As a classic car enthusiast, I get pretty hyped up whenever I see an oldtimer coming out of long-term storage. And that’s regardless of whether it’s an almost pristine, million-dollar Ferrari or a rusty and mundane Chevrolet. But it all gets even better when the car in question is very dirty and gets its first wash and detailing in decades. That’s the very definition of “satisfying.”
Yup, you guessed it, it’s time for yet another “first wash” video. This time around starring a 1955 Studebaker Champion that’s been sitting for no fewer than 32 years. And while it’s not a proper barn find, this coupe spent more than three decades completely abandoned in a shipping container, gathering dust and grime and becoming home to not only rats but also hornets.
It’s a sad fate for any classic vehicle but this Champion is bound to have a great 2023. Because not only the owner decided it was time to revive it and put it back on the road, but also commissioned the folks at “WD Detailing” to get it cleaned up.
While the Studebaker wasn’t particularly dirty on the outside, the cabin was a complete mess, hiding a hornet nest under one of the front seats and a rat nest under the rear bench. The latter was quite massive, the largest our host has seen to date. On top of that, at least one rat was still living there when the Studebaker arrived at his shop.
Reviving the interior was a rather disgusting affair but everything cleaned up nicely in the end. Sure, the owner will have to change all the carpets, but at least the interior doesn’t smell all that awful. As for the exterior, the dusty and grimy Champion morphed into a surprisingly clean survivor.
There are no major rust issues to talk about, the chrome trim still shines, and the two-tone paint looks great given that it’s a few good decades old. I’m pretty sure yellow over white is a rare exterior color combo on these cars, while the two-tone grey upholstery provides a great contrast.
Anyway, the almost 70-year-old Studebaker looks the part now and it’s ready to hit the road. As soon as it gets an engine, that is, because this Champion lost its original mill a long time ago. This two-door coupe is part of the fourth-generation Champion, which Studebaker offered from 1953 to 1956. This particular model year is recognizable through its thick front, chrome-laden bumper, and side trim piece that runs across the entire length of the car and becomes wider on the rear doors and fenders.
The fourth-gen Champion was available with six-cylinder engines only. Introduced with a 170-cubic-inch (2.8-liter) engine rated at 85 horsepower in 1953, the Champion was updated with a 186-cubic-inch (3.0-liter) six-cylinder good for 101 horsepower in 1955. The car you see here left the factory with the latter.
But that’s enough talk for today, so hit the play button below to watch this sleek and pretty two-door coupe get its first wash in 32 years. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch.