Chassis Number: R612356

An almost perfect rotisserie restoration — absolutely everything has been replaced on this truck and was done by a Studebaker expert to assure that it was complete and historically correct (only exception is the added seat belts).

Receipts and documentation exist for every step taken, including the fl at six motor, 3-speed transmission and rear axle, which have all been completely rebuilt. All itemized receipts and all documentation comes with the truck.

Absolutely everything has been replaced and works and operates as it did from new, and it purrs down the highway at 60-plus mph. The detailed photos allow the truck to speak for itself. It will be a rare fi nd to see another one this nice.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1953 Studebaker 2R5 Pickup
Years Produced:1949–53
Number Produced:32,012 (all 1953 truck models)
Original List Price:$1,404
SCM Valuation:$12,000–$28,000
Tune Up Cost:$200
Distributor Caps:$12
Chassis Number Location:Data plate on driver’s side of cab, above step, on the seat riser.
Engine Number Location:Driver’s side top front corner of engine block
Club Info:The Studebaker Drivers Club, P.O. Box 1715, Maple Grove MN 55311
Alternatives:1950–56 International L, R,
Investment Grade:B-

This 1953 Studebaker 2R5 pickup, Lot 1470, sold for $25,750, including buyer’s premium, at the G. Potter King Atlantic City Classic Car Auction on February 24, 2012.

Studebaker was always at the forefront of American truck manufacturers — even before motorized transport. Having gone into the wagon-building business in 1852, the Studebaker brothers knew a thing or two about how to get the goods to market.

When Studebaker made the switch to self-propelled vehicles in 1902, they started out building electric-powered machines. By 1908, they changed horses and went to gasoline engines, with the fi rst standardized light truck model appearing in 1912.

When the Bob Bourke-designed, all-new, postwar 2R-series truck debuted in 1949, it was one of the cleanest-looking and best-styled pickups on the market. It carried Studebaker through the lean times of the mid-1950s to when the fi nal truck was built in December 1963 with very few style or mechanical changes. While the Lark sheet-metal-based Champ half-ton and three-quarter ton pickups of 1960 through 1963 looked radically different, they still sat on R-series chassis.

I do have something of a biased opinion on Studebaker 2R-series pickups. My grandfather’s last brand-new vehicle was a 1952 Studebaker 2R5 pickup. It was the only vehicle that he kept after he retired and sold the farm in northern Minnesota in 1957. He kept it for over 20 years — into when I was a teenager in the late 1970s, and I fondly recall him driving it once in awhile.

My grandfather’s truck was not as nice as our subject pickup — not even on the day he bought it new. In fact, he didn’t even get $25,750 for his whole farm in 1957. But I wouldn’t mind adding one to my collection someday just because of that. This is also one reason why pickups have been doing well in the market. For a lot of people, old trucks are touchstone vehicles to a simpler past.

Not a unique sale

RM Auctions had a near-identical blue-gray ’52 Studebaker 2R5 at their Phoenix, AZ, auction in January, where it sold at no reserve for $27,750. The fact that an upmarket auction house like RM would offer a Stude pickup speaks volumes on where trucks have gone over the past few years. Ten years ago, the truck wouldn’t have made it onto the RM auction block. Now, it seems like every auction must have a prerequisite well-restored pickup to represent that burgeoning market.

More times than not, the restored trucks have been a Chevy/Ford thing, with those two makes having the highest selling examples respectively. However, Dodge and the independent makes — with International and Studebaker leading the charge — have seen the greatest increases in values, even surpassing Brand C and Brand F in price on numerous occasions.

Restored, not whored

There has been a trend within the past few years of dolling trucks up with more junk jewelry than a two-bit floozy.

I’m talking about chrome bumpers front and rear on a standard model, trim rings and wide whitewall tires on the wheels, spotlights, windshield visors and gleaming wood planks with highly polished stainlesssteel retainer strips in the fl oor of the box. A trend of tacking glitzy exterior add-ons onto honest trucks — without any thought to what was original — had become carried away.

Most pickups from the 1950s were not blinged out when they were new, as they were expected to work hard for a living. And if you did add on lots of chrome junk in 1953, 1955 or 1960, you were looked down on as some kind of wussy dork. Our subject Stude didn’t have that problem, as it looked factory-fresh.

Dolled-up trucks have sold well at auction over the past few years, thanks to their shiny components. Then, most buyers were car guys who didn’t know a lot about trucks; they just bought them because they looked neat and didn’t know about — or give two hoots about — authenticity.

Today’s truck buyers are more knowledgeable and refi ned about authenticity, and most would rather pony up a few more bucks for a truck done correctly — and well — than one that looks pretty. Serious collectors are starting to look past the glitz and instead examine the substance of historically accurate restoration work — like you would see on any other collector vehicle.

While trucks tend to be rather basic, our example is equipped with the highly desirable, period-optional Borg-Warner overdrive unit. To make up for the lowpowered Champion Six, Studebaker equipped the 2R with low-geared rear ends, so overdrive was a somewhat popular option on these trucks in rural areas. This truck should move out at a pace that makes it livable in modern traffic — although with kingpin front suspension and single-circuit brakes, I think I’d limit my freeway time.

The price is right

Our featured truck’s selling price was within two grand of the RM truck — and they sold on opposite sides of the country. I’d call that confi rmation that the price was market correct for this truck at this time.

I don’t think the market for post-war pickups is going to be exploding anytime soon. A gazillion were built, and many of them are still out there as easy-toperform restorations. But restoring one yourself isn’t cost-effective — you’ll be money ahead to buy one already done.

But trucks are still booming, and for the foreseeable future, lower-production examples like this should prove to be a stable place to park your money — with values slowly yet steadily accelerating, just like the Champion Six under this truck’s hood. Well bought

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