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My new Studebaker

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  • #31
    Lee, a couple of comments and thoughts:

    Think some more about the suggestion jackb made about looking for a known decent running engine, preferably one that came from a car with auto trans so you don't have to pull the pan to change the bolts on the end of the crankshaft that holds the flex plate on. If you can get the bellhousing from that same engine, that is a plus. Beat the bushes on this forum, your local SDC chapter, the Studebaker Swap Page, etc and you will turn one up eventually.

    If you are wanting to move onto another project right away, the best thing to do probably is pass it on to someone else. But if you have some time, start looking for a decent running decent priced engine and keep soaking yours.

    Despite what some on this forum may tell you , the resto-mod option is a good one also. A smallblock Chevy is the easiest fit; Studebaker actually used them in '65 and '66. But the cost and complexity goes up dramatically. Nothing that can't be worked thru, but a lot of little details.

    You have to figure out what is best for you (your car, your money, your choice). But if you did find a decent used engine, to at least get the car running and driving........then you can decide what you want to do longer term. You may decide to resto-mod it, or put it back more towards original, or even pass it on.

    Keep us informed!
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


    • #32
      Also, please register your car with the 59 Lark Registry both here and on the SDC website contact information (Do a search on this forum for "59 Lark Registry" and read a couple posts....I placed links in at least one of them recently)

      If you decide to keep it and keep the 259, it will be a fun car to drive. They get around well.

      jackb knows his stuff on Stude engines.
      StudeRich knows his stuff on the 59/60 Larks

      There are many others, but these two have proven helpful for me.

      I also have a 59 Lark with 259 and A/T. Mine sat in the garage for 31 years, but I turned it over every 10 years or so.

      Also, remove the drive belts if you haven't already. They just cause excess drag when trying to unstick.

      You may want to consider removing the intake manifold and the lifter cover and lubricate the lifters. Maybe pour your mixture down the push rods to lube the lifters.

      These engines have solid lifters and gear-driven timing on the cam.

      If you choose to change to SBC 350 with a 700R4, then the car will lose about 500 Lb. The assembled 259 weighs as much as a Chevy 454. The AT weighs about 300 LB as it is all cast iron.

      Right now, the value on the car is very low. Like $500-$1000 I'm guessing, as it would only be a parts car. It is a 4 door. So, Meh........ If it was in operable condition (running and driving, it's still only worth about $4000-$5000.

      In fully restored to original condition, it's about $12,000.

      So, do what you want with it. It's NOT about the value on these. It ain't a Tri-Five.........

      Mine's a 2DHTP, so not as many made and mine was in operable condition. I have put on or already purchased parts for the following:
      Wheel Cylinders (4)
      Master Cylinder
      All brake hoses
      Replaced rear axle
      Front Wheel Bearings and Seals
      Brake shoes all 4
      Front suspension bushings
      King Pin Rebuild Kit including kingpins, upper and lower joints
      Complete tie-rod assemblies
      Center steering pivot assembly
      Carburetor Kit
      Engine gasket rebuild kit (to seal it, not remove and replace heads0
      Transmission oil and filter
      Rebuilt driveshaft with new U-Joints and had it modified to accept the Dana 44 rear axle from a 64 Daytona
      New tires P205-65R-15 Uniroyal Tiger-Paw
      New fuel sending unit seals on gas tank (had gas tank glass-beaded and coated with POR-15)
      New front shocks
      Plug wires
      Spark Plugs
      Cleaned and lubricated vacuum advance plate and entire distributor
      Replaced Vacuum advance with used operable unit

      I have about $5000 in what I listed above. I'm sure there are ways to reduce expenses and shop around more, but I have been under time crunches to do what we wanted, so I bought most of my parts through Studebaker International. The cost listed above does NOT include my labor OR the cost of the car. I've owned this car for 36 years so far.

      We got ours running, brakes, and a rear axle and drove it 600 miles within 3 days. The rings were hanging up on the first leg of the trip, but after that, it loosened up.

      We did ours in multiple stages, and we are still working on it.

      We ran the Hot Rod Power Tour in it in 2016 and are hoping to do it again in 2017 (in a month)

      We drive it as much as possible and it's a LOT of fun. No one knows what it is and I frequently have groups of people at car shows pull away from the expensive well-done cars to go see what this strange car is in the parking lot.

      We now take pictures of people taking pictures of our car....... It's kinda fun!

      Good Luck! I hope you do what's right for YOU. Do NOT send it to the salvage yard or the crusher.
      Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
      1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP


      • #33
        I would get the engine out on a stand & lift the heads, but first I'd put hot(!) oilmix in the sparkplug holes & try next day.
        My own engine had been sitting longer than yours & it was stuck bigtime so after som weeks I took it out & THEN it suddenly was free...
        That was about 6 years ago, but when I decided to lift it out I also bought a Plymouth Volare to take the whole driveline of & so I did because the rear axle was done & the engine had loads of metal pieces in the oil.
        I know everybody goes on about chevy because it was what Studebaker could afford when they were in trouble, but I put a van/pick up oilpan on & it dropped right in place!
        (& now there's a 904 overdrive behind it too.)
        I've had many Chevy's & I love them but I've also had Buick, Cadillac, Ford, AMC, Mopar, IH... & so on & second (!) to Studebaker I think MoPar made the best mechanic stuff.
        But if I were you I'd keep trying to free that engine, then replace seals & gaskets!
        I have a soft spot for early Larks...
        Good Luck!