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Thread: How did Studebaker paint their cars in 1963

  1. #1
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    How did Studebaker paint their cars in 1963

    At any point during the painting process, did Studebaker paint the the shell or any of the body panels (doors, fenders, trunk and hood) by themselves/unattached or was the body painted as one complete unit?

    Please advise, thank you

  2. #2
    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    I don't claim to know, but I believe the front sheet metal assembly (front fenders, inner fenders and grill/header panel being welded together as one on a Lark) was seperate from the cabin when painted.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    President Member StudeMichael's Avatar
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    You will find some info in this article:

    http://www.studebaker-info.org/Magan...264/CL264.html

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    Golden Hawk Member DEEPNHOCK's Avatar
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    I was gonna say...."With a roller", but stopped short....

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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEEPNHOCK View Post
    I was gonna say...."With a roller", but stopped short....
    I think your brakes need repair Jeff, as you rolled right through the intersection and said it anyway.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    President Member rockinhawk's Avatar
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    I think the fenders for the M series were painted sepreately. Many of them were black, whatever the body color
    Neil Thornton

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    Speedster Member Jackson's Avatar
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    At least on the early Larks (59 & 60) the parts on the front clip were painted seperately and I believe the doors and trunk were also. The rear quarters were most likely attached, seam sealed, and painted with the body. I worked there at the time near a paint booth where some of the parts were painted.

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    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milaca View Post
    I don't claim to know, but I believe the front sheet metal assembly (front fenders, inner fenders and grill/header panel being welded together as one on a Lark) was seperate from the cabin when painted.
    Yes and No, Milaca. The front-end assembly ("doghouse," if you will), consisting of those parts was painted apart from the balance of the car, as you suggest. However, it wasn't welded together, obviously, it was bolted together.

    This has been so obvious through the years on George Krem's Plain Brown Wrapper 1964 Bermuda Brown Challenger 2-door. The car has been photographed extensively in color over many years. If you take a color photograph of the left front or left side of the car just right, the LF fender looks different from the balance of the left side of the car, as if the LF was repainted at some time.

    That fender has never been refinished (George bought the car new, remember), but it is obvious that the angle of the metallic "lay down" isn't the same between the fender and the door. Had they been painted as an assembly, that wouldn't be the case, of course, because the gun position and resulting metallic pattern would have remained fairly constant as the painter moved from the fender to the door.

    It's not apparent all the time, but some photos of the car taken at just the right angle are quite dramatic as to the metallic pattern varying between the LF fender and the left door.

    (Incidentally, we inspected the car carefully when George bought it. I was with him. There is no evidence it was sent to the doll-up line for a partial respray before it left the factory, either...I mean, how many cheap Challenger 2-doors do you expect got sent to the doll-up line for anything? <GGG>) BP

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    President Member Jeff_H's Avatar
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    It also seems the quality of the paint on the front clip may have varied from the rest of the body. I've seen many photos of unrestored, junkyard, and "field" cars were the paint on the front is faded and weathered down to the primer or worse but the rest of the body still looks decent.

    Case in point is the '55 sedan at this auction:

    http://www.midwestauctions.com/ostby/ostby_june_26.htm

    BTW, note the '41 sedan on the auction bill. Wasn't there a recent post here of someone looking for parts for one?
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Jeff in ND

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    President Member Johnnywiffer's Avatar
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    In the Sept 16, '46 Life mag article, there was this picture of the '47 body being dropped onto the frame. The body was coming from somewhere 'upstairs' and heading for the frame. The trunk lid, hood and doors were attached but the 'doghouse' was not. I'd think they had no reason to change that mode of assembly thru the end of production.



    And they built the bodies and stored them on end, using them when needed, as in the picture below, so VINs were not necessarily in order of production.



    John

  11. #11
    Golden Hawk Member BobPalma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
    It also seems the quality of the paint on the front clip may have varied from the rest of the body. I've seen many photos of unrestored, junkyard, and "field" cars were the paint on the front is faded and weathered down to the primer or worse but the rest of the body still looks decent.
    Good point, Jeff; I agree. BP


  12. #12
    President Member StudeMichael's Avatar
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    And all 1957 Packard hoods were painted by Vinnie in back of the factory with one thin coat, hence the surface rust on only the hood!

  13. #13
    Silver Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Matt also showed us how Studebaker painted their body color bolt-on trim pieces prior to installation:

    http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...ight=taillight

    On 1961 & later Lark/Lark types, there are paint booth photos of the cowl vent grille suspended about a few inches above where it get's mounted at final assembly. Also note the front door top hinge covers hanging on the firewall near the inner fender mounting flanges.



    Craig
    Last edited by 8E45E; 06-07-2011 at 11:27 PM.

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    Too bad that auction is so far away. Some pretty cool stuff there. That '55 looks a lot like my car in that the doghouse paint is awful & rusty, but the body paint is in pretty good shape for it's age.
    Mike Sal

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    [QUOTE]
    This has been so obvious through the years on George Krem's Plain Brown Wrapper 1964 Bermuda Brown Challenger 2-door. The car has been photographed extensively in color over many years. If you take a color photograph of the left front or left side of the car just right, the LF fender looks different from the balance of the left side of the car, as if the LF was repainted at some time.

    That fender has never been refinished (George bought the car new, remember), but it is obvious that the angle of the metallic "lay down" isn't the same between the fender and the door. Had they been painted as an assembly, that wouldn't be the case, of course, because the gun position and resulting metallic pattern would have remained fairly constant as the painter moved from the fender to the door.
    The effect that you are referring to is called a metamerism. You could use paint out of the same bucket, but slight changes in air pressure, paint pressure, humidity, different operator, etc. would actually make the parts look like they were painted in different states.

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    President Member woodysrods's Avatar
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    Good info on earlier post about painting "Metyallic Paint". Most people don't know about the metal flakes in Metallic paint Laying down in the direction the were applied.,"
    If this is not addressed when painting a car in pieces. it will look like a "quilt" when you put it back together.
    Each piece must be lined up in the booth as it is to go back on the car, painted in the same direction, and the same number of coates!
    Good Roads
    Brian
    Brian Woods
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    1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobPalma View Post
    Yes and No, Milaca. The front-end assembly ("doghouse," if you will), consisting of those parts was painted apart from the balance of the car, as you suggest. However, it wasn't welded together, obviously, it was bolted together.
    Bob, have you been working on brand X cars again??? Lark front fenders are spot welded to the inner fenders and are spot welded to the grill panel. This entire assembly is then, obviously, bolted to the car.

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

  18. #18
    President Member Andy R.'s Avatar
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    This is a very interesting thread. Thanks to Johnnywiffer and Craig for posting the great photos to illustrate the assembly process! I do recall a feature on some renowned custom painter who NEVER broke a spray stroke until traveling the entire length of the car. Films clips of him showed a movement as level and smooth as a Tai Chi master holding a 'steady-cam.'

    I wonder if anyone will alert the auctioneer that the spelling of those beautiful red tractors from Canada is C-O-C-K-S-H-U-T-T!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
    It also seems the quality of the paint on the front clip may have varied from the rest of the body. I've seen many photos of unrestored, junkyard, and "field" cars were the paint on the front is faded and weathered down to the primer or worse but the rest of the body still looks decent.

    Case in point is the '55 sedan at this auction:

    http://www.midwestauctions.com/ostby/ostby_june_26.htm

    BTW, note the '41 sedan on the auction bill. Wasn't there a recent post here of someone looking for parts for one?
    Andy
    62GT

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    I worked at studebaker and i saw dog house one color and body a other when they came together .

  20. #20
    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy R. View Post
    This is a very interesting thread. Thanks to Johnnywiffer and Craig for posting the great photos to illustrate the assembly process! I do recall a feature on some renowned custom painter who NEVER broke a spray stroke until traveling the entire length of the car. Films clips of him showed a movement as level and smooth as a Tai Chi master holding a 'steady-cam.'

    I wonder if anyone will alert the auctioneer that the spelling of those beautiful red tractors from Canada is C-O-C-K-S-H-U-T-T!



    Andy
    62GT
    OMG, the auction has a 1958 IH A-100 Golden Jubilee anniversary edition pickup! Too bad it's sitting on the ground... I see they have a 1960 Dodge pickup with what appears to be a good bed for a Champ. I guess I've strayed from the original topic now, sorry....

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    long ago .....long before BC - CC became into vogue ...... spraying metalic was a true art . You could do everything right , and still end up
    with what appears as a mis-match. Our cars are a blend of different shapes and lines . Thus .... light reflects ever so differently ... all
    over the car. For some reason that always eluded me ...... I could never understand how fibreglass or rubber headlite panels , always
    came out looking mismatched ...... go figure .

    Canadoug

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    My first assembly plant tour involved the GM Linden, New Jersey assembly plant in 1965. There the bodies were painted on the line with the front end sheet metal for that car following the body. We had been repainting cars on warranty due to the poor match between the front fenders & doors. It was then I noticed that the primer used on the body was a different color than that on the front end sheet metal. Because they only put on just so much color & with some of the colors there was less pigment, you would see "thru" the paint into the primer. Another interesting thing I saw there was the outside was all done by robotic arms- just the door jambs & trunk lid underneath was done by oxygen breathing employees. Allowing tours into the painting area today would be a definate no-no but those were different times for sure!

    Studebakers operation wasnt much different in the basic proceedures, except they didnt have the robot arms & didnt dip the cars in an electrostatic primer process that was becoming the norm at the time. That time was running out for them. The factory setup would not allow the processes that became the norm.
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  23. #23
    President Member StudeMichael's Avatar
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    I remember Martha Fleener, who was Sherwood Egbert's secretary and the wife of Ron Fleener, President of the Meccedes Benz Studebaker Distributorship, telling me that they used to dip the bodies in big wooden vats to undercoat them. If Egbert hadn't gotten ill he would have figured out how to modernize the process.

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    I think 8E45E's paint booth photo is during the primer stage. It seems when ever I remove hinge covers there is no body color under them. Also, I think the hood is painted while on the cowl as the bolts are usually painted body color. I think the cowl grill must be painted then installed as there is usually enough paint color down in the cowl grill well to assume that area was not substantially blocked. Also there is usually no paint color under the trunk hinge where it fastens to the deck lid.

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    Silver Hawk Member barnlark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milaca View Post
    Bob, have you been working on brand X cars again??? Lark front fenders are spot welded to the inner fenders and are spot welded to the grill panel. This entire assembly is then, obviously, bolted to the car.
    Milaca,
    Bob is perfectly able to defend himself on that one, but I have to add that he is spot on and hasn't lost it concerning his substantial technical facts quite yet. Perhaps someone had fun with your Lark and spot welded the front panel to your complete fender units one day?

    Anyone who has removed a front Lark clip can attest to the bolts & washers that are pretty obvious when viewed from above any engine bay and seen in many pictures on the forum. There are many bolts visually obvious holding the front panel to the fenders... and, yes, their spot welded inner fenders. As a unit the clip is then bolted to the radiator frame in the front.

    Now, at least two of those front panel bolts are visually hidden under each fender in a tight area above the headlights, holding the front panel to the inner fender's front assembly. Maybe those acted like spot welds for you if you ever tried to take the front panel off, but there seriously aren't any factory spot welds with which to contend. Removing spot welds from an often dinged front panel would not be fun for any body man.

    When I removed my clips, the front area of inner fender panels were all painted body color over the primer, (not beautifully, but painted) so..... at least of the four 1960 Larks that I have owned they all had front clip parts which were painted separately at the factory then assembled later. You can barely get a hand back there with a wrench, let alone a paint gun with it assembled together.

    My late 1959 built '60 Larks had their complete inner fenders painted very well with the exception of one of the later built ones (spring of 1960) which had a kind of a lazy dusting of the body color, at best. The one low mileage Lark convertible I saw an the Glendale Int'l had that type of inner fender factory treatment.

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    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Thanks for the correction Barnlark, and sorry for doubting you BP. I guess my memory played a trick on me. As the pictures show, this 1964 Cruiser's front fender has an inner fender and front inner panel spot welded together (three piece weldment). I presume that all Lark types are constructed this way. Is this correct?
    DSCF1920.jpg
    DSCF1919.jpg

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  27. #27
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    Lark fenders bolted on

    I bought NOS fenders and front apron from Newman/Altman back in 1972 for my 1962 Daytona, cheap prices back then.
    $15 for a fender and $12.50 for the front apron. These bolted to the inner fender.
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  28. #28
    President Member clonelark's Avatar
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    This is how that surface rust starts, i had my 55 under a carport for about 6 months before i could clean it up, guess the front end paint on 55s is kinda thin, with some polishing compound i was able to get it looking good again.

    Good work is never cheap, and cheap work is never good!!!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonadave View Post
    I bought NOS fenders and front apron from Newman/Altman back in 1972 for my 1962 Daytona, cheap prices back then.
    $15 for a fender and $12.50 for the front apron. These bolted to the inner fender.
    The factory spot welded the inner and outer fenders together.
    Replacement parts have been assembled in all sorts of ways, including welding, screws, bolts, rivits.
    If you are referring to the front panel to fender, then bolts were used.
    I believe that a $15 fender would just be the outer and had to be attached to the inner, as above. ($10 from Hurwich).
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
    It also seems the quality of the paint on the front clip may have varied from the rest of the body. I've seen many photos of unrestored, junkyard, and "field" cars were the paint on the front is faded and weathered down to the primer or worse but the rest of the body still looks decent.

    Case in point is the '55 sedan at this auction:

    http://www.midwestauctions.com/ostby/ostby_june_26.htm

    BTW, note the '41 sedan on the auction bill. Wasn't there a recent post here of someone looking for parts for one?


    Weird: my 1962 Lark (Ermine White) is that same way..........the front clip has a lot of surface rust whereas the rest of the car is decent----------especially in light of it (probably) sitting outside in the Arizona sun for many years.
    Last edited by 1962larksedan; 08-21-2011 at 10:06 AM.
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  31. #31
    President Member mmagic's Avatar
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    Memories.... I was at a Ford dealership in rural Iowa in the '60s when a new car was unloaded off the transport, Badged Mercury on one side and Ford on the other... Don't recall specifically interior or front and rear except that they too were a mixture.

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    Same with my old '58 Commander. The original paint was pretty nice, except for the front clip. The hood and fender tops had spots worn all the way through the primer. Wax was that car's best friend.
    Matthew Burnette

  33. #33
    President Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmagic View Post
    Memories.... I was at a Ford dealership in rural Iowa in the '60s when a new car was unloaded off the transport, Badged Mercury on one side and Ford on the other... Don't recall specifically interior or front and rear except that they too were a mixture.
    Back in the '70s a co-worker ordered a new Ford Mustang. When it came in, the upholstered door panels had Mercury Capri buttons. Looks like Ford kept the same employees!
    Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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    Jeff,

    Nothing wrong with a roller. That is how I repainted my 75 LeSabre. Paint held up for ten years!!!
    1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
    The cars that started the madness: My father's 1952 Champion 4 door and neighbor's 51 Champion.

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