Ron Brown’s ’50 Studebaker Pickup
While their production never approached that of Ford and Chevrolet, Studebaker was a substantial supplier of post-World War II pickups, helping to fill the demand for new vehicles of any kind.
Ron Brown knows this, as his father once ran a Studebaker dealership. Ron followed in his father’s footsteps, building successful auto dealerships of his own selling GM products. Still, the Studebaker brand made an indelible impression, even though its last auto manufacturing plant closed in 1966. “I wanted one in the driveway again,” Ron said, “like I remember growing up!” In particular, he wanted something like the 1950s Studebaker pickup his dad often drove home.
Four years ago, a rough ’50 Studebaker pickup was hauled back to Iowa from California and deposited at Carnock Creations, with directions to owner Dave Carnock and his crew to work some magic. Ron and Dave agreed they didn’t want to just build a custom truck, but to craft a tribute to some of the contributions Studebaker made to the motoring world during its 114 years of building vehicles.
Studebaker’s last blast in the performance realm was the Avanti, which set records at Bonneville in 1963 by using a Paxton supercharger to feed a 289c.i. V8, producing the magic one horsepower per cubic inch. While Brown provided a fresh 5.3-liter Chevrolet LS engine for the build, the Carnock crew disguised it using Studebaker finned valve covers and paint detailing. They even mounted the A/C compressor in an old Paxton supercharger housing! A Paxton R3 air box topping the Holley EFI intake furthers the illusion of Avanti power.
The classy package rides on an updated frame with a TCI front suspension, RideTech front and rear coil-overs, and a 9-inch rearend. The 17×7- and 18×9-inch Team III wheels wear Kumho tires.
The Stude pickup featured smooth, rounded cab styling and a sturdy double-wall bed. The shop added a steel bed floor and a custom-formed tailgate with a bright trim strip adapted from a ’60s Stude station wagon. The custom-mixed House of Kolor paint looks right at home on this era of truck.
The interior was dressed up in the manner of the “custom cabs” that became popular in the late-’50s, using a dashboard from a Champion passenger car and a hand-built replica of a clear “Ruby” steering wheel that was a Studebaker option. The leather-upholstered seat with center armrest is reminiscent of those in mid-’50s Starlight coupes.
Ron Brown’s custom pickup is an outstanding representative of the Studebaker marque – a proud brand with a long history dating back to building Conestoga wagons in 1852.
Photos by John Jackson