1956 Studebaker President Classic sedan, part of the 1956-1957 Studebaker President Classic line of collectible cars.
1956 Studebaker President Classic sedan

The 1956-1957 Studebaker President Classic was a luxury four-door on the longer of Studebaker's two late-'50s wheelbases, really a revival of the posh Land Cruiser after a year's absence. Actually, the '56 and similar '57 President Classics weren't so much special models as the only ones -- other than Hawks -- to retain the longer 120.5-inch chassis used since 1953.

The President Classic's inner body structure was basically the same as 1953 models, too, but outer panels were fully restyled to impart a more upright, "important" look, highlighted by mesh grilles (full-width on '57s) and greatly extended rear fenders.

Drivers checked rate of progress with a revolving-drum "Cyclops eye" speedometer perched atop the dash directly ahead, a 1930s throwback that might better have been avoided, though it was one of the few things that could be changed to make the cars seem new.

Buyers evidently saw through such deceptions -- or more likely feared that Studebaker was about to go under, which it was -- for sales plunged in '56 and went even lower for 1957-1958.

The Classic is included here mainly for interest value and rarity, though we think the '56 is also one of the better-looking period Studebakers: It's less ornate than the '55 and more tasteful than the '57.

Pluses of the 1956-1957 Studebaker President Classic:

  • Strong special-interest value
  • Relatively rare yet inexpensive
  • Good performance
  • Lots of people and parcel space
  • Good club support

Minuses of the 1956-1957 Studebaker President Classic:

  • Unattractive '57 styling
  • Not in high demand even among Studebaker fans
  • Tinworm tendencies born of so-so workmanship

Production of the 1956 Studebaker President Classic:
18,209 (all Presidents)

Specifications of the 1956-1957 Studebaker President Classic:
Wheelbase, inches: 120.5
Length, inches:
204.8/206.4 (1956/1957)
Weight, pounds: 3,270-3,295
Price, new:
$2,489-2,539

Engines for the 1956-1957 Studebaker President Classic:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohv V-8 (Supercharged)
289 cid
210/2251956

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