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  • Firewall markings

    My 51 Commander has 55N in crayon/grease pencil on the right firewall. I was wondering what that
    would have meant going down the assembly line.

  • #2
    My 54 Commander says "rush."
    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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
      My 54 Commander says "rush."
      With the assembly line running at a preset pace, what exactly are they going to 'rush'? When the car leaves the line, who's looking for the markings under the hood?
      Tom - Bradenton, FL

      1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
      1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Swifster View Post
        With the assembly line running at a preset pace, what exactly are they going to 'rush'? When the car leaves the line, who's looking for the markings under the hood?
        Couldmean it was a sold unit.
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        • #5
          My '53 just has a "5" in yellow crayon on the firewall below the defroster motor.
          "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

          Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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          • #6
            I'll ask my father. He worked in Production Control, and he mentioned one time he had to mark the bodies and firewalls for one reason or another.
            Mark L

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            • #7
              My '51 Land Cruiser has "204" on the upper right firewall.

              I just got off the phone with my father. He worked in the body plant in South Bend. Regarding the grease pencil on the firewall that was written before the paint was applied, he said the ladies that worked ahead of the paint booth would write a shorthand paint code on the firewall. When the guys spraying the cars in the paint booth saw a particular number, they knew what color to apply. That way they didn't have to waste time looking at the paint code on the line ticket. They would just spray right over the grease pencil marks.

              Regarding the word "rush", that was something my father would write on the body in yellow chalk or grease pencil, usually on the right side of the firewall cowl just ahead of the front passenger door. Once the fender was installed, it was not visible. He said what would happen somewhere up the line, maybe someone had trouble installing something and couldn't stop the line to fix it, or maybe one of the guys might have needed to use the restroom. If no one was available to fill in for him, he would just walk off the line and his bit of work would go undone. Depending what was not installed, it could cause a number of other things down the line to remain uninstalled. Those guys would just put their parts inside the car. When the body reached the maintenance bay at the end of the floor, my dad would have the body pushed off to the side.

              Dad said some of the cars were just assembled on speculation that someone would buy one off the dealer's showroom. Others, like Guido mentioned in #4 above, had been ordered by customers through their local dealer, so they wanted to keep them ON the assembly line so they could be shipped. They didn't want pre-ordered cars sitting in the maintenance bays for too long, so my dad would keep track of how long each one had been there. If one or more had been there more than a few hours, my dad would write "rush" on the body, and sometimes how long it had been there. That would indicate to the mechanics who finished assembling the cars that the "rush" cars were to be assembled first and sequenced back onto the line.

              He also mentioned that some of the marks were applied by inspectors near final assembly to indicate if the car had passed inspection. So RadioRoy, if your Commander was assembled in South Bend, that may be my father's handwriting on your car!
              Last edited by Mark L; 04-25-2017, 08:59 PM.
              Mark L

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              • #8
                Mark, that makes a lot of sense...
                Tom - Bradenton, FL

                1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

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                • #9
                  What great original source history! Thank you so much, Mark!
                  Mike Davis
                  Regional Manager, North Carolina
                  1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

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                  • #10
                    Has anyone else ever felt that all those numbers you have seen look like they were written by the same person?

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                    • #11
                      I compared the writing on my Land Cruiser to the signature on my last birthday card from South Bend...it's a match!

                      Seriously, it was the process he was taught. He said he covered three floors in the body plant, and he did a lot of walking on his shift. There were multiple people all doing the same job at several locations on several shifts.

                      When I was a kid and got in trouble for doing something wrong, I wondered, "How can my father be in that many places at once? Does he have a suit and cape in the closet I don't know about?" The reality is, he's Don Laskowski, former Studebaker employee. That's really Super if you ask me.
                      Mark L

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                      • #12
                        My neighbor has a nice original 1950 Champion 2 door with the lowest trim line. His car still has the factory crayon mark "1", which I assume stands for the trim level.

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                        • #13
                          Markings

                          Originally posted by Mark L View Post
                          I compared the writing on my Land Cruiser to the signature on my last birthday card from South Bend...it's a match!

                          Seriously, it was the process he was taught. He said he covered three floors in the body plant, and he did a lot of walking on his shift. There were multiple people all doing the same job at several locations on several shifts.

                          When I was a kid and got in trouble for doing something wrong, I wondered, "How can my father be in that many places at once? Does he have a suit and cape in the closet I don't know about?" The reality is, he's Don Laskowski, former Studebaker employee. That's really Super if you ask me.
                          Thanks, Mark: That was very interesting. I am glad you shared that with everyone. I can imagine the confusion it caused when someone had to pee. In 1970 or 1971 my high school vocational auto shop class got to tour the GM plant in Fremont, Ca . What an experience.

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                          • #14
                            My 56J (one repaint 49 years ago, original paint under the hood) always had a code written on the right firewall, applied with some sort of indelible ink marker on top of the paint. Believe it was either a two or three digit code. I was vigorously tidying up the engine compartment one day about eight years ago, diligently removed the markings. Later compared notes with fellow 56J owners, realized I had foolishly removed some sort of distinctive inspection mark used in those last weeks of the Vernon plant.


                            Not one of my finer moments.
                            Gil Zimmerman
                            Riverside, CA

                            1955 Speedster
                            1956 Golden Hawk
                            1958 Packard Hawk
                            1958 President
                            1963 Avanti R2

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                            • #15
                              When I pulled the front clip off of my 60 Hawk, it ha Rush spelled out in cursive, with a capital R. exactly where you indicated in front of the passenger door. When I got the original build sheet it had : sold rush, at the bottom. Now I know what it meant.

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