Gear Head Tuesday – Seen In Sacramento

Gear Head

55 Studebaker pick up - side

Seen In Sacramento

Late last week while driving through the beautiful Land Park area of Sacramento, I spotted these two jewels a block apart – a ’55 (?) Studebaker pick up and a ’58 Continental Mark III.

The Studebaker was designed for the 1949 model year by Robert Bourke, the talented designer on the Raymond Loewy design team at Studebaker. In 1949, it was the freshest, cleanest pick up design on the market and the first with enclosed running boards. In 1955, Studebaker was struggling to stay alive. There was no money to redesign the pick ups – much less the passenger cars, so the ’55 pick up was little changed from the ’49. That said, Bourke’s basic design was so good that the truck did not look particularly dated in ’55 despite being in its 7th model year of production – and this cab remained in the Studebaker line up until all U.S. Studebaker production ended in December, 1963. This truck doesn’t have the V-8 badges on the hood, so it likely would be powered by the same trusty, rugged Champion six that powers “Chris-to-Fear’s” ’55 Champion, “Uncle Tilden”.

55 Studebaker pick up lf

58 Continental Mark III - lr

A block south of the Studebaker was a rare ’58 Continental Mark III two door hardtop. The ’58 – ’60 Lincolns were (and remain) controversial cars. They hit the market just as the U.S. economy was in a short but steep recession. As a result of the recession, the demand for large cars fell and compact cars such as the Rambler were in great demand. The Lincolns and Continentals (Continental was marketed as a separate make) were huge. They were a new unitized body design – the largest unitized bodies ever attempted. These land yachts failed in the market place, adding to Ford’s self-inflicted Edsel wound.

The Continentals rode on a 131″ wheelbase. The convertible version broke the scales with a 5,200 pound weight. They were powered by a 430 cubic inch V-8. Production totals for Lincoln and Continental for the 1958 model year totaled 29,864 vehicles. This is in contrast to the 121,775 Cadillacs built for the 1958 model year. Only 5,891 of these two door hardtop 1958 Continental Mark IIIs rolled off the assembly line at Wixom, MI. The value of having a corporate parent, in this case Ford, with deep pockets is shown by the fact that Lincoln built fewer than 30,000 cars for the 1958 model year and survived while Packard built slightly more than 30,000 cars for the 1956 model year and died …

58 Continental Mark III - rr

58 Continental Mark III rblog-divider

Courtesy of “Chris-to-Fear” we continue with photos of old gas stations at
Curbside Classic:

Sinclair gas station


Add yours →

  1. If I’m not mistaken, that is a red Willys Overland in the Gas Station picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The 1955 Studebaker “E” Series 1/2 Ton very likely may be equipped with the Commander Six 245 C.I.D. “Torque MONSTER”! Both the Champion 185 c.i.d. and the 245 were available as well as the 224 c.i.d. OHV V8.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for this, Rich. As I indicated, I’m not as well versed in Studebaker trucks as I am in their cars. I had forgotten that they still had the Commander six available for the trucks. I wish I could have spoken with the owner to get the story on this truck. I’ve always been fond of the Studebaker trucks. My grandfather had a ’49 Studebaker pick up he used on his farm. It served him faithfully until 1961 when he traded it for an International pick up.


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