PDA

View Full Version : 1953 Starlight



rmmpe
11-26-2008, 06:52 PM
I've located a 1953 Starlight Coupe of interest to me. Before I jump into this I'd like to know if there's anything I should be especially concerned with.

This vehicle is essentially stock excepting the interior and drivetrain, which is now a SB Oldsmobile V8 through an automatic. The rear end is Ford. The car does run and move in what appears to be an acceptable manner (via Video). If I do go with this, I'd plan to drive it from MA to my home in Milford, PA.

Also, I'd be interested in getting info on such things as bumpers, grill inserts, front turn signals, exterior mirrors, etc.

I do not intend to restore this vehicle but rather drive it for pleasure and to-from "Cruise Night" gatherings.

Any help will be appreciated.

Carry on, regardless

Carry on, regardless

Tom B
11-26-2008, 08:10 PM
I don't know what you want, but if I were looking, I'd examine the frame, looking for rust 'swelling' and/or rust through around the floor at the base of the A pillar, the hinge column at the front of the doors. Neither are deal breakers, but are points that tell you how much work the car will need before it is 'solid.' With no swelling, and no weak floors, the car is sound.

[img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Avatar1.jpg[/img=left]
Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
'55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
(Under Construction 564 hrs.)
'05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
All Indiana built cars

Dick Steinkamp
11-26-2008, 08:17 PM
quote:Originally posted by rmmpe


Also, I'd be interested in getting info on such things as bumpers, grill inserts, front turn signals, exterior mirrors, etc.




What do you mean by "info"? Do you need these items for the car or do you need to have yours replated?

Grill surrounds are "unobtanium". They are unique to the coupes and hardtops. They rarely come up for sale and are not reproduced. Show quality ones are a grand a piece.

Grill bars are somewhat more common since they were shared with the sedans. A couple hundred for replateable ones.

Do you mean front turn signal lenses? They are available from most Studebaker vendors for $50 or so each.

Authentic, reproduced exterior mirrors are available from most Studebaker vendors for $60 or so each.

Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/Stude-a-mino%20old%20pics/oldpics6asmall.jpg http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/finished044.jpg

sweetolbob
11-26-2008, 08:21 PM
Tom B. put it very well. Just a note about the grill surrounds, grill bars and tail lights. The surrounds are 53/54 only and the bars and tail lights are 53 only.

If the car has these items you are in good shape. If they are missing they are very expensive in great shape.

You can see by my signature what my favorite Stude is.

Good luck, you've chosen a beautiful body style.

Bob


http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh263/sweetolbob/P1000416.jpg?t=1227109182

rmmpe
11-27-2008, 12:00 PM
All,
Thank you for the fast response(s). They gave me the info I needed.
The car does have surrounds (rusty) and as I am not interested in putting this in Concours condition, I'd probably paint them.
There are no front signal lights but I'd probably get small LED type for that.
Last thing (for now), the car appears to be missing a vent window. Are they also "Unobtanium"?

As far as the body style: I've lusted after this body since I was a kid, which is many, many years ago.

Again, thanks for the input. It is appreciated.

Bob

Carry on, regardless

Dick Steinkamp
11-27-2008, 12:16 PM
quote:Originally posted by rmmpe

All,
Thank you for the fast response(s). They gave me the info I needed.
The car does have surrounds (rusty) and as I am not interested in putting this in Concours condition, I'd probably paint them.
There are no front signal lights but I'd probably get small LED type for that.
Last thing (for now), the car appears to be missing a vent window. Are they also "Unobtanium"?

As far as the body style: I've lusted after this body since I was a kid, which is many, many years ago.




The grill surrounds are pot metal, so they wouldn't be rusty, but painting them is a popular option due to the high cost of chrome plating.

The stock front signal lights are located in the floating grill bars...

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/S2D%209-18-04/ae5a.jpg

Obviously others can be fabricated.

Is just the vent glass missing, or the whole assembly? Any glass shop can replace just the glass.



Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/Stude-a-mino%20old%20pics/oldpics6asmall.jpg http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/finished044.jpg

pgothard
11-27-2008, 03:53 PM
Let me throw in an opinion on this, too. If the price is right on this unit - I'd GET it!! Whether you should DRIVE it home or not is another matter! Mind you - there are repair panels available from Classic Enterprises for almost ALL of the areas that normally rot on these beauties. The big one is: if the doors "fall" when opening them - you've got doorpost problems. This is no small matter, but can also be fixed if you (or someone you know) can handle fabbing tools. This unit sounds somewhat modified. Hopefully, they did the drivetrain mods on a good original frame (and body). If not - and you're up to it - the frame can be improved by swapping it out for the beefier GT frame, as I and many others have done. Good luck on it!!

Paul (pgothard)

sweetolbob
11-27-2008, 05:25 PM
I understand the lust for this body style, caught it myself. If the glass is the problem, Dick is correct that any glass shop can handle it. If it's more than that missing contact me I have some extra hardtop vent parts.

Bob

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh263/sweetolbob/P1000416.jpg?t=1227109182

rmmpe
11-29-2008, 07:54 AM
All,
It appears the surrounds are there but the floating grills aren't. I'm pretty sure something can be fabricated, which I'll do.
As far as the vent windows go, the complete passenger side assembly is there but it looks like the Driver's side is missing, as is the front bumper. Will the Starliner windows fit ? (I seem to remember the only difference between the Starlight and Starliner is that the Starlight has a B pillar).

The tag on the body indicates the VIN of this car to be GI239II6. Any help with what that means would be helpful.

The car has newer Cadillac leather seats, new carpet, new paint, 12 volt system and the fender vents have been removed to result in smooth surfaces.

It is being sold by a man that apparently does a lot of work on Studebakers professionally. Price is right around $6K for everything he has for it.

From the many pictures I have it appears the hard stuff is done, which is good because I don't want anymore major jobs. Converting a 1960 Austin-Healey to Ford Cobra power and virtually re-making the body and frame for it, my days of big preojects are over. I'm a tinkerer and have a complete woodworking and small machine shop in my garage.

Last question: What is the bumper to bumper length of the 1953 Starlight?

Carry on, regardless

Dick Steinkamp
11-29-2008, 10:40 AM
quote:Originally posted by rmmpe

All,
It appears the surrounds are there but the floating grills aren't. I'm pretty sure something can be fabricated, which I'll do.
As far as the vent windows go, the complete passenger side assembly is there but it looks like the Driver's side is missing, as is the front bumper. Will the Starliner windows fit ? (I seem to remember the only difference between the Starlight and Starliner is that the Starlight has a B pillar).

The tag on the body indicates the VIN of this car to be GI239II6. Any help with what that means would be helpful.

The car has newer Cadillac leather seats, new carpet, new paint, 12 volt system and the fender vents have been removed to result in smooth surfaces.

It is being sold by a man that apparently does a lot of work on Studebakers professionally. Price is right around $6K for everything he has for it.

From the many pictures I have it appears the hard stuff is done, which is good because I don't want anymore major jobs. Converting a 1960 Austin-Healey to Ford Cobra power and virtually re-making the body and frame for it, my days of big preojects are over. I'm a tinkerer and have a complete woodworking and small machine shop in my garage.

Last question: What is the bumper to bumper length of the 1953 Starlight?

Carry on, regardless


Check the driver's side carefully to make sure the entire vent assembly is missing. The glass does not have a frame on the back side, so if the glass is missing, it may look like there is nothing there when in fact it is only the glass that is gone. If the assembly is missing, I believe any assembly from a C body from 53-61 will fit (not absolutely sure of this, however).

No Starliner side glass (or ANY window parts) will fit a Starlight.

Studebaker used the letter "I" as a 1. Your serial number is G1239116. The only thing you can tell from this is that it was a South Bend assembled Champion (6 cylinder car). Starting Champion serial number in 1953 was G1197501.






Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/Stude-a-mino%20old%20pics/oldpics6asmall.jpg http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/finished044.jpg

rmmpe
11-29-2008, 10:56 AM
Thank you Dick.
After looking hard as you suggested, the Driver's side vent is complete and in place. I can't see any other side glass but they may be down. As a side; do the side windows have a rail on the leading edge to mate with the open glass rear of the vent window?

Carry on, regardless

N8N
11-29-2008, 11:00 AM
I'm pretty sure that you're right that any C-body vent window will fit; however, there are at least three variations - all similar in appearance but differing in material. The frames were made in stainless, painted steel, and chromed steel. I *think* that painted was used for all low trim level models, stainless on early up-level models, and chrome on later up-level models. This is also true for the pop-out quarter windows as well. Obviously stainless would be most desirable as they can be used on anything (as it can be painted if desired) and they won't rust.

Also, the pop-outs can be rebuilt by using stainless pop rivets in place of the original rivets... (BTDT) have not had to do major rehab on any vent windows yet other than replacing rubber which is not horribly difficult other than the R&R.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

Dick Steinkamp
11-29-2008, 11:01 AM
quote:Originally posted by rmmpe

Thank you Dick.
After looking hard as you suggested, the Driver's side vent is complete and in place. I can't see any other side glass but they may be down. As a side; do the side windows have a rail on the leading edge to mate with the open glass rear of the vent window?




Yes. The side glass has a stainless strip on the leading edge that is covered with "fuzzy felt" where the vent window closes against it.

Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham, WA

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/Stude-a-mino%20old%20pics/oldpics6asmall.jpg http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/ddstnkmp/finished044.jpg

pgothard
11-29-2008, 11:22 AM
Sounds better & better all the time!

I've seen a few other 53's with custom-fabbed, full-length floating bars - minus turn-signals, and they are very complimentary to the clean styling of the car!

I don't believe vent-window assemblies from a Starliner ("K" coupe) will fit the Starlight ("C" coupe), since the doors for the two models are different. The "C" has window frame that wraps completely around the window.

The coupes are just over 16-and-a-half feet long - 201.9 inches, to be exact. It was built on the longest wheel-base chassis Studebaker had at the time - 120.5 inch wheel-base.

Paul

sweetolbob
11-29-2008, 11:28 AM
Parts book says the C vent is different. Here's one for my 54 Hardtop for reference.

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh263/sweetolbob/P1000424.jpg?t=1227974825

Bob

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh263/sweetolbob/P1000416.jpg?t=1227109182

rmmpe
11-29-2008, 11:46 AM
What a plethora of knowledge.

This is looking better & better all the time.
My garage has just enough room for it.

Thank you all.

Bob

Carry on, regardless

studegary
11-29-2008, 05:00 PM
Hopefully the chassis has been beefed-up as far as frame, brakes, differential, springs, etc. Since this car started life as a Champion and not a Commander, it started with a very light and flexible frame, light duty springs, small brakes, etc. After putting a V8 into an A-H, I am sure that you understand about beefing up a chassis.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

rmmpe
11-29-2008, 05:52 PM
Gary, I cannot begin to explain what had to be done to that thing. EVERY part was different from side to side and front to rear. Doors, screens, struts, outriggers, towers, spring mounts...........EVERYTING. Even NOS parts wouldn't fit without some type of modification.
I assure you, I don't want to do that again. Even for my all-time favorite car.....the 53 Starlight/Starline series.
Maybe I should think a little more on this endeavor.

Carry on, regardless

N8N
11-29-2008, 06:26 PM
Don't let Gary scare you *too* much if you have your heart set on a '53 and you found one (but it's a six.) yes the frame is lighter gauge but all the V-8 brake and rear end stuff bolts right on. I am guessing with an Olds motor either that has already been done or some other kind of rear end has been swapped in. If you do find that it has the stock brakes, that's just a good excuse to swap to discs. I'd consider the stock 55-up V-8 drums the minimum acceptable for a driver. You'll also want to add the later "batwing" crossmember for more structural integrity.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
http://members.cox.net/njnagel

studegary
11-29-2008, 07:06 PM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

Don't let Gary scare you *too* much if you have your heart set on a '53 and you found one (but it's a six.) yes the frame is lighter gauge but all the V-8 brake and rear end stuff bolts right on. I am guessing with an Olds motor either that has already been done or some other kind of rear end has been swapped in. If you do find that it has the stock brakes, that's just a good excuse to swap to discs. I'd consider the stock 55-up V-8 drums the minimum acceptable for a driver. You'll also want to add the later "batwing" crossmember for more structural integrity.

nate



I wasn't trying to scare him. If the car was built correctly, all of these items have been attended to. If it wasn't built correctly, that may be the reason for the sale. Of course all of these things can be corrected, but it all takes time/money/effort. These should factor into the price and decision to purchase.
The batwing applies to a Starliner and this car is a Starlight.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

Tom B
11-29-2008, 07:22 PM
I'm confused about the weight of the frames between Champion and Commander. I was under the impression that the 50s frames were the same, it was the 59-64 frames that were lighter on the six cylinder Larks, not the C & Ks. Can anyone straighten this out?

[img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Avatar1.jpg[/img=left]
Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
'55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
(Under Construction 564 hrs.)
'05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
All Indiana built cars

studegary
11-29-2008, 07:30 PM
quote:Originally posted by Tom B

I'm confused about the weight of the frames between Champion and Commander. I was under the impression that the 50s frames were the same, it was the 59-64 frames that were lighter on the six cylinder Larks, not the C & Ks. Can anyone straighten this out?

Tom Bredehoft




This won't straighten it out. A lot of confusion comes from repair parts. If you look up the frame it will list one part number in the parts book. This is because one part was used as a replacement. This one part can replace two, or more, original parts. This does not mean that the original parts were the same, just that they can be replaced by one part. This cuts down on inventory quantity/expense.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer