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1955 Studebaker Speedster

Though widely heralded in design circles when new, and correctly regarded as classic today, Studebaker's 1953 redesign was less than successful when it was new. Sales for other American brands soared while Studebaker's remained moribund; management put it down to Detroit's heavy use of chrome accents, so Studebaker's 1955 models had redesigned bumpers and brightwork across the board.

The President Speedster was Studebaker's top-of-the-line model in 1955, meant to stop the sales slide of the 1953-'54 models. Besides the new-for-1955 bumpers, the President Speedster was available with six two-tone and two three-tone paint schemes, with changing availability throughout the year.

The Studebaker range was facelifted for 1956, making the President Speedster a one-year-only proposition. As is the case with most limited-run cars they are seen by collectors as the most desirable.

  click on any image to enlarge

The 1955 President Speedster was loaded with standard equipment including: choice of automatic or overdrive transmissions, power steering and brakes, dual exhaust, a four-barrel carburetor, "Shoemaker-stitched" diamond-quilted genuine top-grain leather seating, carpeting front and rear, a map pocket, an eight-tube radio, a Stewart-Warner 160 mph speedometer and 8,000 rpm tachometer in a striking engine-turned facing.

All cars had turn signals, electric clock, tinted glass, cigarette lighter, oil filter and oil bath air cleaner, dual backup lamps, triple horns, two-speed electric wipers, tubeless whitewall tires and wire wheel covers, fog-light bumperettes, stainless roof band, specific trim including a hood-length hood ornament, Speedster nameplates and checkered emblems, and chrome-plated ashtrays, rear-view mirror, mouldings and tailpipe extensions.

  The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster was Studebaker's first step toward the sporty car, and the forerunner to the memorable Hawks.

A high-performance rendition of the Studebaker small-block V-8, now bored out to 259.2 cid, was standard on the 1955 Studebaker President Speedster. The midyear Speedsters shared the heavy, more chrome-laden "fish-lip" front-end styling adopted for '55 across the line.

All Speedsters wore two or three-tone paint jobs in garish color combinations like the unforgettable "lemon and lime" (shown above).

Studebaker President Speedster Specifications:
Wheelbase: 120.5 in
Length: 204.4 in
Weight: 3,301 lb
Price new: $3,253
Total Production: 2,215

     
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