View Full Version : 1960 Studebaker Lark...daily driver?

12-29-2017, 07:36 PM
This car came from an estate and has about 55,000 miles on a V-8. I can remember seeing these cars when they were "new". Does anyone in the group drive his or her Studebaker on a regular basis? What are your recommendations regarding enjoying the car in more temperate weather? Thank you for your experience.

12-29-2017, 07:53 PM
Welcome to the SDC Forum!

A V8 Lark can be a daily driver. First completely go over the brakes as well as other maintenance items such as ignition and lubrication. Drive it with more care and attention than a new car that can stop in much less distance. Enjoy the attention that it will receive.

EDIT: It is not the temperate weather that you should look for, but rather no salt on the roads.

Commander Eddie
12-29-2017, 08:31 PM
I keep my '55 President and '61 Champ truck in good running order and drive one or the other nearly every day. I think they actually hold up better if driven regularly. Drive it. Enjoy it. They are great and dependable transportation.

12-29-2017, 09:27 PM
Welcome to the forum!
I believe your Lark V8 will make an excellent driver, but hopefully you can avoid the salted winter roads in Michigan. Is it 2 or 4-door? Automatic or stick? Positrack rear end or conventional?

Joe H

12-30-2017, 10:47 AM
Greg, I too own a Lark('59 HT) and plan to drive it regularly. Post some pics and get on the '60 registry when time permits.
Cheers, Bill

12-30-2017, 10:55 AM
Unless already rusty (very likely at this point in time)..... I doubt you can do much harm driving it in winter conditions as well. People may frown at that, but being honest, the Larks have little value out there in collector car land (I love Larks !). Unless a father/son project (good luck) or some other emotional tie to the car: drive the fun out of it. As said before, driving it frequently keeps it loose and your mindful of little things that an old car requires from time to time. To wit, I've had my rust free, desert, 2R6 out every day this week in single digit weather. Some slight salt dust on the road.....but I'm at a point where I love to drive the truck as much as possible and weather effects in the amount of driving I do is harmless to the truck, to me and any future owner. Mind..I don't take it out in a storm, partly due to no snow tires or chains. Good luck with your new wheels. Share your experience with us here. Lots of parts still out there for Larks....fun !!

12-30-2017, 11:21 AM
Driving them in winter does not hurt them, as long as the road salt is not wet. If wet it slings into every crack and crevice in the Stude, but if dry, not so much.

12-30-2017, 12:35 PM
I drive my 60 Lark most days. If it is snowing or icy I have a newer 4 wheel drive truck. I just enjoy driving the Lark

12-30-2017, 04:41 PM
Its very doable!
I grew up in the Maine foothills in the late fifties and saw first hand what a salt and snow winter will do to any car of that vintage. Its not pretty.
Our neighbor where I grew up worked for the local power company and had a new '58 Ford supplied by the company. It was driven every day and spent nights in the heated company garage and was washed down underneath every few days. In two years it looked ready to fall apart and in three years it did.

One other thing to consider is the maintenance the Lark will require: 1K mile chassis lube, regular oil changes, tune-ups on a regular basis. There will be other things you will have to keep ahead of, all of which the local filling station could take care of up to just a few (?) years ago. Now you will have to learn to do all that of find someone willing. not trying to be discouraging just realistic. Given care the 55K mile Lark will be stone dependable.

Personally, my 55 President hibernates through the winter months.

Good luck.

12-30-2017, 04:47 PM
Welcome to the SDC and to the SDC Forum Greg! :)

Here is a very good place to start your "Journey":


There are many more helpful Links to good info, if you go to the Home Page.

Parts are here: http://studebakervendors.com

The 1960, Larks came in 6 Body Styles, which is yours?
2 Door Sedans D
4 Door Sedans T
2 Door Wagons D
4 Door Wagons T
2 Door Hardtops R
2 Door Convertibles R

The 2 "T" noted Types, had either the Low Level Deluxe Trim & Interior or the "Regal" Top of the Line Trim.

A good MANY of us do drive our Studebakers, some in good Weather and even some in All Weather.

12-30-2017, 05:18 PM
I live near Kalamazoo. I drove Larks for many years when they were even lower on the value scale. Run them til they were dangerously rusty, go out west, get another 4 door sedan for a hundred bucks. Part out the rusty one, rinse, repeat. Take them to the do it yourself car wash, blast the salt off from underneath, they were good for 4 or 5 years till the rust started to show.

In '79, I think it was, the temperature here never got over 10 degrees for the whole month of January. It was in the 20 below range at night. There were only 2 cars in our apartment complex that would run, my '62 Lark, and my roommate's '61 Lark.

My '59 with TT and a 200 lb Dieset in the trunk would plow thru a waist-high snowdrift if you got a running start.

Pack some tar in the cleft of the rear of the front fender. Spray the underside thoroughly with drain oil or Fluid Film. Wash frequently underneath, paying special attention to spots where mud and salt poultices accumulate. Do not allow soggy wet carpeting to remain on the floor.

I have found that Hirsch's miracle paint will slow up rust, too. The only cure for rust is Tuscon AZ.

PM me if I can help further.


12-30-2017, 05:19 PM
During the winter, my '59 Lark Regal Hardtop stays in the garage as long as there it road salt on the roads to melt the snow/ice. When everything washes away and dries out, then the Lark comes out to play.

12-30-2017, 08:49 PM
Thank you for the responses. You've given me good information and preventative maintenance information that will be useful. I forgot how often we had to change oil and do tune ups. It is a four door, V8 with an automatic transmission. Thank you all for your generosity and encouragement.

Mike Van Veghten
12-30-2017, 10:51 PM
barra -


My 59, Lark, 2dr. wagon is my daily driver.
It sits in the driveway day and night waiting to hit the road when I'm not on a motorcycle.
Have put over 70,000 miles on it since I bought it.
The original trans. quit, a thermostat stuck closed, a water pump failed, and a fuel pump failed. With all of the oil related hubbub you may read, I've had "ZERO" oil related problems using Castrol, GTX, 20-50. I don't know what the guy I bought it from used, I don't know how many miles he put on it. But that's it current history.
Despite threads to the contrary, just use a quality oil, you'll be fine..! My engine is a testament to that. While I don't beat on it, I also don't baby it.
It also has no oil filter. A full flow filter is a very good thing. A partial flow filter isn't worth the hassle or the under hood (bad) look. Just change your oil more often (I do it at 3000 to 3500 miles).

Drive it, you'll be fine.


12-31-2017, 03:16 AM
You did mention "temperate weather," driving, so assume you mean weather without road salt. I guess that's what we all try to do with our driver Studebakers. There are still a fair number of us old timers who drove these as our regular transportation. We often had nothing else to drive during the 1950's-1970's, but I think that most of us have moved on. The realization that there are safer, and more comfortable cars available, has helped to preserve our collector cars. Judicious use of our little part of history is recommended, but disregard of our responsibility of stewardship can be dangerous, wasteful, and expensive.

12-31-2017, 09:33 AM
My thoughts exactly. Fuel economy has always been my number one priority, and Studebaker was always tops in it's day, but these days of smaller fuel injected engines has finally produced cars that can beat Studebaker's record. My 1950 Commander got 28 MPG in 1970 with the good gas, and now my 1999 Olds 88 can give me 34 MPG with the ethanol crap gas, so that has to be my main transportation. Also, I couldn't stand to see my Studebakers eaten up by road salt.

12-31-2017, 11:25 PM
On my Lark I added seat belts, and a LED 3rd brake light. I did a few mechanical upgrades too, but first drive it and get used to how it drives, stops etc.
My ‘60 is the best driving Stude I’ve had, I really like driving it!

01-01-2018, 06:32 AM
My -55 sedan Josephine has just got a "new" engine so she's still sitting inside but every car I've had, & I consider 70's cars to new, I've driven all year & that's what she's for too, in Sweden...

I clean the underside steel WELL, heat it up & grease it, then when in salt-season I flush it good & often & don't forget the door gaps...
For the rest I reckon it's common sense.

If the engine is sludgy under the valvecover it'll take a few oilchanges thou, but as Mike stated; use good qualite oil, it'll be easily worth it!

Replace all brake cylinders is also a well worth insurance... ;)

01-01-2018, 10:51 AM
I'll echo what Bruce said. Adding a high center-mounted brake light is cheap insurance against getting rear ended. Today's drivers are used to seeing it. After getting bumped in the rump twice, I finally learned my lesson.

01-01-2018, 10:56 AM
I'll echo what Bruce said. Adding a high center-mounted brake light is cheap insurance against getting rear ended. Today's drivers are used to seeing it. After getting bumped in the rump twice, I finally learned my lesson.

A third brake light made of lots of LED's that spell out STUDEBAKER would be nice. I've seen them for Ford.

Mike Van Veghten
01-01-2018, 10:59 AM
Halabutt wrote -
Judicious use of our little part of history is recommended, but disregard of our responsibility of stewardship can be dangerous, wasteful, and expensive.

What's that mean ?
If it means don't "drive" my old car cause it's a piece of history..!?
You do what you want, I'll do what I want. And I want to drive my old car, and will continue to do so till my end.

If it doesn't mean that, fine.


01-01-2018, 11:15 AM
Welcome from the eastern side of the state.

In case you are interested in driving during most months, there is an undercoating business in Midland Michigan called Henderson Brothers. They have been in business for at least 40 years and have done my cars until the last two. They use a product that seeps into any location and they put it into every location. I have a friend that just sold his mid 80's Ford pickup that was his daily driver for 30 yrs and the body was rust free. They did that truck when new.

Not inexpensive but way better than any smeared tar or oil spray application. Probably overkill for what you intend but FYI.


01-01-2018, 01:17 PM

Didn't mean that at all, but you in S. Cal. you have few of the weather concerns, that much or the country face. Winter driving in much of the country has the ability to destroy a car in short order. I honestly don't understand why you find fault with "judicious driving," but so be it. Some people just don't care.

01-01-2018, 04:57 PM
Hallabutt, I'm born in a snowy & salt-roaded country & I've always driven all my cars all the time; it's only(!) a matter of taking interest in maintaining your car ENOUGH, not just a little cuz ypu're gonna sell it later on since it's "just an old car".
If it IS a classic car, be nice enough to it! Then driving aint a problem at all, but if you're gonna leave it salty in the winter - pay the price!

01-01-2018, 06:14 PM
My first Studebaker was a '59 Lark two door hardtop. It was a daily driver. I drove it rain or shine. Since we do not get a lot of snow here and back then they did not use a lot of salt or brine, I never felt the rust the car had came from that, but the fact that the previous owner lived near the beach. The car was a great daily driver.

01-06-2018, 03:10 PM
Just to make it clear, I have been driving Studebakers for fifty six years. I drove them when I had not other transportation, I guess close to one third of a million miles, during that time. Over the years I used up more then my share of $100 cars. When they were a dime a dozen, I never thought twice about wringing the last drop out of a well used car. Doing a couple of restorations made me appreciate the fact that it takes a lot more work to bring them back, then it takes to judiciously drive and maintain them.

More then twenty five years ago I began to appreciate the fact that every car has a history, and that history has often become, more important then the car itself. I don't want to demean the car, because without the car there is no story. But how else can we justify the importance of a car, that maybe is not that fun to drive, that may not be that pleasing to look at, and has limited monetary value? The passage of time, has raised the value of that car, because of it's story, as a survivor.

We Stude folks may understand our cars, but many car people do not. What they do understand is a story of survival, and that is what every one of our cars has become, a survivor. In the world of old cars our Studebakers are rare, and most uninitiated can relate to the story of survival, where they maybe won't be able to relate to the car. I encourage owners to try to put together a history of their car it may enhance your enjoyment and help others appreciate it. Driving them is certainly encouraged, but it's a lot easier to judiciously maintain them, then it is to restore them!

I hope that anyone reading this, can make some sense out of this rambling diatribe, of an old man!

01-07-2018, 04:33 AM
Well & true written ! ! !