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Thread: custom chassis

  1. #1
    Speedster Member colt45sa's Avatar
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    custom chassis

    Has anyone here actually purchased a custom square tube chassis for a C/K that they were thoroughly satisfied with? Was it with or without suspension and how much did you have to pay for it. I promise I won't tell your wife. LOL~!

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    No, but I did price out an Art Morrison build for a potential customer. Complete with brakes, steering, rear axle and ready to install, it was $25,000.

    https://www.artmorrison.com/2006cat/...catalog_LR.pdf

    jack vines
    PackardV8

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    I have an AM knocked down frame not yet assembled. I will post what I bought and the cost tomorrow as well as some alternatives.

    JK

  4. #4
    President Member junior's Avatar
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    forum member ralt12 has a 53 stude with a custom chassis, art morrison if memory serves. haven't seen any posts from him a a while, but he did have a website with the build featured. cheers, junior

    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  5. #5
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    This is getting to be a fairly competitive business and the price to build these chassis has been coming down. A friend of mine just had a nice custom chassis done for his '56 Chev with Ford rear and 4 link for $10K.
    Dan White
    64 R1 GT
    64 R2 GT
    58 C Cab
    57 Broadmoor (Marvin)

  6. #6
    President Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    This aint expensive custom info:

    In the late 60's there was a -55 Starlight here in Sweden on a -55 or -56 Chrysler frame that they drag raced some, I've seen bictures of the car, but if they would have gone for a -57 Plymouth they would have gotten a better front suspension but now they got the Hemi.

    (I'm just mentioning this because I find it interesting since I've thought about it myself.)

    & now back to reality...


    Josephine
    -55
    Champion V8
    4d sedan

  7. #7
    President Member 48skyliner's Avatar
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    I am not familiar with the 53 chassis, but if the longitudinal bending stiffness is an issue, a custom chassis is a good idea. If the primary concern is torsional stiffness, it may be relatively easy to add some diagonal bracing as we did in my 48Champion, as seen in the photo. Not an actual X-brace, but does add significant torsional stiffness. My chassis is short because it bolts at the firewall to a different front end.

    I am a believer in using factory parts wherever possible. My car has Nissan independent suspension, steering and disc brakes front and rear and I doubt the Art Morrison chassis has a better combination of ride and handling. My total cost for the project including engine, trans, suspension, wiring, body and paint work is only a few thousand more than the price quoted above for the Art Morrison chassis. Of course this includes my own labor at about a dollar an hour.

    Chassis with exhaust.jpg
    Last edited by 48skyliner; 04-13-2018 at 06:39 PM.
    Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
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    Jw's Rod Garage in Belgium, WI makes a complete C/K chassis. They have also built an Avanti Chassis. They are good guys who do excellent work. http://www.jwrodgarage.com/
    Their mail forte is the hotrod comunity but they can make a chassis for nearly anything. The C/K chassis used a factory frame as a sample. It is a direct bolt in piece.
    james r pepper

  9. #9
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    New chassis

    Quote Originally Posted by jpepper View Post
    Jw's Rod Garage in Belgium, WI makes a complete C/K chassis. They have also built an Avanti Chassis. They are good guys who do excellent work. http://www.jwrodgarage.com/
    Their mail forte is the hotrod comunity but they can make a chassis for nearly anything. The C/K chassis used a factory frame as a sample. It is a direct bolt in piece.
    I have been watching this thread unfold and was going to mention JW's, I have been to their place and bought items. Always a pleasant experience. Wish I had a use for the C/K frame. Jim, I didn't know about the Avanti frame....lets hope I never need one for R1089, that would be a late in life surprise! Sherm / Green Bay

  10. #10
    Speedster Member colt45sa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    No, but I did price out an Art Morrison build for a potential customer. Complete with brakes, steering, rear axle and ready to install, it was $25,000.

    https://www.artmorrison.com/2006cat/...catalog_LR.pdf

    jack vines
    They are insane~! About 3 years ago I spoke to a fellow in the upper mid-west who had built 3 C/H chassis. Bare they were about $4500. When I further suggested Corvette suspension and steering the price went up to about $7800. I can find and install the Ford 8" rear with disks. There are a lot of people who have run off potential customers with their greed. I told the local Ford dealer that there were quite a few things I would like to have done on my car but I wasn't having them done at his place with his outrageous prices. He charged me $674.26 for an A/C compressor and I can buy a Motorcraft brand compressor from Rock Auto for $256.79.
    T

  11. #11
    Speedster Member colt45sa's Avatar
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    My brother did some heavy customizing work on a K making it into a C, fabeicating floors and firewall, and installing a Viper V-10. Best of all was the "custom chassis" with no suspension that the customer had paid $13K for. And the body would not fit on the chassis. So in addition to the $13K the customer had to pay additional monye to have his "custom built" chassis modified so that the body would fit on it. Caveat emptor~!
    Thank you JPepper. I think they are the ones I actually talked to~!

  12. #12
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    I have formed rails front & rear, front cross member with control arms, all the rear clip arms with brackets for a triangulated set up with a Ford 9" bare housing, front and rear sway bars with shock mounts from Art M. less than 5K with shipping. I can fabricate the straight stuff, sleeve the cross members and put it together, so I can save the coin. I need some flexibility in my build. If you want a direct bolt on the JW venue is worth looking at.

    JK

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    So if you put a new chassis in an old car is registered as a new car or can you go by body tag number?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kxet View Post
    So if you put a new chassis in an old car is registered as a new car or can you go by body tag number?
    Yes, No, Maybe. In most states, Studebakers are registered by body number tag and in a few others by engine serial number. Avanti did have the number on the frame rail.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  15. #15
    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    I built a 1979 pickup, with a chassis from one, and a body from another. When I took it to be inspected, they made me register it with the chassis serial number. I had the title for both, so it didn't matter to me, but the vin# in the windshield, no longer matched the title. That was in Nevada.

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    Bare they were about $4500. When I further suggested Corvette suspension and steering the price went up to about $7800. I can find and install the Ford 8" rear with disks.
    There are a few here who can construct a real, running, driving car from a pile of parts they gather themselves, but not everyone.

    There are several kit car companies which sell a box with most of the car inside, very detailed directions and year/make/model/part number for the "donor" parts required. No surprise, many kit cars are never completed by the original purchaser. Some fantastic bargains when the wife says, "It's been too many years! Get that mess out of the garage! Now!"

    Your build, your money, your decision. Best of luck.

    jack vines

    Two questions for further discussion here:

    1. Why build with a new, modern chassis and front suspension, but an antique solid rear axle?

    2. When was the last time you saw anyone drive a Stude hard enough through the corners that a well-sorted OEM chassis wouldn't have handled the pressure?

    jv
    PackardV8

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    President Member swvalcon's Avatar
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    In Mn I was told what ever part had the vin tag is what you have to go by. I built a 78 chevette using a 76 front firewall clip and everything else was a low mileage 78. Sold the car and this was after a state salvage inspection as a 78. About three years later I get a call from a Ford dealer that took the car in on trade telling me I had to come see them. In short to make life easy I ended up giving them what they allowed on trade and took the car back. After a long phone call with the state inspector he said what ever year was on the firewall vin tag was what I would get for a title which I did so it was now a 76. I told him I liked that idea as I had a old 73 chev pickup that was all rusted out and I had a nice 79 cab and title and that truck was going to be a brand new 79 when I was done with it. After calling me all kinds of names he told me it didn't work that way. My answer was oh yes it does we just went though this. Didn't do it but was pissed enough I had to mess with him a little. I did a maaco type paint job on the chevette and made money on it for the second time.

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    Problem of safety and smog rules for the year your registering car as in some states. Inquired about some "kits" on CL of 30s cars that were bought in modern times and never finished, no one answered as to how they planned to register these creations without modern safety and smog rules. Seems like the frame is what they look at for numbers in some states. So beware before spending your money.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Yes, No, Maybe. In most states, Studebakers are registered by body number tag and in a few others by engine serial number. Avanti did have the number on the frame rail.

    jack vines
    Except for Avanti, postwar Studebaker cars are identified/titled/registered by the Serial Number on a plate welded (except '65-'66) to the body's A-pillar or B-pillar. Some states used the engine number for identification, particularly in the early postwar period. AFAIK, the body number was never used for these purposes.
    Last edited by studegary; 04-15-2018 at 09:24 PM. Reason: clarified
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
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    The 17-digit VIN was adopted in 1981, and federal regs determine what the VIN is. The VIN is often stamped on every major part to deter theft. Although there are federal regs that apply to earlier years, the interpretation is left up to the states, and that means that some local bureaucrat may be making the decision. And the example provided by swvalcon above demonstrates that there are situations that confound the earlier regs.

  21. #21
    President Member 48skyliner's Avatar
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    "1. Why build with a new, modern chassis and front suspension, but an antique solid rear axle?"

    Even if you are not using a complete new chassis, the same logical question applies. I have said this too many times on this forum since I built my 48 Champion and started driving it. You can make a car handle pretty well with a solid rear axle, at least on smooth surfaces. You can make a car ride fairly well with a solid rear axle. If you want both, you really need independent rear suspension. Why else do all the modern cars go to the expense?

    The next question is why pay $4500 - $15,000 for an aftermarket rear suspension, after the manufacturers have spent all that money to perfect something that you can buy very cheaply at the salvage yard? My fabricator friend and I have looked at just about all of them, and we favor the Nissan setup because it is all mounted on a cradle that attaches with four bolts, everything but the springs/shocks. I got the complete suspension with limited slip and disc brakes for about $300. Even at a higher priced salvage yard it should be available for well under $1,000. Mine was not very pretty when we got it, but after cleaning, painting and /or powder coating the various parts it looks pretty good. More installation details and photos here, see post number 88:

    http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?75394-Nissan-Skyline-drive-train-and-suspension-adapted-to-48-Champion/page3&highlight=skyline

    Skyline R33 Rear suspension.jpg
    Last edited by 48skyliner; 04-17-2018 at 12:12 AM.
    Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
    See more of my projects at stilettoman.info

  22. #22
    President Member t walgamuth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 48skyliner View Post
    "1. Why build with a new, modern chassis and front suspension, but an antique solid rear axle?"

    Even if you are not using a complete new chassis, the same logical question applies. I have said this too many times on this forum since I built my 48 Champion and started driving it. You can make a car handle pretty well with a solid rear axle, at least on smooth surfaces. You can make a car ride fairly well with a solid rear axle. If you want both, you really need independent rear suspension. Why else do all the modern cars go to the expense?

    The next question is why pay $4500 - $15,000 for an aftermarket rear suspension, after the manufacturers have spent all that money to perfect something that you can buy very cheaply at the salvage yard? My fabricator friend and I have looked at just about all of them, and we favor the Nissan setup because it is all mounted on a cradle that attaches with four bolts, everything but the springs/shocks. I got the complete suspension with limited slip and disc brakes for about $300. Even at a higher priced salvage yard it should be available for well under $1,000. Mine was not very pretty when we got it, but after cleaning, painting and /or powder coating the various parts it looks pretty good. More installation details and photos here, see post number 88:

    http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?75394-Nissan-Skyline-drive-train-and-suspension-adapted-to-48-Champion/page3&highlight=skyline

    Skyline R33 Rear suspension.jpg
    That does look nice.

    Three questions: Is the center section offset to the drivers side or is that an optical illusion? What gears come in it? How much does it weigh please?
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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    President Member swvalcon's Avatar
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    48Skyliner I had a good friend that passed away and he did street rod chassis work. His favorite saying was KISS [keep it simple stupid]

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    Quote Originally Posted by PackardV8 View Post
    Yes, No, Maybe. In most states, Studebakers are registered by body number tag and in a few others by engine serial number. Avanti did have the number on the frame rail.

    jack vines
    And that number had best match the "hidden" number on the cross member above the rear axle, between the upper shock mounts. I know mine does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spokejr View Post
    And that number had best match the "hidden" number on the cross member above the rear axle, between the upper shock mounts. I know mine does.
    I had to look at where you reside, then I understood your comment. I haven't seen a legible S/N on a Studebaker rear crossmember in decades.
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
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    I have not done any cipherin' or figgering', but by inspection the loopy extra side rails and 90% perforated cross-members that Morrison prefers may not do very much for torsional stiffness.
    It would sure be fun to test one vs A an OEM Studebaker chassis with a real X-member.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
    It would sure be fun to test one vs an OEM Studebaker chassis with a real X-member.
    The Studebaker X-member itself weights almost as much as a complete frame without the X-member. Stude must have found it needed serious beef to do any stiffening.

    It's also well to remember the Stude frame was intentionally made light and flexible. It was intended to be part of the suspension for comfort on the rough secondary roads where most '50s Studes would be spending most of their operating life. Tires of the day were so skinny, stiff and slippery, no matter how hard the car was driven into the corner, the tires would slide before much twisting force could be put into the frame.

    jack vines
    PackardV8

  28. #28
    Golden Hawk Member DEEPNHOCK's Avatar
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    The Morrison chassis is WAY stiffer than anything ever offered by Studebaker.
    And Morrison will build it any way you want.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
    I have not done any cipherin' or figgering', but by inspection the loopy extra side rails and 90% perforated cross-members that Morrison prefers may not do very much for torsional stiffness.
    It would sure be fun to test one vs A an OEM Studebaker chassis with a real X-member.
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff




    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

  29. #29
    President Member 48skyliner's Avatar
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    "Three questions: Is the center section offset to the drivers side or is that an optical illusion? What gears come in it? How much does it weigh please?"

    The driveshaft is in the center, but the diff housing and axle lengths are asymmetric. The gear ratio is 3.9, from a manual trans R32 Skyline, 89-92, but you have some choices using the LSD diff assembly from a 240SX, Skyline, Infiniti J30 or Q45, manual or auto, ranging I believe from 3.7 to about 4.2.

    I am sorry to say I did not weigh the assembly - Sean was putting it together so fast I missed my chance. We probably added a small amount of weight, but not so much as the 9 inch that seems to be so popular. From a ride and handling standpoint, the real issue is the UNSPRUNG WEIGHT.
    Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
    See more of my projects at stilettoman.info

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