View Full Version : Make it this November....

06-18-2012, 12:27 AM
Nearly a year ago I bought this ugly duckling ’60 Champ with plans to have it restored and on the road by November… maybe even take it to the January Phoenix Silver auction at Fort McDowell. It ran and shifted ok so I really didn’t plan to do more than a tune up, paint and interior. My real goal was an educational tool before I jumped into a real ground up on this Speedster a serious project.

I’ve done a number of fix and flips, mostly Jeep products… new sheet metal where needed with a $1,000 to $1,500 fix-up budget. So this was not going to be anything special and November seemed realistic even if I do most everything myself.

I knew it ran but it hardly stopped so first project was brakes…. New hoses, shoes, master and cylinder kits easy pickup at NAPA then OMG how do you remove the rear drums?

I pulled back the carpet and realized that there was no floorboard where the front of the cab was meant to be supported. No wonder you had to lift the doors to close them! Then I realized that unlike Jeep products I couldn’t just go to Certifit and pick up new front fenders for $35. Patch panels available but this meant I’d have to learn to weld. November still looks good.

I’m no body man but know I can do anything so I jumped right into that project, OMG times 10! This was the Bondo queen. Rear fenders had a gallon of Bondo each and the rust underneath was leaving rust lines on the surface. The wire brush on grinder and sanders were like loading a dump truck with a teaspoon. I got a bigger compressor and sand blaster. A week project turned into months… OK December.

Two hours with a power washer on the engine and it almost looked respectable at least as far back as the fire wall.

Doing a final sand and I realize that green stuff suddenly running down the drive is coming from 3 different places in my radiator. Another week, a search and a little adaptation and a 240 Z radiator is in without totally busting the budget.

The paint man, I used on the Jeeps priced himself way out of this job so heck, I’ve sprayed on thousands of gallons of paint… even though that was 50 years ago and on propane tanks! Thanks to a late start on winter I got a rush primer, base and clear on just as the first snow was coming over the mountain… and it looks it.. Maybe next week we’ll repaint it.

With snow on the ground I turned my attention to the interior. Pulled the shag carpet off the seat and discovered the springs were ready to go to China to be part of a bridge. What’s a little upholstery project anyway? I remember helping my dad do a chair when I was in High School. Actually didn’t turn out too bad. Pulled the dash and refinished it….. Padded dash was an education but was a piece of cake compared to those sun visors.

Re-installing the windshield… many tries and black goo everywhere. Gave in and called my glass man…. But now I know how.

It was time to pull off the car cover and move it into the garage for some cold weather work on the interior. Dang there’s milky foam oozing out the oil filler tube !!! Did I blow a head gasket? Or, did I really fill the crankcase with water in that marathon power wash job? I didn’t have an air cleaner on… Oh Well or is it Oh Hell? March really isn’t that bad a target!

So, off comes the front clip and radiator and out comes the engine and tranny. Scaler and wire brush to the tranny and all those parts I couldn’t see before . Off comes the heads. Only suggestion of a crack turned out to be a sleeve inserted in #8 at some time. Every piston had a different oversize bore! This is probably now a 276 !

Pulled the freeze plugs, dug scraped and flushed the water jackets, soaked the water jackets in vinegar and flushed some more. Removed a couple pounds of carbon from the heads with my needle scaler, ground the valves, replaced hoses, gaskets and rear main and rear tranny seal and torqued everything to factory specs. We’re cruse’n now. Might even have it for the June 9 Parker Days Parade… It’d sure make a cool Romney sign truck… dream on.

Finally June 10 the engine and tranny goes back in. Only issues were the exhaust manifold stud I broke and the copper starter power stud I forgot I buggered when I dropped it taking it off…. More fun re-cutting the threads at arms length through the steering gear because I was to vain to dead man that 50 pound hunk of iron off and on again!

Now for the moment of truth…. Fuel, starter turns easy, my hair standing on end is witness to plenty of spark to #1 cyl…. But not one cylinder fires. Two days of frustration and I wake up 3:00 AM Sat with the thought that a 4 cycle engine has 2 TDC’s for one cycle of the distributor. 180 degrees on the distributor and its running on the first lick. 15 minutes of idle and OMG what’s those 2 quarts of oil doing on the floor? Panic to relief when its just that the oil filter cap hadn’t been tightened… but now with oil everywhere I couldn’t tell if I had any real leaks!

Noticed a strange scum in the radiator. Doesn’t seem to be oil… just lots of little yellow flakes…. Then the radiator is boiling over while its cold as ice. This is not good ! Now to back it out to do a flush job and no reverse… 8 hours of fear that I’d screwed up the transmission and I realize the linkage rods were reversed.

Don’t care if its new antifreeze, I’m dumping it and flushing all those little flakes. I couldn’t see the bottom of my catch pan for all the muck and when I drained the catch pan there was another half pound of foundry sand! The initial draining went into jugs and after an hour each jug had at least a half inch of muck in the bottom. Pulled the new thermostat and it had a half inch of gooey crud on it! At least 50 gallons of fresh water flush later its running clear. My guess is that all that muck was cleanings from the vinegar soak.

Buttoned the cooling system back up and after a half hour it is still idling clear radiator and no oil leaks. Now to install the front clip, finish installing the interior and fix my bad paint job…

New plan… on the road for the 4th of July, with 4 x 8 signs in the back and a “Back to the Good old Days” comment. I can have my own private parade in rush hour with my Champ until this November.

06-18-2012, 12:48 AM
Would have been a good story if you had left the political BS out.

Dads Baby
06-18-2012, 01:07 AM
Glad to hear you are working your way through the "mess!" Think about "caravaning" with us to the Zone meet in August! Let me know if you want the info. :woot:

06-18-2012, 01:28 AM
Would have been a good story if you had left the political BS out.

I suppose if the comment was about you're "guy" then it would be alright.................


06-18-2012, 02:33 AM
ANY political and/or religious discussion should not be allowed on this forum. Keep it about Studebaker's.

06-18-2012, 06:46 AM
Pulled the shag carpet off the seat and discovered the springs were ready to go to China to be part of a bridge.

To quote Larry the Cable Guy: "I don't care who you are, that right there's funny!"

06-18-2012, 07:18 AM
I don't have any trouble turning my political filter on.
Thanks for a really great story.

Warren Webb
06-18-2012, 08:58 AM
I enjoyed the read! Any "political" references weren't from a "soap box" but just saying what he was hoping to do on which days. It's a great story & kind of typical of what we all run into, best laid plans ect. I'm glad he stuck in there & didnt end up in a classified ad we all see with restoration 75% complete in it.

06-18-2012, 09:54 AM
PC Wow ! I'm sure glad I didn't use the word God !

06-18-2012, 11:34 AM
I sure hope "your guy" wins in November. Then we can all reap the benefits that'll surely "take us back". I want a chance at a new '58 Commander Starlight and the chance at avoiding Vietnam and wife #1.

06-18-2012, 11:56 AM
ANY political and/or religious discussion should not be allowed on this forum. Keep it about Studebaker's.

It wasn't a discussion until you answered to it.

Great, Great story!

06-18-2012, 03:22 PM
Post edited. Back to Studebakerin'.

06-18-2012, 08:02 PM
Thanks Clark!

06-20-2012, 05:14 PM
Great story- thanks for sharing!!!

(and for the kick in the pants I needed)

06-30-2012, 12:25 AM
An Independence Day parade target is still a remote possibility if I can have a little luck, good weather and a few less interruptions/surprises. Tomorrow I was hoping to join Dad's Baby and others on the Champ's first road test, finished except for the paint issues.

I've been moving ahead with all those little details that take an hour when you thought they should take 5 minutes... like the forgotten engine to frame ground and fitting the horse collar around the steering column. The like new tires I was going to swap to the Champ turned out to be 2 months past the 10 years age limit that a tire shop can legally touch, so I'll have to do that job myself with less than perfect tools and more time.

Today I finished all the internal trim and panels, added seat belts and finished the day by installing the seat... Looked great until I actually tried to sit in it! Surprise !!! My head was in the headliner! When I rebuilt and reupholstered the seat, I put too much crown on the Springs and added way too much soft stuff for my hemorrhoids. Currently, the seat is in the living room where I'm trying to take 2 inches of crown out of the springs.... Sure hope I don't have to remove the cover and start over!

Dads Baby
06-30-2012, 01:50 AM
Heck! Sit on a Homer Bucket! Come to Golden!!!! :woot:

06-30-2012, 07:51 AM
Sounds like a normal project around here. Quick refurbish turns into one thing after another. Energy and money running out at various cycles and quick jobs turn into years. Oh well...at least I'm not hanging out at the mall.
Good to hear that you've made real progress.