11/15/2015 – Earlier this past week I received an inspection order from One Guard / Road Ready inspections to take a look at this Studebaker truck for a client out in Minnesota. The inspection order stated that the truck was a, “1949 Studebaker M5 pickup.” I did some research before going out to take a look at the truck and discovered that the model designation for this truck is a 2R5, not a M5. 1948 was the last year for the M5 and it had a very late 1930’s look about it. The ’49 to ’53 Studebaker pickups had in my opinion a much more rounded and aerodynamic look about them.
I met with Larry Mathews at Old Boyz Toys in Arundel, Maine where the truck was located. Even though it was dark by the time I got there I could see that there were many classic vehicles, mostly old trucks, on the premises.
Like anything different that you see for the first time, that first impression becomes the benchmark for how the rest of the inspection is going to go. The truck didn’t look too bad from about 20 feet away. As I approached the truck, evidence of previous bodywork could be seen under the paint job. Usually what I do in cases like this is to get as many photos of the problem areas as I can. The next thing I’m looking at is rust. There were obvious areas of rust repair with body filler on the outside and inside of the cab and on the inner sides of the truck bed.
From a mechanical aspect the truck was almost all there. The only things I noticed that were missing was the drivers vent window post and window channel, the spare tire, and jack. The spare and jack might have been factory options and not necessary to drive the truck.
The motor was a little reluctant to start and required the use of a jump pack to spin the 6 volt starter. Once it started it ran smoothly and didn’t seem to smoke. The transmission and clutch engaged both first and reverse quietly and there were no unusual noises while moving it back and forth in the garage.
A road test is one of the most important parts of the pre-purchase inspection. Unfortunately in my opinion, this truck was not ready to be road tested. The headlights were dim and it did not appear that the charging system was operating properly. The turn signals were not all working and a taillight was out. The tires were badly dry rotted and the rear tires were bald. I was told the truck wasn’t registered. Not a good combination for an evening drive on a cold fall night.
Overall this truck is a great candidate for a complete restoration or street rod. It still needs work just to be an occaisional driver. Despite areas of rust under the cab it is still a relatively solid truck. I love the body lines on this thing. I would give this a condition rating of 4-.