1930 Studebaker Commander 8 Victoria

250.2cid L-head straight-eight, 80 hp
3-speed manual
Modestly priced and often overlooked, Studebaker offered a very solid machine that was well-designed and built to very high standards.

All Studebaker models were powered by straight-six engines for years, although they varied in size and output, with 40bhp, 50bhp, and 60bhp versions offered. The debut of the eight-cylinder President in 1928 meant that the venerable automaker finally had an engine suitable for its top-of-the-line model. That first straight-eight was big, displacing 337 and producing 109bhp.

For 1929, eight-cylinder-power found its way into the more modest Commander series FD. While not as big as the eight from the lofty President line, it was still a silky-smooth power unit for little more than the price of the six. Depending on which of the 12 models was selected, it was priced as low as $1,495.

Except for a discrete “8” badge on the headlight tie-bar, the Commander 8 was identical to the six. The L-head eight was mated to a three-speed manual transmission and brakes were cable-actuated drums at all four corners. Solid axles were used at the front and rear of a double-drop frame. The word “solid” really did apply to the sturdy Studebaker, which was befitting a company that began building covered wagons.

There were few changes for the 1930 model year, although two body styles were dropped and several model names were changed. This Commander 8 features the Victoria body, and originally sold for $1,515.