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View Full Version : The hidden enemy to all old vehicle owners...



62champ
01-21-2014, 12:22 PM
Anyone who has been around old vehicles has a good idea what is the biggest problem with many out there: rust.

A good friend back in Texas bought a '56 Golden Hawk out of the upper mid-West back in the late 90's off the internet. He was told it needed restoration and knew it was not going to be perfect - so he paid what he thought was a good price for the car. When it arrived, he crawled up on the transport trailer to get a look underneath. He said from the front wheels back there were huge pop-riveted patches in the body and you could flack off dollar coin size pieces of rust from the frame. He was so sick he almost did not have it unloaded - I think the good parts were saved but the majority of the car went to "old car heaven."

Fast forward to today. Local SDC and Keystone member Rob Reese is jumping into the restoration of a '64 GT he has owned since the early 1980s. It sat in storage from 1989 to just last fall when it was cranked, brakes pumped up (thanks to silicon fluid - brakes worked perfectly) and driven five miles to my garage to start the process.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/62champ/car/IMG_3450_zps77ccc969.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/62champ/car/IMG_3451_zps2e5c1893.jpg

Yesterday, we had time to get the rear fenders off to get them ready to go to the body shop. Rob knew there would be rust under the rear quarters because the car had spent its whole life in this part of the country. In the process, only three bolts gave up the ghost to get everything off, so in that respect we were lucky.

A couple photos of what we found...

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/62champ/car/IMG_3564_zps76cc7722.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/62champ/car/IMG_3565_zps3025ea98.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/62champ/car/IMG_3563_zpsc6fe1f0d.jpg

After close look at everything, a couple of deep breaths, Rob responded, "Meh - I have driven worse..."

So when you fair-weather folks worry about a pin-hole in the floor or a bubble in the bottom of a front fender, consider what things COULD be like...

JEWELL
01-21-2014, 12:48 PM
I truly feel his pain, its the hidden rust that will jump out and bite you on the ...,well you know what I mean.

Mark

jclary
01-21-2014, 12:52 PM
So when you fair-weather folks worry about a pin-hole in the floor or a bubble in the bottom of a front fender, consider what things COULD be like...

Yeah...and when you find that car of your dreams at an "unbelievable" price...think of what can be hiding behind that pin-hole or bubble. Getting overly excited and plunking down your hard earned cash too quick can be pretty darned expensive.:ohmy:

I'm sure we've seen much worse, but to the unskilled, inexperienced, and unsuspecting...even this could be such a letdown as to cause someone to walk away from the hobby altogether.:(

Here's where those of us with the experience have an opportunity to encourage, educate, and lift up those considering jumping into the hobby.:)

BobPalma
01-21-2014, 01:37 PM
Personally, I am pleasantly surprised at how good the frame looks. From what we can see, it looks remarkably well-preserved, compared with the body panels shown.

Honest, the rustiest 1964 GT I have ever seen was delivered new in Dallas TX and had aftermarket air conditioning installed somewhere along the way, so it probably stayed there awhile.

But about 20 years ago when it first appeared here in Brownsburg IN, it was so cancer-ridden that it really was a parts car. :oops:

It has since been parted and the carcass cut up and sold for scrap. It really was that bad; I've never seen so much cancer in a last-year Hawk, but the Texas provenance and aftermarket air looked good on paper. :QQ:

You never can tell. :confused: BP

62champ
01-21-2014, 02:05 PM
Personally, I am pleasantly surprised at how good the frame looks. From what we can see, it looks remarkably well-preserved, compared with the body panels shown. BP

Yep - there is not major rust in the frame. Rob even did the "stabbing screw driver" test on the torque boxes and they seemed really solid their whole lengths as well. Next place in question will be the cowl bottoms.

In the mid-70s my Uncle bought an 8E Champ out of the Houston area. In its short life it must have been close to the coast - floors and bottom of doors already gone and the seat was simply resting on the floor of the cab...

swvalcon
01-21-2014, 02:36 PM
If that thing had red paint on it I would think you had pictures of my 64 hawk that I've started to restore. Looks just like what you have there. Nothing a little sheet metal and a welder cant fix. All you have to do is dig in and go after it. The nice thing about the body shell on these is when the panels are back on you dont see any of it. So unless your building some kind of museum peice out of it you dont have to butt weld everything a few extra seams here or there are no big deal.

raprice
01-21-2014, 02:46 PM
Man, that,s truly sad. It's very difficult to buy a car sight unseen. My heart goes out to 62 Champ.

Rog

wittsend
01-21-2014, 04:45 PM
"So when you fair-weather folks..."

Even here in sunny So. Cal. rust can be more of an issue than one would think. Water gets under carpets and the cars rust from the inside out. A glance under the car may show what looks like solid floors but inside it is a whole different story. If you live near the ocean it gets worse - a lot worse.

Regardless of where one lives, if you are storing long term outside I highly recommend you remove the carpets, trunk mat etc. I'd also pull the rubber floor/trunk drain plugs. If your worried about pests getting in caulk some wire screen from the outside. I have even drilled small holes in the floor and trunk to promote drainage. It is nothing that a dab of silicone can't cover later.

SN-60
01-21-2014, 05:38 PM
Studebaker invented rust...Ford perfected it.

63t-cab
01-21-2014, 05:44 PM
Patrick, hopefully Rob's Hawk won't be any much worse than what You already see.I didn't remember/realise My hawk was as rusted as it is until I looked it over for pictures for the sale of the car "and this one started life in CA."

Flashback
01-21-2014, 05:53 PM
Sad, and one reason I don't buy sight unseen unless it's a parts car. That's what this one would be for me. I would find another to built and let this one be the parts car.

jimmijim8
01-21-2014, 07:50 PM
I had one in same as condition. Fixed it up properly. Never again. What for. Just get a part time job flipping burgers and apply your paycheck towards making payments on a rust free, turn key one. You will have paid it off and quit your part time job way before rehabbing a rust bucket one. Plus, you'll have transportation to BK. The red one was my expensive,frustrating former rust bucket that I sold. The blue one is my rust free turn key that I bought for thousands less than I had in the red one. cheers jimmijim

Corvanti
01-21-2014, 08:22 PM
i had some frame rust problems with a spot of frame cancer on the Avanti i purchased on ebay. since it was from Florida i didn't think about rust issues. plus the $7k paint job was close to what i paid for it.

this was all before i joined the forum/SDC.:o i may buy another Studebaker from ebay in the future, but without underbody pics or maybe someone here checking it out, it won't happen!

Bob Andrews
01-21-2014, 10:06 PM
I have made a business out of helping folks avoid situations like this. I do in-person inspections usually for two reasons: One, to verify authenticity and two, to determine real condition. Most know that skillful photography can make a car look much better than it is; in particular, paint almost always photographs better than it is.

Some things I've learned:

1. Location of vehicle is not necessarily an indicator of actual condition
2. History of vehicle is not necessarily a guarantee of indication of condition
3. Sometimes, a lifelong rust-area car is better than a desert-type car. Many have been stored during the winters, protecting them from the salt.
4. On rougher cars, SW cars have less rust, but have cooked interiors, dash, and rubber trim/seals; and upper panel rust. Salt-area cars have more rust, but better interior, dash, and rubber. Pick your poison.
5. WC and SW sellers frequently have no concept of severity of rust. I once bought a Lark wagon that had MUCH more rust than the seller disclosed. I prefer to think he didn't know what he was doing.
6. Most important:
It is frequently said that it is cheaper to save up and buy a vehicle done, as opposed to building one up. This is true. But understand, when you buy one done, you are running some risk. I have 40 years' experience, but there is only so much even I can see without removing panels, grinding off paint, etc. While it may cost a lot more to build one up, it's really the only way to know for sure what you have. Again, pick your poison.

I am usually only hired to inspect high-end stuff. As a rule, it is makes sense to have trained eyes inspect anything about $15K and up. Below that, the risk is low enough that it might not justify the fee. But I can tell you, it is the ultimate joy to be able to help a buyer wait for his new toy with excitement, absent the anxiety of worrying about something like 62Champ describes:)

candbstudebakers
01-22-2014, 03:20 AM
And here I sit with a pair of 63 rust free body's and will more than likely end up in China or if I feel like spending the time to cut up into pieces then they might get saved, one already has the trunk section cut off. I know they are worth more in pieces than as a whole body, time will tell. will post some pictures next week.

plee4139
01-22-2014, 08:56 AM
"Caveat Emptor" or "let the buyer beware" is as true now as ever. There are so many ways to have a car inspected before purchase that I wonder why the buyer didn't avail himself of those services. Penny wise, perhaps?

northern
01-22-2014, 09:51 AM
There are so many degrees of rust in old cars, and virtually all cars will have some rust by the time they reach 50 or 60 years of age. Some cars one should just walk away from, while others are an easy fix, or require no fix. If a car has undergone a less than thorough frame on restoration, remaining rust can be hard to spot, and even an inspection may not find it. Frame rust problems usually are relatively easy to spot. And it is not difficult to look for rust in behind the outer fenders, in the rockers, doors, cowl area, etc.

Personally, I don't worry about light surface rust in areas where the factory never applied finish anyway; it likely won't get worse and become a problem. A little rust or even perforation in the front floor or trunk floor also does not concern me, if that is the worst that the car has. Water gets into those areas and sits there, under the carpet or trunk mat. The rest of the car can be just fine.

BobWaitz
01-22-2014, 11:13 AM
What a bunch of cry babies. ;-)

This is what we called "the good cab mount" on my M5. You should have seen the bad one.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2789/4430546256_207cf2bebd_z.jpg?zz=1

sochocki
01-22-2014, 11:14 AM
I remember looking at a black 1963 GT Hawk back in 1976. It was in Plymouth Indiana not too far from my home in South Bend. It had only 36000 miles on it, and the red upholstery was mint! However, it had never seen the inside of a garage much at all. I opened up the gas filler door, and it came off in my hand. I looked inside of the trunk, and you could see through the "swiss cheese" floor! I can't remember how much the lady wanted for the car, but I ran the other way. This was a car only 13 years old. Good old northern Indiana winters had done its job, unfortunately.

alaipairod
01-22-2014, 11:55 AM
Never let it be said that Studebakers can't hold their water.
I've got pics of our M5 resto that would break the spirit of many good men.
We are now involved with a '57 Golden Hawk resto............Same thing,

Nox
01-22-2014, 04:52 PM
To buy a rust-free one is ofcourse best but if the interior & outside looks good, do you remove the wheel & look in upfront under the rear fender?
& after all: it's only steel, nothing a grinder (man's best friend!) & a welder can't fix.
Just one thing: cut away ENOUGH! ...but only one big hole at the time.
There's new steel to buy but no new Studebakers, good to keep in mind.
:)

Bish
01-22-2014, 07:56 PM
Rule # 1 - They're always worse than they look.
Rule # 2 - Hope for the best, expect the worst.

Bob A. Is right, you can bet any internet pics are hiding flaws.These are inner quarters that look like they were never painted by the factory. Cut, weld, coat properly. Will last forever as the car won't see bad weather again. I think this is an easy fix and of no concern.

Bish

alaipairod
01-22-2014, 10:02 PM
Rust in a Studebaker is a given.
What's left of the cars is what we have got.
There is plenty if sheet metal to repair them.
Love 'em or leave 'em...........

SN-60
01-22-2014, 10:08 PM
Rust in a Studebaker is a given.
What's left of the cars is what we have got.
There is plenty if sheet metal to repair them.
Love 'em or leave 'em...........


Well said!:)

evilhawk
01-30-2014, 03:11 PM
Hmm.. the fenders look good but behind the fenders there are rusted holes... Just patch them and put the fenders back on and sell the car. Personally, rusted holes like that behind the fenders wouldnt bother me. I would just weld in some sheet metal and slap it back together and drive it.

jackb
01-30-2014, 04:52 PM
......if one of Bob's Hawks is a roller, you'd be money ahead paying $1500. or so to ship it back east.

1962larksedan
01-30-2014, 07:31 PM
......if one of Bob's Hawks is a roller, you'd be money ahead paying $1500. or so to ship it back east.

I so agree there since bodywork is $$$ if done correctly................

swvalcon
01-30-2014, 07:53 PM
Yes bodywork is $$$$$ but if you have more time than money and you enjoy doing it then by all means go for it. It's just sheet metal and welding and if epoxy primed and seam sealed when done it'll last longer than you will.

rodnutrandy
01-30-2014, 07:53 PM
My M16 came out of Nw Kansas , bolts came out like put in yesterday ,had rats nest up to dash , but sand blasted and glass beaded to find rust only 4 areas , lower cab corners , and rear hood hinge area . In Ohio on most I can stick my hand through any panel , Grilles came from E-bay , anything with worth was sold off truck before I bought it !

Michael J Hawk
07-13-2014, 01:24 PM
I've saved a lot of sheet metal by taking what you got left, coating it with por 15 or some other rust converter, then doing fiberglas layups over the form. You can finish with bondo if it needs to look pretty. Makes a strong repair and you can incorporate metal for stiffening.

Jefscoupe
07-13-2014, 02:26 PM
I just don't "get" these people that think rust is "patina".
And clear coat over it! That won't stop it from rusting. Yeah, it may slow the process but it will continue to eat away.
Patina is worn/dull paint, stained/faded interior, cloudy glass.
My mantra goes something like this:
RUST is NOT PATINA!
Rust is the ENEMY!
It MUST be DESTROYED!
I'm thinking about getting T shirts made with that on them to wear to shows and cruise ins.:!!:

studebakerjoe
07-13-2014, 02:33 PM
Not sure if tablet posted what I had to say as the page jumped when I went to post.we were fortunate to buy my lark from a fellow member.buying a car on ebay I would pay an independent inspector to look at it,or if some member nearby gracious enough to look at it before buying online

PackardV8
07-13-2014, 03:26 PM
Sad, and one reason I don't buy sight unseen.
Agree, anyone buying long distance will be bitten by hope and seller greed and sooner rather than later.


Some things I've learned:
1. Location of vehicle is not necessarily an indicator of actual condition
2. History of vehicle is not necessarily a guarantee of indication of condition
6. Most important: It is frequently said that it is cheaper to save up and buy a vehicle done,
Agree, completely. Again, hope and assumptions plus seller greed and it is always cheaper to buy a completed vehicle, but as Bob says, inspection, inspection and inspection.


Anyone who has been around old vehicles has a good idea what is the biggest problem with many out there: rust.

Yes, rust is the second biggest problem, right after time passing. Anyone who has been in the hobby for a while can tell a dozen stories of good cars allowed to ruin while the owner kept saying for 20-30 years, he was going to get around to restoring it any day now. It did take thirty years to get this '64 GT into restoration, but at least it wasn't stored under a tree in a swamp, like some craigslist sales we see here.

jack vines