|The Ultimate Retro Driving Machine!
1939 Studebaker Coupe Express
An overview... Hot links in Yellow menu at the bottom, enjoy!
The truck is a 1939 Studebaker Coupe Express: Custom built street rod featuring a Street &
Performance LT1 / 4L60E. Hand crafted by Terry Taylor of DeQuincy Louisiana.
The Body is a modified first edition hand laid fiberglass original based on a 1939 Studebaker Coupe
Express by Master Street Rods. The radical style design is accomplished with: 4.5 inch top chop, 8
inch bed channel, 6 inch front clip channel, 4 inch bed section, Completely rolled & filled bed, and
Lowered 2.5 inches in the front, 3 inches in the back. The stance is achieved with Weld Racing DFS
Draglite wheels, Cooper Cobra tires.
The Design of this build-up: Building Street Rods & Customs is a uniquely individual experience.
Whether one starts with a rough all metal original or one of the new formed custom glass bodies,
each custom build has to begin with a design in mind. The success of the ultimate look will be
attributed to, or in some cases limited by the â€˜visionâ€� of the builder....Continued
Other custom touches are: enhanced fender profiles, shaved & filled doors, integrated running
boards, seamless cab, seamless bed ( all body lines filled ) semi-frenched headlights, original 1940
Ford glass lens tail lights, mahogany wood bed floor with stainless steel strips, and custom
stainless steel laser cut grille.
On this buildup the front clip has been modified from an original flip front to a conventionally
opening hood with billet hinges and corvette remote latch. This is the only 1939 Studebaker
buildup known to have this kind of set up. The body sits on a modified 1983 S-10 series Chevy
truck frame that has been totally rebuilt front to rear with dropped spindles and blocked rear axel.
The engine is a Corvette LT-1 from Street & Performance ~ Behind that is a GM 4L60E 4-speed
overdrive automatic transmission controlled by a Lokar billet shifter . Power goes through a custom
driveshaft to a (1996) 3.42 geared GM rear-end. Flowmaster dual exaust. Weld Racing DFS Draglite
wheels, Cooper Cobra tires. The Studebaker complies with all 23 Points of the NSRA voluntary
Safety Inspection program. See the NSRA data sheet HERE
The Paint is basecoat/clearcoat DuPonmt Hot Hues Blackened & Red Hot Meltdown
The interior is totally hand fabricated with a one off custom dash that sports all Autometer vintage
series gauges, flamed headliner, door panels, and leather seats, fixed mounted on hand built frame
for ideal posture & driving comfort. A/C by Vintage Air, All the standard vehicle controls are out of
sight for simplicity of design. AM/FM/CD resides in the back wall - operated by remote.
Street rod or kit car?... be sure to see links for more on this topic at the page
What silliness we suffer at times! Believe it or not I got this same question about my Downs 32â€™
5 window coupe.
I could understand and agree if I had a volkswagen beetle converted to a Bradley GT or a Sebring
or some metal flake gel coat squeak box or something along those lines )
Whether itâ€™s a Gibbons body on a TCI frame or a Streetbeasts 33 Vicky on a cold rolled hand-
built frame some detractors will stop at nothing to convince you that you have a â€œkit carâ€�.
Try convincing Boyd Coddington their AMBR (America's Most Beautiful Roadster) winner is a kit car!
While it's true the original is a modified metal body, all the Boydsters are glass!
Not unlike itâ€™s Downâ€™s 1937 Ford counterpart : which incidentally won the crown jewel in
the rodding worldâ€™s â€œStreet Rod of the Year awardâ€� for 2002, the MSR 1939 Studebaker
is truly a work of modern street rodding art.
The original concept for the MSR body - 1939 Studebaker was actually to be a conversion package
for an existing platform. While it is possible to bolt this glass body on Deuce factory or SAC ( or any
other ) stickbuilt frame, the original intent of designer Rick Hanson was to create an â€œaffordableâ
€� and somewhat user friendly street rod. Toward this end, Hanson designed the body to retrofit
a standard Chevrolet S-Series pick up truck ( S-10 or Sonoma). The expense of the custom made
frame ( up to $8000.00 ) would be offset by a production priced and widely available donor vehicle
to be used as the rolling chassis.
The most basic buildup of the 39 Studebaker package utilized stock components from the Chevy
truck, including the frame, the cab, the interior and the drive train. At the most minimal effort, the
builder of the 39 Stude would essentially be driving an S-10 pickup with a modified fiberglass body
attached to it. Like it or not, this is the stuff of most of modern Street Rodding. Incidentally, the
Downs 37 Ford truck also utilizes the Chevy S-10 frame.
With the Terry Taylor build up, the only vestige of the Chevrolet left is the original frame and the cab
box. The interior is 100% custom, the drive train is a one of a kind custom application and even the
original body was modified dramatically. The original tilt front clip was modified to a achieve the
conventionally operating hood. Additionally, the truckâ€™s stance is achieved by cutting 4 inches off
the lower portion of the nose. This allowed the effect of lowering without bags, retaining much of
the original ride and handling. Other body modifications including the cowl, firewall, tail lights and
engine compartment are detailed on the mods page.
Modern Hot Rodding may never totally shake the â€œkit carâ€� moniker but at least we can lend
sophistication and world class craftsmanship to this ill-deserved label. Terry Taylorâ€™s
masterpiece build up of the 39 Studebaker coupe express epitomizes the difference between the old
kit car myth and the reality of the hand built custom rod. If this is a kit, It rides proudly alongside
the Downs 37 Ford, the Streetbeasts 41 Willys, and the Boydster II.
For More commentary on the subject of "Kit Car or Custom Rod", see the following posts
as selected from Club Hot Rod
Imagine This Mouse over the photo!
The year is 2013 and the Studebaker Motor Company is back in business. Their radically designed Coupe
Express has just rolled off the assembly line - pairing the retro look of the 1939 version with the
Were such a vehicle to be built it's quite likely that this would be it.
A radical interpretation to be sure, the 39 Coupe Express is a careful blending the classic elements of Street
Rod design with obvious adherence to the original style lines. An unparalleled Custom, totally unique in style
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