Bonhams : 1947 Studebaker Gardner SpecialChassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901

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Lot 123
1947 Studebaker Gardner Special

Sold for US$ 390,000 inc. premium
1947 Studebaker Gardner Special
Chassis no. G222901

169.5ci L-Head Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Dual Carburetors
80bhp at 4000rpm
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension, Rear Leaf Springs
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Winner of 1949 Press-on-Regardless Rally
*Award winner at inaugural National Roadster Show
*Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance award winner
*Groundbreaking custom design


THE STUDEBAKER CHAMPION

Introduced in 1939, the Studebaker Champion was a crucial car for the struggling brand that remained in production through 1958, when it was replaced by the Lark. Powered by an L-head inline six engine, the Champion was known to be reliable, attractive, and well-priced, competitive with the larger manufacturers with added bonus of a Raymond Loewy design. The second generation of the Champion was introduced in 1942, however before the model year was over ceased to focus on the war effort.

During World War Two, Automotive design and innovation was placed on the back burner, with America's industrial might focused on the war effort. After the War, America was half-way through a new decade, ready for new cars, and GIs were back and ready to define their own style. In 1947, Studebaker released the first new car designs of the post-war era, beating the big three to market. Driven by Raymond Loewy and Virgil Exner, this new post-war style was decidedly modern, with double dropped frames, flat-sided fenders and, overall, a more cohesive design between all elements of the bodywork that minimized the separation of the fenders and body. This new design captured the attention of Americans and was a boon for Studebaker's sales- they manufactured nearly twice as many cars the year before.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

In 1947, Vincent Gardner acquired the new Studebaker Champion 3-Passenger Coupe and immediately set about transforming the Champion into his vision of the ideal Studebaker. Through heavy modification of every panel of the bodywork, Gardner created an altogether original design with rakish proportions and cutting-edge design elements mixed with Studebaker's penchant for reliability.

Prior to joining Studebaker in 1943, Mr. Gardner had worked with Gordon Buehrig at Auburn, where he was part of the team that designed the groundbreaking Cord 810. After four years with Studebaker, where he was known for his vision and integrating engineering and manufacturing considerations into his design, he decided to create the Gardner Special. To achieve the low slung, exaggerated design he was after, the windscreen, doors, and entire cockpit were moved back about 18 inches, effectively lengthening the hood. The hood and cowl were lowered, the rear deck was new, and the exhaust was routed through the middle of bespoke taillights. This roadster is also one of the earliest occurrences of a 'bubble top' roof that's entirely transparent. While chopping and channeling became increasingly popular in the early 1950s, in 1947 this level of customization was remarkable. The result of all this effort was a very modern rakish roadster that was still identifiable as a Studebaker, but altogether original. This car is featured in Dan Post's 1951 'Blue Book of Custom Restyling'.

The Gardner Special was not simply a non-driving design study and Gardner, with navigation assistance from his wife Louise, entered the inaugural Press-on-Regardless rally in 1949. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner won the grueling 24-hour time-speed-distance rally, with a score of 903 of a possible 1000. That same year, Gardner brought the car to the inaugural National Roadster Show in Oakland, California, where it was awarded "Most Magnificent Custom Roadster".

In 2012, after a meticulous complete restoration to its 1949 specifications, the Gardner Special made its public debut at the 2012 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, followed by the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance that summer. At Pebble Beach, the Gardner Special won second-in-class, bested only by the Norman Timbs Special in the American Sport Customs category. Today, this historically significant custom roadster is beautifully presented throughout, cosseted since its award-winning entry at Pebble Beach. This Studebaker offers a unique opportunity to acquire a car that has won awards for its custom coachbuilding, restoration, and for rally racing.
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<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
<b>1947 Studebaker Gardner Special</b><br />Chassis no. G222901
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