View Full Version : 1964 Commander "Second Series" with Chevy engine?

07-19-2010, 08:56 PM

I'm in the process of purchasing a car listed as a 1964 Commander. The I.D. tag indicated "64VC" which I now understand to be a "second series" car made in Canada. My scanning of the internet indicates that the Chevrolet engine did not appear until the 1965 model year. However, the engine in this particular car is decidedly a Chevrolet. Were any 1964 Commanders from Canada installed with the Chevrolet engine?

My guesses might possibly be the following:

A. This car is a holdover (ran out of Studebaker engines) from 1964 and got the Chevrolet engine if it was one of the last 1964 cars built?

B. This car originally a Studebaker engine, but had an engine warranty repair and the Chevrolet engine was all that was available?

C. ??? You guys would know better than me.

Thank you for your reply in helping me solve what seems to be a mystery to me.

Regards, Tom

07-19-2010, 09:03 PM
I think you should find all of the answers to your questions here:


Welcome to the fold of proud Studebaker owners, we will be glad to have you as a SDC Member and if you like a Forum reader/poster!

Joining the Club has many benefits such as our "World Class" monthly Publication "Turning Wheels". This Mag. is helping approximately 13,000 Members keep up to date on Cars, Parts, Interesting Studebaker History back to 1852, you'll LOVE it.

As we just talked about this car the other day, yes it is a (late-DELETE) Early Canadian '64 Daytona 4Dr. (verified by the body tag under the hood on the firewall) with a few Canadian style upgrades like a late '65-'66 Flanged Rear Axle, a very GOOD thing! Oh also the complete power train may be '66 Stude.

The Studebaker National Museum has the production order for your car for purchase, it will verify that it came with either the 259 or 289 Studebaker engine.
The records are kept by Car Serial # from the driver's door post.

Because Studebakers are so easy to change parts from one year to another, people love to modify them "their way"! Almost all the yearly changes are "bolt-on" and just too tempting to resist to some!

The car looks like a great start, and '64-'65 Studes. are a very dependable cars, having a strong Borg Warner 3 Speed Automatic trans, and on '65-'66 they are heavy duty, with Oil cooling as well as air. Also the rear axle is the famous Dana 44, with flanged axles and some were ordered with Studebaker's own Twin Traction limited slip differential.

07-19-2010, 09:13 PM
The best way to get the answer would be to send to the Museum for the built sheet ....that would answer all your questions.

07-19-2010, 09:19 PM
Thank you. Yes, that would be the car. No great issues for me. With all due respect to the "true" Studebaker (engine), I actually elected to purchase it because it did have the Chevrolet engine. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a rare "prototype" car.

Oh, and yes, the carpet is going ASAP. I wonder if the wife would like it in the kitchen. :-)

A number of years ago I passed through Ferndale, WA. Went to a park that had a HUGE red barn and peacocks all over the place. It was very nice. Also, I am familiar with the Dana 44. I have a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger. Well, I hope I'm off to a good start. I'm not planning anything radical, but do have ideas for some changes. I fabricate a lot of stuff (also have a 1973 Pinto wagon with a T-Bird Turbo Coupe engine). Thank you for the welcome.


07-19-2010, 09:28 PM
Yep I was asking about that car myself a while back, I saw a 64 or 5 in southern Idaho back around 1969 when I was in the service down that way and found What I "remember as" being a Daytona 2 door hardtop with the 283 Chevrolet Motor and that also attracted me to wanting the car with the G.M. engine in it .

Although popular option is 65 and 66 only, I'm thinking maybe late 64 they could of started a few.

07-19-2010, 09:40 PM
/Cut/A number of years ago I passed through Ferndale, WA. Went to a park that had a HUGE red barn and peacocks all over the place. It was very nice.Tom

Welcome Tom. Great, glad you enjoyed it! That was Hovander Park, the large farm was donated to the City for a Park by the long time family owners. That just happens to be where we hold out annual Whatcom County Studebaker Drivers Club car show, formally known as the Mini Meet, it's a bit larger than that now, and renamed, also postponed this year because of the following.

If you happen to be in the Western Washington area Sept. 11, and 12, be sure to come to our Can-AM Zone Meet in Bellingham at the Hampton Inn, it will be HUGE, with reservations so far from Canada, Idaho, Oregon, Calif. Arizona and more! :) Website: http://www.pacificcanam2010.com

07-19-2010, 09:42 PM

Welcome to the forum and good luck with the 64.

You should know a lot of we old forum members live vicariously through pictures. It's dang tough to post to many. So how about some Huh, Huh!!!:p:o


07-19-2010, 10:11 PM
Here is what this car USED to look like with correct deck lid moulding, letters, body side mouldings and very sharp wheel covers. Of course WITHOUT the Avanti Powered badges!

Thanks to the forum member whose name I forget: (oldtimers) for the great pic of his very nice R1 Avanti Powered SuperLark.

07-19-2010, 11:10 PM
Welcome to the Forum, definitely a fun place. It is possible that you may not be able to obtain the Production Order for the car. There was a period during the summer of 1964 that our Studebaker National Museum archives has not been able to locate the Production Orders from the Hamilton plant. My 64' Cruiser is one of those cars and I think it was built sometime during the month of August. Let's hope they can locate yours.

07-19-2010, 11:55 PM
I can see where the VIN indicated a 1964 Daytona (Y8). The VIN 64 Y8 1559 was referred to as "late 64" and I seemed to find a total build of 3055 V8 Daytona 4dr's. Can someone explain to me how the 1559 is late in a build of 3055? Or am I reading something wrong?

Also does the door post tag (64VC - Ib84) tell me anything?

Lastly the Ebay seller never listed the VIN, but included a picture of the door tag (serial number). Which number should I use to register in Calif.? The door tag serial number, or the VIN stamped on the firewall?

Thanks for the welcome and the quick replies, a new guy always has a thousand questions.


JGK 940
07-20-2010, 01:03 AM
As you get more familiar with Studebakers (welcome aboard, BTW) you'll learn these are just a couple of many quirks that make the marque unique.

The tag on your firewall is not your car's VIN. It simply identifies the general body style and level of trim or series ID (64V Y8 = 1964 Daytona 4-door sedan), followed by a sequential number for how many largely identical bodies (in this case, other '64 Daytona 4-door sedans) were welded together before yours, regardless of the order in which those bodies were attached to chassis on one of the assembly lines.

Your VIN is 64VC1684. The "64VC" prefix indicates your car was built at Hamilton, Ontario sometime before January 1, 1964. This means it is a FIRST series Canadian car for 1964. The VIN for a Second Series car would not include the "64V." What you are reading as a capital letter "I" is Studebaker's way of stamping the number one and what you have read as a lower-case "b" is the number six. Because First Series Hamilton serial numbers for V8-equipped cars began with 64VC-1001, your VIN tells you yours was the six hundred eighty-fourth eight-cylinder 1964 Studebaker built at Hamilton. This is relatively early production; my guess would be that your car was assembled by mid-October 1963 at the latest - it was positively put together before 1 January 1964, when VIN format changed and Studebaker engine production at South Bend ceased. During all of calendar 1963, Studebaker produced all their own passenger car engines at South Bend and shipped them to Hamilton as needed. It is not possible that the McKinnon engine currently in the car is original to the car with this VIN.

Once you get to know us all a little better, start looking for a copy of Turning Wheels Volume 25, Number 2, cover date February 1993. Fred K. Fox's overview of '64 Lark-type production in that issue is pretty well definitive; the only sources from which I would accept without question any corrections to the info it contains would be StudeRich, George Krem and Bob Palma.

07-20-2010, 02:00 AM
Wow, thank you for the extensive reply. I greatly appreciate the great information provided.

Regards, Tom

07-20-2010, 02:01 AM
/Cut/Thanks for the welcome and the quick replies, a new guy always has a thousand questions.Tom

We'll give you a break Tom since you are new, OK? Lol! :D

First off, you have a few misunderstandings, I'll try my best to explain them.
Older cars before the current 17 digit Vin #'s, had Serial Numbers used as Vin #'s for registration purposes.

Your Serial Number is the Vin. that SHOULD be on your Calif. title, it is 64VC1684, Studebaker used "I"'s for 1 (ones) and the 6's look a little like small "b"s.
If you look closer at that Body tag on the firewall, you will see that it is not welded on, but merely held on with two screws, that won't fly as a Vin. All that says is 64V=1964 V8- Y=long wheelbase 4 dr. Sedan, 8= trim level Daytona and the following number 1559 is nothing more than the 1559th Daytona 4 Dr. BODY built up, has nothing to do with the Car # as they were randomly installed on various frame numbers to be serialized to match the FRAME which also carries the Serial #.

Does the Serial tell you anything? Yes it tells you that your car is the 684th. V= EIGHT CYLINDER 64VC "C"= Canada, built in Canada for that Series of Early '64's, it has nothing to do with Calender year, it was built in 1963. They start at 64VC1001.
And I did get confused about it being a LATE '64, we in this Country are certainly not used to dealing with a real built for Canadian use early '64 like this IN THIS COUNTRY, that is partly because ALMOST ALL Canadian cars here were sold as IMPORTS and those are ALL late '64's built on or after Jan. 2, 1964 after the South Bend Plant was closed, so I apologize, I and maybe others miss I.D.'d it as LATE '64, because that is the kind of Canadian '64 commonly found HERE. Actually this is an Early '64, rarely found in Calif.

If it were a late '64 Canadian OR early South Bend '64 it would have a different series of numbers, and I should remember that, since my Dad bought a new Late '64 Canadian Import, and it was simply a C500,001 series car.

Totally confused? All this means is this car was most likely sold in Canada in 1963 when both Plants were still operating and brought here after the fact.

07-20-2010, 11:48 AM
Thank you. Lots of "numbers" to deal with. However, as a Sunbeam Tiger owner this is also the case. Worse yet the Tiger unibody has no I.D stamped anywhere on it. It only has removable I.D. tags with rivets. It also gets complicated because the cars were assemble by Jensen and they has a secondary screwed on I.D. tag. My Tiger is actually mis-registered with that number! Add in people try and create clones based on an Alpine and there is a often suspected fraud. Thankfully there is a certification group and my Tiger was deemed original.

Back to the Studebaker: As I read all the "variations" that make up my car I'm wondering if the '64 body might have been lifted and placed on a '65-'66 frame/drivetrain? That would seem more feasible than transferring over each component individually. I'm thinking perhaps an old Studebaker mechanic or hobbyist had a plethora of "parts cars" and configured what is now my car??? Whatever was done it seems like it occurred a long time ago as there is a lot of "patina."


07-20-2010, 12:06 PM
Tom, a body swap such as you describe is possible, but unlikely. It's a lot of work, and one of the difference areas between the two engine setups is in the radiator support area of the body itself.

The engine swap, from '64 power train (all-Studebaker) to '65 power train (chevyBaker) is dead-nuts easy, particularly if you have a complete donor car. I suspect that somewhere in the car's history, it had a tired or broken Studebaker V8 swapped out in favor of a good McKinnon V8 from a rusted-out donor car. Back in the day ('70 - '80s), you could often buy a good running, but terminally-rusted Studebaker for next to nothing, so engine swaps were commonplace.

07-20-2010, 12:42 PM
Tom , I still get ahold of the museum and give them your Vin # and for $20 you can find out just what came on your car and what day it was built .

07-20-2010, 06:40 PM
PLEASE go to "stove huggers" forum and post up the details of the Pinto with more beans than stock! I would love some details/pictures.Thanks!

07-20-2010, 11:48 PM
I get the..., what shall I call it...., "Blended Parts" Studebaker tomorrow. I have to dash out in the evening, but hopefully I'll start a new post on what I find on Thursday sometime.

The guy said it was on Calif. Non-Op. I'm hoping so. Makes registration easier and cheaper. In Calif. you have to pay back fees with fines that can run in the hundreds and at times exceed the value of the car!

AKAchamptrucking - Time is short right now. If you go to PCCA you might see some of my Pinto posts. Regardless, here are a few pics of the Turbo Pinto (Intercooled 2.3engine/T-5 trans from an '88 T-Bird Turbo Coupe). Most of my images are close ups of brackets etc. that only a Pinto guy would comprehend the fabrication. The engine image is 'less" the intercooler. That is what the hood scoop is for, the intercooler, not an air intake.