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53 Studebaker
08-07-2013, 08:46 PM
Hello everyone. I am in search for ideas and help in rebuilding a 1953 Studebaker. My dad and I purchased this car out of Texas about a month ago. The car is basically the shell. My dad had it delivered to my house to avoid my mom finding out. He told her I bought it for my 13 year old son to rebuild. At first sight I thought he was crazy. Coming from Teas it had the normal rust on trunk, top of car and hood. It looked rough needless to say. I washed it down with 5 gallon of white vinegar at first and that started the rust removal. WE then started grinding and sanding. To both of our dismay, the car is in great shape. Almost all of the car went down to bare metal without many rusted holes and hardly any bondo. We are looking to put a 305 chevy motor in the car that already has the tranny. So what am I looking for? Well where to start? Any ideas, etc. If we are going to start it right we should redo that brakes and rear end as the car does not have the complete drums on the back. Only four tires all around, lol. I am hoping this can be fun for all. So far just looking at the car I have noticed how the Cobra stole the head light design, sting ray corvette stole the lines in the doors up to front of car, and a friend of mine noticed how a 85-88 thunderbird took the chrome front. Car has style needless to say. Although they are in medium shape the car came with two sets of chrome headlight covers, two sets of taillights, and numerous other parts. All can be reused or reconditioned. That's in advance

altair
08-07-2013, 10:31 PM
Hello everyone. I am in search for ideas and help in rebuilding a 1953 Studebaker. My dad and I purchased this car out of Texas about a month ago. The car is basically the shell. My dad had it delivered to my house to avoid my mom finding out. He told her I bought it for my 13 year old son to rebuild. At first sight I thought he was crazy. Coming from Teas it had the normal rust on trunk, top of car and hood. It looked rough needless to say. I washed it down with 5 gallon of white vinegar at first and that started the rust removal. WE then started grinding and sanding. To both of our dismay, the car is in great shape. Almost all of the car went down to bare metal without many rusted holes and hardly any bondo. We are looking to put a 305 chevy motor in the car that already has the tranny. So what am I looking for? Well where to start? Any ideas, etc. If we are going to start it right we should redo that brakes and rear end as the car does not have the complete drums on the back. Only four tires all around, lol. I am hoping this can be fun for all. So far just looking at the car I have noticed how the Cobra stole the head light design, sting ray corvette stole the lines in the doors up to front of car, and a friend of mine noticed how a 85-88 thunderbird took the chrome front. Car has style needless to say. Although they are in medium shape the car came with two sets of chrome headlight covers, two sets of taillights, and numerous other parts. All can be reused or reconditioned. That's in advance

Everybody has different goals and programs, most Studebaker people would suggest keep it Studebaker, however if your goal is for improved higher performance then the 305 will do it. Most of the oldtimers drive the vehicles carefully and travel limited distances and use them for fun. The ones with the big engines rarely are limited out. If you are soliciting for ideas I would keep it stock and go back to factory specs. I am 70 years old and you are probably around 20ish so we have very different outlooks on these things. Very fiew people complete these major projects, they usually go through several owners. If it is kept stock it will be easier to sell when the project becomes to laborious or expensive. I have been picking at a 54 for 30 years and I just got it mechanically complete, this has been an on-and-off again project but I kept it completely stock in every detail. Each persons ideas are somewhat personal and why and how they do certain things. I may want to stay with 6 volts you may want 12 volts, I may want a 6 cylinder you a V8. Do what your heart desires and enjoy every minute of it Dave

JoeHall
08-07-2013, 10:45 PM
For many, its not the destination, its the journey. If restoring that car were compared to walking to California, you just stepped off the front porch. If you want your son to drive it someday, think safety and fairly modern drivetrain, such as the 305 you mentioned. Also cheap & easy enough while you're at it, would be to install a 700R tranny. That would be easier than keeping the OEM Stude tranny behind the SBC motor.

Fairly straight body, with minimal rust is an excellent platform to build on, but you're gonna need to leave no stone un-turned in the project. There's tons of info in the archives here, and people love to share their knowledge here also. So feel free to ask, and please keep us posted on progress. Please don't forget pix. We LOVE pix here :)

Good luck

jclary
08-07-2013, 11:04 PM
Welcome to the forum. And...welcome to the world of Studebaker. This forum is only one of some very important resources that are available to you. Before you get too far into the project, check out the Studebaker Drivers Club. Joining the SDC and getting our monthly magazine (Turning Wheels) will supply you with tons of information, parts vendors, and contacts that could go a long way in helping you make good solid decisions as you dive into the project. Ohio is a large state and I am not familiar with your geographics or what local chapters of the SDC are in your region. However, if you get to know some local members, they can also be a good source of information and parts.

In the car hobby, there are always the folks who want to debate the original vs custom/rod philosophy. My view is that there are good folks on both sides of the issue. My suggestion is for you to surround yourself with folks who are encouraging and be dignified and polite to those who don't. It is your car, your money, your vision. Hope you enjoy it.

Another suggestion is to buy the appropriate Shop, Body, and Chassis manuals for the car. Even if you don't plan to take it back to original status...knowing where things should be from the original can aid in what you want to change. Also, having those manuals will give you great insight into the car's construction, part numbers, wiring diagrams, and other valuable specifications. If you are not already aware of the great passion of the Studebaker fans and loyal resources that has managed to survive through the years...your are in for a real treat.

When you get a chance, post some pictures. We love pictures of what folks are into.:)

Pat Dilling
08-07-2013, 11:25 PM
Welcome to the forum! And congratulations on a great acquisition. As for how to build your car, I think the first thing to determine are your goals for the car and how you plan to drive it. As others have suggested, membership in the Studebaker Drivers Club will provide you with many resources and opportunities to hang out with other Studebaker lovers. Shop manuals are available from several vendors in both paper and electronic form. Look through the "Members Studebaker Pictures" forum to see what others have done. I have also gotten a lot of great info and how to knowledge here:

http://www.raylinrestoration.com/

Keep us posted on your progress and don't hesitate to ask questions.

tbredehoft
08-07-2013, 11:41 PM
Ohio? how far are you from Zanesville? Jon Myers, just south of there is one of the best sorces in Ohio. Phil Harris, at Fairborn Studebaker, outside of Fairborn is another. Both of these guys can do anything you need, or will be willing to help you figure out what you need.

I still have and drive my '53 that I bought in '59. It's in far better shape now, though.

rockne10
08-08-2013, 12:14 AM
Welcome, Tom!
So far, you've received good advice and encouragement. let's hope it continues! :lol:

You just missed the Michiana swap meet by three months. Next major close one will be Reedsville, Pa in late October.

Do obtain those parts catalogs and assess your needs. When you get discouraged--and you will-- know we are here for you.

Bob Andrews
08-08-2013, 06:15 AM
Welcome! That's a good car to work with.

Don't want to rain on your parade, but my first move would be to come clean with those that matter to you. If you felt your dad had to lie to your mother about a harmless old car, it will get exponentially tougher as the hours and the dollars really start flowing.

Best of luck with that. The car will be worth the effort!

mmagic
08-08-2013, 08:58 AM
Congratulations '53 on your new addiction.

I've done a few restores and am on my 2nd Studebaker, a Speedster. Parts for Studebakers are far more available than the '62 Ford Galaxie 500 convertible we finished in December. My first step is to quantify cost and time.

As for cost any deviation from stock carries an exponential investment. $1,000 for a Turner front disc brake system, master cylinder and new lines to me is a bargain. Switching to a GM power plant is not. You must quantify what is of value to you and be honest with yourself as to whether you are willing to invest $5,000 pr $25,000 in your dream.

As for time I believe in building anything.... a business, a garden or a car on paper before I start building it for real. An Excel spreadsheet is a good start but I also use a Gantt chart. (Free open source download GanttProject.biz ) I add a budget column and and actual spent column to the Gantt and use a Excel to add up the numbers. The Gantt on my Speedster is currently over 200 lines long. The value of the Gantt to me is in establishing and enforcing a logical sequence and getting parts ordered with adequate lead time. As anxious as I am to open up the engine and see what's inside I must first build the foundation so the frame is off and suspension, brakes and fuel supply are nearly done.

Yes, its in the journey so successfully plodding through Control arm bushings and the right master cylinder fittings can be as rewarding as sanding epoxy primer.

26497 to 26498

or

26499 to 26500

is what it's about.

I take hundreds of cell phone pictures of everything from every angle... over 200 on frame related alone as a resource to know exactly where that line or bolt is supposed to go. I get a Sams supply of Zip locks or use rinsed out ones from the kitchen, a magic marker and multiple colors of plastic tubs to catalog and store dirty parts, restored parts and new parts.

The Gantt will help you not underestimate the time. The Speedster is projected as 6 months at 4 to 6 hours a day and must be finished by Jan 31 because 2014 already has a serious time commitment. I am on schedule.

Oh yes, among other resources here is a collection of many insights collected from the Board and people smarter than me. http://www.studebaker-info.org/rjtechx4.html

Welcome and enjoy.

Lark Parker
08-08-2013, 09:16 AM
I think we are presuming that the car is a coupe or hardtop (non-posted) model and not a two door sedan? Some people new to Studebakers make that "mistake" and have bought the sedan model unknowingly. Side by side the difference is obvious.
We don't know whether the car is a Champion 6 or a Commander V8. The V8 models have a heavier frame and are preferred for bigger horsepower modification.
My comments are limited to the coupe/hardtop models, referred to as C or K respectively.
For money recoup purposes -- restoring stock is probably the safest. I've never seen a rodded/custom Stude appear at a Barret-Jackson insane auction..
Studebakers had a lot of year interchangeable parts and that helps a bit for modifying. Any of the C/K dashboards through 54 through 64 will fit the 53. The 56-61 finned hawks turned metal dash appearance is clean, the 62-64 GT Hawk dashes are my favorite. I don't know why anyone would retrofit a 55 dash into a 53. (My opinion only.)
The 62-64 GT taillight housings have built-in back up lights and will fit the 53 with a minor mod to the top of the rear fender.
I prefer the Studebaker V8 even in modified cars, but others don't. The Studebaker 6 is anemic for many people and Stude V8s are a somewhat common replacement.
The rear ends in the sixes are Dana 27 and are considered too light for the V8 conversions. The Stude V8 rear is a Dana 44 and will fit right in to replace the 27.
Later bumpers are not so interchangeable into the 53 model.
I've had both stock and lightly modified some cars. The picture below is actually a 1955 "C" model that started out as a 6cyl automatic. It has a 62 GT frame and 259 Stude V8 with a 3 speed overdrive trans, GT dash and taillights. It gets a measured 22mpg highway using Chebby valves and a R2+ cam. It will run faster than I choose to drive.

Corley
08-08-2013, 09:28 AM
Hi and welcome to Studedom. You bought the right car. The best looking Studebaker ever built, if it's a C/K type. I'm at the other end of the spectrum from mmagic, and I feel Gant charts, spread sheets, etc. are fantastic tools for, er, eh, well, for WORK!! And, this is fun, not WORK! So, I go by the seat of the pants, doing whatever strikes my fancy on any given day. Some parts of this are not so much fun, and I trudge through those, others look like fun and I fly through them. I change my mind on things on a daily basis, and I make the whole project FUN FUN FUN. No stinkin' planning or charts, or even lists to guide the process, just years of having done it before on other projects, anticipation of doing it differently on this project, and poking a lot of fun at myself as I proceed.

Do whatever you want, make it whatever you think it should be, just do a little bit everyday, and you will get there. What you end up with will be all your design, all your work, and all your fun! Oh, and be sure to include the kids in every aspect of it. They may think it's work, but the amount they learn, and the legacy it will leave them with is worth more than any Studebaker ever was worth! Talk it up with them. Make them a part of the project, and respect their input, their ideas, and their labor. Show them how to do things, by letting them do things. As you can see, I'm about to wet my pants just thinking about all the fun you guys can have!

Lark Parker
08-08-2013, 10:38 AM
Well said, Corley. My son had and has his own Studebaker(s). He sought, received and sought out information and that caused him to be self sufficient at an early age without someone pushing him.

53 Stude: There's a plate on the passenger side firewall, easy to find and see. If you give us the numbers and letters off it, the forum can know and tell exactly what you have.

evilhawk
08-08-2013, 01:37 PM
I honestly wouldnt bother with the 305 Chev as they are the most gutless small blocks I can think of. Id rather stick the 302 ford under the hood than a 305. Hell the 3.8 liter buick V6 has the same power as a 305 and requires half the maintenance. Honestly I would take a stude 289 over all mentioned. Its a cooler motor, sounds better and puts out more hp than the 305. Thats just my opinion, I am not trying to offend in any way.

Corley
08-09-2013, 09:34 AM
I think we hashed the 305 out the other day, and came to the conclusion they are not so bad after all. But, the gist of what you say holds, re sticking to a Stude in a Stude, it's not a bad way to go.

On the Ford 302, good motor, but the sump is on the wrong end, and even with the Bronco pan to change that, they still are pretty deep up front.

Nothing wrong with the Buick 3.8L, but of course there are several versions to choose from. Those with a dizzy, it's still up front, and the sump is in the back in all versions I know of. Personally, I'd opt for the Serries II version, that came out in '95. It's an OBDII setup, but modern in every respect, and produces mad HP for it's size. With the 4L60E trans, it's a great setup. But really, in a Stude?

evilhawk
08-09-2013, 11:07 AM
Ive seen a zip van with a 3.8 supercharged setup from a Pontiac GTP. So why not in a 53 Stude? You would get a ton of attention with a setup like that at the car shows! ;)
Personally I would drop in a late model Stude 289 w/ a 4 speed. That way you wouldnt have to mock up motor mounts and all the fun stuff involved with swapping over to a different brand. The 4 bbl 289 makes 225 HP which is the same as a stock 5.0 1990s GT Mustang and more than a tuned port 305. These motors can be had for pretty reasonable and can handle pretty insane compression ratios so if turbos are your thing, these motors handle good amounts of boost in stock form.

53 Studebaker
08-21-2013, 08:29 PM
Thanks Dave We are trying to keep it as stock as we can