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I'm new to the club and looking for some information on the 1951 Champion

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  • I'm new to the club and looking for some information on the 1951 Champion

    Are there specific mechanical issues this model had? Or anything other problems I should be on the lookout for. Any info would be much appreciated. Thank you

  • #2
    Most of the chassis of the 51 and later Studebakers is common to all. There were a few differences between Commander and Champion in the first few years ( up to mayb 56) but almost any chassis part will interchange. This was the first year for modern front suspension, it continued until the end. The 6 cyl engine increased in size by 15 Cu in between 55 adn 59, and became an overhead valve engine in the early 60s. The automatic transmission changed after a few years, too. The six volt electrical system was excellent when new, when restored to like new condition will perform as well as 12 volt.


    • #3
      Welcome to the SDC and to the SDC Forum Steve!

      If you buy one and start "tinkering" with it, just remember that if it has not been modified, they use a Group 1, 6 Volt Battery and it is POSITIVE (+) Grounded like all early Fords and Chrysler Products.

      There really are no "Bad" surprises with a 1951, just buy the Body and Chassis Parts Catalogs and Shop Manual in Book or CD Form to learn what you have and need to know to work on it.
      It is very similar to other 1950's U.S. Cars, but from one Make to another there always ARE differences.

      Join the SDC for the Excellent Monthly Publication: "Turning Wheels" and a Local Chapter to "get acquainted".

      A Commander V8 was Pricier when New than a Champion 6, but in today's market "better in the Day" usually does not cost much or ANY more.
      What DOES cost more or "should" if properly priced, is Higher quality Condition, with less RUST.

      New Parts are available here:
      Last edited by StudeRich; 02-26-2017, 01:09 PM.
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner


      • #4
        Welcome. Do you already have the car, or are you looking to buy it?

        I don't know of any problems to look for, and I have several Studebakers, all but 2 of them are 1946 to 1952.
        The only thing to watch for, and this applies to all makes of cars, this modern ethanol crap gas can take out old style flex hoses and fuel pumps. I had to buy a 6 volt electric pump to get home from Michigan a few years ago, after the ethanol destroyed my fuel pump diaphram. Ethanol also loosened the tank liner someone use 23 years ago when they restored my 1950 Champion, so last summer I removed and cleaned the tank. No other problems, and they are a nice car to drive.


        • #5
          The major culprit causing slop in the steering is the center bell crank, where the two tie rods meet. If you have slop in the steering replace this before attacking the steering box. Most newbies go straight for the steering box without troubleshooting to find the real problem.

          By 51, Studebaker had almost everything sorted out design wise, so don't let the idea of replacing systems with parts from other brands be your first choice when looking to solve any deficiency.

          You can easily upgrade the brakes with brakes from later Studebakers. They are a direct bolt on with no fabricating required.

          Buy the chassis and body parts manuals, as well as the shop manual. The parts manuals show how everything goes together, the official name of the part, and the part number. There are a number of vendors who specialize in Studebaker parts and they all use these part numbers.

          Studebaker parts are actually easier to obtain than more common brands.
          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


          • #6
            As long as the car is solid, it will be a good place to start. I had a 52 Champion (mechanically identical to a 51)for many years and it was a fun car. The systems were all much simpler than today's cars and, besides the factory manuals, we now have this forum to help sort out issues.

            "In the heart of Arkansas."
            Searcy, Arkansas
            1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
            1952 2R pickup


            • #7
              Hi Sjmoegg, I too am new to the Club and to the world of Studebakers. I found the folks on this forum to be a HUGE help and very welcoming to my novice questions. I've been around the world of auto restoration for years, but this is my first Studebaker and I found it to be quite addictive...much more so than some of my old muscle cars like the GTO Judge (I've since sold the Judge and now hate myself for doing so!) and my 66 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Convertible.

              The one thing that I would suggest is --- learn as much as you can about these old cars. They're not quite like the muscle cars of the 60s and much less modern cars. So, the more you learn the more you'll realize that they all suffer from the same illnesses and you have to treat them in a much different way than cars that had 390 and 400 cubic inch engines.

              Personally, I purchased the Parts catalog and the Body Catalog on eBay and the Shop manual on CD also on eBay...and I've studied it as much as I can (or as much as the wife allows). The more you learn about your car, the more you'll enjoy it.

              Best Regards,
              1948 Champion Regal Deluxe
              Best Regards,
              1948 Champion Regal Deluxe