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1931 Studebaker Special Indy Car Touches Off Bidding War

By Steven Symes Aug 17, 2019
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By Steven Symes Aug 17, 2019
The end result was a world record.

Earlier today during Monterey Car Week, a 1931 Studebaker Special Indy Car set yet a record, netting $1,105,000 at auction. When it crossed the block at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions, it was already poised to set the record as the most expensive Studebaker ever to be sold. Thanks to an intense bidding war, the price rose well over twice the low estimate, making for an exciting time.

 As you might have already guessed, this is far from your ordinary Studebaker. The racer is significant to the history of the brand, having entered the Indy 500 three times. It also won the 1931 Pikes Peak Hill Climb, setting a course record of 17 minutes, 10.3 seconds, which helped to elevate the Studebaker name.

Built by Ab Jenkins and George Hunt, this open-wheel race car looks fantastic with a green coat of paint and white numbers. It uses a 336ci L-head inline 8-cylinder Studebaker engine with four Stromberg downdraft carburetors. Peak output is 205-horsepower at 4,200 rpm. The driver uses a 3-speed manual transmission and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes to control this car. Also included in the setup is an I-beam front axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and shock absorbers. The rear live axle also features semi-elliptical leaf springs and shock absorbers.

There have only been five owners of this car, so many have been desiring to own the well-documented racer. It has been with its current owner since 1988. That factor was likely huge during the intense bidding war today.

Among those vying for this Studebaker Special Indy Car was the board of trustees for the Studebaker national Museum, which is based in South Bend, Indiana. They have been soliciting donations for the effort. Many consider this to car to be the most important Studebaker sold in the United States in the last half a century.

Image credit: Gooding & Company

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