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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Classic, Classy Hauler: 1953 Studebaker Custom Pickup


Combining the car and the pickup is nothing new or especially unusual, and for a time such vehicles weren’t uncommon at all. In the States, we had the El Camino and Ranchero.

 In the UK, there were adorable pickup versions of cars like the Mini and the Morris Minor. And in Australia, they still have those Utes that the rest of the world is so jealous of.

 Some people have taken it upon themselves to do some rather amazing pickup conversions, though, and this one is truly one of the more remarkable ones.


Starting with a 1953 Studebaker, two gentlemen named Lee Talbot and Sam Chakries put this custom go-kart hauler together in time for the 1959 Oakland Roadster Show, known today as the Grand National Roadster Show.

 What they came up with was both surprisingly good looking and just plain cool. The long, flat trunk area of the Studebaker made it a rather straightforward change from an aesthetic standpoint.

 Under the hood is a 259 cubic inch V-8 from a later Studebaker President that has been modified with period speed parts, including dual Stromberg two-barrel carbs and Offenhauser finned valve coves. Coupled to the motor is a Borg-Warner three-speed manual with overdrive.


It was built to look good, go fast and haul the popular racing go karts of the day, and still does all three very well.

 Restored in 2009 for the fiftieth anniversary of its completion, this 1953 Studebaker Custom Pickup is one of those garage-brewed conversions that has been so well done, you could be convinced it came like that from the factory.