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Thread: The B-W Overdrive - what an option!

  1. #1
    Commander Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2018

    The B-W Overdrive - what an option!

    Having only owned my 29,xxx mile Champion since January and working on several electrical and cooling issues, I haven't really taken it far. Now with all the problems sorted, I got a chance to show it in a regional show and stretch its legs on US 29 from Greensboro to Reidsville, NC.

    Now I see why the Borg-Warner R-10 (and R-11) overdrive was so darn popular. It absolutely transforms the sturdy 170ci six into a much more confident runner, not only giving a "fourth" gear, but working so seamlessly with the kickdown switch at highway speeds, you hardly use the clutch. I recently picked up a nice '50 Willys Jeepster with the same OD option and apparently while Nash, Packard, Willys and others used them commonly, it was Studebaker that overwhelmingly sold them and marketed them as options, especially in the 1950's.

    I ended up taking 1st in the "Other" class and the Mayor's Choice as well. He was absolutely captivated with the Champion.

    Bob Ridle, if you're still reading the Forum entries - thanks for sorting all the OD parts and adjustments during your ownership. Works like a champ(ion)!

    David W

  2. #2
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Greer, sc, USA.
    Congratulations! Great looking car. I'm thinking that not only do these overdrives make our Studebakers more highway friendly, but I'm convinced that they are probably responsible for many of our cars still being around due to the ability to give their engines a bit of a rest in rpms while maintaining a reasonable speed. It is much easier for an owner to continue to maintain, and care for a car with an engine not completely stressed and worn out from the added strain of non-overdrive equipped cars. The engine is the heart of a vehicle, and when it develops trouble, it seems that the rest follows into neglect and disrepair. Having an overdrive and using it properly is a big plus with these cars.

    I hope you enjoy yours for years to come!
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
    SDC member since 1975

  3. #3
    Silver Hawk Member 52-fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Searcy, Arkansas, USA.
    You are right about the overdrive being a great addition. My 52 Champion I owned for 40 years covered a lot of highway miles that would not have been possible otherwise. I am now enjoying the pleasures of overdrive with my Commander.

    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

  4. #4
    President Member ddub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Centralia, WA, USA
    I drove a 50 Champion with OD for several years and enjoyed it. It was underwhelming as to power but adequate for those pre-freeway days. Its biggest fault was the vacuum wipers. No wipers going uphill. I loved the hill holder.
    Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

    40 Champion 4 door*
    50 Champion 2 door*
    53 Commander K Auto*
    53 Commander K overdrive*
    55 President Speedster
    62 GT 4Speed*
    63 Avanti R1
    64 Champ 1/2 ton

    * Formerly owned

  5. #5
    Speedster Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Cohasset, MN
    A fine car you have there! Yes, the overdrive is an amazing improvement!

  6. #6
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Brownsburg, IN, USA.(NW suburban Indianapolis)
    Very cool, Dave. Congrats all around. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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