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  • Roddin' a '50 Champion

    Hey y'all, first post here, if I'm doing something wrong just yell at me

    Myself and a buddy went way up into the northern woods of Michigan to pick up this 1950 Champion 2 door. Not knowing what we were doing, but it was cheap and not in horrible condition and hey, it's a bullet nose studie.

    Any way, I'm thinking hot roddin' it's the best way to go at this point, but from reading around Abit, this isn't just a throw a 350 in kind of car. It has a nice vintage paint look but isn't crazy rusted out and the body's straight. Floors are gone but have new pans for it.

    Anyway, what would y'all recommend doing to this car. I'm trying to keep it under $5k... Just looking for ideas and recommendations before we did into it.

    Flathead 6 runs but smokes bad, 3 on the tree works in all gears, wiring is original and and deteriorated, brakes don't work.

    Also, if any want has the seat bottoms this ones missing both front and back

    Hopefully there will be pictures
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  • #2
    A 51 would have been easier to rod since they came with a V-8. The 50 Champion will be harder to do on the cheap. Obviously, a 50 Champion can make a great rod, but do your homework (internet work?) before tearing it up and getting stuck. I'm sure others with more experience will chime in.
    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

    Comment


    • #3
      Take a good look at the frame, particularly how light weight it is. You will have to strengthen it somehow. And you will also need better brakes - much better brakes if you are going to hot rod the car.

      Studebaker used the capital letter "I" for the number "1" in the serial number. That has been driving motor vehicle department clerks crazy for the last 50 years, so be ready to explain that.
      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.


      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon

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      • #4
        Welcome to Studebaker World. 50 Champions are my favorite. Still have 2 of them, a 4 Dr and a convertible, both will be modified, but modestly. The original design and trim suit the car perfectly, as far as I'm concerned. Fifty Champions have a one year only front suspension and it is a pain to get parts for and because of it, many engine swaps become total front clips. Lots of parts are available, while some are non existent or a bit costly.
        Others that have modified cars will chime in and some will be upset that you plan to modify an original car. The saying is: Your car, your money.
        It looks like a good starting point and 2 Dr sedans make cool customs without going crazy with exterior mods. The original lines are wild enough to make people take a 2nd look.
        Good luck and keep us informed, but mostly, join SDC and a local chapter to get a lot of info and probably help with your project.
        sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
        1950 Champion Convertible
        1950 Champion 4Dr
        1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
        1957 Thunderbird

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        • #5
          If your going to hot rod it I would swap out the whole frame with something stronger. To keep it under $5000 plan on spending a lot of time at swap meets. May be easier to build back somewhat stock to hit that number. Being it runs just pull the motor and a valve job, new rings and bearings and call it good. Put disc brakes in the front and new parts in the rear and check everything else.

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          • #6
            Hi Andy, I will start with what is probably MOST important here: "IT IS YOUR Car"!

            That means that OUR opinion is not too important, HOWEVER I am pretty sure Most of us here would feel like I do, a Fairly rare 2 Door Sedan as Original and Nice as that, SHOULD be Restored ORIGINAL or at least close to it.

            The Starlight Coupes were saved more because of being so different and unique so are more plentiful.
            It is a very poor choice for a fairly powerful V8 Swap, a OHV 4.3L V6 or even a in line OHV 6 would be a better choice in a 1950 with that Steering, Suspension and being built for a low power Six. JMHO !

            Note: I see that it HAS the Optional 3 Speed OVERDRIVE!
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner
            SDC Member Since 1967

            Comment


            • #7
              I like them stock, and your's looks to be fairly easy body repairs. I'd drive it for a while to see if the engine improves with an oil change and a few miles of driving. Your seats and bumpers will be easy to find.

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              • #8
                If I did put a V8 in I would think stick it on a 80's s10 frame? I've Never done something that major though and would hate to mess this car up. I've had a few 70's Camaros and a '73 GTO, '84 Dodge square body, etc, but this will be my first "build" so to speak.

                I should also add I'm kinda trying to think of milder ways to rod it a bit without doing a frame swap, pull the motor and have the crank drilled, then maybe some high comp pistons and split manifolds? Just thinking out loud here...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Studerich, I was thinking something like an overhead valve straight 6 to try to get some more power as well, or try and hop up the original Motor a bit.

                  I own the car, but this is our first "build" so to speak. I really appreciate all the comments so far, this is really helping think some thinks out better.

                  Maybe I don't realize what I have here completely, lol. I don't know the least things about studes for the most part. I saw it cheap on Craigslist and thought it looks like a fun cheap project. I've never restored something either. I rebuild my snowmobiles and get old tractors running and fix up cars and sell them for a small profit. Now I'm thinking maybe I got more then I expected?

                  Keep the comments coming, I don't know what I'm doing really, lol. I think so far I'm really getting I need to keep the original Motor at all costs.

                  Also I have the front bumper and mouth and.most the chrome trim pieces, but it all needs to be rechromed for perfect

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                  • #10
                    My cars are for a fun drive, not for racing, so the 85 H.P. is fine with me. If I want more power, then I can drive my 102 H.P. 1950 Commander.

                    If I was to hop up the Champion, I'd simply add a turbocharger.
                    I own a few Corvairs with turbochargers, and it's the best bang for the buck. Easy to do on a Stude, and easy to go back to stock.

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                    • #11
                      To keep it on the cheap start with the original engine. As previously mentioned. Maybe a fresh oil change to a synthetic blend with fresh plugs will help clear up the smoke. If not, a ring and valve job is a lot less labor intensive and cost effective than a swap and all the parts chasing you'll need to do. I also agree a turbo addition will bring some HP for reasonable $$. If you keep it close to stock it will be a lot easier to sell if you want to at a later date.

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                      • #12
                        I'll have to look into turbocharging motors like this, sounds like a cool idea.

                        Also anybody have an idea what a car like this is worth? I paid 1500 for it, too high/too low? Just curious.

                        Thanks again for all the replys guys. I'm sure I'll have lots more questions as we get into it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tractoman View Post
                          I'll have to look into turbocharging motors like this, sounds like a cool idea.

                          Also anybody have an idea what a car like this is worth? I paid 1500 for it, too high/too low? Just curious.

                          Thanks again for all the replys guys. I'm sure I'll have lots more questions as we get into it.
                          $1500 is dirt cheap for a way into the old car hobby.
                          This car is a very workable unit to have on the road for under $5000. You still have $3500 to work with, so get it running right with the original engine, put your floorpans in, go thru the steering,suspension and brakes, you may even have some money left over to redo the interior.

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                          • #14
                            It's a slippery slope no matter which way you go. Ideally, it would be best to get it on the road and see where you want to go from there. The problems is you will probably need to spend a couple of grand on brakes, steering, tires and suspension just to be able to drive it and that all can be wasted if you plan to upgrade later. At best, the car with those improvements is borderline roadworthy. The brakes etc. from that era were fine back then but now!!??. If you just want to take it to local shows and events then fixing it up should be fine but don't be fooled by the 6-cyl. It is not cheap to rebuild nor add performance.

                            I don't think $5K will put you in that car with the necessary upgrades including an engine rebuild to put it on the road. We haven't even discussed the body work necessary to fix the rusted floors and body supports yet.

                            The price tag you paid for it was fine but from here it gets expensive. My advice from here on is to set back, build a vision of what you want, access your abilities to accomplish that vision at a reasonable cost and then move ahead. It might also be beneficial to join the local Studebaker club and see what the members think. Be aware though that most may look aghast at modifying a bullet nose.

                            Additionally, modifying that car will not reduce the value. In fact a well built street rod will go for much more that a total restoration.

                            I'm not trying to rain on your parade but I'm 75 and been doing what your asking about for close to 60 years and the worst thing one can do is to start throwing money at something like this immediately. Set back, look it over, access the work needed and then build a vision of what you would like to do and forecast the cost. Then forge ahead fearlessly.

                            Lastly, we are a large forum that represents all the opinions of what a vehicle like this should look like. Some will agree with you, some won't but decide where you want to go and don't get discouraged, most everyone here will help even if they may not be in concert with you vision. It a good place to ask questions and find resources.

                            Where you at, I'm in Bay City.

                            Bob
                            Last edited by sweetolbob; 03-30-2018, 07:15 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I'm a little north of Jackson. Any body know of some good clubs in the general area? I heard someone say something about a swap meet in May in South bend? I'll look into that some.

                              I take it disc brakes are a highly recommended upgrade, that'd another hand full of $$$. Probably won't get started on it for at least a month, so definitely want to get a good plan together first.

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