PDA

View Full Version : Finally got two vital missing parts of my '53 prototype



Chris_Dresbach
08-15-2013, 10:41 PM
When I got my '53 prototype almost two years ago it was missing two vital styling parts, the grille bars. I knew why they were missing, but that's another story... I had just about called them a loss to the car and decided that if I ever got far enough bringing the car back to life that I would just use production '53 grille bars which are slightly different from the prototype ones. Well, this past week I think it's safe to say a miracle happened. Thanks to Matt Burnette, Chuck Kenney, and Brad Kuchan the grille bars were found, bought, and are now back with the car that they were made for... Just kept in a locked room for safe keeping. Along the way the grille bars got chrome plated which they wouldn't have been originally (originally they would have been wrapped in foil to simulate chrome) but they sure do look great. The photo is of the prototype grille bars. Notice that unlike production grille bars they lack turn signals and do not say "Studebaker" "Commander". They are also solid cast aluminum and machined out on the underside to make them lighter; unlike production ones that were die-cast and probably weight less than 1/4 of what one of these do. These also mount the car differently. I have to look at the prototype's front fenders but there are five bolt holes on the bottom of each bar. That's basically reinforced compared to a stock grille. Anyway, these things finally came home.
http://i768.photobucket.com/albums/xx323/chris_dresbach/016_zps8fdf00ae.jpg (http://s768.photobucket.com/user/chris_dresbach/media/016_zps8fdf00ae.jpg.html)

sweetolbob
08-15-2013, 11:15 PM
Great news Chris

An as you said, Thanks to the folks that made it happen.

Don't rush to complete it, my goal is to see the car done before I go so "No Rush" ;)

Bob

Milaca
08-15-2013, 11:22 PM
Great news and thanks to those who have helped! Glad to see parts coming together.

avantilover
08-15-2013, 11:24 PM
Do you have the original blueprints of the car so it can be rebuilt or do you have to guess?

Chris_Dresbach
08-15-2013, 11:46 PM
Do you have the original blueprints of the car so it can be rebuilt or do you have to guess?

I wish blueprints existed, or even factory photos for that matter. This car is something we know Studebaker built and the museum will back me up on that, but Studebaker destroyed all their records and photos of it in the engineering department in 1964. Studebaker never thought in a million years that the car would be saved and that there would be somebody crazy enough to want to piece it back together, but by destroying the records it left the museum and I scratching our heads.
I examined the real car in great detail and built a precision model down to almost perfect scale from the real thing, so I have a fairly good idea of what the car is supposed to look like.

studerodder
08-16-2013, 12:17 AM
keep goin kid, we're all rootin for ya!

Don Jeffers
08-16-2013, 02:37 AM
Did the prototype have parking lights/turn signals?

If so, where and what configuration?

Great piece of fortune reuniting the grille bars with the car!

thanks

BobPalma
08-16-2013, 07:17 AM
Cool beans, Chris; congratulations. :) BP

studefan
08-16-2013, 10:06 AM
I thought I saw these on ebay but didn't make the connection to Chris' car. Here's the ad:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1953-54-grill-bars-STUDEBAKER-CHROME-CAST-ALUMINUM-PROTOTYPE-61-YRS-OLD-VINTAGE-/141030591346?pt=Vintage_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr&hash=item20d6140b72&nma=true&si=S4cry5tYGNS%252BYPZpFgCQHz2tZ94%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

Corley
08-16-2013, 11:41 AM
Good Grief, I hope you did not have to pay the price listed for them!!!

studegary
08-16-2013, 02:48 PM
Bob Bourke was not pleased with being required to place the "Studebaker" and "Commander"/"Champion"/"Land Cruiser" nameplates on his parking light assemblies (grille bars).

Have you checked the Bob Bourke personal files at the SNM for information/drawings of the car/prototype? Bob kept most of his work (that later went to the SNM).

StudeRich
08-16-2013, 04:54 PM
Interesting that the seller was promoting them to install in a '53 or '54, but they are WAY too short to do that.

SN-60
08-16-2013, 05:49 PM
This story about the grill bars....and the eventual restoration of the car itself..........is BEYOND interesting to Me! Best of luck with this Chris.

Chris_Dresbach
08-17-2013, 01:40 AM
Did the prototype have parking lights/turn signals?

If so, where and what configuration?

Great piece of fortune reuniting the grille bars with the car!

thanks

Good question, I'm not really sure. As you noticed, the prototype grille bars lack turn signals. Since the complete prototype was never actually driven on public road I doubt that turn signals were ever installed. (At leas on the front) That's one of those things that I will worry about later. I can always hide a couple lights under the grille bars out of sight and out of mind until they are needed.

Chris_Dresbach
08-17-2013, 01:43 AM
Bob Bourke was not pleased with being required to place the "Studebaker" and "Commander"/"Champion"/"Land Cruiser" nameplates on his parking light assemblies (grille bars).

Have you checked the Bob Bourke personal files at the SNM for information/drawings of the car/prototype? Bob kept most of his work (that later went to the SNM).

I've tried, tried, and tried again to find information from the archives. Every time I inquire I get the same answer: "We know your car was a prototype built by Studebaker, but that's all we have." I never got the chance to personally look around in the archives, would love to do so because I think I could find some really interesting stuff. I have a feeling that the archives has information on this car buried in a file somewhere that has long been forgotten about and nobody ever thought to look in.

Chris_Dresbach
08-17-2013, 01:46 AM
Good Grief, I hope you did not have to pay the price listed for them!!!

Not only no but heck no! That is where Brad Kuchan comes into the story. Chuck Kenney is a personal friend of Brad's. Chuck sold the bars to Brad at the break even price, and Brad sold them to me actually at a loss. Matt Burnette was who originally informed me of the Ebay listing. If that doesn't say there are good folks in this club, nothing will.

Chris_Dresbach
08-17-2013, 01:48 AM
Interesting that the seller was promoting them to install in a '53 or '54, but they are WAY too short to do that.

I think the photo makes them look smaller than they really are. Today I compared them to a production grille bar and surround and they are actually fairly close to the stock length.

studegary
08-17-2013, 06:58 PM
Good question, I'm not really sure. As you noticed, the prototype grille bars lack turn signals. Since the complete prototype was never actually driven on public road I doubt that turn signals were ever installed. (At leas on the front) That's one of those things that I will worry about later. I can always hide a couple lights under the grille bars out of sight and out of mind until they are needed.

I believe that the parking lights were intended to be where we now know them to be. As you previously stated, the bars would not have been chrome plated. They would have just put some shiney wrap on the part that would be chrome and something else on the part that would be the light.
If they were to be bars without lights, they would have continued flat out to the ends. Why else would those enlarged/raised sections be at the ends? I believe Bob intended for those bars to be floating parking light assemblies. I know that he did not want to put nameplates on them, but that was required (like a lot of other things).