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Thread: 1955 Reminiscing

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    Speedster Member greyben's Avatar
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    1955 Reminiscing

    I've been catching up on my reading with some 1955 Motor life magazines. Along with the articles it is always interesting to peruse the various advertisements of the time. For those who think it is necessary to spend $5,000 for an engine overhaul in 1955 J.C Whitney sold engine pellets for $4.95 that would accomplish the same thing.

    A more intriguing and useful device was the SELECT-O-DRIVE from Eastern Auto. "Overdrive selector for any car with Borg Warner overdrive. Advantages: 6 forward speeds, 2 ratios in any gear, clutchless shifting, automatic hill holder, longer engine and brake life and less tire wear." All this for only $4.98. It came with what appears to be a column mounted selector lever with three positions labeled A, FW, OD.

    Motor Life also road tested Studebakers, both automatics, twice that year. First a President hardtop (175 hp). 0-6 in 13.4 and the quarter in 18.13. They also mentioned the Speedsters then appearing at auto shows. Apparently the Studebaker reps were dropping hints that it would be rated in excess of 200hp when it went into production.

    The second was a road test of the Speedster, but unfortunately no precise time trials were performed. Both tests were generally favorable. For those that believe that cars will only stop with disc brakes the '55 Studebakers brakes were rated very highly by the testers and subject to very little fade even after hard use. This was before finned drums were adding making them even more fade resistant.
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    President Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    The Select-O-Drive was merely a switch that shorted the wire going to the governor. The governor tells the transmission when the car is going fast enough to go into overdrive, typically around 26-30 MPH. The Select-O-Drive and others like it allowed the driver to put the car into overdrive at any speed.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

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    President Member 52hawk's Avatar
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    A friend of mine worked at JC Whitless a few years ago.. I asked if they still sold the 'engine rebuild pellets'. A few days later he had checked and said Yes,they still have them!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 52hawk View Post
    A friend of mine worked at JC Whitless a few years ago.. I asked if they still sold the 'engine rebuild pellets'. A few days later he had checked and said Yes,they still have them!!!
    They weren't letting them go for $4.95 though, were they?

    Mark

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    President Member 52hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2Deluxe View Post
    They weren't letting them go for $4.95 though, were they?

    Mark
    Oh heck no! Such a valuable item,I believe they were up to about $35 or so..
    Oglesby,Il.
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  6. #6
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    I loved the JC Whitney catalogs of days gone by. Almost every item stated in the product description the phrase "Easy to Install". Even if it was a crankshaft or something, lol.

    To be fair, I did buy some things from them a couple of times years ago and the merchandise was always satisfactory. Never tried the Engine Rebuild Pellets though.

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