Bob's Studebaker Resource Website



1929 Studebaker House Car DESIGNED & BUILT BY: ADVANCED AUTO BODY WORKS LOS ANGELES

The coach maker started with a 1929 Studebaker bus chassis and a President 8 engine. The engine has had a complete mechanical restoration (completed in 2009). Other mechanical repairs include: a new clutch and pressure plate, overhauling the four-speed transmission including new bearings, overhauling the rear end and installing new bearings, overhauling the front axle and installing new racing bearings, new tires, new brake shoes on all four wheels, 90% rewired, new top and top cloth material. She easily cruises at 60 mph.

The previous owner purchased the house car in the 1960's in California, drove it to New York, and kept it in storage until current owner purchased. The above repairs were critical. Otherwise, the house car is in 'as found' condition other than cleaning and installing a cook stove which was missing when purchased by the previous owner. The sinks are plumbed for hot and cold water. The water heater was missing and I have not tested any of the plumbing. The electric lights in the center and rear section are operational. The house car even has an exterior outlet.

The house car is divided into three sections: the driving compartment, the center section, and the rear bedroom. The driving compartment has an entrance door on either side with roll down windows. All the windows throughout the house car have pull-down screens. I have not attempted to operate any of the screens. It appears the driver could communicate with the rear compartment via intercom, but I have not tried to repair that system. This compartment is separated from the center section only by the bench-style seat. The leather seat does have storage compartments below the cushions. The center section is accessed by a door with a leaded glass window on the passenger side. It has small ventilation windows on each side near the wood ceiling and two pairs of leaded glass windows. The windows on the left have small storage cabinets above them and a sink plumbed for hot and cold water below them.

Additional storage compartments are below the sink. Between the two windows I installed the cook stove mentioned above in a space designed for cooking. The second set of windows is to the right of the stove. It originally was identical to the other side; however the sink had been removed before the previous owner acquired the vehicle. Running parallel to the driver's seat is a leather Pullman style couch which converts to upper and lower berths. More storage compartments are under the couch.

The rear section has its own entrance door identical to the one in the center section. The overall space is much smaller than the center, but is packed with extras. We believe this section was used by a married couple. It has the same Pullman style couch as the center section except it has a fabric covering instead of leather. We have not tried to clean the couch. The couch is on the right when you enter. When both couches are converted to berths, there is an open space between the center and rear section. We assume it was done for ventilation as I could not find evidence of anything ever being installed in that space. The area opposite the couch is divided into three sections: A vanity mirror, counter top, and storage compartments; a large sink plumbed for hot and cold water with a fold up cover, a leaded bay window, a shaving mirror above the sink and storage compartments above and below the sink; and finally one of this vehicle's unique features a closet! Most houses didn't have closets in 1929.

Another very interesting feature is the small tub below floor level. A panel in the floor pulls up and leans against the interior wall. Obviously not a full-sized tub, but adequate for washing feet or sponge baths. It also has another set of leaded glass windows and small ventilation windows. The wood is much lighter in color than center section.

It took me a while to connect the channel on the driver's side of the body near the roof with the mysterious metal poles stored under the body on the passenger side. I finally realized the house car was missing something else, a canopy. Since I had to replace the top, I had the upholsterer make a matching canvas that slides into the channel and is supported by the poles. The canopy proved the perfect place to sit while at the 2009 Hilton Head Concours d' Elegance.