The 1947 Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express competed handily with trucks from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge. Unlike Studebaker's 1937-1939 Coupe-Express models, which were car-pickup hybrids, the 1947 Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express (no hyphen) descended from a line of true trucks.
Studebaker in 1941 had rocketed back into the truck business it had temporarily abandoned. It fielded the M5 family of trucks, a broad line of 1/2- to 1 1/2-ton models. Spanning 113- to 195-inch wheelbases, these offerings had 90 percent of the truck market covered.
The truck rebirth was built on profits from the Studebaker Champion car, which had rescued the company beginning in 1939.
The half-ton M-5 pickup was called the Coupe Express. Far different from the 1937-1939 car-based Coupe-Express models, it was a genuine truck. But in a clever bit of design engineering, the Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express shared many components with Studebaker's passenger cars, thus greatly reducing tooling costs.
Underhood was the Champion's 170-cid L-head six, with 80 bhp. The dashboard was Champion, as were some body panels, headlamp rims, and the steering wheel. Hubcaps were borrowed from the Commander.
Base Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express pickups were relatively spartan, like most trucks of the day. But for around $25, the DeLuxe Equipment Group added brightwork on the grille and hood, a chrome driver's mirror, hood ornament, body-color (instead of black) fenders, and an interior light.
Options also included bumper guards, grille guard, chrome rear bumper, spotlight, foglamps, radio -- even whitewall tires.
Civilian truck production halted for the war, but by 1947 was going full tilt; 1947 Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express output passed 23,000 for the year and total M-series production topped 52,000.
The 1947 Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express listed for $1,082. Changes over the prewar models were minor, but a spare tire was now included and the options list expanded modestly. A hood ornament was standard from mid-1947; previously, it had cost $4.75 extra.
The Studebaker M-5 Coupe Express was virtually unchanged in 1948 because it was scheduled to be discontinued in favor of a new postwar design in March of that year.
Collectible Pluses of the 1947 Studebaker M-5 Coupe-Express
- The most beautiful dashboard on any classic truck
- Good exterior styling
- A host of supporters
- Strong collector club support
- Lots of available parts
Collectible Minuses of the 1947 Studebaker M-5 Coupe-Express
- Dated styling compared to the successor 2R trucks
- Low value appreciation
- No performance