator hood opening from the front, and extended hood louvers were added to what was already a handsome automobile. A new model was added, too, called the Coupe-Express. This dual-purpose vehicle offered passenger car comfort and three-passenger seating in a commercial vehicle that offered greater hauling capacity than the typical business coupe of the times.

In reality, Studebaker foretold the coming Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino pickups . . . 20 years ahead of its competitors. The unique model was manufactured from January to July 1937, with just 3,125 built. Production continued through 1939 with just over 5,000 in total of the stylish pickups produced. It was quite a high-style bargain at $695 before options. All Coupe-Express models came with the spare tire mounted on the right front fender. Based on the six-cylinder 5A Dictator chassis, it shared its front-end sheet metal with its passenger car sibling. A new panel was fabricated to enclose the cab, while a robust 16-gauge, double-wall steel pickup bed was fitted, enabling a carrying capacity of half a ton.

This handsome and incredibly rare 1937 Studebaker Coupe-Express has been treated to a comprehensive body-off restoration and presents in beautiful condition overall. Finished in Cardinal Red, it shows very well with straight bodywork, consistent panel fit, and high-quality finishing. 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; 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 beautiful beige broadcloth on the doors and seat. The truck is loaded with options including: radio, clock, cigarette lighter, heater, overdrive, fog lights, locking gas cap, bumper guards and one of the coolest options ever offered, the Wig-Wag taillight. An original Studebaker option, the Wig-Wag Signal Light is essentially a miniature railroad lantern that when the brakes are pressed not only does the lantern illuminate with a warm red glow, but it also waves back and forth like a ghostly railroad worker was signaling for attention!

Under that streamlined hood lies a beautifully detailed 218-cubic inch L-head inline six-cylinder engine mated to a three-speed transmission with optional overdrive. The undercarriage was restored to the same standard as the rest of this fine truck and remains in wonderful order although it does show slight road use.

A favorite among Studebaker aficionados, this Coupe-Express was the beneficiary of a high-quality restoration in the early 2000’s and earned its AACA First Junior is 2003, going on to win Senior and Grand National awards, the latter in 2020, a testament to the quality of the restoration and the care it has received. This rare Coupe-Express is of suitable quality to show at a club or regional concours level, while still being completely usable, not to mention being supremely cool thanks to the work of two of the greatest industrial designers of the Twentieth Century.


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