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Keep it and upgrade or Sell and buy...

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  • Keep it and upgrade or Sell and buy...

    I have a 1955 Studebaker Champion Custom/DeLuxe, which I have about $7K into it mainly because I bought it from my dad so he would have something to play with...

    I want to make it my primary car, but I am not sure if I should Keep it and upgrade or Sell and buy one that already has the features I want. I have already converted it to 12 volt.

    I want to
    1) make it quieter using FatPad. Does the product really help much?
    2) Air Conditioner (~$1000 ?)
    3) Disc Brakes (~$1000 ?)
    4) Radio
    5) Cigarette lighter to charge my phone
    6) Stop the oil leak, so it will stop smelling like an old car. It is not much and I am not sure where it is leaking from yet.

    So the question is, what could I get for my car and how much would it cost to buy what I want?

    Anything else I should think of?

    Click image for larger version

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    Thank you,
    Darryl Dodd LMT, Neural Reset Practitioner
    Essential Transformations LLC

  • #2
    Nice looking car. The '55 'Second Series' 4-door sedans look nice with the wrap-around windshield.

    One big question is what type of driving will you do with it? Around town, highway/interstate, or combination of both? Is it still a Champion 185? Does it have a manual or automatic? Is it still a 6-volt system, or has it been converted to 12 volts? Whoops, as Corvanti points out, I missed that you had already converted the car to 12 volts. Ed (SN-60) will be your friend forever for doing that.

    Provide some more feedback on these questions, and we can provide more accurate and specific advice.
    Last edited by r1lark; 07-10-2017, 05:32 PM.
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


    • #3
      Paul, from his post it's already 12 volt.

      just my knowledge/opinion:

      #1: i put a product similar to fatpad in my Avanti. i installed a double stack in the front floorboard/behind the dash as well as a single elsewhere. helped with the noise, but really helped with the heat.
      #2: sounds close to $1K. check with Vintage Air. more if it has to be installed at a A/C shop.
      #3: some say the drums are just as good, if properly installed. check with Jim Turner for discs (on the forum). i'd like to go with discs on the '51. wheels, M/C and other parts are usually necessary.
      #4: with a 12 volt system, mainly any features you want. check with Radio Roy on the forum.
      #5: yep.
      #6: if coming from the engine (probably), make sure all the entrances on the firewall are properly plugged up to keep the smell out of the interior.. i've used "3M Strip Calk" on small holes.

      some of these are depending on how "original" you want to keep her.

      good luck, and keep us posted!
      Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

      '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

      '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.


      • #4
        Great idea converting your '55 Champ to a 12 volt electrical system! .....A solid foundation to build around!


        • #5
          For no. 6 - I believe that it will always smell like an old car to some degree. Without modern fuel distribution (FI), modern ignition and especially a catalytic convertor, the car will make some old car smell, but it should be external to the car, not internal.

          I believe that you are already "upside down" in the car, so I would just go the little bit more to make it what you want.

          For no. 3 - I would just get the original brake system working properly.

          No's. 4 & 5 are simple and inexpensive.
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer


          • #6
            Moved to the General board. Please post in the appropriate fora

            Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |


            • #7
              Hello Everyone,

              I forgot another big issue and that is Lumbar support, which I have not looked into yet. The seat was reupholstered, but sill all original springs!!!
              Any thoughts on this.

              1) It is three on a tree.
              2) It would get less than 8K of miles a year and mainly around town.
              3) Is it still a Champion 185? IDK

              1) So are you saying it did not help with sound much?
              2) I would not be able to install the air, so in a shop.
              3) I did not know the brakes could be adjusted and I even replaced my own brakes, back in 1980... Thank you
              4) Thanks
              6) I will look into that.

              Thank you!


              1) I figured I was upside down, which I do not care, because the money spent was giving it to my dad so he could play putting it together.
              6) My wife is a nanotoxiolgist that can smell me fart 200 feet away...

              Thank you everyone!
              Thank you,
              Darryl Dodd LMT, Neural Reset Practitioner
              Essential Transformations LLC