The 1949 Series Studebaker Truck was this historic automakers first totally new designed light pickup after World War II. The new Studebaker light trucks, called the 2R Trucks, were entirely different looking than the M Series introduced prior to the war. The M Series really were Studebaker’s first pickup trucks. Prior to the M Series, Studebaker’s answer to a light hauler was essentially a passenger car with a cargo bed.
The All New 1949 Studebaker 2R’s
The Studebaker 2R Trucks were designed to be attractive looking yet tough. The Studebaker shown in this article is beautifully restored and is one terrific looking classic pickup truck. The look is a rounded, streamlined look which can be compared to GM’s Advance Design trucks. Also note, as part of the sleek look, there are no exterior running boards or steps on this truck.
Studebaker 2R Truck Specs
The 1949 Studebaker 2R Series Truck had a wheelbase of 112 inches and a bed length of 6 1/2 feet. It’s road weight was 2,840 lbs which was considered light. This represented about 400 lbs less than it’s competitors of the time. It’s payload was about 1,750 lbs. Front suspension included lever shocks and two eight leaf springs. The rear suspension was lever shocks with nine leaf springs.
The 2R Series Studebaker Trucks did carry over the same engine used in the M Series. This was an inline six-cylinder 169.6 cubic inch flathead “Econ-O-Miser” engine. The engine produced 80 HP. The engine received it’s name because it was thought to provide better gas mileage than it’s competitors. While MPG ratings and testing were not what they are in today’s world, the Econ-O-Miser engine apparently outperformed it’s rivals in MPG in supervised testing. This was the engine employed in all of Studebaker’s light trucks. The transmission was a standard three-speed shift column with an option available for overdrive.
Lift The Hood Accessibility
Studebaker publicized heavily it’s new “lift-the-hood” accessibility feature. The selling point was that Studebaker truck owners could easily maintain and repair their trucks. This was because the engine, ignition, instruments, and accessories could all be reached by standing on flat ground. You didn’t have to stand on a box or try to slide under the truck to do repairs and maintenance. The hood opened wide so all these could be reached without strain. This was a great selling factor since the “lift the hood” feature saved owners both time and money.
Comfort and Safety Features
Standard equipment on Studebaker Trucks were dual windshield wipers, two arm rests, two sun visors, a cab light that would turn on and off with either hand and door switches.
Another great safety feature of the Studebaker 2R’s was it’s K-member. A “K” member is a cross member in a vehicle with a longitudinally-mounted engine and includes the engine mounts. It was essentially a brace. It was added for extra strength on the frames. It was rigid, large, and gave firm support to the engine mounts. It reinforced and firmed up Studebaker Trucks’s entire front structure.
The Studebaker 2R Light Truck Collector Truck
There are several reasons why the Studebaker 2R Truck is a good collectors vehicle as well as an excellent restoration project. First of all, the truck sold well but nevertheless they are rare to find today on the street. About 170,000 2R trucks were produced for the 1949-1953 model years. The 2R Series all the way from 1949 to 1953 didn’t change much at all year to year until the introduction of the 3R Series in 1954. The 53 Studebaker was the last in that series of post World War Two sleek designs.
Most parts throughout the five years of the series are interchangeable.There are several suppliers around the country that stock Studebaker Truck parts. A check online will show you many of these. Just about any part you require for a restoration is available.
As of this writing it appears that the 2R series Studebaker’s sell between about $7,500 to $30,000. This range is normal because the condition of the vehicle and extent of the restoration can vary widely.
Two good sites for Studebaker clubs are studebakerdriversclub.com and theantiquestudebakerclub.com
(Photos are from author’s private collection)