This is a 1952 Starlight drag car. It’s the pride of Bob Mikliuc, a longtime Bay Area drag racer. With a high-powered vintage motor underneath the hood, it can even hold its own against the potent muscle cars of today. Interested? It’s up for sale on eBay.
The Starlight Coupe came into the world in 1947, instantly recognizable by its curved rear wrap-around window. Due to its unique shape it became the butt of more than few “which way is it going” jokes.
But on track with Bob at the wheel, we doubt many people were joking about this Starlight. For 10 years, Bob raced the Studebaker with its stock 232-cubic-inch V8 and three-speed overdrive transmission, frequenting Sears Point, Pomona, Bakersfield, and the Half Moon Bay drag strips and regularly coming away with class wins.
Things got a bit more serious in the ’70s when Bob pulled out the Commander V8 and exchanged it for a rare R4 motor, which Bob told us put out around 350 horsepower. Complete with a Paxton supercharger, Avanti Powershift transmission, and Dana 44 axles with 4.28 gearing, the new 304.5-cubic-inch engine (later bored to 307ci) furthered Bob’s need for speed and netted him a best-ever quarter-mile pass of 12.70 at 109 mph.
For comparison’s sake, a 2015 Camaro ZL1 can complete the quarter mile run in 12.3 seconds and the Challenger Hellcat hits in the high 10 range. A 63-year-old Studebaker within shouting distance of a full-blown Camaro? That ain’t bad.
According to Bob, the Studebaker currently sports a Whipple supercharger and a much more aggressive cam, but hasn’t been given a proper drag pass in a few years. Up front, the hood has been scooped to allot the air intake and the rear quarter panels have been modified to fit the drag tires, but the stock quarters and hood are available.
Befitting such an epic Studebaker drag car, Bob even used to haul it to the strip on the back of a Studebaker transport truck. That sadly has been sold off, though. Make sure to check out the eBay listing (linked above) for much more about this unique racer. We hope it finds another good home.