Rustic Lens

Rusty Survivor – A 1949 Studebaker Pickup’s Story

This rusty survivor is a 1949 Studebaker pickup.  I found it on craigslist a few years ago for $500.  I’ve always loved the body styling of these pickups and decided to buy it.  This truck has been well used and abused.  Any body part that could be hit has been.  The story that I heard was that the owner

was an elderly man that used it to pull around his other old cars on his property.  When the brakes went out, he just kept using it.  That would explain a lot.  Check out this vintage magazine ad that shows what it would have looked like new.

New price in 1949 was $1262.00. Wouldn’t that be nice? A show quality truck like this could be worth over $40,000.00 today.

While this is a bit different from my normal posts, it did stem from my photography.  I was completing a challenge from my mentor Ron Clifford from The Arcanum.  The challenge involved really exploring my subject and taking lots of pictures of different details and different compositions.  I usually shoot a few pics and run off to the next thing instead of really checking the subject out.  I learned that there are lots more cool pictures to be found if I just take my time and look more.

This one needed a little work when I got it, but the engine was complete and it turned over freely.  I had to buy a radiator, brake master cylinder, and a wiring harness.  The wiring was the old cloth-insulated or rather non-insulated variety.  It didn’t take much to get it to start, though.  The seat was really bad so I took it to get recovered.  While the seat was gone, I got it running and we drove it around the property while sitting on buckets.  When I got the seat back, I tried to move it to the shop to install the seat and the clutch wouldn’t work.  That’s where it’s at right now, but I’m going to fix that soon.  I love the sound of those old flathead 6 engines and I can’t wait to drive it around some more.  Here are some more pictures of it.  As always, prints are available by clicking any of the pictures or going to my Gallery.

hand crank crane
It has part of an old style hand crank tow truck system in it. The boom is missing. I love that it says “Made In U.S.A.” on it!
engine in pickup
The “Econo-Miser” 169 cubic inch engine.
Pickup interior 1949 Studebaker
I’m pretty sure that this truck never topped out that speedometer.
pickup climate controls
“Climatizer Controls” The art-deco styling is pretty impressive on this truck.
pickup door
The custom door handles and sun-baked arm rests didn’t cost me any extra!
Face in a rim
This guy looks as surprised to see me as I was to see him.

Here’s a mystery for you.  Do you know what the two floor switches are for?  Comment below and share with your friends to see if they know.

floor switches 1949 Studebaker
The pedal is the clutch. What are the two switches for?

Thanks for checking out my blog!  Please comment and share if you liked it!


Evan Jones

I am a landscape and travel photographer who is drawn to old and rusty stuff as well as beautiful landscapes. I like to explore the backroads of the Northwest United States and anywhere else I can get to. My blog is at


Your Thoughts?

  • Since 2017 no one has taken a guess….I will. One of the switches is the headlight dimmer, the other one engages the starter solenoid. Which one is which I don’t have a clue….

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