Gary Elmore's 1953 Studebaker

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An early color photo of the Studebaker from Gary's own collection. Photo courtesy of Gary Elmore Jr.
The first version of Gary's Studebaker gained national recognition when it was featured in Car Craft August 1961.
A second version of Gary's Studebaker, featuring a trimmed roof. Photo courtesy of Gary Elmore Jr.
Gary's Studebaker was shown as the "Exotic" at the 1961 National Roadster Show. Photo from the Ron Brooks collection.
Two photos of the Exotica, from the 1961 National Roadster Show, were published in Hot Rod June 1961.
Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Gary Elmore Jr.
A rear-end shot Gary's Studebaker from the 1962 San Jose Autorama. Photo from The James Handy Photo Collection.

1953 Studebaker owned and restyled by Swanx of Oakland member Gary Elmore of Castro Valley, California. Gary was a sheet metal mechanic for several airlines, and he and a couple of friends performed all the work on the car themselves.[1] The back of the car was modified to fit 1959 Studebaker Golden Hawk fins and 1958 DeSoto quad taillights. The front and rear pans were reworked and fit with matching grills. The headlights received scalloped shades that were extended forward of headlight, using Plymouth rings. Scoops were grafted onto the hood, above the deck lid and on the fenders. Inside, the Studebaker received a custom interior made out of Terra Cotta and white Naugahyde. The car was painted a Candy Apple Tangerine in one of Gary's buddies garage. This version of Gary's Studebaker gained national recognition when it was featured in Car Craft August 1961.[2]

In 1961, Gary's Studebaker was shown as the "Exotica" at the National Roadster Show in Oakland.[3] This version featured a trimmed roof that featured scoops. In January of 1962 Gary's Studebaker was shown at the 7th San Mateo Custom, Rod & Sports Car Show. According to the souvenir program from the show, this version had been painted Gold.[4]

Where is it Now?

Gary Elmore's son, Gary Elmore Jr., is currently trying to locate his dad's old custom. If you know what happened to it, or if you have any leads or additional info to share, please get in touch with us at

Magazine Features and Appearances

Hot Rod June 1961
Car Craft August 1961


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