Welcome to Found Around Town, where we feature cars we find in a city where interesting ones are rare because everyone drives a Prius or rides a bicycle: Austin, Texas.
Ah, Studebaker. You were one of America's most storied carmakers, but you couldn't manage to survive into the modern era. Still, you left behind some pretty amazing machines, like this V-8 Commander sedan my lovely girlfriend found outside of a Central Austin sushi joint. She was kind enough to supply the photos for this week's Found Around Town feature. (That's real love, ladies and gentlemen.)
Like I said when I featured the classic Ford Thunderbird from last week, I really dig the styling of postwar American cars. There was just so much enthusiasm, excitement and optimism for automobiles back then. The GIs were home and they were ready to buy cars, buy houses and make a ton of babies. The cars from that era really reflect the novelty and adventure many people felt about automobile ownership.
This Commander sedan comes from either 1950 or 1951, so it's even closer to the end of World War II than the T-Bird was. And it certainly looks the part. Check out that outrageous nose and airplane hood ornament —- it seems tailor-made for some U.S. Army Air Corps pilot who wasn't quite ready to hang up his wings when he came home. Even the name "Commander" seems like it's meant to appeal to vets. Yes, that name had been used on previous models, but it really fits here.
The great styling cues continue as we move to the side and rear of the car. Tons of chrome, fenders covering the rear wheels and these awesome suicide doors make this Commander truly stand out. Under the hood, it has a 232 cubic inch V-8 with 120 horsepower so its owner-pilot could easily pass lesser cars while cruising out to the suburbs.
Tell us — what are your favorite Studebaker models? Did you grow up with one of their cars?