Studebaker Toys and Model Kits

Studebaker Toys and Model Kits

by Bill Jackameit

All of the toys and models discussed below are in my personal collection. I have restricted this article to less costly items. As such, this is by no means an exhaustive listing of toy and model Studebakers. For convenience, I have organized the discussion by manufacturer.

AMT 1953 Starlight and Avanti. These 1:25 scale plastic model kits were issued in the Modern Classics series, the Starliner as #T396 and the Avanti as #T413. Molded in white plastic, they are quality kits for the experienced model builder. Both have opening hoods and detailed engine compartments. AMT reissues kits from time to time. The examples I have are from the mid-70's, but I believe both have been reissued since. The box art for both kits is quite nice, with photographs of the actual completed models. While I don't believe either of these kits is currently available, they were made in large numbers and can probably be found for around $20 each in unbuilt condition.

Anguplas 1960 Lark, 1962 GT Hawk, and Avanti. These 1:86 (HO) scale plastic models were made in Spain. All three of mine are light grey, but I believe they came in other colors. Anguplas also made a 1916 Studebaker Big Six. Relatively hard to find, each sells for around $20 if you can find them.

Avon Products 1951 Starlight Coupe. The 1951 Starlight is one of several small scale special interest car aftershave decanters produced by Avon Products along with numerous larger classic car and truck decanters. At about 5" long, the Avon Starlight Coupe decanter is made of smoked blue glass with a plastic tail piece. It comes in a box with a short history of the car and a nice side view picture of a Starlight Coupe.. The current value of this item is about $10 in new condition with box. Empty Avon aftershave decanters can be found at yard sales, flea markets, or antique dealers for $3 to $5.

Banthrico 1957 Golden Hawk and 1904 Studebaker Electric. Banthrico of Chicago made a series of heavy metal special interest car banks, including a 1957 Golden Hawk and a 1904 Studebaker Electric. They are about the size of plastic promo cars. Banthrico banks came with either a pewter or antique brass finish, and were often sold or given away by banks and credit unions. My Golden Hawk is pewter and my Studebaker Electric is antique brass. Although somewhat crude, they make nice bookshelf pieces. Banthrico banks typically run about $15 to $30.

Dinky 1958 Golden Hawk. The original Dinky toys were made by an English company which went out of business in the 1970's. A number of Studebaker cars and trucks were included in the Dinky line. All of these are now quite expensive, commanding prices of $100 plus in mint boxed condition. In the late 1980's, Matchbox Toys (currently owned by Mattel) acquired the rights to Dinky and began issuing a series of high quality 1:43 scale diecast models under the Dinky name. So far, the only Studebaker in the Matchbox Dinky series is a 1958 Golden Hawk (#DY-26) in gold with a white fin insert. It even has a correct 1958 Virginia License plate. A green version has also been issued. Both are available from the Studebaker National Museum Store.

EKO Avanti and Gran Turismo Hawk As with the Anguplas models discussed above, these were also made in Spain. They appear to use the same molds as Anguplas, but with plastic bases. Several colors of both the Avanti and the Hawk were issued. They typically came in a plastic bag on a card rather than in a box. Although they tend to hold their shape better than the Anguplas models, they are not as valuable in that they are easier to find.

Galoob Macro and Micro Machine Avantis. Galoob is best known for its "Micro Machines" plastic models which are very small at about 1" in length. A gold Avanti is included along with a Mercedes Coupe in Micro Lights #16. These models have working headlights and taillights and were priced at $3 to $5 in stores. The larger but lesser known "Macro Machines" line includes a blue Avanti which is #4 in the "Smash-Ups" series. The Macro Machines Avanti is about the size of a Matchbox car (approximately 1:64 scale) and has a front bumper which makes a "crash" sound when pressed. This model was also available in Gold without the "Smash-Up" bumpers. I found a mint but unpackaged example for 50 cents at a flea market. Sometimes you get lucky! I would put the collector value of the #16 set and either of the Macro Machines Avantis at about $8 to $10 new in the original packaging.

Other Galoob Micro Machines Studes. Galoob Micro Machines five car sets include #8 Detroit Classics which has an aqua 53 Starliner Hardtop. This set also includes a 53 Packard Caribbean convertible in yellow. Set #17 Show Cars has a customized 1950 Bulletnose coupe called the "Starlighter" which is also in aqua. Some special packages have an additional five free cars for a total of ten cars. Price is about $4 in discount stores or $5 to $6 in toy stores. Scale is about 1:100. Also available is Set #28, Decades: The 50's, which includes the 53 Hardtop in black along with a 57 Chevy, a diesel-electric locomotive, and a Lockheed Constellation. The 1953 Starliner has recently appeared both in green and in gold as one of five "free" cars in Galoob 10 packs.

Georgia Marble 1948 Starlight Coupe. Another bookshelf item, this 3.5" marble (what else) model is a "limited edition" of 3,000 pieces. Detail is good considering the material from which it is made, and the car sits on a base with "48 Studebaker" carved into it. Other special interest cars are available in the series. These sell for around $5 at highway souvenir shops in the Southeast. The example I have is #30 of 3,000 so there may still be plenty out waiting to be found.

Jo-Han 1959 and 1962 Larks. Jo-Han produced a line of promotional models which were often given away by new car dealers. The idea was to have the kid drag dad to the dealer for a test drive so the kid would get the toy car. At least that is how I got my two. Made of plastic in 1:25 scale, both Larks have friction motors for the rear wheels. The 59 is a red two-door hardtop and the 62 is a brown convertible with bench seat. It seems likely that other colors were available as well. Expect to pay from $50 to $80 for nice examples of Jo-Han promos. Jo-Han also produced a 1962 Lark Hardtop and a 1962 Lark Convertible as 1:25 scale model kits. Both were molded in blue so they could be built without having to be painted. Numerous customizing accessories, such as continental kits and fender skirts, were included with the kits. Expect to pay $15 to $25 for either hardtop or covertible in unbuilt condition, if you can find one.

Johnny Lightning Frankenstude and 1961 Champ Truck. These diecast models are from Playing Mantis, which has its headquarters in South Bend. Both are approximately 1:64 scale. The Frankenstude is a chopped custom bulletnose coupe. The Champ is the short wide box version and has an opening hood. Some versions of the Champ have a removable camper top. Each comes in several colors, and the quality is excellent at the price. Most colors are "limited editions" with production runs of around 20,000. Retail on these is $3 to $4 each in stores if you can find them, or about $6 from diecast dealers. The yellow and purple Frankenstudes and the first issue gold Champ seem to be the hardest ones to locate.

Liberty Classics 1916 Studebaker Truck. Liberty Classics manufactures a line of 1-25 scale prewar trucks including Fords, Chevys, and a 1916 Studebaker in various iterations. Particularly attractive is the Oliver Farm Equipment version which is green with black fenders and yellow roof. The 1916 Studebaker Truck is a current model avaialable from diecast dealers and farm supply stores such as Central Tractor (which is where I found mine). I also have the Tractor Supply Company version in red, black, and white which is a run of 3,000. Most versions are priced at about $20.

Matchbox Toys 1964 Lark Wagonaire. The original Matchbox toys were made in England by Lesney Products which went out of business in 1983. Matchbox toys are currently made by Tyco. Matchbox #42 in the mid-1960's was a blue Studebaker Lark Wagonaire complete with sliding roof and a plastic hunter and dog. As with most Matchbox items, detail qulity is excellent. Current value of the Matchbox Wagonaire is about $25 to $30 in mint condition with box and the two plastic figures. Another English company, Corgi Toys, issued a similiar 1:64 scale Lark Wagonaire at about the same time. While not of as high a quality as the Matchbox version, Corgi issued several variations including an ambulance and a T.V. camera car with the camera sticking up through the open roof.

Palmer Plastics 1964 Avanti. This 1:25 scale model kit was molded in off-white with black chassis and chrome trim. No windows or windshield is included nor does the hood open, so there is no engine. Issued as #6404 at a retail price of 98 cents, it is not up to the standard of the AMT or Jo-Han kits. It is hard to find in unbuilt condition. Expect to pay $8 to $10 if you can find one.

Racing Champions 1951 Starlight Coupe. Another current diecast model which indicates a renewed interest in Studebaker toys. Nicely detailed 1:60 scale with opening hood, this model has become prolific in its variations. There are stock, hot rod, and pro wrestling versions, and even one that is gold plated. More recently, police and station wagon (!!!) versions have been added. As with the Johnny Lightning models, most Racing Champions Starlights are "limited editions" with production runs of 10,000 to 20,000. Racing Champions 51 Starlights run $4 to $6 in retail stores, with diecast dealers typically charging $7 to $10 depending on the variation. The gold plated version runs about $10 in stores. The first issue dark green version is already hard to find.

Solido 1957 Silver Hawk. Solido is a French company which makes a series of 1:43 scale diecast cars. Many of the cars in the series are older U.S. and European models. Solido's 1957 Silver Hawk is actually a 1958 since it has the 1958 style round grille ornament and the detailed interior has no rear seat fixed armrest. The body is diecast, but the roof is plastic which allows it to be produced as either a coupe (#4521) and a hardtop (#4522) simply by using a different roof. This is appropriate, since Silver Hawk hardtops were offerred as export models. My favorite version is the coupe in solid black since it looks much like the Hawk I own. The Solido Hawk is also available as a hardtop in two-tone green and as a coupe in two-tone blue. This model appears to have been discontinued. Current value is about $20 to $25.

The book Studebaker Toys and Models, A Pictorial Overview by Jim Geary which was published in 1990 by Good Printers is a "must have" for any serious collector of miniature Studebakers. Over 600 Stude toys and models are cataloged in this book. The fact that only about half of the toys and models discussed above are included in the book suggests that others are out there waiting to be discovered.

Return to Main Page

Updated 10/20/99