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View Full Version : 1960's drag race - 50 Champion vs. 37 Chevy



bullet_nose_stude
02-28-2007, 06:38 PM
In the early '60s, I hung around my Uncle Joe's garage, where he worked every night restoring a '34 Ford Phaeton. Being a lad of 9 or 10, I felt very grown up hanging around car guys in their late '20s-early '30s. One guy that was always hanging out there was named Terry, and he drove a 50 Champion. I thought that was the coolest ride I had ever laid eyes on. It was a 2-dr sedan, and it was painted a shade of bronze-like gold. It had moon hubcaps with a rather flat finish, not shiny at all. Wide whites, lake pipes, and the words "Golden Fantasy" painted on the rear fenders in a very fancy flowing script. The bullet was gone out of the nose and the trunk was completely smooth, emblem and trim shaved off. (Don't ask me how he opened the trunk.)

I remember that for a period of time, Terry's Stude was the subject of good-natured ribbing because of a drag race. Terry had driven the Stude to a local drag strip, where it had lost a race with a 37 Chevy coupe. I think the Chevy still had the original 6-banger, which had been slightly modified. Of course, the Stude's engine had been modified, also. Anyway, they raced heads up, and the Chevy easily outran the Stude, according to the way I remember the story being told (several times).

I remembered this story some 25 years later when I started looking for a bullet-nose Stude. This is why I wanted a V8 - I wasn't interested in a six cylinder. Did the six cylinder Studebakers have a reputation for being slow and underpowered? My Dad had a 56 Champion Pelham wagon with 6-cyl automatic. We pulled up at a traffic light next to a loaded 1.5 ton truck. He wanted to get in front of the truck before the road narrowed ahead, but the truck outran him. I'll never forget how mad he was, or the names he called that poor car.

It would be interesting to hear a few opinions from the owners of six cylinder-powered cars.

JDP
02-28-2007, 06:47 PM
We used to joke to the owners of flat head sixes at the drag strip. "Guess they need to get out the sun dial to time it" I have a AT OHV six here now and I find I drive with my foot on the floor all the time and still can't keep up with any of the imports.

64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black) #2
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
62 GT Hawk 4 speed
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

JDP
02-28-2007, 06:47 PM
We used to joke to the owners of flat head sixes at the drag strip. "Guess they need to get out the sun dial to time it" I have a AT OHV six here now and I find I drive with my foot on the floor all the time and still can't keep up with any of the imports.

64 Commander 2 dr.
64 Daytona HT
63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk (Black) #2
63 Avanti R1
63 Daytona convert
63 Lark 2 door
63 Lark 2 door #2
62 Daytona HT/ 4 speed
62 Lark 2 door
62 GT Hawk 4 speed
60 Lark HT
60 Hawk
59 3E truck
52 Starliner
51 Commander

65cruiser
02-28-2007, 08:12 PM
My Cruiser has a six cylinder, although it's the Chevy engine. 194 cubic inch, AT with a 3.73 TT rear. It's not fast, but adequate. If the pavement is just right, I can chirp the tires[:p]. Under hard acceleration, it goes pretty quick, but runs out of balls quick. Still it'll cruise at 70 all day long.

There are a lot of hop-up parts for the 6 bangers. Just look at some of Bill Cathcarts stuff. There's a ton of stuff for the Chevy sixers also, probably not as much for the OHV Studebaker six.

I'll not try to outrun a V8 car though.[8D]

________________________
Mark Anderson
1965 Cruiser
http://home.alltel.net/anderm

http://home.alltel.net/anderm/images/SIG.JPG

65cruiser
02-28-2007, 08:12 PM
My Cruiser has a six cylinder, although it's the Chevy engine. 194 cubic inch, AT with a 3.73 TT rear. It's not fast, but adequate. If the pavement is just right, I can chirp the tires[:p]. Under hard acceleration, it goes pretty quick, but runs out of balls quick. Still it'll cruise at 70 all day long.

There are a lot of hop-up parts for the 6 bangers. Just look at some of Bill Cathcarts stuff. There's a ton of stuff for the Chevy sixers also, probably not as much for the OHV Studebaker six.

I'll not try to outrun a V8 car though.[8D]

________________________
Mark Anderson
1965 Cruiser
http://home.alltel.net/anderm

http://home.alltel.net/anderm/images/SIG.JPG

StudeRich
03-01-2007, 02:21 PM
Actually Bullet, they did! Some of the reasons were good though, you see the car those little 169 c.i. sixes were in was not the big Commander, but the lighter, smaller Champion. And it was true to it's name, it could year after year, beat the doors off of ALL of the competition in the annual Mobilgas Economy Run. If I recall correctly in 1954 it did 29MPG.

Commanders won many races, but not many Champions!


quote:Originally posted by bullet_nose_stude

Did the six cylinder Studebakers have a reputation for being slow and underpowered?

StudeRich
Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA

StudeRich
03-01-2007, 02:21 PM
Actually Bullet, they did! Some of the reasons were good though, you see the car those little 169 c.i. sixes were in was not the big Commander, but the lighter, smaller Champion. And it was true to it's name, it could year after year, beat the doors off of ALL of the competition in the annual Mobilgas Economy Run. If I recall correctly in 1954 it did 29MPG.

Commanders won many races, but not many Champions!


quote:Originally posted by bullet_nose_stude

Did the six cylinder Studebakers have a reputation for being slow and underpowered?

StudeRich
Studebakers Northwest
Ferndale, WA