Photographed and Reviewed by Peter Brown
Cute, quirky, or downright ugly; whatever you thought of the Studebaker Champions and Commanders from 1950-51, you had to admit they were distinct and slightly futuristic (for mid-century). Sixty years later they're positively charming, which brings us to today's subject. It's not just a repaint; it's more of a rebirth. I've had DM's Steel Mist Metallic (gray) 1950 Studebaker Champion convertible for years, and it's such a great model I never thought they'd top it, but they have with this new LE. Just look at that face—how could you not love it?
For starters, they've removed the front bumper guard that was hiding the grill, and while they were at it they removed the rear bumper guard as well. The buttery yellow paint is flawlessly applied, and really allows the car's lines to show through in a way the dark gray metallic never could.
Of course, the model was already terrific, with its removable skirts, working front fender vents, antenna, and fuel filler door, and just look at that convertible top. Every snap, welt, fastener, and clip has been replicated in chrome against a fabric background that's very convincing, and the top is fully lined as well.
You may notice in these images that the top isn't quite resting on the windshield header—an oversight on my part that was only noticed after the fact, when the photos were enlarged. It takes a bit of care, but the top will sit properly on the header as designed.
The model already benefited from P-E scripts, which are sealed as expected. Danbury changed from full wheel covers on the gray car to hubcaps on this LE to differentiate the two further, but the added bonus is a nice little detail in the form of an apple green pinstripe on the rims that you have to look closely to notice. Nice touch, Moe. :-)
The beautiful red interior and gray carpeting, as well as the tan top, are all carried over from the gray model, but they work equally well with this paint scheme. In addition to the usual readable gauges and separately cast cranks and handles, working sun visors and tilting seat backs round out the interior features nicely.
The boot cover has simulated wrinkles and stretch marks, and painted snaps for added realism. Notice the welt separating the rear fender from the body—a nice detail that DM thankfully thought to include.
In the close-up view below, you get a sense of just how many separately cast parts comprise the dash, and you get a closer look at some of the great detail like the steering wheel rim and hub, and even the clear and chrome hood ornament looming up ahead.
Under the hood there's all the detail you could ask for, including all necessary plumbing and wiring. Note the realistic scissor-type hinges complete with springs, and the windshield washer hose snaking its way up to the underside of the hood.
Out back we have the usual detailed trunk complete with jack and removable spare tire, but this model also comes with its own six-piece set of matching luggage. Be sure to read the unpacking and care instructions that come with the model so you can figure out how to make them all fit inside the trunk.
In the two shots below we see a lot more of the roof detail, including two chrome-tipped welts, the lower one complete with snaps picked out in silver, which continue around the perimeter of the top, all against a background of tan fabric. The chrome-framed, split rear window is just icing on the cake.
This yellow version omits the optional back-up lights that were included on the gray model, though you might not have noticed them as they were mostly hidden behind the bumper guards. Maybe they should have left the lights off that car and put them on this one. Oh well, hindsight (no pun intended) is always 20/20, besides I'm not complaining; actually, I'm glad to see these variations between the LE and the standard issue.
In many ways this model does what its predecessor did not. The light-colored paint really shows off this car's unique lines to much better advantage, and it eschews bumper guards in favor of a cleaner, less cluttered appearance. It also looks smashing parked next to the teal LE coupe. They're great models with top-notch build quality and I definitely recommend them both, especially if you don't have the prior standard issues.