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Studedude1961
04-13-2006, 12:51 PM
Hi all. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s car magazines like Motor Trend used to lump makers of economy cars together for comparison tests etc. Sometimes Ramblers and Studebakers were profiled in the same testing group. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to own a 1964 Cruiser and a 1964 Rambler Classic at the same time. When the weather was nice I drove one or another to work...about a 10 mile round trip. I drove the Rambler even when the weather wasn't nice since it was not worth a whole lot on the market (but it was worth alot to me). It was interesting comparing both cars and I liked each "best" for different reasons. Has anyone else in the group owned (or own) two comparable cars from both automakers? If so, what are some of your observations as to build quality, performance, handling, styling etc.?

Studedude1961
--1963 Cruiser

N8N
04-13-2006, 01:29 PM
Years ago, I owned a '67 Dodge Dart, and at the same time my girlfriend had a '69 Valiant (pretty similar car;) in comparison to a '62 Lark I would say that the Lark has way better brakes and ride; probably the 15" tires vs. 13" had something to do with that. Also the Dart was a six and the Lark is a V-8 so it is not an entirely fair comparison.

The handling is pretty much comparable; both cars seem to be pretty good handling cars for their era.

I will say that the steering box on the Dart/Valiant was much nicer than the very slow box in the Lark (all cars had manual steering)

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

larkvi
04-13-2006, 01:32 PM
Well, not at the same time but I own a '63 Lark and have owned a '62 Falcon and a '66 Mustang (which is, after all, a Falcon in fancy dress).

Hindsight being 20:20, I like the Lark far more than I did the Falcon. As maligned as the OHV 170 six is in the Stude community, it's a better performer than the Ford 144 six. The Lark has better brakes, better instrumentation, and more passenger room - not to mention that it doesn't have those d***ed awful vacuum wipers!

My Mustang had a 289 and so was a far better performer than either; even so, it was not as comfortable a car for long-distance driving as the Lark.

studegary
04-13-2006, 01:58 PM
Not Ramblers and Studebakers, but my father-in-law turned his '63 Cruiser in on a new '64 Ambassador hardtop because the Studebaker leaked at the A-pillar. At the same time, '64 model year, my father and I each bought '64 Fury hardtops new. The '64 Ambassador had many mechanical problems and the seats split and there were other interior problems within a couple of years. My father and father-in-law were about the same age, drove the same distance to work, each only had one car at a time and kept their cars garaged. My father replaced his '64 Plymouth with a '75 Dodge. The Plymouth was in better shape then than the Ambassador was when a few years old. I only kept my '64 Plymouth for a year and three days, 32K miles, and traded it in on a '65 Sport Fury. I never owned a new '64 Studebaker, but I have owned at least seven, used, some low mileage, 1964 Studebakers. In my experience, the Studebakers were better than the Ramblers/Ambassador, but not as good as the Plymouths.

Gary L.
1954 Commander Starliner (restomod)
1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

Scott
04-13-2006, 02:25 PM
Well, maybe mechanically, but what about Plymouth styling and Studebaker styling - comparing the same model years? The sides of the '64 Plymouths look pretty fussy to me. The grille looks like a Ford or Mercury rip-off.

studegary
04-13-2006, 02:27 PM
quote:Originally posted by N8N

Years ago, I owned a '67 Dodge Dart, and at the same time my girlfriend had a '69 Valiant (pretty similar car;) in comparison to a '62 Lark I would say that the Lark has way better brakes and ride; probably the 15" tires vs. 13" had something to do with that. Also the Dart was a six and the Lark is a V-8 so it is not an entirely fair comparison.

The handling is pretty much comparable; both cars seem to be pretty good handling cars for their era.

I will say that the steering box on the Dart/Valiant was much nicer than the very slow box in the Lark (all cars had manual steering)

nate

--



I have owned many Darts and Valiants. I also had a 1969 Valiant, but mine was a lot different than your girlfriend's car. Mine was a national winning Signet with 273 V8, Torqueflite, ps, pb and 14 inch wheels - all factory. When comparing brands, it is important to compare similar models and equipment. Look at the span of models and equipment/engines that Studebaker had in 1963-1964.

Gary L.
1954 Commander Starliner (restomod)
1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

Blue 15G
04-13-2006, 02:32 PM
My brother had a '62 Ambassador that he got from my Uncle, who was going to trade it in for a leftover '67 Ambassador (this was in early '68). The Ambassador had the AMC 327 V-8. It was smooth and quiet and the car was well finished inside. Several years later I bought a used '64 Daytona Hardtop in very good condition. It had a 259 V-8. My brother drove it and said that it was not unlike the Rambler in many ways. Both were good cars.

It's funny how, back then, a lot of people who only drove "big 3" products would confuse the Ramblers and Studebakers and couldn't tell them apart except for the nameplates. Yet the construction of the two makes was quite different underneath. Cats and Dogs are more alike. :D

studegary
04-13-2006, 02:34 PM
quote:Originally posted by Scott

Well, maybe mechanically, but what about Plymouth styling and Studebaker styling - comparing the same model years? The sides of the '64 Plymouths look pretty fussy to me. The grille looks like a Ford or Mercury rip-off.


Having owned a '64 Plymouth Fury hardtop and a '64 Studebaker Daytona hardtop, I don't see your point. Both cars were fairly slab sided and both had a flat aluminum grille.

Gary L.
1954 Commander Starliner (restomod)
1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

MarkC
04-13-2006, 02:47 PM
I owned several late 50's, early 60's Ramblers and comparable year Studebakers at the same time, many years ago. They had vastly different personalities and characteristics. Early unibody Rambers rusted horribly, but this improved dramatically when they began dipping the bodies in primer beginning with the '58 models. The bodies were pretty sound, but the torque-tube rear suspension (on the 108" and 117" wheelbase cars back then) was criticized by the motoring press and the front end geometry was largely hypothetical until '62 when the single-lower ball joint suspension was introduced. The whole '63 line won Motor Trend's "Car of the Year", which AMC milked for maximum marketing advantage. I liked the old first generation AMC V8 (250, 287, 327). It was heavy and had small valves and ports, but it also had forged internals and was a durable workhorse (except for the timing chain and gears). Build quality was average, but at least where they missed with the paint gun, there was likely to still be primer. Aside from the unique '57 Rambler Rebel (which posted the second fastest 0-60 time Motor Trend recorded that year and was bested only by the fuel injected Corvette), performance wasn't a major thrust for AMC in the 50's and early 60's (survival was) and their management and engineering focus was very conservative.

Studebakers products and management of that era are well known here, and I remember several items both in feel and function that were noticably different. I very much liked Studebakers use of metal and glass where plastic may have been used by others. (Ford even used cardboard for heater boxes in some models of that era.) Design and materials Studebaker used, though often conservative, were honest and integrated, and rarely overstated. Workmanship seemed better to me, as if there was more pride taken in the work done, regardless of the model. (I never owned an Avanti, so I can't comment authoritatively on them.) I loved the concept of the Jet Thrust cars, and will always regret selling the one I had in high school. Lastly, deserved or not, my peers wondered about the Studebakers I owned back then, but they mostly snickered at the AMC's. In that era I owned a great many orphans, including Corvairs and even a few British and Italian imports, nameplates that have long vanished from our shores. And, I loved them all.

MarkC, 64 Y8
Working in Spokane, WA

JBOYLE
04-13-2006, 04:36 PM
When I was a kid, my dad bought a new 1963 Rambler Classic 770 sedan w/V-8 and factory air. We still had it when I learned to drive 8-9 years later.

As I recall it had plenty of power, the steering was a bit heavy but braking was good (but I didn't have much else to compare it to other than the new Mercs at Drivers Ed and dad's 69 Ford LTD with a 390).

I haven't driven a comparable Lark or Daytona...but my Avanti seems much nicer...as you all know it's on the same basic platform as the Larks...but I also realize that it cost about twice what our highly optioned Rambler did in 63....so it had better be nicer.

And at the risk of seeming disloyal...in body structure and especially interior appointments (just compare the dash boards...no comparison)it seems to me it was a more solid car than the Larks and Daytonas I've seen.

PS. I wouldn't mind having a 63 Rambler Classic wagon (with factory air) now...it would be a good basset hound hauler...

63 Avanti R1 2788
1914 Stutz Bearcat
(George Barris replica)

Washington State

studeclunker
04-13-2006, 07:15 PM
I had a '59 rambler custom. I can't compare engines as it had a six, embarrasingly slooooooow. Otherwise it was very favourably comaprable to my studebaker sedan. I really liked the car. Push button transmission, nice interior. Just a nice car that was begging and pleading for a v8. In fact, I think the rambler may have had a little more head room. Oh yes, there was just one more complaint. It had unibody const. None of the shops in town would put a hitch on it. I had a devil of a time finding someone who finally did.

Lotsa Larks!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith

Green53
04-13-2006, 08:24 PM
My first new car was a 59 Rambler Rebel. 4:44 rear end and stick. I only lost two drag races with it. A 59 348 TriPower Chev and a 58 Golden Commando Plymouth with dual 4's. Front end went to pot in 25K miles. Traded for a new 60 Valiant and then a new 62 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible. I have had three 64 Daytona hardtops. A 259,289, and an R2. Currently have the 64 R1 Daytona convertible. The Stude's are better.
Denny L

Roscomacaw
04-13-2006, 08:25 PM
For quite some time, I owned both Ramblers AND Studebakers thru the years. My first "Rammer" was a 66 Classic convertible that I earned by fixing some guy's Triumph Spitfire. The car was in nice shape (this was about '77 or '78)mainly because it wasn't that old. It needed it's T-35 "Flash-o-matic" rebuilt before I could drive it, but that was really a cheap fix at the time. I R & R'd the tranny myself and it was realtively easy since that little aluminum unit didn't weigh much at all.[^](Studes used the same basic tranny behind their 6s from 62-on)
That convertible was REALLY nice. Quiet, peppy 232 6cylinder had good motive power and the ride was nice. That unibody was impressive in how quiet it was (and remember - this was a convertible!)
Comapred to the Studes - the Studes just felt/feel more "substantial". I don't know why, but they just felt like more car than the comprable-sized Rammer.
I stumbled upon a '61 American convertible after I'd owned the '66 for a time and I bought it for like a hundred bucks or so. It was cheap because it's 196 had a knock in it. I yanked that engine and went thru it. It was a sweet runner after that. But three ragtops was a bit of overkill (I also owned a 60 Lark ragtop at the time![:p]) and I sold the '61 American to some kid for a few dollars more than I had in it. My ex sold the 66 ragtop after she and I parted in '81.
Fast forward 2s years and 1983 found me in Los Angeles and looking for a car for my new wife to drive. I found a genuine "cream puff" of a '66 Classic station wagon for $600 bucks. Man, this pampered baby had led a charmed life before I found it. 18 years old and it had only accumulated 33K miles along the way. The wife grew fond of it in short order. We drove that thing well into the 90s before it started to show the rough treatment it had gotten after I started using it as a go-to-work ride. That and taking it out into the desert on occassion![:0] It ended it's life supplying parts for other Rammers. By then, I'd accumulated quite a flock of Studes and I was driving a Stude car or my Transtar primarily.
Having bought and sold Rambler parts as a means of secondary income for quite some time, (and having owned a few too) I've developed great respect for them. I do think that as the 60s drew to a close, the character of the product changed and it didn't appeal to me as much. Once they got entwined with Renault, I considered them disposable appliances at best. Of course - your results may vary!:D

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

redvoyager
04-13-2006, 11:00 PM
In 76 as a young airman I had a 65 Rambler wagon. It was a good solid car and I liked it better than the Lark I later had. It did though, still use an enclosed driveshaft which made changing the clutch a lot more difficult. The Lark seemed underpowered to me with its 6. I felt the Rambler could have handled add on air better than the Stude 6.

Norm
58 Transtar 1 ton dually PU
58 2 door wagon
Davenport, Fl

ddub
04-14-2006, 12:11 AM
I note some other replys do not include Ramblers so I will share my Stude comparisons, about a decade earlier than most I see. In high school (late 50's) I drove a 49 Commander with OD. My best friend had a 50 Ford V-8, no OD. The Stude was superior in every way except attracting girls, could have been the drivers. It was quicker, may have had a higher top speed, never tested that. Felt more solid, rode better, nicer interior.

My parents drove a 53 New Yorker but we still had a 48 Olds straight 8 (my dad never sold a car 'til it was time to junk it). The Commander was in most ways a better car. The Olds was still a prewar design but it did have Hydramatic.

Later I had a 53 Commander K. The Chrysler was a much more substantial car, had a more solid feel better interior finish, better ride. Of course the Stude was much better looking and I liked the auto trans in the Stude better than that in the New Yorker which still required a clutch to shift from Dr to R or Low to Dr and had a very slow upshift from 2 to 3.

53 Commander Hardtop
64 Champ 1/2 ton
WA state

Transtar56
04-14-2006, 05:58 AM
My parents owned a 1960 Rambler wagon thatI remember well.As Studeclunker said,with the little six,it was so under-powered that it was hard to take off without stalling it.If it had a V-8 it might have been a real nice car,but because of its engine(wasn't AMC still using a flathead six in 60?),I hated it.
Then Dad started buying Mopars,and thats all we had for years,many Valiants,a 63 Plymouth Belvedere etc,and all were good cars.I used to think thier push-button trannys were really cool.(still do,Id love to have a late 50's Desoto or a big Imp from the same era)

KevinSheen
04-14-2006, 12:38 PM
Does anyone know about the Dodge 330? My first foray into the classic car genre was one of these beautys. She had the indestructable 225 slant six under the hood and "Piano Finger" pushbutton A/T. Kevin

1963 Champ

studegary
04-14-2006, 04:29 PM
quote:Originally posted by KevinSheen

Does anyone know about the Dodge 330? My first foray into the classic car genre was one of these beautys. She had the indestructable 225 slant six under the hood and "Piano Finger" pushbutton A/T. Kevin

1963 Champ


Yes, to your question, and I owned the other end of the line, a 1963 Dodge Custom 880. Many people are not familiar with that model.

Gary L.
1954 Commander Starliner (restomod)
1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)

cyclemikey
04-14-2006, 04:55 PM
I have a pretty direct comparison of Rambler to Studebaker. I have
a '63 Lark Daytona convertible and a '65 Rambler American convertible.
Both are 6-cylinder with three speed manual. The biggest difference is the ride quality. The Stude with body-on-frame construction feels
like a larger car (it's not) and it's quieter and gives a more substantial feeling. But the Rambler feels sportier and lighter on its feet and the doors still close perfectly too, at 112,000 miles. Can't say the same for the Stude, even though it has far fewer miles.
Neither car is any barn-burner, of course, but that's not why we bought them. They're both fun little cars. I'd have to say the Rambler
gets more attention, but that's probably because more people who see it "used to have one".

Mikey in San Diego

GTtim
04-14-2006, 05:15 PM
In 1970 I traded my '62 Hawk with a tired motor for a '65 Rambler Marlin in white with red and a Twin Stick, 287? and bucket seats. The first thing I noticed was that the Rambler didn't handle worth crap and even though the Stude 289 was tired and had a Flighto it would have run circles around the Rambler. Also there was a lot more plastic in the Marlin than the Stude, both had comfortable seats. But, that rear suspension with the torque tube, that was a dumb idea from the beginning if ever there was one. Then there was the trunk lid that was just big enough to fit the tire through, what were they thinking? Oh, one more thing, even though the car had Budd disc brakes, they were horrible. Maybe there was something wrong with them, but if you stood on them hard in a panic stop the pedal would very slowly sink to the floor. The Rambler was quieter, in some ways roomier and didn't leak nearly as much, but it wasn't long and I wanted my Stude back. Funny, I've never missed the Marlin.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

redvoyager
04-14-2006, 09:57 PM
In 60 Rambler had an aluminum blocked OHV 6

Norm
58 Transtar 1 ton dually PU
58 2 door wagon
Davenport, Fl

studebakerkid
04-18-2006, 05:46 AM
Well I think that I have a rather unique comparison between a 68 Impalla and my 65 Commander. It happened 14 year ago. I was driving home to Puyallup from work in Enumclaw and I got to the point where Highway 410 intersects with Highway 16 ? North and the Cross over to get to South Hill in Puyallup. At that time the off ramp from 16 Southbound dumped right on to 410 Westbound and immediately there was the onramp to get to the cut off for South Hill and it was one lane only.

Here I was in 70 MPH traffic with the lanes converging and I had to get to the South Hill Cut off ramp. Cars diving in and out... I make it into the off ramp lane and OOOOOOHHHHHH SH$% ahead of me is some idiot backing down the onramp and I am doing 70 MPH. I dynamited the brakes and hoped for the best.....

I wound with my 65 off to the shoulder and the blasted horn wing shoved up my nasal cavity. Holding my face I slowly crawled out of my Commander to see how bad it was......The hood was bent up and the left fender smashed and of course the radiator was smashed. I learned later that the fron crossmember was torn completely loose. I walked over to the Impala and the rear end of the car was folded up and the gas tank had been pushed through the back seat. Good thing that she was driving alone because no one in the back seat would have survived.

Two weeks later I picked up a used fender and hood and drove my Commander to the body shop three miles away. $600 dollars worth of frame streightening and welding later I drove it the thee miles home.

It drives just a good as it ever did. Th eonly way you can tell it was in such a horrific crash is if you look at the front bumper brackets. The body shop got one side of the frame a bit higher when they streaghtened it out so the brackets are just a bit off.

I sure an glad I was driving a Studebaker that day.

If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

65 2dr sedan
64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
61 V8 Tcab
61 Tcab 20R powered
54 Champion Wagon

rolledoyster
04-18-2006, 09:48 AM
I own a 1963 Rambler Classic 770 4 door sedan. It has the 195.6 Aluminum Cast Engine. (Before we deep cleaned it we thought it was cast iron and now it shines like the inside of a new Coke can). It has 69,000 original miles and is an unrestored "survivor" that I drive every now and then. My Dad has a 1952 Champion Regal 2 Door Hardtop, a 1963 Avanti, a 1963 Gran Turismo Hawk, and a 1964 Cruiser 4 door. All are near and dear to my heart. We drove his massive Ford truck up to northeast Indiana last summer to purchase the Gran Turismo. We noticed the 64 Cruiser hiding in the rear of the gentleman's garage. After the deal was struck on the 63 GT Hawk, Dad asked the man about the 4 door Cruiser with the 259 V-8. "You don't want that one, we haven't even had it started in over 2 years!" Dad shot some ether into it and she started right up. Dad made the man an offer and my Mom drove the big Red Ford, Dad in the Hawk, and I drove the Cruiser 250 miles home. I'll never forget it. Meanwhile I drive the Rambler around town and dream of Future Studebakers.

Dick Steinkamp
04-18-2006, 10:22 AM
The little '64 AMC Typhoon I sold for my buddy Scott did quite well...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1,1&item=4628382079&sspagename=STRK%3AMESO%3AIT

Probably sold for not much less than what a '64 Daytona 2 door hardtop with similar equipment would have sold for.

Maybe these old Rammers' are gaining in popularity also.



http://thenobot.org/images/s2d/s2d_01.jpg

Roscomacaw
04-18-2006, 11:32 AM
I don't think it hurt that this was a limited edition model too.[:I] Add to that that so many of these went to the crusher - maybe moreso than Studes did since Studes were sorta recognized as nostalgia pieces (talkin' postwar Studes here) before the likes of this Typhoon did. After all, AMC was still around in some fashion, thru 1987. They got a late start at being "collectible" for most folks. (I guess I was an exception to that rule as I got caught up in the early AMC nostalgia movement early on. I remember the look on car guy's faces as I talked with gusto about how cool my 66 Classic was in my eyes. Circa 1977)
Another factor hampering the advancement of Rammers is the parts situation. Chrysler - in their whiz-dumb, smashed all the remaining Rambler parts when they took over[V] Damned few vendors have stepped up to repop parts as is the case with Studebakers.

I kinda watch Rammers on ebay. If you're looking for a 50s or 60s Rammer (or even a clean 70s car), there's some real deals by Studebaker standards![:p]

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS