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Thread: STUDEBAKER/NASCAR

  1. #1
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    STUDEBAKER/NASCAR

    I know many Studebakers were used in the early days of NASCAR, some as shown in photos were actually Studebakers powered with other manufacturers engines.

    Did Studebaker (in the 50's) have a performance division, did they have an official sponsored car, and of so, does anyone have any inofrmation on Studebaker backed NASCAR teams, photos etc?

    Thanks
    BG

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Bondo: Everything, and I mean everything, you want to know about Studebakers in NASCAR is thoroughly cataloged and inventoried by SDC member Bob Coolidge of DeLand FL. Those of us attending his seminar at the Charlotte 2004 SDC International Meet left with our jaws dropped to an inoperable position for several hours, we were so amazed at the amount of extant material about Studebaker and NASCAR.

    Bob promised us many photos in his slide show that we had never seen before and he wasn't kidding. [:0] The guy is a real sleuth. [}] He's done an excellent job accumulating many rare pieces, and interviewing many "good ole' boys" with NASCAR roots in the southwest...and Bob Coolidge is one helluva nice guy in his own right. [^] I doubt that anyone is SDC knows half as much as Bob Coolidge about Studebaker and NASCAR. [][]

    His e-mail address is: trnstrtrk@bellsouth.net

    Cheers. BP

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Bondo: Everything, and I mean everything, you want to know about Studebakers in NASCAR is thoroughly cataloged and inventoried by SDC member Bob Coolidge of DeLand FL. Those of us attending his seminar at the Charlotte 2004 SDC International Meet left with our jaws dropped to an inoperable position for several hours, we were so amazed at the amount of extant material about Studebaker and NASCAR.

    Bob promised us many photos in his slide show that we had never seen before and he wasn't kidding. [:0] The guy is a real sleuth. [}] He's done an excellent job accumulating many rare pieces, and interviewing many "good ole' boys" with NASCAR roots in the southwest...and Bob Coolidge is one helluva nice guy in his own right. [^] I doubt that anyone is SDC knows half as much as Bob Coolidge about Studebaker and NASCAR. [][]

    His e-mail address is: trnstrtrk@bellsouth.net

    Cheers. BP

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    Bob

    Thanks. I will contact him. I keep seeing footage on NASCAR commercials and there is a Post War bodied car that flashes by.

    I have never seen any mention about Studebakers being part of NASCAR but, there must have been something "official".

    Thanks
    Bill

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    Bob

    Thanks. I will contact him. I keep seeing footage on NASCAR commercials and there is a Post War bodied car that flashes by.

    I have never seen any mention about Studebakers being part of NASCAR but, there must have been something "official".

    Thanks
    Bill

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    Studebaker sat on the pole for the 1951 Southern 500, and won three NASCAR races that year. Google "Studebaker Nascar", lots of info.

    http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/..._feature6.html

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    Studebaker sat on the pole for the 1951 Southern 500, and won three NASCAR races that year. Google "Studebaker Nascar", lots of info.

    http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/..._feature6.html

  8. #8
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    And that Hemmings story contains a link to Bob Coolidge's Racing Studebakers website, too; all ready to click and enjoy! BP

  9. #9
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    And that Hemmings story contains a link to Bob Coolidge's Racing Studebakers website, too; all ready to click and enjoy! BP

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    Silver Hawk Member JRoberts's Avatar
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    Although there were not usually large numbers of Studebakers on the early NASCAR circut there were some here and there. The first link feathers a driver, Jack Smith, with a picture somewhere of his '53 race car.
    The second link features NASCAR tracks past and present. Click on the speedway and lists of drivers, cars, etc, can be gotten to. I know that Studebakers competed at the Harnett Speedway, Spring Lake, NC and at the Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, NC. Click on those two and you'll see how the system works.

    http://www.legendsofnascar.com/Jack_Smith.htm
    http://racing-reference.info/tracks.htm

    I don't think in the early days of racing in what was then called "Strictly Stock" racing motors other than that of the manufacture of the car were allowed. This occured in the modified classes.

    Joe Roberts


  11. #11
    Silver Hawk Member JRoberts's Avatar
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    Although there were not usually large numbers of Studebakers on the early NASCAR circut there were some here and there. The first link feathers a driver, Jack Smith, with a picture somewhere of his '53 race car.
    The second link features NASCAR tracks past and present. Click on the speedway and lists of drivers, cars, etc, can be gotten to. I know that Studebakers competed at the Harnett Speedway, Spring Lake, NC and at the Champion Speedway in Fayetteville, NC. Click on those two and you'll see how the system works.

    http://www.legendsofnascar.com/Jack_Smith.htm
    http://racing-reference.info/tracks.htm

    I don't think in the early days of racing in what was then called "Strictly Stock" racing motors other than that of the manufacture of the car were allowed. This occured in the modified classes.

    Joe Roberts


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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    I doubt that anyone is SDC knows half as much as Bob Coolidge about Studebaker and NASCAR. [][]

    His e-mail address is: trnstrtrk@bellsouth.net

    Cheers. BP
    [/quote]

    Okay, where is JBRotor now[?] And why didn't anyone who knew about Bob Coolidge keeping a record of racing Studebakers refer him to Bob a couple of months ago when he inquired about his grandfather's '59 Lark instead of running him off the forum??? Seems now if anyone would know about any '59's that went a'racing, it would be Bob. As a side note, I do remember when Tom Macahill did a road test in MI on a '59 Lark V8, he did hint about potential racing properties with it's lighter weight!!

    Craig

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    I doubt that anyone is SDC knows half as much as Bob Coolidge about Studebaker and NASCAR. [][]

    His e-mail address is: trnstrtrk@bellsouth.net

    Cheers. BP
    [/quote]

    Okay, where is JBRotor now[?] And why didn't anyone who knew about Bob Coolidge keeping a record of racing Studebakers refer him to Bob a couple of months ago when he inquired about his grandfather's '59 Lark instead of running him off the forum??? Seems now if anyone would know about any '59's that went a'racing, it would be Bob. As a side note, I do remember when Tom Macahill did a road test in MI on a '59 Lark V8, he did hint about potential racing properties with it's lighter weight!!

    Craig

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    President Member BShaw's Avatar
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    Bob's fine website is at: http://www.studebakerracing.com/

    FYI: Bob's site has been on the "Valuable Links" page of the SDC site since going live in 2003. Our site may not have everything about everything, but I encourage all to explore and use more than just this forum section.

    BShaw,Webmaster

    60 Hawk. 49 2R5, 39 Champion
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    President Member BShaw's Avatar
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    Bob's fine website is at: http://www.studebakerracing.com/

    FYI: Bob's site has been on the "Valuable Links" page of the SDC site since going live in 2003. Our site may not have everything about everything, but I encourage all to explore and use more than just this forum section.

    BShaw,Webmaster

    60 Hawk. 49 2R5, 39 Champion
    Woodbury, Minnesota

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    While looking through a copy of the April 1953 Speed Age magazine, I found this. I don't know if this was the 1953 year or 1952, it doesn't say, but it doesn't look good. Does anyone know how Studebaker did overall during this time? I assume it is 1953, because Dodge didn't have a V8 in 52, and did well in 53.




    Leonard Shepherd, editor, The Commanding Leader, Central Virginia Chapter, http://centralvirginiachapter.org/

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    While looking through a copy of the April 1953 Speed Age magazine, I found this. I don't know if this was the 1953 year or 1952, it doesn't say, but it doesn't look good. Does anyone know how Studebaker did overall during this time? I assume it is 1953, because Dodge didn't have a V8 in 52, and did well in 53.




    Leonard Shepherd, editor, The Commanding Leader, Central Virginia Chapter, http://centralvirginiachapter.org/

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    Was there any racing Avanti's entered in the TRANS- AM racing circuit during the glory years of 1968-1974 ? We use to hang out in Watkins Glen and root for the Group 44 teams ( Bob Tullis Jags and Tr's ) and Mark Donohue/George Fullmer and their Javelins. Never saw any Avanti's or Hawks or Larks. A full race Trans Am Avanti R2 or GT Hawk would be a great collector vehicle if one ever existed in full racing colors.

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    Was there any racing Avanti's entered in the TRANS- AM racing circuit during the glory years of 1968-1974 ? We use to hang out in Watkins Glen and root for the Group 44 teams ( Bob Tullis Jags and Tr's ) and Mark Donohue/George Fullmer and their Javelins. Never saw any Avanti's or Hawks or Larks. A full race Trans Am Avanti R2 or GT Hawk would be a great collector vehicle if one ever existed in full racing colors.

  20. #20
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    quote:[i] Never saw any Avanti's or Hawks or Larks. A full race Trans Am Avanti R2 or GT Hawk would be a great collector vehicle if one ever existed in full racing colors.
    On the Studebaker Racing site I found a photo of a 56J car #71 .

    Wish I had another 56J and lots of money, cause I would love to replicate that car.

    BG

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    quote:[i] Never saw any Avanti's or Hawks or Larks. A full race Trans Am Avanti R2 or GT Hawk would be a great collector vehicle if one ever existed in full racing colors.
    On the Studebaker Racing site I found a photo of a 56J car #71 .

    Wish I had another 56J and lots of money, cause I would love to replicate that car.

    BG

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    President Member ddub's Avatar
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    In th early '60's I recall reading in some car Mag. about someone racing Larks with "export suspension" . ISTR that they were talking about Sebring but I could disremember after 45 years. I still recall a quote that being passed by a Lark was like being passed by a wall of steel.

    Don Wilson
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  23. #23
    President Member ddub's Avatar
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    In th early '60's I recall reading in some car Mag. about someone racing Larks with "export suspension" . ISTR that they were talking about Sebring but I could disremember after 45 years. I still recall a quote that being passed by a Lark was like being passed by a wall of steel.

    Don Wilson
    53 Commander Hardtop
    64 Champ 1/2 ton
    Centralia, WA

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    In the early 1960s Studebaker was the only manufacturer offering a V8 in a compact car. The Falcon, Valiant, Corvair, Jaguar and the rest were all six-cylinders. There were a couple of road-race prepared Larks which ran at Daytona and other NASCAR compact class road races. These were run on a combined infield road course and one turn of the high banked oval. Ford was so jealous they had Holman-Moody put a 260" Ford V8 in a Falcon to compete with the Larks. It worked so well the Falcon Sprint 260 was made a standard offering mid-63.

    thnx, jv.

    PackardV8

  25. #25
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    In the early 1960s Studebaker was the only manufacturer offering a V8 in a compact car. The Falcon, Valiant, Corvair, Jaguar and the rest were all six-cylinders. There were a couple of road-race prepared Larks which ran at Daytona and other NASCAR compact class road races. These were run on a combined infield road course and one turn of the high banked oval. Ford was so jealous they had Holman-Moody put a 260" Ford V8 in a Falcon to compete with the Larks. It worked so well the Falcon Sprint 260 was made a standard offering mid-63.

    thnx, jv.

    PackardV8

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    So, has anyone yet figured out, or found clear evidence that the [u]Studebaker Corporation</u> did in fact... "(in the 50's) have a performance division, [u]did they have an official sponsored car</u>,.......on [u]Studebaker backed</u> NASCAR teams?"
    Or were these all private efforts, with nothing "official" above a dealership level of sponsorship?

  27. #27
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    So, has anyone yet figured out, or found clear evidence that the [u]Studebaker Corporation</u> did in fact... "(in the 50's) have a performance division, [u]did they have an official sponsored car</u>,.......on [u]Studebaker backed</u> NASCAR teams?"
    Or were these all private efforts, with nothing "official" above a dealership level of sponsorship?

  28. #28
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    quote:Originally posted by Jessie J.

    So, has anyone yet figured out, or found clear evidence that the [u]Studebaker Corporation</u> did in fact... "(in the 50's) have a performance division, [u]did they have an official sponsored car</u>,.......on [u]Studebaker backed</u> NASCAR teams?"
    Or were these all private efforts, with nothing "official" above a dealership level of sponsorship?
    According to a letter from Bob Coolidge, Studebaker did NOT have an official sponsored car, nor did they have any presense in any way that would be called by Today's standards a factory team. One gentleman whos' name escapes me did try to get the factory to sponsor him, he first used a 53 and then a 56J. The 56J had the number 71 painted on it, and in one photo of it, had the lower door trim on the doors and the wheel well molding.

    BG

    BG

  29. #29
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    quote:Originally posted by Jessie J.

    So, has anyone yet figured out, or found clear evidence that the [u]Studebaker Corporation</u> did in fact... "(in the 50's) have a performance division, [u]did they have an official sponsored car</u>,.......on [u]Studebaker backed</u> NASCAR teams?"
    Or were these all private efforts, with nothing "official" above a dealership level of sponsorship?
    According to a letter from Bob Coolidge, Studebaker did NOT have an official sponsored car, nor did they have any presense in any way that would be called by Today's standards a factory team. One gentleman whos' name escapes me did try to get the factory to sponsor him, he first used a 53 and then a 56J. The 56J had the number 71 painted on it, and in one photo of it, had the lower door trim on the doors and the wheel well molding.

    BG

    BG

  30. #30
    Silver Hawk Member JRoberts's Avatar
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    Weldon Critcher has an Avanti, that, I beleive either raced at Daytona or was built to do so. I think it is a road race car. It needs restoration at the present time, but the last time I saw it it ran. It has flared fenders, a competition sytle gas filler in the middle of the trunk area and such. When he got it it had a
    six two barrel intake manifold on it. I am not sure which R version the engine is.
    Joe Roberts

    Posted - 03/28/2007 : 7:57:02 PM
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Was there any racing Avanti's entered in the TRANS- AM racing circuit during the glory years of 1968-1974 ? We use to hang out in Watkins Glen and root for the Group 44 teams ( Bob Tullis Jags and Tr's ) and Mark Donohue/George Fullmer and their Javelins. Never saw any Avanti's or Hawks or Larks. A full race Trans Am Avanti R2 or GT Hawk would be a great collector vehicle if one ever existed in full racing colors.

  31. #31
    Silver Hawk Member JRoberts's Avatar
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    Weldon Critcher has an Avanti, that, I beleive either raced at Daytona or was built to do so. I think it is a road race car. It needs restoration at the present time, but the last time I saw it it ran. It has flared fenders, a competition sytle gas filler in the middle of the trunk area and such. When he got it it had a
    six two barrel intake manifold on it. I am not sure which R version the engine is.
    Joe Roberts

    Posted - 03/28/2007 : 7:57:02 PM
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Was there any racing Avanti's entered in the TRANS- AM racing circuit during the glory years of 1968-1974 ? We use to hang out in Watkins Glen and root for the Group 44 teams ( Bob Tullis Jags and Tr's ) and Mark Donohue/George Fullmer and their Javelins. Never saw any Avanti's or Hawks or Larks. A full race Trans Am Avanti R2 or GT Hawk would be a great collector vehicle if one ever existed in full racing colors.

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    Thanks for the clarification guys, looking back, it now seems strange that Studebaker did not get involved, given that in the early '50s they were one of the few manufactures sporting a new and modern OHV V-8, but it appears that they more or less sat back while the Hudson flathead sixes and Oldsmobile's stole the show.
    Was it perhaps because the 232's just didn't have enough displacement or sufficient power to be competitive with those 303's and the 308's?
    Anyways, it appears that Studebaker lost out on a terrific venue to showcase their new engines capabilities.
    Makes me wonder what could have been, had they originally produced the 1951 "Commanders" with a 304 cu. in. displacement. Of course that would have justified the revival of the Studebaker "PRESIDENT" name and model line.

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    Thanks for the clarification guys, looking back, it now seems strange that Studebaker did not get involved, given that in the early '50s they were one of the few manufactures sporting a new and modern OHV V-8, but it appears that they more or less sat back while the Hudson flathead sixes and Oldsmobile's stole the show.
    Was it perhaps because the 232's just didn't have enough displacement or sufficient power to be competitive with those 303's and the 308's?
    Anyways, it appears that Studebaker lost out on a terrific venue to showcase their new engines capabilities.
    Makes me wonder what could have been, had they originally produced the 1951 "Commanders" with a 304 cu. in. displacement. Of course that would have justified the revival of the Studebaker "PRESIDENT" name and model line.

  34. #34
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by Jessie J.

    So, has anyone yet figured out, or found clear evidence that the [u]Studebaker Corporation</u> did in fact... "(in the 50's) have a performance division, [u]did they have an official sponsored car</u>,.......on [u]Studebaker backed</u> NASCAR teams?"
    Or were these all private efforts, with nothing "official" above a dealership level of sponsorship?

    I believe in 1957, the Automobile Manufacturers Association agreed to back out of sponsoring racing, so there were NO factory backed racing efforts for a few years after that; although individuals and dealers could prep a car for racing. Studebaker was more interested in Economy Runs (i.e. how SLOW they could go in overdrive), and Packard was too 'stately' to participate in such a thing, even though they had a couple of very competant engines that would probably have done well on the track.

    Craig

  35. #35
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by Jessie J.

    So, has anyone yet figured out, or found clear evidence that the [u]Studebaker Corporation</u> did in fact... "(in the 50's) have a performance division, [u]did they have an official sponsored car</u>,.......on [u]Studebaker backed</u> NASCAR teams?"
    Or were these all private efforts, with nothing "official" above a dealership level of sponsorship?

    I believe in 1957, the Automobile Manufacturers Association agreed to back out of sponsoring racing, so there were NO factory backed racing efforts for a few years after that; although individuals and dealers could prep a car for racing. Studebaker was more interested in Economy Runs (i.e. how SLOW they could go in overdrive), and Packard was too 'stately' to participate in such a thing, even though they had a couple of very competant engines that would probably have done well on the track.

    Craig

  36. #36
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by Jessie J.

    Thanks for the clarification guys, looking back, it now seems strange that Studebaker did not get involved, given that in the early '50s they were one of the few manufactures sporting a new and modern OHV V-8, but it appears that they more or less sat back while the Hudson flathead sixes and Oldsmobile's stole the show.
    Was it perhaps because the 232's just didn't have enough displacement or sufficient power to be competitive with those 303's and the 308's?
    Hudsons won for three reasons:

    1. The 308 Hornet engine had terrific torque and was all but bulletproof. Enormous bearings, and connecting rods that look like they belonged in a huge stationary diesel engine generator set. Stude's 232 couldn't come close delivering that all-important torque.

    2. They really did handle well. The low center of gravity and step-down design was not all marketing hype; it was legitimate and paid off on the tracks. I don't know of any other leaf-spring rear suspension car back then that used a Panhard Rod to locate the rear axle assembly horizontally, but Hudson did. (Some of the cheapest Pacemakers and maybe Wasps did not have it, but all the Hornets and Commodores did.)

    3. The whole car was tough. [}] That revolutionary 1948 [through 1954] Hudson semi-unit body with front stub frame was hardly a CAD [Computer-Aided Design] product! [] Hence, the whole thing was overbuilt to a fault. They just didn't break on the track like the more delicate, Chevrolet-based Olds 88s. Sure, the 88s could outrun them in 1/4-mile drag racing, but NASCAR was far more demanding back then, with so many races being run on pothole-enhanced dirt tracks.

    It could be argued that the 1951-1954 Hornet domination in NASCAR was Hudson's finest hour, although marketing successes in the 'teens with the original Super Six are not to be discounted. 'Too bad the postwar marketing types at Generous Motors were successful in convincing the public, especially in Hudson's middle-price range, that valves belonged in cylinder heads, not cylinder blocks. [V] BP




  37. #37
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by Jessie J.

    Thanks for the clarification guys, looking back, it now seems strange that Studebaker did not get involved, given that in the early '50s they were one of the few manufactures sporting a new and modern OHV V-8, but it appears that they more or less sat back while the Hudson flathead sixes and Oldsmobile's stole the show.
    Was it perhaps because the 232's just didn't have enough displacement or sufficient power to be competitive with those 303's and the 308's?
    Hudsons won for three reasons:

    1. The 308 Hornet engine had terrific torque and was all but bulletproof. Enormous bearings, and connecting rods that look like they belonged in a huge stationary diesel engine generator set. Stude's 232 couldn't come close delivering that all-important torque.

    2. They really did handle well. The low center of gravity and step-down design was not all marketing hype; it was legitimate and paid off on the tracks. I don't know of any other leaf-spring rear suspension car back then that used a Panhard Rod to locate the rear axle assembly horizontally, but Hudson did. (Some of the cheapest Pacemakers and maybe Wasps did not have it, but all the Hornets and Commodores did.)

    3. The whole car was tough. [}] That revolutionary 1948 [through 1954] Hudson semi-unit body with front stub frame was hardly a CAD [Computer-Aided Design] product! [] Hence, the whole thing was overbuilt to a fault. They just didn't break on the track like the more delicate, Chevrolet-based Olds 88s. Sure, the 88s could outrun them in 1/4-mile drag racing, but NASCAR was far more demanding back then, with so many races being run on pothole-enhanced dirt tracks.

    It could be argued that the 1951-1954 Hornet domination in NASCAR was Hudson's finest hour, although marketing successes in the 'teens with the original Super Six are not to be discounted. 'Too bad the postwar marketing types at Generous Motors were successful in convincing the public, especially in Hudson's middle-price range, that valves belonged in cylinder heads, not cylinder blocks. [V] BP




  38. #38
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    I loved my old '46 Hudson! (pre-stepdown/bathtub) It was built like a tank, with huge truck like frame-rails, reinforced with a strong, heavy duty X-member. There was almost no frame flexing. Jack up any corner, and the doors would still click closed like a bank vault!
    And run! mine launched and accelerated like a rocket ship! Yep, and that healthy, high-torquing '56 Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 and 4 speed Hydo that were hidden under that flip up front, was a match made in heaven!

    A 304" Studebaker V-8 would have been no slouch in the torque department at that time either, and its much shorter stroke would have been good for higher RPM horsepower and durability.
    But then Studebaker's limp noodle of an excuse for a frame would have likely twisted up like Rotini under any increased power on those primative dirt tracks.
    But dreaming about what could-have-been, a stronger frame could also have been introduced to support the power of that big 304 "PRESIDENT" V-8 engine.

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    I loved my old '46 Hudson! (pre-stepdown/bathtub) It was built like a tank, with huge truck like frame-rails, reinforced with a strong, heavy duty X-member. There was almost no frame flexing. Jack up any corner, and the doors would still click closed like a bank vault!
    And run! mine launched and accelerated like a rocket ship! Yep, and that healthy, high-torquing '56 Oldsmobile Rocket V-8 and 4 speed Hydo that were hidden under that flip up front, was a match made in heaven!

    A 304" Studebaker V-8 would have been no slouch in the torque department at that time either, and its much shorter stroke would have been good for higher RPM horsepower and durability.
    But then Studebaker's limp noodle of an excuse for a frame would have likely twisted up like Rotini under any increased power on those primative dirt tracks.
    But dreaming about what could-have-been, a stronger frame could also have been introduced to support the power of that big 304 "PRESIDENT" V-8 engine.

  40. #40
    President Member
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    Sep 2005
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    Corunna, MI USA
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    678
    quote:Originally posted by BobPalma
    It could be argued that the 1951-1954 Hornet domination in NASCAR was Hudson's finest hour, although marketing successes in the 'teens with the original Super Six are not to be discounted. 'Too bad the postwar marketing types at Generous Motors were successful in convincing the public, especially in Hudson's middle-price range, that valves belonged in cylinder heads, not cylinder blocks. [V] BP
    General Motors was far from being alone in the convincing of the public, that valves belonged in the cylinder heads.
    All Chrysler product lines, Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Packard, and even the lowly Studebaker had already brought or were in the process of bringing new OHV-V-8 engines to the market.
    Two "Independents" attempted to buck that buyers market with their antiquated flat-head six engines.
    Not so surprisingly, both were the first of the post-war auto manufactures to fold up under the pressures of market-share competition.
    Sure their engines were "good enough", maybe even -fantastic-, However they proved to be -not what the customer wanted- , the most important requirement of all.




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