Faster Than a Speeding Bullet Nose

A Stock 1950 Studebaker Starlight Coupe. 
In your automotive travels, you've probably come across a customized car or truck that made you question...everything. Sure, the builder may have had a vision for their creation. They may have had every intention of creating a machine that breaks barriers and spent countless hours sketching, welding, sanding and painting their one-off creation. Does the end justify the means?  Not necessarily. In the case of one 1951 Studebaker from Central Illinois, you be the judge.

Here's more or less what the owner started with, a bone-stock bullet nose Studebaker.

The infamous "bullet nose" cars were credited to famed industrial designer Raymond Lowey, but Studebaker-turned Chrysler designer Virgil Exner actually holds the patent for the original model, which debuted in 1947. The lines are still out of this world some six decades later. As if the original cars with their tapered front end, sparse trim, and wrap-around rear window weren't daring enough, Tony Capodice of Bloomington, Illinois decided to kick it up a notch. After a few months of  extensive body work, a Chevy 350 transplant, plus a custom chassis and suspension, the "Studebaker Speedster" was born.

This '51 Studebaker has been narrowed, lowered, shaved, chopped, and pretty much everything else. Upon first glance last summer, I thought the car was a bit much and wondered why anyone would want to cut up such a legendary automobile. But the more I studied the car I got it. In fact, when you strip away the fenders, take away the excess metal and boil it down to what Tony has in front of emphasizes the original Exner design. The only difference is that this baby can move as quickly as its body lines suggest.

What do you think?



  1. it's wonderfully original and as you say it emphasizes the essence of the Exner's lines by paring away everything superfluous to a two door lightweight. I love vehicles that might have been built in the day - cars that use nothing other than the donar cars parts and maybe a few period pieces. Obviously this is not that and I would have liked it more if it was. I am planning something similar with a 1947 Mk 6 Bentley. I'd love to see some suggestions.


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