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Charlie Stuart’s Indianapolis Studebaker Dealerships

Charlie Stuart's Indianapolis Studebaker Dealership 1955

Selling the Studebaker must have been a good business for Charlie Stuart as he had a number of different showrooms in the Indianapolis, Indiana area in the fifties. The photo above shows his Southside Motors location at 871-75 Virginia Avenue with a 1955 model visible inside on the showroom floor. According to the Indiana Album, Stuart bought this location in 1955 that previously had been Kruse Motors.

A different location is shown below, possibly during the 1954 model year while its grand opening celebration was being held. This Charlie Stuart Studebaker outlet once stood at 1136 North Meridian Street and today the site is a parking lot.

The bottom photo in the post shows yet another salesroom in an unknown location during 1952, year Studebaker celebrated its 100th anniversary. The photos are loaned to the Indian Album by Chuck Stuart, who we are trying to help find more detailed information about any of the three different locations of Stuart Studebaker.

We were able to find an article in the November 1953 Popular Science, which covers a 1953 Coupe that Stuart had converted into a roadster. If you can add anything more about the dealerships, please send us a comment.

  • Charlie Stuart's Indianapolis Studebaker Dealership 1954
  • Charlie Stuart Inc. at 1136 North Meridian Street. Below is another unknown location.Charlie Stuart's Indianapolis Studebaker Dealership 1952

13 responses to “Charlie Stuart’s Indianapolis Studebaker Dealerships

  1. Great photos and story….and he even gave Top Value stamps ! I sure would love to have some of the cars and most of the signs, ha ! Thanks again for all your coverage David.

    • I’ll try to post a picture of it. It was a customized 1953 Studebaker V-8 Commander furnished by Charlie Stuart, Inc. It was made to be the Pace Car for the September 19, 1953 Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Charlie Stuart was my father and he told me (I was 10 at the time) he didn’t realize how much the weight would change when he cut the top off the car. That’s why they had to reinforce the frame.

    • A lot of talent WASTED in that company. Once Paul Hoffmann left for the World Bank the spunk that produced their early full automatic transmission and the Bourke-Loewy coupes and might have given us the Porsche V6 engine and independent suspension four door sedans dissipated with Packard and John DeLorean calling the shots. There were Indy drivers working for the company like Mauri Rose, but the roadholding was never tasked with exceeding the run of the mill mushmobile standards of the USA. Despite the test track being open to the very early SCCA events there was scant interest in motorsport or the sporty car crowd in the marketing effort. They were still pitching Studebakers as transport for prairie farmers and traveling salesmen. Then look at how BMW recovered from that same situation.

  2. I think you will find the second photo is also from 1955. The leftover ’54’s have been pushed out of the showroom for the new ’55’s. Just between the table leg and the woman sitting turned in the chair with her legs crossed is enough of the chrome snout of the ’55 showing to identify it. Plus the leading edge of the raised hood of the car being examined by the men shows a ’55 profile. A ’54 hood would have the narrow dip in the center like the ones outside.

  3. The ’50 Champion 2 door that I owned several years ago was purchased at Roy Gale Motors at 3815 E. 10th St. in Indianapolis which called itself “Indianapolis’ oldest Studebaker dealer.” I bought it in 2008 in suburban Indy and, thanks to a lot of original paperwork that came with it, actually tracked down and contacted the original female owner who was in her 80s. With options the car sold for $1887 and when she ordered it she put down a deposit of $5. Unfortunately I don’t see a way to attach photos here or I would because I have several of the car, the purchase order, and also one of the dealership.

  4. Great photos !

    In the first photo, I can just see a ’46-’48 De Soto S-11 peeking out from behind the showroom, at the left margin of the photo.

    Frank McMullen

  5. Anyone else see the remote radio broadcast with “Paula and Jerry” going on in the showroom in the second picture? Great photos!

  6. I don’t recall Charlie Studebaker being at 1136 North Meridian but I do know he had one at 1510 North Meridian. Later on he also owned an Oldsmobile Franchise.

  7. Charlie Stuart later partnered with Ray Skillman and the dealership was called Stuart-Skillman Oldsmobile at the corner of US-31 south and Stop 12 road in south Indianapolis.
    This corner lot had been the site of an old furniture store. This is the site of the current Ray Skillman Buick/ GMC store.

  8. Both my father and myself were named Charles, so they called him Charlie and me Chuck. My father sold the Charlie Stuart Oldsmobile, Inc. dealership (located at 1510 N Meridian Street in Indianapolis, IN) to myself and Ray Skillman on August 1, 1979. Ray & I built a new dealership at 8424 US 31 South, Indianapolis, IN. We renamed it Stuart-Skillman Oldsmobile, Inc. and moved in on January 1, 1980.

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