Transcending Transtar – Brent Maxwell’s Custom 1957 Studebaker Transtar
By Justin Banner
Photo by: Detroit Steel Wheels
When it comes to rare trucks, you don’t get much rarer than any Studebaker Transtar E-Series. So, it’s a treat to see Brent Maxwell’s 1957 Transtar treated to such modifications.
These trucks were built from 1955 to 1963 (as 1964 models), however the Transtar name was only used on the trucks from 1956 to 1958. So, this already rare truck is a bit rarer than a regular Studebaker E-Series thanks to its Transtar naming. That being said, it didn’t stop them from making this into a very wild ride.
The entire truck was built by Andy’s Hotrods and Restoration but the paint was done by Brent with help from Tony Aebi, Rowdy Weaver, and Jeremy Kirk. See, Brent works as a Strategic Account Manager at Transtar Refinish and is a skilled painter himself. It is a rolling catalog of their products, save for the body filler. It starts with their OR2001 Luxury DTM primer before being shot in 6161 Epoxy Primer Black. Then it uses their 6241 Kwik Seal Black under the HS Basecoat of Midnight Jade Metallic, a Nissan color with code EAN. Finally, it’s shot in Transtar’s 20-0101 Deep Gloss Clear and polished to a beautiful shine.
That gorgeous paint needed a suspension that wouldn’t disappoint. So, an Accuair air bag kit with their Endo CVT compressor and E-Level system was used in conjunction with TCI’s Mustang II front suspension with double convoluted bags and external shocks. The rear is a RideTech Four-Link with Shockwave shocks. Andy Allen built the frame and it was then coated by Prismatic Powder in Rusty Ronnie Wrinkle finish. The axle rear is a Ford 9-inch carrier with posi-traction.
A set of Moser axles are used to take the torque of the 0.80-inch bored over Studebaker 289-cu.in. V8 and its Paxton R2 Supercharger. A Holley Sniper EFI tells the engine how much fuel and when while a matching Holley EFI gauge set tells the driver what the engine is doing. The ignition and headlight switches are from Ron Francis while a Painless Wiring made wiring it in, well, painless. Keeping it cool is a Champion Radiator with a Billet Specialties overflow tank.
The Isky Racing Camshaft bumps the valvetrain while an MSD Ignition ignites the supercharged air and fuel mixture. Those spent gasses escape through a custom Magnaflow Exhaust system. The power is then sent to a Muncie T-10 Four-Speed manual with a Centerforce Dual Friction Clutch, but Brent rows through the gears with a Hurst Shifter. His feet use a Wilwood True-Bar pedal assembly for the brakes and clutch with a Lokar Midnight series gas pedal. His other hand wraps around a Grant Steering Wheel attached to an Ididit Steering Column with a Unisteer Electric Power Steering system.
Under those Rusty Ronnie Wrinkled Detroit Steel Wheels Artilleries (20×8 front and 20×11 rear) are a set of Wilwood brakes front and rear. Those white wall tires are modern Nitto 555 G2 tires in 245/45 front and 315/35R20 rear but are made vintage looking by Diamondback Classic Radials. Keeping this truck still when it’s not moving is an E-Stopp electric e-brake kit. The rest of the interior is custom leather with diamond stitching on the seat and door cards. The custom bed cover of the truck hides the fuel cell and air tank of the Accuair system but raising the hatch and lowering the tailgate reveals it all to the world.
It’s always fun to see someone not be afraid to take a rare vehicle and make a custom ride out of it. It’s just additionally ironic that this Studebaker Transtar would end up in the Transtar Autobody Booth. What Brent has created out of this ’57 is more than drool worthy and we expect it to see more magazines and features in the near future.