I consider this Speedster an incredible follow up to Danbury’s 1953 Commander Starliner hardtop. Here, DM’s color choice for the Speedster is, well, over the top. You couldn’t pull this off with a fifty five Ford Victoria or even a Bel Air. But on the Studie Speedster it somehow fits as flawlessly as black & white on a penguin. The car wears the bright Hialeah Green and Sun Valley Yellow like a bright badge of courage. It’s in your face as equitably as the car’s outlandish styling; and that’s what makes it work.
The Speedster was only made in 1955 and it came out midway during the year’s production run. Only 2,215 of them were built and at a healthy price tag of $3,253 per copy. It was produced within the Studebaker President Series and ran a 185 HP Passmaster eight-cylinder motor. What a great car for DM to replicate. And if you liked the red Starliner hardtop, you will positively adore the Speedster. It does not play well with others and will dominate attention if displayed with lesser diecasts. The detailing is remarkable on this sleek mid-fifties styling exercise. DM’s use of ample chrome parts is nothing short of amazing. It’s fit and scaling is wonderful. The engine and interior compartments are full of authentic touches that I’ll expand on later. The chassis and trunk appointments and the ‘workability’ of its parts are only upstaged by the vehicle’s wheels.
Here we go again; but the wire wheels on this little beauty may be the best in the 1:24th diecast kingdom to date. The wheel is a compilation of a steel stamping, chrome trim rings and wires. The wires are not as long as previous models and they appear more correctly rounded than flat. Mid-sized whitewalls are mounted and look great. The spare is a standard steel wheel and lies on a beautifully patterned trunk floor. The jacking tools are on the passenger side and crafted perfectly. Note the simulated black weather stripping around the trunk opening. Workability features: Opening fuel filler door. Removable spare. Internal door hinging and scissors sprung hood. The seatbacks fold and so do the sun visors. The side front fender vents function. The emblems and scripts on the model are flawlessly detailed and scaled to 1:24th. The color breaks and upholstery pattern are exceptionally realistic.
The windshield wipers are nicely dimensionalized and that attribute flows into the passenger’s cabin. The dash, floor and inside door panels exhibit outstanding detail. Not only do the window cranks look great but take a minute to look down into the door. Yeah, into the door. You will see the simulation of the top of the window frame in its down position. But wait; there’s more. (Too much TV) Check out the upper chrome molding of the roofline. You see where the windows, if they were in the up position, would fit in the recess. You see the rear window in the down position as well. Door locks are scaled better here too. And the engine! Enjoy the fuel lines and linkage. They just don’t get any better. The exhaust system has the right coloration, brake linkage is fashioned in metal and the suspension components look terrific.
This is an immensely pleasing little model. It looks as close as any diecast I have seen to appearing as a shrunken 1:1.
-Tony F Perrone