Revisiting Classics: The Studebaker M-Series

1946 Studebaker M5 truck

Known for its aerodynamic shape and easy-to-recognize “wind wings,” the Studebaker M-series is an American classic. There were no other American-made trucks that could be found with the wing window vents during World War II, making these trucks unique in their appeal.

Various Models

1942 Studebaker M16 Truck

There were a few different versions of the M-Series Studebaker, both pre- and post-WWII. There was the half-ton pickup called the M5. There was also the M15, which was a three-quarter-ton version. For those who wanted something a little bigger, they could opt for the one and a half-ton version called the M15A. These all came with the Champion 169 Ci engine. For those opting for the M16 or nearly 2-ton version, the Commander 226 Ci engine was standard.

During the war, there was the Studebaker US6. This model was produced to government specifications, with a different nose and engine configuration. These came in both the 6×6 and 4×4 versions. In early 1945, Studebaker began making the M-series for civilians. They came with the Studebaker US6 cab and swing-out windshield known for its government use.

There were a variety of body styles the Studebaker M Series came in. The M5, M15, and M15A were the only factory pickup beds offered. Because of the popularity, there were several custom configurations making for a variety of versions.

With the larger Commander 226 Ci engine in the M16, the front fenders also had a spacer to help accommodate the larger wheel track in the front. This made for a different use of fire wall in the cab, but the rest of the metal was the same.

Some Quick Studebaker M History

This Studebaker series first saw production in November 1940, gaining action during World War II. It was of particular use in the construction of Burma Road in Japan. Many of these trucks could also be found in Russia as part of U.S. aid.

In 1941, when Studebaker brought the M-Series out, it used “Coupe Express” in the name for advertising purposes. These models shouldn’t be confused with the Studebaker Coupe Express of the late 1960s. It’s important to note these trucks were never officially noted as the Coupe Express.

Today, if you are watching any classic World War II films and see a large U.S. pickup truck, you are likely seeing one of the Studebaker M series.

Finding a Studebaker M Today

Since the Studebaker M was first available to civilians over 70 years ago, it should be no surprise that you will be hard-pressed to find one of these classic pickup trucks today. Even so, it is possible if you are willing to hunt around. Expect any M Series that you find for sale to have either had plenty of restoration work already put into it or require your own work. The price varies greatly based on the quality of the vehicle, and you might spot one for under $5,000. The models with that price tag, however, will definitely require some attention from you. If you want one with restoration work already complete, expect to spend a bit more, with some M pickups in good condition being listed for over $35,000. The more typical price is between $10,000 and $15,000.   

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