1941-1942 Studebaker Commander and President

The well-received and profitable 1941 Studebakers decisively showed the company was over the tribulations that nearly sank it in the Great Depression of the Thirties. With updated Raymond Loewy styling and a promising technical advance, the ’42s might have had a chance to expand Studebaker’s success had not World War II intervened.

1941 Studebaker
The 1941 Studebaker Commander and President were offered
 only as four-door sedans. See more pictures of classic cars.

Addressing a Studebaker sales meeting during the new-car introduction in August 1940, company president Paul G. Hoffman stated, “In designing the 1941 models, we told Raymond Loewy that we would be satisfied with nothing less than the smartest, most luxurious car ever offered at any price.” At the same time, Hoffman also threw down the gauntlet to his dealer force of 3,500 to sell 151,000 units by year’s end.

This would be a tall order for a company that had been nearly down for the count in 1933 with the death by suicide of its president, Albert Russell Erskine, followed soon thereafter by entry into court-ordered receivership.

That it survived this crisis at all and lived for another 30-plus years was due in large part to Hoffman and board chairman Harold S. Vance. As a result of their dynamic leadership, the company had reorganized and paid off its creditors within two years, and was the leading independent automaker within six.

Studebaker could boast the oldest name in U.S. transportation, starting as it did as a wagon-making shop in South Bend, Indiana, in 1852. For nearly 60 years, the company was wholly owned and managed by members of the Stude­baker family. It entered the auto business in 1902 with its first car, an electric, and later branched out by creating bodies for the Ohio-built Garford.

In 1908, Stude­baker entered into an agreement with EMF, of Detroit, to market its cars (the EMF & Flanders) through its worldwide dealer network. Studebaker would later buy the EMF concern and incorporate all vehicle production under one umbrella called The Studebaker Corporation.

Several years before horsedrawn-vehicle production ended in 1920, active management of the company had already passed to Erskine, who led the company through many prosperous years before the combination of the economic depression and poor fiscal decisions on his part resulted in the catastrophes of 1933.

Whatever mistakes were made in the early Thirties, they were not repeated by the Hoffman-Vance team. They combined their unique talents in sales and manufacturing to build public confidence in the company, restore fiscal responsibility, and shore up the dealer network. One of their first cost-cutting measures was to completely realign the models and bodies then being offered.

In 1929, Studebaker was producing four different car lines, as well as numerous commercial-vehicle chassis. In addition, each series had unique bodies with virtually no interchangeability with the others.

By 1936, Hoffman and Vance had reduced Studebaker’s offerings to the President Eight and Dictator Six, and they would share bodies. All convertible production was halted; only coupes and sedans would be available.

By 1937, Hoffman and Vance were again looking at ways to gain a foothold into the low-price field. Studebaker had unsuccessfully attempted to crack this market with the Erskine in 1927-30 and the Rockne in 1932-33 (named for legendary University of Notre Dame football coach, Knute Rockne).

After a year of marketing research, Studebaker engineers and designers set about to create an all-new car to compete with the “low-priced three” of Chevrolet, Ford, and Plymouth.

This time success was achieved with the Champion, which was introduced in March 1939. Its impact was immediate and dramatic. Within its first two years, the Champion would account for more than 100,000 sales, which resulted in a significant boost to South Bend’s employment, the signing of hundreds of new dealers, and, most importantly, a greatly enhanced bottom line.

Calendar-year sales figures show the dramatic effect the introduction of the Champion had: 1938 -- 50,976; 1939 -- 112,599; 1940 -- 120,256. As the Forties began, employees, dealers, and the South Bend community looked to the future with unbounded optimism.

For most of the industry, the 1941 model year began in August 1940 amid grave concerns over the war in Europe. In the year since hostilities began, Germany had taken control of much of Europe, and in fact, at the very time that the new ’41 cars were being introduced, the German Luftwaffe was initiating its devastating bombing raids on England.

Studebaker announced it stood ready to assist U.S. defense preparations, as it had done in every conflict since the Civil War, but also emphasized it intended to maintain its schedule of production for civilian vehicles.

At the start of the model year, the President and Commander were offered in only two body styles, and both were four-door sedans. On the surface, this may seem a bit unusual, but from a dollars and cents standpoint, it was a smart move.

Studebaker bodies and other major sheetmetal components were made by the Budd Company, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The cost of tooling up for a completely new body would often cost a quarter-million dollars or more. Sales data for the two previous years indicated a decided preference for the four-door sedan on the senior cars.

In fact, this body type accounted for nearly 85 percent of all sales, with the coupes and club sedans at only 6.5 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively. (Studebaker had not offered a convertible coupe since 1935, and produced only a very limited number of convertible sedans in 1938-39.)

The Cruising Sedan for ’41 was built along the conventional lines of previous four-doors. The rear doors were hinged in the rear with a sliding-type self-locking vent wing built into the body.

The new body type was called the Land Cruiser, a name first used to distinguish the aerodynamic bodies of 1934-35. It featured rear doors hinged at the center post. The vent wing was built into the rear door. This body carried an unmistakable similarity with the Cadillac Sixty Special, which was being widely imitated by other manufacturers and was thought to be favored by Raymond Loewy.

Studebaker used the phrase “slip streaming” in defining its new bodies. Care was taken by the Loewy stylists to remove humps, bumps, and unnecessary projections. Door hinges were concealed in the door posts; counterbalanced spring hinges eliminated exterior hinges from the decklid. The gas-tank filler cap was concealed under a trap door in the left rear fender. The rear fenders had functional steel-backed rubber gravel shields to protect them from road debris. The rear fenders themselves had a distinctive bulge that followed the contour of the wheel opening. The back glass had a slight curve to fit the body contour, and a splash shield was placed between the rear bumper and the body.

Without question, the most striking feature on the new Loewy-styled cars was the arrangement of the stainless trim along the beltline. Studebaker referred to it as the “color belt,” and it narrowed from the front of the hood to a point at the rear of the body.

Loewy indicated that its function was to “give the car a sense of motion even when it was standing still.” While that may be a matter of individual perception, one thing is for certain: It offered the opportunity to show off some very attractive color combinations, of which five were initially offered.

Two die-cast grilles with vertical vanes sat low in the front fenders, and a large double-bar bumper gave ample protection from minor collisions. A chrome-plated ornament with a wispy “S” on an oxblood-red field graced the leading edge of the hood. Another die-cast ornament measuring 19 inches long was centered on the decklid. The stylized taillights were long and narrow. They were fitted in the body rather than in the fenders, as in previous years. This arrangement had the advantage of providing for a lighted luggage compartment.

For more pictures and articles about great cars, see:

Studebaker Mechanics

The 1941 Studebaker President was powered by the 250.4-cubic-inch L-head straight-eight engine. This power­plant was created in 1928 by the engineering team headed by the famous Del­mar "Barney" Roos. For 1935, it became only eight-cylinder available in the catalog of Studebaker mechanics.

1941 Studebaker
The 1941 Studebakers were available
without the color line on the side.

By 1941, horse­power had been upped to 117 as a result of changes in compression, carburetion, and manifolding. The engine provided a ratio of 0.468 horsepower for each cubic inch of piston displacement and 28.9 pounds of car weight per horsepower. Presidents won the Gilmore economy run in 1940 and '41, and in the latter year, averaged 22.53 mpg in a supervised run from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon.

The Commander was powered by a six-cylinder L-head engine, which traced its heritage back to the 1932 Rockne 65. Designed by Ralph Vail and Roy Cole, it originally displaced 189.8 cubic inches and developed 66 horsepower. When the Rockne was dropped from production after 1933, the engine found a home in the Dictator series through 1937, and eventually in the Commander.

By 1941, displacement was up to 226 cubic inches and horsepower to 94. (Enlarged again for 1949, this engine survived through 1950 in the Commander line and to 1960 in trucks.) The 1941 version produced 176 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm and provided 0.42 horsepower per cubic inch -- one of the most efficient engines then being produced. In the Gil­more economy run, it won its class each year from 1936 through 1941, taking the grand sweepstakes award in 1939 and 1940.

In 1935, Studebaker introduced its exclusive self-stabilizing "planar" independent front suspension. In 1941, it featured a single 48-inch-long transverse leaf spring 2.5 inches wide, packed in grease, and wrapped. The spring was securely bolted to the center of the front cross member and at each end to the lower kingpin yokes. Houdaille lever-type shocks were used front and rear.

Another mechanical "first" for Stude­baker was the automatic hill holder, introduced as an option on its 1936 models. In '38, it became standard equipment on all Presidents and Commanders. This unique device permitted the driver to park on an incline and remove his foot from the brake without concern for roll-back when the clutch was depressed.

Most Studebaker buyers in 1941 opted for the gas-saving overdrive transmission. Besides its economy features, it also helped prolong engine life by significantly reducing engine revolutions. For example, on cars with overdrive and a 4.55:1 axle ratio, the final-drive ratio was 3.48:1. At a mere $47.50, overdrive would pay for itself many times over during the life of the car.

At the outset of production, the Land Cruiser and Cruising Sedan came in only two trim levels, referred to as Custom and Delux-Tone. The Custom was the base model and generally had a solid-color exterior (though the color belt could be painted a contrasting color for an extra $5), plus beige interior trim with a choice of Bedford cord upholstery or Canda cloth at no extra cost.

For an additional $65, one could order the Delux-Tone models, which were embellished with two-tone interior and exterior finish, white sidewall tires, a fancier steering wheel (with ornamental horn ring), stainless-steel door-sill moldings, a chrome strip on the garnish molding, and -- on Land Cruisers -- stainless window-reveal moldings.

Almost the entire industry was offering all-new bodies in 1941, and in virtually every instance, manufacturers could claim them to be longer, lower, and wider. In the case of Studebaker, the wheelbases were increased by three inches on the President 2.5 inches on the Commander. This permitted moving the engine and body forward on the chassis, and allowed the rear seats to be set 11.25 inches ahead of the rear axle, thus providing passengers with increased riding comfort.

The front seat was 2.5 inches wider, and more leg room was available in both front and back. Wider doors, the elimination of running boards, and lowering of the floor made for easier en­trance and exit. Though overall height was approximately two inches lower, there were an additional 163.75 square inches of total glass area and no reduction in head room.

On March 14, 1941, a Skyway trim option was added that gave a completely new appearance to the line. It eliminated the stainless color belt. Other exterior refinements included chrome bands encircling all windows, fender-top parking lights housed in long chrome housing, rear fender skirts, whitewall tires, additional front bumper guards and bumper-tip wings, wide stainless-steel lower-body and fender-finishing strips, wheel trim rings, and rear-fender gravel deflectors with six bands of chrome.

The interior featured a two-tone deluxe steering wheel, leather panels around the front-door window controls, a two-tone instrument panel, bolster-type pleated upholstery, and carpets front and rear. Rich broadcloth or Canda upholstery in either fawn or blue-gray was offered. As an extra-cost option, seats could be upholstered in leather at either $27 or $37, depending upon the color selected.

Shortly after the introduction of the Skyway series, a new body style was introduced, the Sedan Coupe. It was a two-door, six-passenger model with easy access to the full three-passenger rear seat through the 43-inch-wide doors. Its one-piece curved windshield is believed to be the first offered on a mass-produced car-provided one cares to dismiss considering the 109 long-wheelbase Chrysler Airflow Custom Imperials built from 1934 to 1937 as "mass produced." The Sedan Coupe was an extremely attractive body and it was offered in Skyway and Custom trim levels on the Commander chassis, but only with Skyway trim on the President.

Corporate records indicate more than $310,000 was paid to the Budd Company for the dies, jigs, and fixtures necessary to produce stampings for the Sedan Coupe. Total production of this body type was quite small, showing only 477 on the President chassis and 5,195 on the Commander.

Company president Paul G. Hoffman's objective of selling 151,000 new cars in 1941 was not achieved, but the total of 133,997 was quite a respectable number. Of the total, 85,000 were Champions, 41,998 were Commanders, and 6,999 Presidents. This was 26,000 more than were sold in the 1940 model year and the highest production year since 1929. Considering that Studebaker also introduced a completely new line of trucks in 1941, making a total of 9,714 civilian commercial vehicles and another 4,724 to fill military orders, it was a very busy and profitable year for Studebaker.

Today, the 1941 models are highly collectible among Studebaker enthusiasts, ranking among the most popular in the prewar era. This is a tribute not only to the Loewy styling team, but also the Studebaker engineering department and the thousands of dealers and salesmen around the globe who all played a role in popularizing them.

Much had happened in world affairs since the 1941 model run began. The war in Europe had expanded to include the Soviet Union (attacked by Germany on June 21), and the Japanese were extending their sphere of influence in Asia and the Pacific on a daily basis. Studebaker was busily engaged in making both 21/2-ton military trucks and Wright Cyclone engines for the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. The rapidly expanding military requirements for raw materials necessary for national defense were beginning to affect all auto manufacturers.

By the time production got under way on the 1942 Studebakers on August 20, 1941, the Lend-Lease Act had been passed and the Atlantic Pact approved by Roosevelt and Churchill. The former was conceived by FDR as a means of helping the British win the war without direct U.S. intervention; the latter spelled out an eight-point policy regarding the two countries' specific objectives in the conflict. In the minds of many, it was becoming increasingly clear that the U.S. was not going to be able to sit out this war.

For more picture-packed articles about great cars, see:

1942 Studebaker

Since considerable money had been expended in creating new bodies for the 1941 model line, there would be no significant changes in this department for the 1942 Studebaker. The restyling of the front sheetmetal, however, gave the '42s an entirely new look.

1942 Studebaker
The 1942 Studebakers were not restyled,
but war preparations eliminated brightwork.

Two-piece stainless grilles, split only by a narrow vertical bar, extended entirely across the front of the car. Slightly below and inboard from the head­lights on Commanders and Presi­dents were two round "blanks" where fog lights could be added for an additional $12.25. Larger, more massive bumpers and bumper guards guarded fore and aft, and bigger, more ornate horizontal taillights were formed around the lower fenders. All brightwork except the headlight rims was new for 1942.

As in '41, there were three trim options, with the Custom being the base model and the Skyway the top of the line. In between was the Deluxstyle, successor to the Delux-Tone of 1941. The difference in the three was in appointments. Skyways were two-toned, had rear fender skirts, stainless moldings around the windows, and fully chromed rear-fender gravel shields. Deluxstyle cars were distinguished by wide stainless moldings below the side windows.

The only significant mechanical im­provement for 1942 was the introduction of Turbo-matic Drive. This innovation consisted of a fluid coupling, an automatic vacuum-operated clutch, and a conventional three-speed transmission with kickdown overdrive. The clutch pedal was eliminated, and gear shifting was reduced to a minimum.

Studebaker engineers had done a considerable amount of testing on this new transmission, and it received a great deal of advertising promotion early in the model run. An October 8, 1941, sales bulletin sent to dealers indicated that delayed production of the new transmission was due to an inability to get the machinery necessary to produce the units. This was a result of precedence given by the suppliers to defense priorities. The letter went on to say that the machinery had finally been received and orders for the Turbo-matic would be taken after November 1. (The cost was established at $90).

Then, in early November, another message said that production would be postponed indefinitely due to "the requirements of the defense program."
Only six cars equipped with Turbo-matic were produced between August 21 and September 15, 1941. Three were Presi­dents and three Commanders. One of the Presidents was sent to Borg-Warner for testing and evaluation, and a second was earmarked for factory use. It is not known whether any were ever released to the public. (Rumors of a survivor in eastern Iowa in the Seventies were investigated, but nothing turned up.)

Other improvements of a minor nature included moving the starter switch from the dash to a button on the floorboard under the clutch (as on Champions), and making trunk lights standard on all models. Presidents were fitted with 15-inch rims, and a new type of overdrive transmission entered service in December. Available only on the President, it was set to engage at 20 mph rather than 30 mph, and stay in down to 17 mph. This made the overdrive available for nearly all traffic situations rather than just for open-road use. The factory noted that the torque of the President engine made this improvement possible, and that under optimum conditions, it could produce another 4-5 miles per gallon.

Instrument panels were completely redesigned and were particularly attractive, with engine-turned panels of stainless steel. The finish of the radio grille was of clear lucite. Seat bottoms were wider; upholstery and door panels more luxurious.

Directional signals were added to the list of accessories ($19.25), as was a unique steering-wheel radio remote control. This permitted the driver to change stations from a lever on the steering column ($70.25 for radio and remote). A rear-seat radio remote control consisting of a foot-activated button mounted on the floor was also available ($5.25). We can well imagine the arguments that these two options might have caused between the front- and rear-seat passengers!

Another casualty of defense preparedness was the elimination of whitewall tires. Due to the Japanese cutting off Amer­ican access to Malaysian rubber, the government ordered tire companies to discontinue the manufacture of white sidewalls after August 23, 1941. It required about 24 ounces more of crude rubber to produce a whitewall tire than a similarly sized blackwall. Since 14 percent of all new cars came with this option, eliminating them was estimated to save 12 million pounds of precious rubber a year.

However, since dealers were allowed to purchase tires out of the surplus stock held by the tire companies, there were probably a few cars that left showrooms so equipped. As the crisis deepened and shortages grew more acute, even spare tires were eliminated. All cars and light trucks leaving the Studebaker factory after Decem­ber 11, 1941, had only four tires.

Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor would soon bring almost all automobile pro­duction to a government-imposed stand­still. Before taking this drastic step, however, officials sought to con­serve certain critical metals like chrom­ium, nickel, and stainless steel by requiring most brightwork to be eliminated. (The bright trim on completed cars still in stock had to be painted over.)

Consequently, all Studebaker cars built on or after January 16, 1942, were considerably altered in appearance by this regulation. Stude­baker referred to these cars as "series 90," since 1942 was the company's 90th birthday. Today, however, they are generally referred to as "blackout" models. In order to provide vehicles that would ap­proximate the beauty of their more glittery predecessors, Studebaker did much research on the use of noncritical metals like Indium silver, and utilized baked-enamel finishes in colors that would offer pleasing contrast to that of the body.

Production of the series 90 during the last two weeks of January 1942 came to 4,612 Champions, 1,688 Commanders, and 408 Presidents -- about 13 percent of the model-year total. Sur­viving examples are quite rare. The last Studebaker off the assembly line on Jan­uary 31, 1942, was a President Sky­way Land Cruiser bound for Mexico. It would be almost four years before civilian car production would resume. During that period, all sales of new cars still in dealer or factory stock would be strictly monitored by the Office of Price Administration.

The total of all new unlicensed cars in February 1942 was roughly 550,000, of which about 8,000 were Studebakers. By the time car rationing ended on Novem­ber 1, 1945, there were fewer than 25,000 remaining. In fact, Studebaker records show sales of 45 new 1942 cars in 1946 and 150 more in 1947!

Studebaker automobile sales in 1941 and 1942 were excellent. The company had net sales of $115,700,333 and showed a profit after taxes of $2,486,397 in 1941. In addition, it moved up one position to ninth place among U.S. automakers, garnering 3.06 percent of new-car sales. Although Studebaker would achieve an all-time high in employment and profit during the war years, there is no reason to believe that the upward sales trend that started in the late Thirties would not have continued had the war never happened.

The company dropped the straight-eight engine and the President line after World War II. (A V-8 would be introduced in the 1951 Commander, and the Pres­i­dent name revived for a top-of-the-line series in 1955-58.) A short run of prewar-style 1946 Champions would serve until a dramatic all-new design was brought out. Thus, the cars produced in the 1941-42 period were quite unique in design and engineering.

Due to the relatively large number produced, there are still a fair number of most body styles available at fairly reasonable prices. That and the fact that they can maintain modern freeway speeds in relative comfort help make them some of the most collectible prewar Studebakers.

For more picture-packed articles about great cars, see:

1941-1942 Studebaker Commander and President Selected Specifications

The Commander and President marked a return to greatness for Studebaker, which had been in serious financial trouble in the 1930s. These models could have gone on to be very successful, if World War II hadn't halted auto production for four years. Here selected specifications for the 1941-1942 Studebaker Commander and President.

1942 Studebaker interior
The luxurious 1942 models were built with
comfort -- and ample passenger room -- in mind.

1941 Studebaker Commander (119-inch wheelbase)


Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Custom Sedan Coupe
3,160
$990
2,350
Custom Cruising Sedan
3,210
$1,010
14,901
Custom Land Cruiser
3,230
$1,055
5,288
Delux-Tone Cruising Sedan
3,225
$1,075
3,759
Delux-Tone Land Cruiser
3,245
$1,120
4,428
Skyway Sedan
Coupe
3,200
$1,080
2,845
Skyway Cruising Sedan
3,240
$1,100
3,924
Skyway Land Cruiser
3,260
$1,130
4,582
Total


42,077*

1941 Studebaker President (124.5-inch wheelbase)


Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Custom Cruising Sedan
3,450
$1,140
1,367
Custom Land Cruiser
3,475
$1,185
903
Delux-Tone Cruising Sedan
3,475
$1,205
923
Delux-Tone Land Cruiser
3,500
$1,250
1,622
Skyway Sedan Coupe
3,440
$1,210
477
Skyway Cruising Sedan
3,500
$1,230
538
Skyway Land Cruiser
3,520
$1,260
1,251
Total


7,081*

1942 Studebaker Commander (119-inch wheelbase)


Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Custom Sedan Coupe
3,195
$1,025
1,207
Custom Cruising Sedan
3,265
$1,045
3,003
Custom Land Cruiser
3,290
$1,080
1,300
Deluxstyle Sedan Coupe
3,210
$1,070
1,001
Deluxstyle Criusing Sedan
3,280
$1,090
1,856
Deluxstyle Land Cruiser
3,305
$1,125
1,404
Skyway Sedan Coupe
3,240
$1,105
1,855
Skyway Cruising Sedan
3,300
$1,125
3,202
Skyway Land Cruiser
3,315
$1,160
2,704
Total


17,532*

1942 Studebaker President (124.5-inch wheelbase)


Weight (lbs.)
Price (new)
Number built
Custom Sedan Coupe
3,440
$1,141
47
Custom Cruising Sedan
3,485
$1,161
126
Custom Land Cruiser
3,510
$1,196
84
Deluxstyle Sedan Coupe
3,455
$1,186
89
Deluxstyle Criusing Sedan
3,500
$1,206
286
Deluxstyle Land Cruiser
3,515
$1,241
367
Skyway Sedan Coupe
3,470
$1,221
469
Skyway Cruising Sedan
3,540
$1,241
841
Skyway Land Cruiser
3,540
$1,276
1,212
Total


3,521*
*Series totals are tabulated from the number of bodies produced. The actual number of complete cars produced was somewhat lower. Sources: Encyclopedia of American Cars, by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, Publications International, Ltd., 2002; Studebaker corporate records.

1941-42 Studebaker Commander and President: Selected Specifications

General


Commander
President
Wheelbase (inches)
119
124.5
Overall length (inches)
205.75 (1941),
210.25 (1942)
211.25 (1941),
215.75 (1942)
Overall height (inches)
67.5
68
Tread, front/rear (inches)
58.25/60.31
58.13/60.31
Ground clearance (inches)
7.83
7.83
Fuel tank (gallons)
18
18
Construction layout
front-engine, rear-wheel drive
front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Type
body on frame
body on frame
Frame
double-drop steel with partial box-section side rails, straight X-member
double-drop steel with partial box-section side rails, straight X-member
Body material
steel
steel

Engine


Commander
President
Type
inline L-head six-cylinder
inline L-head eight-cylinder
Material
cast-iron block and head
cast-iron block and head
Bore and stroke (inches)
3.31x4.38
3.06x4.25
Displacement (cubic inches)
226.2
250.4
Horsepower @ rpm
96 @ 3,600
117 @ 3,800
Torque @ rpm
176 @ 1,600
200 @ 2,400
Compression ratio 6.5:1
6.5:1
Main bearings
4
9
Carburetor
2-barrel Stromberg downdraft
2-barrel Stromberg downdraft
Valve lifters
mechanical
mechanical
Electrical system
6-volt, positive ground
6-volt, positive ground
Clutch type
single dry plate
single dry plate
Clutch actuation
mechanical, foot pedal
mechanical, foot pedal

Driveline


Commander
President
Transmission
3-speed manual*, synchromesh on second and third gears, column-mounted shifter
3-speed manual*, synchromesh on second and third gears, column-mounted shifter
Differential
hypoid, semifloating with Hotchkiss drive
hypoid, semifloating with Hotchkiss drive
Final-drive ratio
4.55:1*
4.55:1*

* Standard. Transmission options included overdrive and, for 1942, Turbo-matic three-speed semiautomatic. The final-drive ratio with overdrive was 3.48:1.

Suspension

Front
independent, planar, with transverse leaf spring enclosed
in grease-packed metal cover, Houdaille lever shock absorbers
Spring leaves
17 (Commander); 19 (President)
Rear
solid axle, 8-leaf semielliptic springs enclosed in
grease-packed metal cover, Houdaille lever shock absorbers

Steering and Brakes


Commander
President
Steering type
symmetrical direct-action linkage with variable-ratio gear
symmetrical direct-action linkage with variable-ratio gear
Ratio (feet)
25.5:1 to 33:1
25.5:1 to 33:1
Turning circle
43
46.5
Brake type
4-wheel hydraulic, cast-iron drums
4-wheel hydraulic, cast-iron drums
Drum diameter (inches)
11
11
Total swept area (square inches)
150
169

Tires and Wheels


Commander
President
Tire size
6.25x16
7.00x16 (1941),
7.00x15 (1942)
Wheels
steel disc
steel disc

For more picture-packed articles about great cars, see: