Dave Hartshorn's 1948 Studebaker Starlight Coupe (from April 2004)

Dave Hartshorn was born in Florida, raised in Connecticut, and retired back to Florida in 2000. While on vacation in 1999 in Ft. Lauderdale Dave and his wife were riding down the highway when he looked off to the side and saw a Fiat Topolin and a ‘34 Ford Roadster parked in front of a shop. Dave took the next exit and found the building he had seen in an industrial park. Having been a car guy all of his life, and having had old cars and hot rods for 35 years, he wanted to check it out. The shop was Larry Bogard’s, a well known specialty car dealer (who has unfortunately since past away). Dave has always liked the “odd” cars, and he currently also owns a 1940 Studebaker Coupe, plus a red white and blue Rambler Scrambler. When he walked inside there were 7 or 8 other cars in the shop besides the ones he had seen out front. Then he saw it! The unmistakable bullet nose of a Studebaker. As it turns out, this particular car is a 1948, but with the 1950 nose.

After moving 4 or 5 cars to get the Stude out, Dave got to drive it and just knew he had to have it. He shipped it back to his then home in Connecticut and enjoyed the looks, questions and comments at the shows he’d go to. Everybody seemed to have a story about a Studebaker, and it seems there is no in between....you either like it or you don’t.

The Studebaker Starlight Coupe was way ahead of it’s time with the styling. It has been compared to the Tucker because of the bullet nose look. It has a wrap-around back window that people would comment on all the time. “You can’t tell if it’s coming or going”.

The exterior is accentuated by PPG Vanilla Shake paint with purple pin striping and a set of American Torque Thrusts, ‘48 Chevy frenched taillights and a nice stance achieved with a set of dropped front spindles on a Mustang II front end. Inside you’ll find the stock dash with custom gauges and the stock “bullet” in the middle of the cluster, an added console, leather wrapped LeCarra steering wheel on a tilt GM column, CD stereo system and mauve cloth upholstery. Under the hood resides a well detailed 1969 Police motor displacing 396 cubic inches dumping into a 2-1/2 inch exhaust with Flowmasters for a great hot rod sound, and a Turbo 400 handling the shifting duties. Plus with 2.90:1 gears in the 9-inch Ford rear end it goes down the road nicely, and can cruise all day at 75 or 80 mph.

After retiring in 2000 and moving down to Parish, Florida the car was sold in 2001, only to be bought back by Dave Hartshorn in 2002. Not too long after we took these pictures at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals South in Tampa last October we found out that the car had been sold by Dave again, and the new owner is Alan Robinson of Dade City. We’ve actually ran into Alan at a show, and he said he’s been having a ball with the car....and even saw us taking the photos of it for this feature at the Florida State Fairground when it still belonged to Dave. And as always, it still draws quite a crowd at the shows, and gathers its fair share of awards. CN