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1937-1939 Studebaker Coupe-Express


1939 Studebaker Coupe-Express

Since the entire Studebaker passenger-car line got new bodies and chassis for 1938, there were no major changes planned for 1939 Studebaker Coupe-Express.

Despite this, the Raymond Loewy design team managed to give the 1939 line a completely new look. This was accomplished principally through restyling the front sheetmetal and bright-work. Prior to this time, Studebaker grilles stood narrow and tall, accentuating the overall height of the vehicle. Now, for the first time, two separate diecast grilles were mounted in the fenders, which emphasized the width of the car.

1939 Studebaker Coupe-Express, front view
Features such as bumper guards, dual taillights,
external mirrors, and a spare-tire cover were
extra-cost add-ons for the 1939 Studebaker
Coupe-Express.

Helping in the overall effect was the positioning of the headlights, newly mounted in the fenders. A chrome-plated diecast molding that included the "S" emblem extended from the hood to the bottom of the fenders. On the sides of the hood, a single stainless-steel molding extended from near the nose back to the cowl and was carried on to the rear edge of the door. The hood was opened by way of a handle that also cleverly served as a hood ornament. It blended in well with a molding that ran the length of the hood.

From the cowl back, the 1939s were identical to the 1938s. In fact, the cabs used for new L-5 Coupe-Expresses were leftover 1938s, as evidenced by the fact they used the K-5 instrument panel. As a result, the Coupe-Express could not adopt the one big new sales feature emphasized by Studebaker in 1939 -- the climatizer. This new device featured a built-in underseat heater and integral defroster system. So successful was this general design that Studebaker continued to use it for more than 20 years.

1939 Studebaker Coupe-Express interior
The 1938-style dashboard prevented the
1939 Studebaker Coupe-Express from getting
the new "climatizer" system.

The cargo box, tailgate, brake light, bumpers, and guards were all identical to those used on the 1938 K-5. The chassis and engine were also basically unchanged, though there were some minor alterations made.

For 1939, one could order a heavy-duty front spring, which would provide an additional inch of road clearance, or a super heavy-duty spring, which would give an extra 1.75-inch clearance. The heftier springs were 25 percent and 27 percent stiffer, respectively, than the standard spring, and were supplied with covers, which the standard spring was not. Price for this option was $2.40.

As in previous years, the three-speed floor shift was standard, but Studebaker continued to offer its over-drive transmission, which for 1939 was again redesigned-and repriced to $47.50. Though not widely advertised, buyers could also avail themselves of the column shift for an extra $10.

The standard tire was a 6.00 × 16 four-ply, though options included a six-ply in the same size, four- and six-ply 6.50 × 16 tires, and a 7.00 × 16. Since the last would not fit in the front-fender well, trucks ordered with this option came without a sidemount fender.

As in the previous year, those who wished to special order their truck without the welled fender could do so. Records show that at least one domestic truck was equipped with a left-hand well fender.

Despite Studebaker's best efforts, Coupe-Express sales were relatively poor. Get sales details in the next section of this article.

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