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View Full Version : seeking 51 Champion value opinion



59Lark
07-06-2013, 09:14 AM
I have an opportunity to buy a 51 Champion. The asking price is $5,500. I hesitate because the flat head 6 is replaced with a V8 from a Hawk. I'm not interested in making a lot of money on the car, I just like driving Studebakers. However, my previous Larks (1959 & 1960) were all original. Would a car club meet even let me in to show the car? Will it be more difficult to sell when I'm ready to move to a different car?

I understand that you can't really say without seeing the car first hand. I'm just asking for generally speaking opinions. I am not an officianado; I just like the cars.

Here's the listing online: http://www.carsforsale.com/used_cars_for_sale/1951_Studebaker_Champion_186587251_18

Thanks for any advice or opinion.

Christine in St. Augustine, FL

bosshoss61
07-06-2013, 09:24 AM
that's a big drop from 8999 to 5500. Myself, I like the original equipment. But, I think you could go back to the original flat head for not too much money. I own a car just like that one. Only mines a 50. I love it. And restoration is nearly complete. With the 6, I'm hoping to get around 30 MPG. Good luck on your purchase....check my photos, you can see the original motor...At least I think that is what came in yours....

StudeRich
07-06-2013, 11:06 AM
I think you may be paying for a lot of Engine conversion work, where as if you bought a similar Commander V8 it would already have the V8, it would be a smaller engine 232 cid, as compared to this one that MAY be a 289, but still a V8.

This looks like a good car, but you really need to have someone Studebaker knowledgeable or at least CAR knowledgeable to look deeper into the conversion, like under the car, and find out if the change was done properly.

Also ask about and check the Brakes, Rear Axle and springs, they would need to be converted to larger V8 parts as well.

No one in the Studebaker Drivers Club or elsewhere is going to not accept it or devalue it for a Studebaker engine improvement, no worries there.

jclary
07-06-2013, 01:08 PM
In support of what Rich said, you would be well served to find a knowledgeable SDC member (in your area) familiar with these cars, not a jerk about modifications, and willing to check it over with you. I am a little suspicious about the photo angles presented in the ad. All seem to be "back-lit" in a way that keeps you from seeing the car in the best light. I don't know if it was done on purpose, but it makes me wonder.

If this car had been one commissioned to be modified by the late Bob Yale (RIP)...it would be a bargain at this price. As the pool of available two door cars and sleek coupes get used up...four-door cars that have managed to escape the scrap yards will be the next candidates for the customizers and modifiers. All of them are getting old enough to be rare and different enough to set you apart from the common folk.

As to value...that is a very personal judgement. If the car is prepared well...you couldn't build it today for that price.

unclemiltie
07-06-2013, 01:38 PM
"A few minor glitches" ---------- If these have to do with the conversion to the V8 they might not actually be that minor. If I where interested in this car this is one I would want to examine in person first or have a local SDC member examine first

ddub
07-06-2013, 02:46 PM
And let me say, welcome to the forum. This is the place to come for all things Studebaker. I encourage you to study for a few months before you buy. You may find a less problematic car that you like even better.

Corvanti
07-06-2013, 02:58 PM
as others have stated, "IF" the engine/drivetrain has been done right and is in good shape, i wouldn't think about going to 170ci Champion engine - especially with the automatic transmission. that's what i have in my '51 and it is S-L-O-W!!!:(

you'll also find at car shows - with the suicide doors open on one side, there is a "wow" factor from a lot of viewers.:)

59Lark
07-13-2013, 08:43 AM
Thank you, everyone. I have decided to pass on this opportunity. I love the body, but I'm not willing to take a chance on the mechanics. (She sure is a beauty to look at, though.)

Sdude
07-13-2013, 01:02 PM
you'll also find at car shows - with the suicide doors open on one side, there is a "wow" factor from a lot of viewers.:)

I sure hope you weren't talked out of buying the car from the responses on this post. It sure looks like a nice car for $5500. I have a 4 door champion and I have a 5.3L in mine. The thing I like most about this club is the the purists that will fuss at you for modifying your car are a minority. Most of my SDC friends are glad to see you driving a Studebaker and appreciate whatever you decide to do with it.

I took my 4 door champion to a car show and look what ended up in my back seat. Yes, I got the "wow" factor from this photographer and model.

25621 25622

Roscomacaw
07-13-2013, 01:21 PM
My feelings are that if it's as nice as the photos suggest - confirmed by you personally viewing it OR by a Stude-savvy person in the area - that would be a deal! While I'm not in the market for another car, I'm glad this one's a continent away. If this conversion includes a 3-spd OD, this would be an economical ride. Paint and upholstery can hide alot - that's true. So you'd have to have it looked at up close and under. Could be a good deal if the conversion was done right. And such a conversion should have been fairly straightforward as with the attaching parts, the V8 should ease right in there. You couldn't do that with a 50 or earlier because the V8 wasn't introduced until 1951.

deco_droid
07-15-2013, 01:35 PM
I sure hope you weren't talked out of buying the car from the responses on this post. It sure looks like a nice car for $5500. I have a 4 door champion and I have a 5.3L in mine. The thing I like most about this club is the the purists that will fuss at you for modifying your car are a minority. Most of my SDC friends are glad to see you driving a Studebaker and appreciate whatever you decide to do with it.

I took my 4 door champion to a car show and look what ended up in my back seat. Yes, I got the "wow" factor from this photographer and model.

25621 25622

I wouldn't have had a problem with them adding the V8, since as others know, the 170 can be sort of lacking in the power dept. Actually since they went with a Studebaker V8 transplant, I would view that as a plus, that they kept it in the family, so to speak. If they didn't upgrade the brakes, rear and so on, then yah, it may not be worth your time, but did you ask about that?

Oh, and Sdude, your little back seat honey is a doll! Love the parasol and princess pose. I gotta hit more car shows! ;)

LeoH
07-15-2013, 05:31 PM
I can't imagine a Studebaker show preventing you from showing your car due to the drivetrain changes, other than a concours.

You MIGHT not win awards or places, but I'd be very upset to know there was a regular Stude show who wouldn't let you show up because of such a change. Looking at that engine compartment and condition, I'd be surprised if you were ever kept from awards, other than concours type shows.

I agree with the suggestion to find a local club who would be willing and/or interested (I'm sure there'd be many takers) to check the car over for you. $5500 is a reasonable price for a gorgeous looking car, and one that'll keep you rolling along with others down the road.

Glitches might well be just that, it nevers hurts to ask.