Oklahoma Highway Patrol Studebaker is welcome in our rearview
You don’t have to be from the Sooner State to appreciate this strange Studebaker up for auction in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We came across this black and white beauty thanks to a post on Barnfinds.com. While it’s not quite a dusty and forgotten car, it is unlike anything we’ve ever seen and certainly worth a look. Titled as a ’57, auction platform All Collector Cars recognizes that it’s likely an old clerical mistake, as the styling and trim of this car more accurately identify it as a ’58 Studebaker Champion.
There’s little in the online listing to verify this car’s service life other than its functioning lights and siren, but we must admit that the black and white two-tone fits it quite nicely. The Highway Patrol decals on the doors don’t look out of place, either. On the other hand, most, but not all vintage Highway Patrol vehicles we’ve been able to identify use white doors on a black car; this looks more like a factory two-tone worn by normal, run-of-the-mill Champions. A Studebaker Champion would also make an interesting choice for a highway-going police interceptor, as the 185-cubic-inch flathead six-cylinder produced a paltry 101 hp—not exactly intimidating figures, even for the era. This one is connected to a three-speed transmission and the listing notes that it runs and drives just fine and shows 106,639 miles on the clock.
The fins on the Champion’s quarter panels are not overbearing to the eye, especially compared to some of the full-size Mopars of the era. Compared to the understated ’57 model year Champion it replaced, however, they are downright ostentatious. The same can be said about the front end, which is chock full of chrome and new-for-’58 quad headlights. Add in the dash and pillar-mounted red lights and there’s a lot going on with this car … but it just sort of works.
This ’58 Studebaker Highway Patrol car may not be cut out for chasing speeders today, if it ever was. Although as the saying goes, you can’t outrun a radio. With two days of bidding left, the price has just eclipsed $7500 as of this writing. That’s a bit more than we’d expect a standard Champion to bring, but the added cop car appeal (authentic or not) of the lights and siren could easily explain why this unique car is drawing some heat.