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Thread: 54 Champion Conestoga in UK

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    54 Champion Conestoga in UK

    Hi Folks ,
    Been lurking for a while and asking a few questions re panels etc .
    So here is the reason why ....

    I visited well know Studebaker man in the UK , Bill Baker , who had purchased a 1925 chassis from me and whilst we were having a walk around with him we saw a car under a cover . It had been sat there for some 10 years and had been in storage prior to that for a long time .
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    As the cover came back to reveal the front - and the rust
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    Once collected and back at my workshop - although it has suffered from the British Weather and the rust fairies , its fairly complete and the engine is free







    However , inside the car where quite a few nice surprises - for example a pair of NOS bumpers


    New grill inserts - again NOS in original boxes

    Interior is a little shabby but is complete - including keys

    I have a large selection of NOS lights and lenses and well as glass - grill surrounds etc


    So thats what we have at the moment - Ive applied for the V5 ( registration Document ) and will have to wait to see what they do about that before i can get into the rust repair .

    ill keep you updated as i go .
    If anyone needs any bits please give me a shout as i have quite a lot with the car - please bare in mind I'm in UK though so postage to states could be expensive .

    regards Jon

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    It is too bad people "Protect" cars with cheap plastic covers.

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    Speedster Member Noxnabaker's Avatar
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    Mighty cool!
    Do you know history? I mean that I suspect it's been imported since it's left-hand drive.

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    I think a pair of N.O.S. front guards (fenders) would be the first thing to look for. They are still available and cost less than a major rust repair.

    Interesting that even though it is the lower level Champion 'Deluxe' it has been fitted with the top of the line Starline 8 valve push-button radio!

    Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    It is too bad people "Protect" cars with cheap plastic covers.
    And sitting on/sinking into the ground/dirt. I wonder what condition the frame is in. I assume that things like the fuel and brake lines are shot.
    Gary L.
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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    British weather is murder on cars!!

    Craig

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noxnabaker View Post
    Mighty cool!
    Do you know history? I mean that I suspect it's been imported since it's left-hand drive.
    Been in the country since 64 hence the uk B registration - originally from Canada and imported by owner I got it off - he has had it sitting for 20 ish years

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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    And sitting on/sinking into the ground/dirt. I wonder what condition the frame is in. I assume that things like the fuel and brake lines are shot.
    It actually is in very good condition especially through the middle underneath - I was quite suprised

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    Quote Originally Posted by stude dude View Post
    I think a pair of N.O.S. front guards (fenders) would be the first thing to look for. They are still available and cost less than a major rust repair.

    Interesting that even though it is the lower level Champion 'Deluxe' it has been fitted with the top of the line Starline 8 valve push-button radio!

    Chris.
    I am after fenders - but rust repair is free - I own a car restoration shop here in Uk !

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    British weather is murder on cars!!

    Craig
    you are not wrong buddy - mixture of rain and heavily salted roads

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65deluxe View Post
    you are not wrong buddy - mixture of rain and heavily salted roads
    I read a number of British vintage car magazines each month, and am rather amazed at how fast and intense they rust out; but the same time, I'm also amazed at what many car restorers in the UK have brought back from the dead to 400 point restorations.

    Craig

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    Speedster Member voxnut's Avatar
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    Very cool! Congrats! One of my fave Studebakers, and the model that got me interested in the thought of someday owning a Stude when a friend owned one back in the mid-1990s, although I ended up purchasing a '61 Lark Wagon instead. Thanks for keeping us posted on the progress!
    Dean Seavers
    Sacramento, CA

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    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stude dude View Post
    I think a pair of N.O.S. front guards (fenders) would be the first thing to look for. They are still available and cost less than a major rust repair.

    Interesting that even though it is the lower level Champion 'Deluxe' it has been fitted with the top of the line Starline 8 valve push-button radio!

    Chris.
    Don't they call those "Wings" in Britain?
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

    Sol Lucet Omnibus

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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Eddie View Post
    Don't they call those "Wings" in Britain?
    Yes wings not fenders here - but when in Rome !

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65deluxe View Post
    Been in the country since 64 hence the uk B registration - originally from Canada and imported by owner I got it off - he has had it sitting for 20 ish years
    Is that Conestoga made in Hamilton?

    Craig

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Is that Conestoga made in Hamilton?

    Craig
    im a noobie to studebakers - how do I tell where it was made ?

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    On a better note I have gone through some of the ignition bits today and the engine is free and we have compression and spark - I'll get the carb off in the next day or so and give it a clean and you never know it may run - here's hoping

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65deluxe View Post
    im a noobie to studebakers - how do I tell where it was made ?
    Left (driver's side on this car) front door hinge pillar, there should be a metal tag midway between the upper & lower hinges.

    Craig

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Left (driver's side on this car) front door hinge pillar, there should be a metal tag midway between the upper & lower hinges.

    Craig
    Cool - I'll have a look tomorrow

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    Found the plate - numbers etc look like GI 386337

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting. Appears to have been built in South Bend.

    It should be a fun project!

    Craig

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    The "I" was used for a "1" so the serial number is G 1386337
    "G" stands for Champion.

    Robert Kapteyn


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    I've had an explosive afternoon trying to coax the engine into life - I've hot wired the starter and changed to 12v - have spark and compression on 5 cylinders so thought I'd give it a go with some cold start - I guess timing must be out a bit as I had a fair amount of fire blowing back up the carb - but not starting yet . I do have a 360 mopar motor and 727 trains so all is not lost if I cant get it running .

    But onwards and upwards

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Thanks for posting. Appears to have been built in South Bend.

    It should be a fun project!

    Craig
    It may have been built in South Bend but looks like it's been in a U Bend for a good while :-)
    Not sure if that will translate across the pond .

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65deluxe View Post
    It may have been built in South Bend but looks like it's been in a U Bend for a good while :-)
    Not sure if that will translate across the pond .
    Does the serial number plate state 'Made in USA'?

    Craig

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    Might be worth sharing plans for this - I own a VW and Porsche restoration shop , although we do work on anything "interesting" . I always have a plan for a car when I buy one , even one like this that just fell into my hands .
    So plan is a full body restoration but changing it over to a panel van - maybe still with the rear sliders in place .
    Paint will almost certainly be 2 tone and the altitude will be adjusted somewhat and will run air ride as I'm too old and fat for static these days . Happy to keep original engine and running gear if it's all sound - if not it will go V8 and auto box quite possibly with a jaguar IRS as I have a limited slip dif rear end from a V12 XJS lying around and it's a popular swap over here and we are limited with spares for American cars and they are expensive .
    So that's my plan - progress will be slow as I have to fit it in around customers cars ( we are very busy ) and also my other builds which are a VW samba bus on hydraulics and a full on outlaw Porsche 356 .
    All the purists will now stop reading this now but hey ho - if I didn't buy it I'm sure it would have just carried on rotting into the floor

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8E45E View Post
    Does the serial number plate state 'Made in USA'?

    Craig
    I couldn't make anything else out on it as it's covered in paint that has Cracked with age - I'll try and have a better look when I get some play time on Saturday

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65deluxe View Post
    Found the plate - numbers etc look like GI 386337
    G-1386337 is the Serial Number for a 1957 Champion assembled in South Bend.

    Something isn't correct - your reading of the number, the year of the car (even though it has a 1954 front end on it - could be 1954-1956), a switched plate (post a picture of the S/N plate showing its attachment), not assembled in North America.

    A 1954 South Bend Champion is G-127401 to G-1316500 (rounded up). California and Canada assembled 1954 Champions only have six digits after the G.
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    G-1386337 is the Serial Number for a 1957 Champion assembled in South Bend.

    Something isn't correct - your reading of the number, the year of the car (even though it has a 1954 front end on it - could be 1954-1956), a switched plate (post a picture of the S/N plate showing its attachment), not assembled in North America.

    A 1954 South Bend Champion is G-127401 to G-1316500 (rounded up). California and Canada assembled 1954 Champions only have six digits after the G.
    Thanks - you are correct as you know - closer inspection shows G I306337 - Thanks

  30. #30
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    Nice to find those 'goodies' inside!...At some point in this car's life someone was thinking restoration!....Rare bird!...Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SN-60 View Post
    Nice to find those 'goodies' inside!...At some point in this car's life someone was thinking restoration!....Rare bird!...Good luck!
    Not that "rare". For 1954, there were more wagons than hardtops or two door sedans built. Only the coupes and four door sedans were higher production. There were 11,774 wagons produced for the 1954 model year. 63% of the 1954 model year were Champion models. I do not have the number of 1954 Champion wagons easily available.
    Gary L.
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    Not that "rare". For 1954, there were more wagons than hardtops or two door sedans built. Only the coupes and four door sedans were higher production. There were 11,774 wagons produced for the 1954 model year. 63% of the 1954 model year were Champion models. I do not have the number of 1954 Champion wagons easily available.
    I'd be interested in the number of conestoga models made - more interested in the number remaining - I don't think there are many in the uk that's for sure .
    Always interested in the history of a car I own so thanks for the numbers

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    Looks like an old car from New England. I guess both countries have the same rust problems. Too bad. Cool wagon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 65deluxe View Post
    I'd be interested in the number of conestoga models made - more interested in the number remaining - I don't think there are many in the uk that's for sure .
    Always interested in the history of a car I own so thanks for the numbers
    The number (11,774) that I gave for "wagons" is for Conestogas. Conestoga is simply the model name given to wagons by Studebaker (for 1954). I do not have the breakout for Champion Conestogas (wagons).

    There is no way of knowing how many remain. I will give a guesstimate of 900.
    Gary L.
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    SDC member since 1968
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    Quote Originally Posted by studegary View Post
    The number (11,774) that I gave for "wagons" is for Conestogas. Conestoga is simply the model name given to wagons by Studebaker (for 1954). I do not have the breakout for Champion Conestogas (wagons).

    There is no way of knowing how many remain. I will give a guesstimate of 900.
    Thanks - always interesting to have an idea of remaining cars .

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    So things have been progressing slowly - I have to get the car a registration document which has lapsed as it was off the road for a long time - this is proving quite a drawn out process but I think we are getting there .
    Still trying to get it running - carb has been off and rebuilt and is passing fuel nicely and I have a good spark but try as I might I can't get it to fire - doesn't seem to be getting much fuel through to cylinder - so I'm going to recheck compression and go from there - onwards and upwards

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