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Advice to someone new to collector cars.

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  • Advice to someone new to collector cars.

    Considering calling this person and making an appointment to look at his/her 1964 Commander:

    Since I'm not mechanically inclined and would probably pay to have work done on the car, what would you advise me to look at when considering a car like this for sale? How can I confirm the "body is in good shape"? What can I look at to indicate whether the motor is in decent shape? The transmission? Shouls I be overly concerned about nameplates, hood ornaments, seemingly minor things like that?

    Any advice would be appreciated. And, no, I don't have a friend who is a mechanic I could bring along unfortunately.

  • #2
    There are probably a Thousand things that could be said about buying a 53 Year old Classic Studebaker, so definitely do not take my suggestions as the Only ones or the Best ones please.

    #1 from only the Pics I don't see anything about this Fair Condition Commander that jumps out to me as bad.

    It could use a Paint job but it could last longer with cleaning and waxing.

    It may need the Right Outboard, Low Beam Headlight replaced, unless it is reflection that makes it Dark.

    Not a big deal but, the hood Ornament Had a stand-up "S" on it which has been broken and Replacements are available if it bothers you.

    The Commander has a very fair price, and appears all Original and fairly well cared for.

    #2 But, do not think that this is the ONLY Lark or Lark Type 4 Sedan out there available, and affordable.

    Some of the things to look for:

    Rust under the floor covering, this Car would have came with Jute backed Rubber floor covering, from what I can see it has been replaced with Indoor outdoor Carpeting? So look UNDER it for heavy Rust or Rot holes, also on the Trunk Floor.

    In your situation the mechanical aspects of the Car would best be checked by a competent Local Repair Shop.
    At LOT can be seen on a Hoist about Frame condition & Rust, Exhaust System, Tires and uneven Tire wear meaning expensive Suspension repairs MAY be needed.

    Brake Drums can be pulled to check Brake condition.

    The engine condition can be checked with everything from a good Test Drive to a Compression Test to determine how mush life is left in it, chances of Oil burning etc.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 04-24-2018, 10:59 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...h-and-5thThere is a car carrel. Usually several Studebakers for sale.


      • #4
        Classic cars require quite a lot of maintenance. If you buy it I recommend buying a shop manual and a parts manual and start reading. Most wear items are not terribly hard to fix. If you have to pay someone for every little thing, you may become frustrated. Doing routine repairs adds to the fun of the hobby. Good luck to you. It looks like a great candidate for a first classic car
        1962 Champ

        51 Commander 4 door


        • #5
          Not being mechanically inclined is somewhat of a handicap to owning an old car today. These cars need more maintenance (and done more frequently) than anything late model. With that said, from what I can see this would be a great car to get started with if you really want to buy it.


          • #6
            Here is my best advice in no particular order.

            -buy the shop manual, the chassis parts catalog and the body parts catalog. They show all the parts, what their correct name is and the part number. Studebaker vendors use these part numbers to assure that you get the correct parts.


            -Start slowly, learn your vehicle. Get it stopping and running, drive it and fix the little things that need to be fixed as you learn.

            -For some reason, replacing systems with parts from other brands of cars seems to be the first thing that comes to mind for a new-to-Studebaker owner. But the vehicle does not need to be re-designed with parts from another brand. If you bring everything up to specification, re-bush the bushings and so on, you will have a reliable, well running and well driving vehicle. Studebaker engineers were professionals who knew what they were doing.

            -do not take the vehicle apart. It's the thing that everyone seems to think of, BUT... It is one hundred times easier to take something apart than it is to put it back together. Leave the ground up restorations to the pros with the tools, knowledge and money to complete the task.

            -Whenever you do disassemble something, do it with the idea in mind that you have to put it back together again. If you disassemble something, lay the parts out in the order they came off. Then, put them back on in the same order. That alone will save you lots of grief.
            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


            • #7
              Thank you all for your helpful advice. Much appreciated.


              • #8
                i believe that car was on indy craigslist back in December for $1500


                • #9
                  Looks like a solid car and a good color too. The paint won't respond to waxing as noted by the roof where someone already tried to apply wax. The paint is too oxidized. However, I have had good luck wetsanding with 2500 grit and then polishing. Even if it is or was a metallic paint you can still wet sand to remove the oxidation and then polish. The metallic particles may get disrupted but it will look better and shinier. If doing all by hand I would do one panel at a time and start with the roof so if it isn't to your liking, you won't see it from the side view.

                  I would bet the car needs some front suspension work/parts or bushings because they all do. Being drum brakes, it will need at least an adjustment, but possibly more. I see a newer master cylinder so some recent work has been done to the brakes and you may get lucky and the brakes will be OK.

                  Knowing little about mechanics, whatever old car you buy I would replace the ignition points with an electronic ignition like Pertronix. This upgrade will eliminate routine points adjustments which you cannot do...yet.

                  This leads me to my last suggestion and that is to start learning about performing routine maintenance and inspections on the old car you buy. Even if you don't want to, you really have to. As an automotive instructor, when I teach a basic course, I use this book below because it is basic and generic and perfect for the beginner mechanic. Its getting dated (1998) but fine for a classic car and used copies can be found for under $10. Don't overlook buying a factory shop manual too as others have suggested. It will be necessary for you or your mechanic to perform some repairs on your Studebaker.

                  Even if you do not actually work on your classic car, educating yourself will arm you with the skills to at least be able to speak the language of automobile repairs so when you get repairs done you have a clue to what is going on. This alone will save you a lot of money and headache.


                  BTW, there is also a 4th edition of this book with a yellow cover. Same book.
                  Last edited by Paul K.; 04-25-2018, 09:20 AM.


                  • #10
                    I seriously considered this car last year when it was for sale at 1500, but some other obligations came up & I didn't have the time before it sold.
                    Mike Sal


                    • #11
                      Looks like the front fenders were replaced already...not a bad thing...maybe...


                      • #12
                        Hi sol here I was wondering how I could go about finding out how many 1965 studebaker commanders are still registared fo road use? I am sorry for posting this here but don't know how else to post it.


                        • #13
                          I'd guess there is some way to find out-I don't know it. I'd guess less than 50 nationwide....just a guess.


                          • #14
                            yes there can't be many, I have a 65 commander and I have yet to see another one other than pictures.
                            maybe I will drop into our vehicle registration office, they may have a way of checking.


                            • #15
                              I was just looking at the 64 and I would say those are original front fenders because they are still showing the fenders as spot welded on.. I am not sure why they would have done that but that is the way my 65 commander is also