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Thread: '56 President two door

  1. #1
    Golden Hawk Member
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    '56 President two door





    First two photos by Craig Parslow.

    After being Studebakerless since selling my '52 pickup in January, I managed to buy one of my favorite Studes this week, and just hired a transport company yesterday to bring it home from Oregon. The 289, auto trans (converted to 1st gear start), brake system, front suspension and steering have all been rebuilt by Chuck Tubens in Portland. There are a few cosmetic issues I'll have to tend to, but overall I think it's going to be a pretty decent car.

    I met Joe and Nancy Bacon in 2007 at my first national meet in South Bend, and quickly learned that Nancy's late father, Earl Drews, had owned a '56 Prez two door for several years. He first bought the car in the early 70's, drove it to Dallas in '75 to put in the bid for the '76 meet in Indy (where he was chairman), and in the '80's he sold the car to George Rietenour. George repainted the car from it's original yellow to black to match the interior, and at some point sold it. Earl found the car for sale on a car lot around Indy in the late '90's, bought it back, retired to Florida soon after, and kept it until his passing in 2004.





    Tom Hart in Oregon purchased the car, flew to Florida, drove it to Charlotte, NC for the national that year, and then had it shipped home. The next year he drove it to Spokane for the national, and on the way home the engine gave up. It sat for a few years after that until he hired Chuck to go through everything. Tom has used the car as an everyday driver for quite a while and says the car is ready to drive anywhere. I happened to see his tiny for-sale ad in the latest Turning Wheels a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't resist.. I'm looking forward to putting some miles on it.

    Last edited by mbstude; 12-03-2016 at 09:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    I really like this year Studebaker both in President and Commander form. This President is sweet! Congratulations on taking home your prize. Enjoy many smiles of driving pleasure, I know I would.

  3. #3
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    Nice ride Matt! You'll have many miles & smiles with it. Nice seeing you in here too!
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
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    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Wow! How 'bout this? Here we have Grandfather & Grandson...both, proudly, actively, continuing to pursue their Studebaker interests! Both, with simultaneous threads showing recent acquisitions. Congratulations to both!

    I don't know what holiday gatherings you folks have planned, but I hope, soon, to see you two posting pictures of you guys together along with the cars. Such family participation is rare for many, and in my case, only a dream. Thanks for sharing.
    John Clary
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  5. #5
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    John, I'm planning to drive the '56 to Georgia for Christmas weekend. I'll make sure that a couple of pictures get posted.

    I've tried to get away from the Studebaker hobby. Got into Schwinn bicycles for a while (still have one), dated a couple of women, pursued other interests... And here I am, back with a Studebaker. I guess I should just admit that it really is in my blood, huh?

  6. #6
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbstude View Post
    I guess I should just admit that it really is in my blood, huh?
    And without a cure, you just have to manage the condition...and I will patiently wait for some videos...

  7. #7
    President Member 55coupe's Avatar
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    I saw that car this summer. Good score it's very nice.

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    Here is another rare '56 two door President for comparison
    56 President.jpg
    Eric DeRosa

    \'49 2R-5 (original Survivor)
    \'63 R2 Lark (the moneypit-mobile)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2R2 View Post
    Here is another rare '56 two door President for comparison
    I've only seen one 56 Prez two door, ever, and it was as bad as that one. I've personally never seen a nice one.

    But, that'll change soon. Just heard from the shipper, and the car should be here Monday.

    I'd love to see photos of any others.

  10. #10
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    Hi Matt: be sure and post some more pictures of your new baby when she arrives. Thanks for all your help while I was in FL.

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    Studey Acres had two or three there unless they got sold on Saturday November 5

    Bob Miles
    Tucson AZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by ndynis View Post
    Hi Matt: be sure and post some more pictures of your new baby when she arrives. Thanks for all your help while I was in FL.
    You bet Nick.. I can't wait to see it in my driveway.

    Was an absolute pleasure meeting you. Hope you have a lot of fun with that new Lark.

  13. #13
    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    The last time I saw Tom with this car was this Fall with the Northwest Chapter on a tour of the West Hills in Portland. I was really tempted to buy the car, especially since Chuck Tubens had done the mechanical work on it. I knew it was a good runner. You should get years of enjoyment out of it Matt. Congratulations. Sorry to see it leave Oregon.
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Eddie View Post
    The last time I saw Tom with this car was this Fall with the Northwest Chapter on a tour of the West Hills in Portland. I was really tempted to buy the car, especially since Chuck Tubens had done the mechanical work on it. I knew it was a good runner. You should get years of enjoyment out of it Matt. Congratulations. Sorry to see it leave Oregon.
    Thanks Ed, I appreciate the words of confidence. I know the history of the car since the early 70s, but the car is still an "unknown" to me, having not seen it in person yet. Chuck seemed more than competent when I spoke with him on the phone. I think it'll be a good car.

  15. #15
    Silver Hawk Member Milaca's Avatar
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    Looks like a good dating car to me. Do the front seat-backs recline back flat?

    In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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    President Member Studeous's Avatar
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    It's very exciting getting a complete running fine piece of machinery, such as this model. It reminds me of the solid black 56 with the black wheels and chrome or titanium lug nuts, that was on the show circuit not long ago. Some will remember it. Maybe post a photo. Maybe pop the wheelcovers and throw some higher profile fat tires, just for Friday nights!
    My 1st car. "A TRANSTAR"
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  17. #17
    President Member Flashback's Avatar
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    Great looking car Matt. Glad to see you back here a little. Want to see more of your car, and your progress report.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milaca View Post
    Looks like a good dating car to me. Do the front seat-backs recline back flat?
    Afraid not, but it is a bench seat of course. The girl I dated earlier this year seemed to enjoy that aspect of the '52 pickup I had.. (Sure do miss that truck. And her dog... )

    Quote Originally Posted by Studeous View Post
    It's very exciting getting a complete running fine piece of machinery, such as this model. It reminds me of the solid black 56 with the black wheels and chrome or titanium lug nuts, that was on the show circuit not long ago. Some will remember it. Maybe post a photo. Maybe pop the wheelcovers and throw some higher profile fat tires, just for Friday nights!
    I've learned from my own experience that I don't have the time, money, or attention span to take on a big project car. (After buying the '53 Studillac that I wanted for a decade, and realizing that the car needed full restoration, it went to a new home.) I like buying a Stude that's already pretty nice, but still has some minor things that I can improve.

    You're thinking of Allan Songer's '56 Champion with an R1 and 4 speed. Last I knew of that car it was somewhere on the east coast. It was one sweet '56.



    Quote Originally Posted by Flashback View Post
    Great looking car Matt. Glad to see you back here a little. Want to see more of your car, and your progress report.
    Thanks Tex. I got a call from the truck driver yesterday. He's been going through snow, ice, and salt and said the '56 will need a good cleaning once it gets here (open hauler). He was running ahead of schedule and was planning to be here today, but someone ran into his rig and tried to take the nose off of his truck. He's back on track and is set to arrive tomorrow evening. Can't wait!
    Last edited by mbstude; 11-20-2016 at 09:15 AM.

  19. #19
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    I fondly recall Allan's build of the black car. Good luck with the "new" car, Matt. Hoping to see more pictures and posts. Bob
    , ,

  20. #20
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    After 6 days and 3000 miles, through snow, ice, and road salt... The Prez arrived today just before noon. I took the day off of work so I could take delivery of the car and get a feel for what it needs..



    After several days of being exposed to sub-freezing temps, the truck driver got in it, hit the pedal once, twisted the key, and it started up as though it had been running 5 minutes prior. (Chuck Tubens has my compliments.. It's a fantastic running and driving car.) It had a blown exhaust manifold flange gasket, and since everything was redone about 15K miles ago, it was a 5 minute job to drop the exhaust pipe, clean the heat riser, and put it all back together with new gaskets. It's nice when things are as they should be under the hood..



    After a good scrub, I grabbed the title and insurance paperwork and drove it the 1 mile to the DMV. In and out in 15 minutes with registration and a tag, then headed home, picked up the dog, and then took the scenic route back to the shop. Then spent the rest of the evening cleaning up the interior. I'll clean the road grime off the underside and give the exterior a polish and wax soon enough.

    The seats had those generic clear plastic covers on them, and they were falling apart. I pulled the seats, removed the covers, and found nearly pristine original upholstery underneath.. I'll keep a blanket over it when driving to keep it all in good shape, and given how crappy the clear covers looked, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they'd preserved the factory stuff.

    Lots of cleaning, detailing, and TLC ahead... The previous owner drove it as a regular car for a while and it shows. But overall it seems to be pretty nice and I couldn't be happier with it.

    Last edited by mbstude; 11-21-2016 at 10:37 PM.

  21. #21
    President Member ddub's Avatar
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    What a sweet looking car! I can't think of a better owner for it.
    Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

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  22. #22
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    Very nice President You have Matt
    Joseph R. Zeiger

  23. #23
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    Great looking car! Congratulations on finding such a great example of a 2DR President. I have never seen one in real life. All the '56 line is my favorite of the full size cars. Being a Wagonaire man, I would love to find a nice '56 Wagon that I wouldn't have to sell my house to afford. Sally has such a narrow mind about such things.

    One thing for sure: It couldn't have found a better home.
    Nick

  24. #24
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    Great stuff Matt, you have got yourself a great set of wheels!
    Mark Hayden
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  25. #25
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    The door panels were the first thing that bugged me. The cardboard got wet and is falling apart; none of the panel clips were doing anything anymore.. I grabbed some 1/16" ABS sheet from work and this evening I was able to get the passenger side door panel redone. I stripped the stainless trim and vinyl (along with that molded in armrest) from the factory panel, and used the cardboard as a template for the ABS. I got it cut to size and used 3M headliner adhesive to glue the original foam and vinyl to the new backer. Installed the "new" panel with commercial grade Velcro instead of the factory clips and put the handles back on. I'll tackle the driver's side tomorrow. Didn't think to take any pictures.

    The door panels are on their last leg but I thought I'd try to get a little more use out of them. I can't imagine there being any NOS panels for a '56 President two door lying around.

    Ordered new tires today (blackwall radials; wide whites can wait until the wallet is happy again), and I'll buff and wax the paint later this week as well. It needs a paint job, but I'll make it look as good as it can for now.
    Last edited by mbstude; 11-22-2016 at 09:58 PM.

  26. #26
    President Member Flashback's Avatar
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    You are moving quick. That's really a cool car Matt. Don't see those every day. The best of luck on it.

  27. #27
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    Refinished the driver's side door panel and drove the '56 home tonight, after putting a few miles on it around town. I have to get used to the thumbs up and comments again.. My Toyota 4Runner blends in with everything else. I think I'm gonna like this car.

  28. #28
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    A great Studebaker, Matt. Enjoy and safe driving.

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  30. #30
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    I spent the day buffing/polishing/waxing the paint, and making everything shiny.... The engine was oily/greasy from being used as a daily driver for a while, so I did a quick cleanup under the hood, too. (It came without a battery hold down, the bungee is temporary. And we can do without the Bob Palma jokes. )

    I was going through one of the boxes that the previous owner sent, and found a '56 Florida license plate that must've been on the car when Earl Drews owned it. He and his wife retired to Florida in the '90's and he had the car until his passing in 2004. Thought it fitting to put it on the front bumper.



    Last edited by mbstude; 11-25-2016 at 06:42 PM.

  31. #31
    President Member Studedude's Avatar
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    You're flingin' a cravin' on me, Matt. It's been a while since I've taken on a project like this, and I'm missing the action.

    Good show!!

    Dave Lester

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Studedude View Post
    You're flingin' a cravin' on me, Matt. It's been a while since I've taken on a project like this, and I'm missing the action.

    Good show!!
    Put Sheba on a trailer and drag her 3000 miles across the country in November. You'll have plenty to clean up.


  33. #33
    President Member 62champ's Avatar
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    If the delivery truck ran over a substantial amount of salted roads, you want to make sure you get it all gone - that stuff will work its evil in all those unseen places. In the spring after the last salt has hit the road around here, even after four or five washes, there is still salty water trails running after the washing is done...car looks great

  34. #34
    President Member ndynis's Avatar
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    They are just pure class!

  35. #35
    President Member Silverplate's Avatar
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    Extremely nice.
    Mike
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    1964 Avanti R2 #R-4986

  36. #36
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    She fought me all day yesterday.. The starter drive is bad and was taking too long to unwind. I borrowed a friend's starter from his 4 speed Lark project, changed out the nose cone to a longer automatic one, and installed it until I can get my original starter rebuilt. Sweet.. Everything works great, car starts up perfect, good to go..

    One thing leads to another. Next on the list.. The speedometer (the silly "cyclops" on top of the dash) was shot, but the seller threw in a couple of extra speedo assemblies he'd picked up over the years. One showed fairly low miles and seemed smooth. I pulled the guts out, removed the oil cap and lubed everything, put a cable on it and spun it up with a drill.. Sweet, we're good to go. I crawled under the dash and noticed some "backyard" wiring repairs, but didn't worry much as everything was working.. (Famous last words?)

    I changed the speedometer out and had a HUGE electrical draw when I hooked the battery cable back up. It seems I "disturbed" something and it was no longer happy.. I got under the dash and while George K. momentarily hooked up the battery cable, I saw the cloth dome light wire "jump". I'll unhook it and put a heat shrink tube over it to cover the bare spots today, but in the meantime I moved it away from touching anything and viola.. No more draw when the battery is connected. Went to start the car, and suddenly the starter solenoid didn't seem to be working. It looked new and thinking maybe it was a bad Chinese one, I swapped it for a known good one.. Same problem. The starter would "click", but not fully engage. When I swapped the starter out I noticed that the starter wire was a little worn and had some bare spots, so just to rule it out I replaced it. Same problem... Still no start.

    I pulled the ignition switch (brand new reproduction) and one of the terminal nuts was loose. Ah ha! In checking to make sure all the others were tight, I found that the ACC terminal wasn't tight in the switch housing. I dug around the shop and found a used switch in an old Hawk dash, changed out the cylinder, and put it in.. Worked perfect. The car started up and everything seemed cool, and then I noticed the amp light was shining, and the gas gauge wasn't working.



    I took another look and with the help of George explaining how the wiring diagram is read (I never have been great at electrical stuff), we figured out the problem areas and what was "rigged", and have a tentative solution and what I need to rewire to fix it. After that, I think I'll be good to go..

    Push comes to shove, the seller included a brand new Studebakers West main wiring harness (wonder why. ). I'll pull the dash and rewire the car at some point, but that can (hopefully) wait a bit.

    One thing's for sure, it's great having friends that do this stuff everyday.

  37. #37
    Silver Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Thanks Matt...one of the great things about the forum, is the opportunity to console, inspire, comfort, and encourage each other. Young, old, rich, or economically challenged, this forum offers an opportunity for us all to meet in common interests, across the world, and societal barriers. (Age, ethnicity, education, rich or poor.)

    Your tale of challenges with your car was a comfort to me. It lets me know I'm not alone. Yesterday, I went out to install a new (to me) trunk ornament/latch on my '51 Land Cruiser. Simple process...right? I began the process in the chill of morning. By noon, I had moved from the sun into the shade because, the chill of morning had become the heat of day. At some point in the afternoon, I moved back into the sun, because the breeze brought back the "chill." I took a break to eat a snack and retrieve a warm "hoodie." Finally, a little after nightfall, with cold fingers, I managed to get the last flat washer, lock washer, and nut in place, the car backed into the man cave, and staggered into the house, thoroughly exasperated that such a tiny task, had consumed so much time.

    Like you mentioned, "one thing led to another." Removing the latch revealed a lot of dirt accumulated under it, and the gasket. That led to a "cleaning" project. Next, was to make a new latch gasket (searching for material, making a pattern, cutting, and punching holes.). Then, discovering that the new latch was missing mounting bolts, and the original one was missing a couple. That led to another project of making new mounting studs, chasing threads, gathering nuts, washers, etc. During this process, there was the rusty license plate bracket. Had to be cleaned, primed, and painted. Next, came the process of transferring the guts of the old latch into the new. In addition to cleaning and installing the license plate light, was the cleaning and lubricating the latch mechanical components. Except for what I thought was excessive time, all was going pretty well. Until...I made the mistake of pulling the key from the "latch cylinder." Up until then, I thought I had been doing pretty good, using a tiny allen wrench to release the latch cylinder, and handling the delicate process with the dexterity of a master watchmaker. That was when I really screwed up. I pulled the key out and those tiny little brass latch tumblers fell out. In the fading light of the day, I spent about an hour, on my knees, with a magnifier, searching through dead grass, for those tiny parts. Somehow, I got it back together, and managed to get it to lock/unlock.

    Back to your post Matt...it was comforting to me, to know that a youngster like you, can be the victim of "mission creep," or "project expansion," and that my 72 years of age is not the only cause. Even with all the tedious work, dragging out a wagon load of tools, energy & stress extended...I had a blast! A day well spent. I'm enjoying your enthusiasm with your new acquisition. Best wishes for you and your car!
    John Clary
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  38. #38
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    One things for certain when it comes to Matt. He can take a piece of coal & turn it into a diamond. Through the years watching his posts the efforts he puts into a vehicle not only show what he is capable of but it reflects the upbringing his family practices. I'm an admirer for sure!
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
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  39. #39
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    John, it's funny how easily it is to fall down that "slippery slope".. Projects that should take an hour, turn into days and lead to things that weren't even on your mind.. But, that's part of the fun. At least, that's what I'm telling myself!

    Thanks, fellas, for the kind words.. I'm just a guy that loves this hobby and is happy to finally be back behind the wheel. While I have no desire to tackle any major projects, I do get a lot of enjoyment (and sometimes frustration) out of learning something new and fixing something the right way.

    I spent a couple of hours under the dash again this morning, and made a new sub-harness for the 4 gauges in the cluster. I removed the previous "rig" and started fresh.. And now, everything is working just as it should be. Gauges work and read correctly, lights all shine bright, the speedometer works flawlessly, and the car starts with a slight bump of the key.. Happy boy.

    Time to enjoy the rest of my extended weekend before heading back to work tomorrow.. A lot of my coworkers are anxious to see the '56, and I'm looking forward to showing it off.


    Last edited by mbstude; 11-27-2016 at 02:43 PM.

  40. #40
    Silver Hawk Member JoeHall's Avatar
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    Matt,
    Looks like you got a sweet one, ready for go & show. But I do not envy you in tackling those door panels. The flared armrests are a real PITA. But odds are, only the lower 6" or so of the fiber board is toast, and maybe the worst of the panel is below the stainless steel strip. Hopefully, you can do some creative grafting down low, and salvage the upper parts. Or maybe just drive it as is, and be careful with it

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