1951 Studebaker Commander

The 1951 Studebaker Commander was the most important collector model among 1950-1951 "bullet nose" Studebakers. The main reason is that this was the first year for the firm's pioneering 232 V-8 engine, really the first of the small-block engines (though Chevy and Ford usually get the credit).

Though conventionally engineered and heavy compared to later small V-8s, this reliable powerplant could deliver surprising economy with good performance. Coupled with the Studebaker/Detroit Gear three-speed automatic announced the previous year, the V-8 made the '51 Commander very attractive, and sales were high.

The most collectible models are the Starlight five-passenger coupe, the convertible, and the long-wheelbase Land Cruiser four-door. Two- and four-door sedans were also available in this year's Commander line.

Nomenclature for trim levels was revised, with Regal denoting the lower coupe and sedans, while State applied to the upper-level sedans, coupe, and convertible in the Commander series. This was the next-to-last year for the 1947 "which way is it going?" design, a problem the more defined bullet-nose front helped alleviate.

Pluses of the 1951 Studebaker Commander:

  • Notable historically
  • Good performance/economy balance
  • Nicely trimmed
  • Solid construction

Minuses of the 1951 Studebaker Commander:

  • Debatable styling (especially the front)
  • Traditional rust problems
  • An oil-leaker, though not usually an oil-burner

Production of the 1951 Studebaker Commander:

Specifications of the 1951 Studebaker Commander:
Wheelbase, inches: 115.0 (Land Cruiser: 119.0)
Length, inches: 197.5 (Land Cruiser: 201.5)
Weight, pounds: 3,030-3,240
Price, new: $1,997-$2,381

Engines for the 1951 Studebaker Commander:

ohv V-8 232.6 cid
120 1951

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