PDA

View Full Version : Typical Fuel Economy for a '64 Commander 4-Door with a 259 V8? Plus tracking down past owners?



TomB
08-19-2013, 07:13 PM
I'm curious as to what the original gas mileage was for a 1964 Commander, four-door, with a 259ci V8 when new. I own one with 140K miles but well maintained and even with premium unleaded I average in the low teens in terms of MPG. It has radial tires vs. bias ply ones.

The car was built at Studebaker's Hamilton, ON, plant.

Is it normal for high-mileage cars, even well maintained, to have lower than new gas mileage?

And another question-how does one go about tracking down who the previous owners were of my car? I bought it from a used car dealer in 2007. I have the build order from the Studebaker National Museum but all it shows is that it was shipped to a dealer in Arizona at the time. I have no idea who owned it between the time it was shipped to that original dealer and when I bought it.

JoeHall
08-19-2013, 09:47 PM
I'm curious as to what the original gas mileage was for a 1964 Commander, four-door, with a 259ci V8 when new. I own one with 140K miles but well maintained and even with premium unleaded I average in the low teens in terms of MPG. It has radial tires vs. bias ply ones.

The car was built at Studebaker's Hamilton, ON, plant.

Is it normal for high-mileage cars, even well maintained, to have lower than new gas mileage?

And another question-how does one go about tracking down who the previous owners were of my car? I bought it from a used car dealer in 2007. I have the build order from the Studebaker National Museum but all it shows is that it was shipped to a dealer in Arizona at the time. I have no idea who owned it between the time it was shipped to that original dealer and when I bought it.
If the motor has never been touched, it is probably way overdue for at least a valve job, even if its not smoking or using a lot of oil. With that kinda mileage, the compression is bound to be down, which would lower the MPG.

OTOH, gas mileage is largely affected by tranny, rear gears, and carb. What does yours have?

JimC
08-19-2013, 10:28 PM
Every motor varies. Mine has about 106,000 original miles on it, and the legend is that it's never had major service work done. It runs great.

For fuel economy, I got a big improvement by going up to a new 4 bbl carburetor. With my old, worn out Stromberg 2 barrel, I was in the low teens with a very occasional jump to the mid to upper teens if I really feathered the gas between fillings. I initially planned on replacing that with another 2bbl, and even bought one from a forum member. Midway into that operation, I decided to upgrade to a Carter 4bbl. During that process I also adjusted my valve lash, something that was sorely needed!

Between those two things, I am now averaging about 17mpg on fuel-ups, and I could maybe get it a hair higher by changing driving habits and doing a little carb tweaking. I wouldn't be surprised if I could break 20 by driving with a super light foot.

The fuel economy benefit behind the Carter is that if you line it up next to the Stromberg, the primary jets on the carter are smaller, giving you better fuel efficiency if you don't open up the secondaries. Of course, the power benefit is that when you're done driving like a pansy, you can floor it and actually get somewhere, FAST! :D

For comparative purposes, I have a very worn flightomatic transmission, a moderately noisy 3.07 rear differential, and a 259. If you have a setup comparable to mine, 17mpg should not be an unattainable goal.

clonelark
08-20-2013, 04:10 AM
Also if your burning todays gasoline with alcohol your mileage will be lower.

jackb
08-20-2013, 07:45 AM
14-18 mpg.....maybe more with OD.....geography, etc...

Blue 15G
08-20-2013, 09:10 AM
Back in the late '70s I had a '64 Daytona hardtop, 259 V-8, 2 barrel carb, single exhaust, Powershift automatic trans., 3:07 rear end. Had about 70,000 miles on it, in good condition. In local driving it only got about 14 mpg. A few more mpg on longer trips.

Dave Bonn
'54 Champion Starliner.

TomB
08-20-2013, 04:52 PM
If the motor has never been touched, it is probably way overdue for at least a valve job, even if its not smoking or using a lot of oil. With that kinda mileage, the compression is bound to be down, which would lower the MPG.

OTOH, gas mileage is largely affected by tranny, rear gears, and carb. What does yours have?

My Commander is mostly stock with some changes like a transmission was replaced last year when the original one wore out with a similar, used automatic transmission Borg-Warner model that starts in second gear. It has the standard two barrel carb. True dual exhausts were added at that time as the engine came out for new seals and gaskets to be installed. It used to burn some oil prior to this work. Now it just drips small amounts of oil and transmission fluid.

Skip Lackie
08-20-2013, 05:43 PM
In answer to your second question: you probably can't.. You can contact your local DMV and see if they will tell you if and by whom it was previously owned. Some states will answer such queries, often for a fee. Most states will not, citing privacy concerns.

2moredoors
08-20-2013, 08:10 PM
... another question-how does one go about tracking down who the previous owners were of my car? I bought it from a used car dealer in 2007. I have the build order from the Studebaker National Museum but all it shows is that it was shipped to a dealer in Arizona at the time. I have no idea who owned it between the time it was shipped to that original dealer and when I bought it.
If you pay for a search at the museum they may be able to tell you the first owner however subsequent owners are harder to find as each state will vary. My Cruiser came from Iowa and when I tried to trace its ancestry the motor vehicle department cited privacy issues for past ownership.
I wish you all the luck.

Bill Pressler
08-21-2013, 06:35 PM
If you pay for a search at the museum they may be able to tell you the first owner however subsequent owners are harder to find as each state will vary. My Cruiser came from Iowa and when I tried to trace its ancestry the motor vehicle department cited privacy issues for past ownership.
I wish you all the luck.

The chance is pretty high that the SNM can tell you who the original owner of your car is. My guess is that it would cost you one hour's charge (used to be $25; not sure if higher now or not) plus whatever they charge per sheet of paper copied.

From the build sheet, they can obtain the dealer number (if not on the build sheet, might be on the Drive-Away Shipper form, which has much of the same info as the build sheet but also the name and address of the selling dealer and the shipping weight of the car--ask for a copy of that, too, telling them you already have the Production Order--a photocopy proving you've paid for that already, back to them with your request might help).

There are two files of retail sales cards. One is by serial number; the other is by dealer code, by month, starting with Sept. '63. Those latter ones are much more interesting to me, as they list the occupation of the buyer and what he traded in as well as his name and address which is about all that is on the other card.

For examples of a drive-away shipper and both styles of retail sales cards, see here (you'll need to page down a bit):

http://www.studebakerskytop.com/jtskytops.html

I'd like to think that no more than one hours' labor at the SNM would produce all three documents.

Also, if you wish to know a bit more about your selling dealer, there are two sets of cards...one by state, then city, and one by name I believe)...that will show how long the dealer was in business and who the principals were.

Good luck!