The 1955 Studebaker Stiletto Is a Mysterious One-Off Rescued From a Junkyard

1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find 11 photos
Photo: Undiscovered Classics/YouTube
1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find1955 Studebaker Stiletto junkyard find
Have you ever heard about the Studebaker Stiletto? You haven't? Well, that makes sense because the Stiletto is not really a Studebaker. This vehicle wasn't conceived in the company's South Bend plant, but it's a one-off project built by some guy in the 1950s. It's not even called the Stiletto.
Confused? Let me explain. This quirky roadster was recently unearthed from Fiberglass Farms, a junkyard dedicated to fiberglass-bodied classics. The car is pretty much a mystery and it has no historical significance, yet the folks at Undiscovered Classics decided to restore it. And that's something worth reporting about. Additionally, this fiberglass one-off looks unlike anything else built in the 1950s.

Why is it called a Studebaker, you ask? Well, that's simply because the Stiletto (it was named like that by the current owner) rides on a Studebaker frame. There's no info on which chassis was used, but Studebaker had quite a few vehicles in showrooms at the time. Our host says this roadster was built sometime between 1955 and 1957.

Studebaker had already introduced its first post-WW2 designs, including the redesigned Land Cruiser, Commander, and Champion. Needless to say, whoever built this one-off likely used a chassis from any of these cars. But I guess that bit of info isn't very relevant since this drop-top is actually shorter than contemporary Studies. But it may be a hint that the one-off was initially powered by one of the company's L-head six-cylinder engines.

The story goes the Stiletto was born as a father and son project. And based on how it looks, it spent decades in junkyards. In fact, there's no evidence it was ever driven on public roads. It's a good thing the original builder went with fiberglass because this thing would have disintegrated if it had a steel body.

But the fiberglass construction is one of the main things that got my attention. Because it was still a new thing back in the 1950s. The first American production vehicle with a fiberglass body arrived in 1952. It was called the Woodill Wildfire and hit the streets about a year before the Chevrolet Corvette.

Then there's the Kaiser Darrin. Shown in prototype form in September 1952, two months before Chevrolet debuted the Corvette, the Darrin went into production in early 1954. This means the man behind this mysterious Studebaker-based rig was among the pioneers. Much more so since he didn't have the backing of a large company.

So, what's in store for this so-called Studebaker Stilleto? Well, fortunately enough, our host wants to restore it and put it on the road. However, the restoration will include various design alterations, including a makeover for the rear fascia. You can check out these sketches to get a better idea about what's going to change. But it will probably take years before the Stiletto becomes a restored rig.

Until then, you can see it being rescued from Fiberglass Farms. You may also want to check out the 1955 Cadillac Die Valkyrie concept car. It was designed by Brooks Stevens, and it may have served as inspiration for this fiberglass roadster.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea profile photo

Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories