Custom Studebaker Hauls More Than a Kart

Custom Studebaker Ute at GNRS

Custom Studebaker Ute Rear, gnrs 2011, grand national roadster show, custom car

It isn’t every day you see a custom Studebaker coupe. Really, I think what people say to themselves before changing any metal of the Studebaker coupe body is…”The coupe is a perfect car – why change it?” I certainly don’t have plans of truly customizing my own ’55 Studebaker. Metal flaking the roof, moon discs, and some pinstriping is as far as it’ll go I think. But I do love customs – so every time I encounter a custom Studebaker coupe I get pretty excited!

This year at Grand National Roadster Show I encountered not just one – but three custom Studebakers! I’ll be unveiling each one (and hopefully one or two more) in the coming weeks. To start with… the Studebaker Ute, a.k.a. Kart Hauler.

Studebaker Ute at 2011 GNRS, gnrs 2011, grand national roadster show, custom car

I first encountered this custom Studebaker Ute at the 2009 Grand National Roadster Show – and now once again at GNRS 2011. In 2009 it was in the hall of cars previously shown at GNRS, commemorating the show’s 60th anniversary. This 1953 Studebaker coupe was customized in the late fifties into this wagon-style Ute for the 1959 Oakland Roadster Show. It was then renovated to its original glory by then-owner Dick Steinkemp in time for the 2009 GNRS.

Custom Studebaker Rear Window Detail, gnrs 2011, grand national roadster show, custom car

Who would’ve imagined that the Studebaker Coupe would so nicely turn into an ute?! As you can see, it’s the front frame of the coupe with the rear-section of the top chopped-off and the rear window moved forward. This creates a 2-seater. Interestingly enough, its rear window is the original rear window flipped upside-down and angled differently.

Studebaker Ute Interior, gnrs 2011, grand national roadster show, custom car

The entire car, including the original go-kart that went along with it, have been finished and renovated with such skill. The car really is beautiful sporting an original Studebaker color – 1953 Chippewa Green.

Studebaker Ute Go Kart, gnrs 2011, grand national roadster show, custom car

One thing I think is so neat about this custom, is that it actually looks so good and “normal” that it appears as if it could’ve come out of the Studebaker factory just like this!

Studebaker Engine Stude Ute, gnrs 2011, grand national roadster show, custom car

And as it still runs a Studebaker engine! This custom Studebaker very well could have come from the factory! If I ever have the urge to customize my Stude – I know who I’ll be taking some notes from!

What do you think -how many customized Studebakers have you seen? What other car-oddities would you envision for customizing?

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