Founded in 1852, Studebaker was one of the few coachbuilders that successfully transitioned to making automobiles in the 20th century. Unfortunately, the South Bend, Indiana company fell on hard times after World War II and eventually went belly up in 1967. Even so, it still inspires a dedicated group of enthusiasts who would be thrilled to see this car get its first wash in 30 years.
The owner is one of those people. According to WD Detailing on its YouTube channel, he stored this 1955 Studebaker Champion in a shipping container in 1993. Covered in 30 years of grime, the car is home to a massive hornets’ nest and an enormous mouse nest larger than any the team has ever seen.
Styled by Raymond Loewy, the yellow and white coupe was originally equipped with a flathead six-cylinder engine. The owner shows the WD Detailing crew a picture of him driving it years ago as a much younger man. He is beyond happy to see it pulled from the shipping container to get the spa treatment it deserves.
The team immediately transports the car to the shop and begins cleaning it up. Right away, it’s evident that the Studebaker is in much better shape than the Austin Healy or even the Chevy Corvette they tackled previously. Even so, the interior is one of the worst they’ve ever cleaned due to the mice infestation. They decide to tackle it first to get rid of the horrible smell.
Moving on to the exterior, it’s so satisfying to see the grime wash away and the paint and chrome shine again. The body is surprisingly presentable and rust-free, except for some minor scratches and surface rust. It has a nice patina which can be preserved and enjoyed. Or, it wouldn’t take much to prep and repaint the body if someone wanted to go that route.
Finally, the Studebaker is clean. It’s unbelievable how different the car looks after a few days and a lot of elbow grease. The owner can’t believe it either and is visibly moved when he sees it, saying, “That chrome looks better than it did 30 years ago!”