Pick of the Day: 1961 Studebaker Champ Deluxe, low-mileage pickup

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

In the 1950s, Studebaker was in trouble once again after rebounding from its financial crisis of the early 1930s. Lacking its competitors’ resources and deep pockets, the automaker couldn’t afford to redesign and build new vehicles from scratch, so it pieced together parts from existing models to stay afloat.

So, when it came time for Studebaker to upgrade its pickup truck, the Indiana automaker leaned on its successful Lark compact sedan for help. Taking the Lark’s front end and merging it with a pickup bed, the automaker created the Studebaker Champ in 1960. 

The Pick of the Day is a 1961 Studebaker Champ Deluxe, a restored example with just over 11,000 miles showing on the odometer. If this pickup looks familiar to you, you might remember seeing it in the Hemmings Vintage Trucks 2020 calendar as the July feature.

“This one has the tall stance of a workman, but there’s also a ton of vintage flair,” says the Mesa, Arizona, dealer advertising the vibrant red pickup on ClassicCars.com.

The truck’s Lark front-end mimics the sedan’s grille, although the Champ features thick horizontal bars, while the Lark’s grille wears a crosshatch pattern.

According to the dealer, the oak bed has been refinished, and the bumpers, grille and side trim received chrome upgrades.

Stepping inside the cab, you’ll find a black-pleated bench seat whose pattern is mimicked on the top of the red dash. It houses an AM radio that’s “still cranking out tunes” and a rare sliding-rear-window option.

“The experience inside this pickup is truly authentic, right down to the large dual-spoke steering that gives a clear view to the correct classic gauges,” the dealer says.

Under the hood sits the original 170cid straight-6 that was factory-rated at 110 horsepower and connected to a column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission.

“It’s believed Studebaker produced less than 7,700 consumer pickups across the entire line in 1961, and well over a half a century later, the survivors are few and far between,” the dealer adds.

Unfortunately, the pieced-together pickup didn’t help save Studebaker from eventually shutting its doors in 1966.

The asking price for this truck is $46,995.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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