As promised, here is the Studebaker Commander Special that appeared on Australia Day in the park in Melbourne.
Fortunately the weather and light were perfect to capture this car without untoward glare or shadowing. I can’t speak highly enough of the standard of finish of the Special – it is a worthy sports car of the inter-war period – even if it did not come out of a dedicated factory in that shape.
I think it is hard to say how much of the shape of the coachwork was really thought-out before the construction began – I suspect that there was a fair bit of cut and try as with hot rod projects. Some of the lines may not have been what the builder actually wanted to achieve but I think that everyone who saw it felt that the final shape came out very well. Of course you can trace the line of the bucket and the bonnet but I wouldn’t be surprised if the boat tail was entirely a new design.
The springing and suspension also caught the eye. So many hot rod designs current use coil springs and A-arm assemblies from contemporary vehicles that we forget most cars swung or hopped on leaf springs at the time. Of course people can invent tube-arms and all sorts of wishbones to suspend modern racers, but some of them get to looking like ships masts due to complexity – nice to see the simple security on this one.
Also nice to see a cockpit that suggests speed but has enough space to squeeze a skinny passenger in. The tonneau cover is a nice touch considering the sort of weather for which Melbourne is notorious. I think I should wear a leather flying helmet and goggles for this one, or at least turn my flat cap backwards as I drove. No scarves, though – I saw ” Isadora “…
Note particularly the flash of metal on the side panel of the bonnet just above the exhaust pipes – echoed on the LHS by a similar line. Looks to be pure ornament but I daresay it stiffens the panel and keeps legs from contacting the hot metal of the pipe. The termination of the exhaust is pure 1920-30’s style. No function other than to tell other people that you have it and they don’t.