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Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe, 1950

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Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe, 1950
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Jeff Tinsley, Negative #: 2003-32698


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Automobile Collection — Car collection, 1950-1969

Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949
Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 — Making the Sale

Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe, 1950
Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe, 1950

Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe, 1950, rear view

Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe, 1950, rear view

“Your eyes are windows...”

Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe
Catalog #: 2003.0223.02, Accession #: 2003.0223
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

The 1950 Studebaker Champion Starlight coupe attracted motorists with its ultramodern styling. Its center "nose" called to mind an airplane, and its wraparound rear window and long, horizontal rear deck were radically different from "teardrop" cars of the 1930s and 1940s. The 1950 and 1951 Studebakers marked a sharp break from 1930s streamlined styling and the beginning of flamboyant, futuristic styling. Studebaker led the way in this styling and marketing change, and the Big Three auto manufacturers soon followed. Studebaker sales were fairly strong after World War II and reached a peak with the 1950 model. Car collector and museum curator Richie Clyne donated this example to the Smithsonian in 2003.

Physical Description

1950 Studebaker Champion Regal DeLuxe Starlight coupe with all-steel body. Green with light gray-green upholstery. Six-cylinder engine, manual transmission. 16' 6" L x 5' 9" W x 5' 2" H

Date Made:
Gift of Richie Clyne

The post-World War II market for new cars initially was a seller's market. Supplies were limited, and waiting lists were long. New-car buyers settled for almost anything with four wheels and an engine, including slightly revamped 1942 models and cars purchased sight unseen. But by the late 1940s, supplies had increased, and auto manufacturers had to offer new features to attract comparison shoppers. Eye-catching styling was one way to sell cars. Studebaker was one of the first manufacturers to completely restyle its line, for the 1947 model year. The 1950 Studebaker featured even more radical revisions and styling changes. Robert E. Bourke, an automotive stylist who worked for the renowned industrial designer Raymond Loewy, was largely responsible for the 1950 Studebaker's styling, now considered a classic of its time.

Related People, Places, and Events
Studebaker Corporation

Place of Manufacture
Vernon, California

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