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Thread: New Dog Hauler - '55 Commander Conestoga

  1. #41
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    Not much to report this weekend, I only spent a few hours on the car this afternoon. I pulled the intake and swapped on the rebuilt WCFB setup. It runs great... George in Tallahassee did a fantastic job on the carb.

    The '55's had a screen door spring instead of solid throttle linkage. I modified the throttle bellcrank to accept the later style rod linkage. Everything went together just as it should.

    I'd found a correct 4 barrel air cleaner for the car, but when cleaning it up for paint I discovered that the whole thing was filled with a mouse nest. I cut a hole in the bottom and cleaned it out, but still decided it wasn't worth the risk of trash getting sucked into the engine. So.. I used an old Offy adapter and put the original 2 barrel air cleaner back on. It'll work until I can find the right one.

    Last edited by mbstude; 12-03-2017 at 07:54 PM.

  2. #42
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    The car had an Airtex fuel pump on it, not my first choice so I rebuilt an original Carter pump and installed it today.



    Stephen was around the shop working on some of his cars and couldn't resist jumping in. He put a new voltage regulator on which solved the charging problem. I went ahead and did an oil change and drove it on the road for the first time.

    It runs out great but still plenty of little things to tend to. But, progress!


  3. #43
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbstude View Post
    It runs out great but still plenty of little things to tend to. But, progress!

    One of the best views out there...

  4. #44
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    Nice wagon. It sure looks to me like it's worth the effort you intend to put into it. Enjoy. I know I would.

  5. #45
    President Member clonelark's Avatar
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    Looking great Matt, glad someone put this car in the shape it deserves. Good Conestoga's are so rare.
    101st Airborne Div. 326 Engineers Ft Campbell Ky.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by clonelark View Post
    Looking great Matt, glad someone put this car in the shape it deserves. Good Conestoga's are so rare.
    Thanks for selling it to me Bob.. It's a neat car that's just begging to be brought back.

    I've got plenty of more new parts to throw at it as soon as I get some more free time. My goal is to have everything "done" and the car on the road by April for our Southeast Zone Meet.

    Last edited by mbstude; 12-21-2017 at 06:48 AM.

  7. #47
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    Three different colors, body styles, wheel covers/hub caps, etc - love the variety...

  8. #48
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    Oh, that dark red one... What color is it from, original Studebaker?
    & please more pictuers of it! Please...?


    Josephine
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noxnabaker View Post
    Oh, that dark red one... What color is it from, original Studebaker?
    & please more pictuers of it! Please...?
    It's a Commander 2 door sedan. It's been a part of this collection since the 1970's and it was last restored in 1989. I don't think it's an original color. I don't have any pictures on hand but I'll get some soon.

  10. #50
    President Member j.byrd's Avatar
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    I'm with Noxnabaker, that maroon is gorgeous ! The fender and hood "spears" on the Speedster are great, and the front bumper on Matt's car (without the shin-killers) is perfect ! I know Ford had a great maroon until around 50 or 51, then the Vintage Burgundy in the 60's. This is what my 55 will be painted if I ever get (or have) to paint it ! Great shot of these 3 Matt !

  11. #51
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    Okidoki, I'm quite a fan of 53-55 sedans & my -55 4door is gonna be dark red to match the red interior.


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  12. #52
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    I was informed a while back that '55's were meant to be gaudy.. And the Conestoga was looking pretty bare when sitting next to the Speedster. So..

    Today I installed an NOS fog light setup and front fender spears. While I was at it, I put in a set of halogen H4 6 volt headlight bulbs, wired through NOS Delco (1950's) relays. Works great, and much brighter than the old sealed beams.

    I know that not everyone likes fog lights or fender spears... But the guy that owns the car does.



    Last edited by mbstude; 12-26-2017 at 07:17 PM.

  13. #53
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    Nox, here's a few more pictures of the '55 Commander two door.






  14. #54
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    Matt, that is sweet and just the way I like to see 55s. all dressed up for the public to enjoy, just a thought wire caps might look good as well

    Quote Originally Posted by mbstude View Post
    I was informed a while back that '55's were meant to be gaudy.. And the Conestoga was looking pretty bare when sitting next to the Speedster. So..

    Today I installed an NOS fog light setup and front fender spears. While I was at it, I put in a set of halogen H4 6 volt headlight bulbs, wired through NOS Delco (1950's) relays. Works great, and much brighter than the old sealed beams.

    I know that not everyone likes fog lights or fender spears... But the guy that owns the car does.



    Joseph R. Zeiger

  15. #55
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    Great addition Matt. Thanks for keeping us updated!
    Nick

  16. #56
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    Big thanx for the pictures!
    & I also think the foglights & spears are cool there!


    Josephine
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  17. #57
    Speedster Member Charlie D's Avatar
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    Matt,

    I have a ’55 President State Sedan and would be very interested in converting to the 6-volt H4 lights. I did some research on line. There is a 7” H4 sealed beam for VWs. What lamp did you use to put the H4 bulb in? Will an H4 fit in the original sealed beams that came in the ’55 Studebakers? I will also have to research how to put the relays in the electrical system.

    Thank you,
    Charlie D.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by 63t-cab View Post
    Matt, that is sweet and just the way I like to see 55s. all dressed up for the public to enjoy, just a thought wire caps might look good as well
    That might be a little too much bling. The car had new wheelcovers installed about 15 years ago and they're still pretty nice.. Otherwise I might be tempted.

    Quote Originally Posted by ndynis View Post
    Great addition Matt. Thanks for keeping us updated!
    Nick
    This is a way for me to keep track of what I've done to the car, and I know some forum members enjoy seeing Studebakers being worked on instead of 5 monthly threads about who hasn't gotten their Turning Wheels yet.

    High up on the to-do list is installing a rebuilt Delco distributor, new shocks, new muffler, and all new carpeting from front to back. None of that sounded appealing today, so I decided to tackle the rattling tailgates. Lots of rubber and nylon bumpers all over that were all very well worn. Luckily.. NOS station wagon parts are still plentiful.

    I replaced all of the bumpers around the tailgates and the rubber pieces that keep the latches and tailgate supports from rattling. I installed new rubber around the opening, as well as the seal between the upper and lower tailgates. That one is a special moulded piece and isn't in reproduction, though we had an NOS one that was still pliable enough to use. With all of that, the back end of the car is as sealed up and rattle free as it can be after 62 years. I went ahead and installed an NOS tailgate handle assembly, latch, and striker. I need to replace the rear window gasket, but otherwise there isn't much left to do on the back end of the car.

    Other than some rust in the lower front fenders, this car is remarkably solid all over. It's really nice to work on such a nice, original, untouched car, and not have to fight any corroded bolts or nuts, or deal with any shoddy repairs.

    Last edited by mbstude; 12-27-2017 at 06:30 PM.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie D View Post
    Matt,

    I have a ’55 President State Sedan and would be very interested in converting to the 6-volt H4 lights. I did some research on line. There is a 7” H4 sealed beam for VWs. What lamp did you use to put the H4 bulb in? Will an H4 fit in the original sealed beams that came in the ’55 Studebakers? I will also have to research how to put the relays in the electrical system.

    Thank you,
    Charlie D.
    Charlie, these are the headlights I used, they came with the bulbs included. Currently unavailable on Amazon, but I'm sure a little searching around would bring up some alternatives.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    As for the relays, I used two NOS Delcos, part number 1116789. Period correct and readily available. One for low beams, and one for high. There was a little instruction sheet that had a diagram on how to wire them up. I followed the directions and everything works great.

    There are plenty of them on ebay at the moment, but here's one that shows the instruction sheet.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/1936-54-Del...5YzqSO&vxp=mtr

  20. #60
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    Matt, when You say new do You mean n.o.s. dare any one to find these n.o.s. now a Days.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbstude View Post
    That might be a little too much bling. The car had new wheelcovers installed about 15 years ago and they're still pretty nice.. Otherwise I might be tempted.



    This is a way for me to keep track of what I've done to the car, and I know some forum members enjoy seeing Studebakers being worked on instead of 5 monthly threads about who hasn't gotten their Turning Wheels yet.

    High up on the to-do list is installing a rebuilt Delco distributor, new shocks, new muffler, and all new carpeting from front to back. None of that sounded appealing today, so I decided to tackle the rattling tailgates. Lots of rubber and nylon bumpers all over that were all very well worn. Luckily.. NOS station wagon parts are still plentiful.

    I replaced all of the bumpers around the tailgates and the rubber pieces that keep the latches and tailgate supports from rattling. I installed new rubber around the opening, as well as the seal between the upper and lower tailgates. That one is a special moulded piece and isn't in reproduction, though we had an NOS one that was still pliable enough to use. With all of that, the back end of the car is as sealed up and rattle free as it can be after 62 years. I went ahead and installed an NOS tailgate handle assembly, latch, and striker. I need to replace the rear window gasket, but otherwise there isn't much left to do on the back end of the car.

    Other than some rust in the lower front fenders, this car is remarkably solid all over. It's really nice to work on such a nice, original, untouched car, and not have to fight any corroded bolts or nuts, or deal with any shoddy repairs.

    Joseph R. Zeiger

  21. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by 63t-cab View Post
    Matt, when You say new do You mean n.o.s. dare any one to find these n.o.s. now a Days.
    Those wheel covers were in reproduction then, and there was a receipt in the glove box. They’ve been unavailable for a while though and even the repro’s are scarce now.

  22. #62
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    Yesterday I removed the front seat, and trashed what was left of the original rubber floor mat. The front floorboard has the typical scaly surface rust that always happens with rubber mats, but aside from a few small pin holes, it's still solid. I cleaned it up and put POR15 where the surface rust is. Once it dries it's time for carpeting.

    I loaded up the front seat and dropped it off at a local upholstery shop to be redone. I should have it back within a month.



    I also found some NOS clear fog (driving) light bulbs on ebay, and got them installed.

    Last edited by mbstude; 12-29-2017 at 03:37 PM.

  23. #63
    President Member clonelark's Avatar
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    I always wanted to put Speedster side trim on it when i had it and President emblems then show up at a Stude meet. It'd drive the purist nuts.
    101st Airborne Div. 326 Engineers Ft Campbell Ky.

  24. #64
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    A little more progress today. Since I took the seat cushions to the upholstery shop, I thought it'd be a good idea to go ahead and get the seat frame cleaned up and the tracks loosened up and lubricated. With that done, I went ahead and installed the new carpet, which came from here: http://www.automotiveinteriors.com/c...kers/stude.htm

    It's the exact same carpeting from the exact same supplier that John Poulos used to sell. While I wouldn't use it in a show car, it's pretty nice for the price and the fit isn't as bad as I expected. A few days in the sun and I think it'll fit a little better, but overall, it's good enough for this car and I'm happy with it.


  25. #65
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    I love the way the Fog/Driving Lights look mounted inboard and with No Bumper Guards, instead of the "overdone look" the Presidents had Speedsters had.

    Good Job! That Conestoga will always be the ONLY one of it's kind, at any Car Show!
    StudeRich
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    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  26. #66
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    Picked up the front seat cushions from the local upholstery shop this morning. The cushions were stripped down to nothing, the frames/springs cleaned and painted, and completely rebuilt as new. The guys there were able to find materials that were a dead-on match for the originals. It looks correct, it's comfortable to sit on, and no more dried out foam falling onto the carpet.

    Now I have to dye the rear seat and door panels to match since the front seat shows how much the rest has faded after 6+ decades.





    Last edited by mbstude; 01-12-2018 at 05:19 PM.

  27. #67
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    Great looking and fast service! Lucky you!
    Nick

  28. #68
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    Wow! That looks like a great job.
    Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

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    50 Champion 2 door*
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    * Formerly owned

  29. #69
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    Looks pretty nice Matt.

    Amazing that some of the upholstery lasts as long as it does... I remember my uncle saying that if a vehicle was a daily driver, the seats would easily be showing their age within a couple of years. My dad said his '53 coupe interior was in pretty bad shape when he bought it with 100k miles on it in 1961. He said he could have had everything fixed but for a fraction of that amount, he stripped a complete interior out of a 59 or 60 Hawk that was in a wrecking yard...

    With modern material and decent upkeep, your interior will look that nice in another 60 years.

  30. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by 62champ View Post
    Looks pretty nice Matt.

    Amazing that some of the upholstery lasts as long as it does... I remember my uncle saying that if a vehicle was a daily driver, the seats would easily be showing their age within a couple of years. My dad said his '53 coupe interior was in pretty bad shape when he bought it with 100k miles on it in 1961. He said he could have had everything fixed but for a fraction of that amount, he stripped a complete interior out of a 59 or 60 Hawk that was in a wrecking yard...

    With modern material and decent upkeep, your interior will look that nice in another 60 years.
    There was a great variation in Studebakers in regard to this. It depended a lot on what seat material and what year. I have had more than 20 year old 1953 Starliners with vinyl seats that were in good condition (perhaps a small repair on the bolster where you enter). The vinyl seats in 1962 Hawks rarely lasted a year. The vinyl seats in 1963-1964 Hawks lasted almost forever (decades and well over 100K miles). If you are referring to cloth, climate, sun and storage are big factors in their survival.
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  31. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by 62champ View Post

    Amazing that some of the upholstery lasts as long as it does...
    I took a sample of the new front seat material to the paint store this morning and had some SEM vinyl dye mixed up. I sprayed the door panels, rear seat cushions, and an NOS pair of sun visors this evening. The rear cushions had remnants of those 50's era clear plastic covers still on them. No idea when they were pulled off, but that's likely what saved the back seat.

    I dyed the lighter tan color, but still have to do the darker colored portions. I'll post pics once it's all done.

  32. #72
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    The Seat came out great, look'in Good!

    Is the darker "Brown" really a reddish Brown like Oxblood Color Matt?

    In the Camera/PC Monitor Pictures, it totally appears to be a kind of Mauve purple color which I am sure they would not have used with Tan in 1955.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 01-13-2018 at 08:14 PM.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  33. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by StudeRich View Post
    The Seat came out great, look'in Good!

    Is the darker "Brown" really a reddish Brown like Oxblood Color Matt?

    In the Camera/PC Monitor Pictures, it totally appears to be a kind of Mauve purple color which I am sure they would not have used with Tan in 1955.
    It’s maroon/burgundy/oxblood or something along those lines. I’m partially colorblind so I don’t know what to call it.

  34. #74
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    The paint store wasn't open today so I couldn't get more vinyl dye, so I went ahead and installed the carpeting in the cargo area. I bought an extra 5 yards when I ordered the front carpet set, and that was more than enough. I still need to do the insert on the inside of the tailgate, but that can wait for another day. I've got enough left over that I think I'll replace the cardboard kick panels with carpet too.

    I think it looks a little nicer than before.



    Last edited by mbstude; 01-14-2018 at 05:20 PM.

  35. #75
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    It looks nicer, but I would have stayed with the practical rubber mats and cleaned them up (maybe re-coloring). Then it is your wagon and not mine, so do as you wish (unless the plan is to prep for sale).
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
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  36. #76
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    Very nice! I'm sure that your dog (sorry, I have forgotten her name) will enjoy that nice, good traction carpet!
    Nick

  37. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    It looks nicer, but I would have stayed with the practical rubber mats and cleaned them up (maybe re-coloring). Then it is your wagon and not mine, so do as you wish (unless the plan is to prep for sale).
    I talked to Will Sanders before I did the carpeting and while he didn’t have any of the correct material, he said he’s pretty sure that GM used the same linoleum decking in their wagons of the same era. A little research led me to find out that Ford used it as well as IH in their later Travelalls. It’s available for big bucks from Chevy suppliers and some places offer it in vinyl. Either way, I wanted matching carpet instead. The dog and a suitcase will be the only things that ever ride back there, so I wasn’t too worried with extra durability.

    Quote Originally Posted by ndynis View Post
    Very nice! I'm sure that your dog (sorry, I have forgotten her name) will enjoy that nice, good traction carpet!
    Nick
    That was part of the idea. She’d be playing slip and slide otherwise.
    Last edited by mbstude; 04-12-2018 at 06:03 PM.

  38. #78
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    It's turning out very nice,
    Enjoyed my short visit in December, but I have to ask...."where did you find that paved road (in post 42)"

    Bill
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  39. #79
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    Another weekend update. As far as I'm concerned... The interior is as finished as I'm gonna get it.

    I installed new windlace, and NOS padded sun visors that were dyed to match. I finished dying the door panels. I removed all of the side panels from the cargo area and dyed them as well.

    A few more mechanical bugs to tackle, and then the car will be ready for a license plate.









    Last edited by mbstude; 01-28-2018 at 02:20 PM.

  40. #80
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    Great job on "refreshing" the wagon! Anyone would be proud to drive that around. Have you let your "passenger" try it out yet? How does she like it? She is bound to appreciate the non-skip carpet in the back. How about a picture of her in the wagon?
    Thanks for posting your adventure and allowing us to share it.
    Nick

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