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New 51 bullet convertible to me and how to build it

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  • New 51 bullet convertible to me and how to build it

    I just got my rough 51 bullet convertible home and am trying to plan my build. Previous custom body work and my desire to upgrade to modern engine and suspension has led me to a possible frame swap or stub kit and sbc engine contemplation. I have much more reading to do but wonder what advice I might receive if I posted some questions. I am on a low cost budget being a school teacher but have good fabrication skills so most of the work will be done by me and maybe some students.

    Questions: Chev 350 or LS1
    engine and trans purchased together 700r or th350

    s10 (extended cab(frame or chev nova front frame graft to stude

    Rear slight tub or no tub and cut out fenders like chicken hawk.

    Just looking for a little advice so I can cost and collect parts before build

  • #2
    My opinions/comments;
    Either engine, depends on what good engine you can get for a low price.
    Definitely go with an overdrive automatic.
    I have owned three Studebakers with Camaro/Trans Am front clips. They were good. With that said, I have seen two Studebakers, including a bullet nose, with an S10 chassis that seemed to be a good fit.
    NO fender cutting - keep the exterior of the body stock. You may be able to get a reasonable size tire under the rear without tubbing (perhaps some slight "adjustment" to the inner fenders).
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer


    • #3
      It's becoming increasingly difficult to find good running 350's so my opinion would be to go the LS3 route. There're plenty of them in wrecking yards at low cost that don't need rebuilding and they will have an OD trans with them. Be sure to study what will fit as tail shafts and oil pans vary from model to model. Reprogramming the ECM is inexpensive and straight forward up to some recent model years so be aware of that issue. The web and youtube are full of LS3 swaps.

      There have been a few of S-10 swaps into bullet nose Studes with varying results in appearance. A couple ended up with a tail high look that to me doesn't look right but I recall one on the forum that was perfect. I'll try to find it. For a vert I'd probably stay away from the Chicken Hawk look but that's me.

      Here's one from the HAMB for starters.


      Just Google S10 frame studebaker and you'll get all the reading you need. You'll end up with handling and brakes to match the powertrain and a spectacular vehicle.

      Good luck, Bob
      Last edited by sweetolbob; 08-19-2018, 07:48 AM.


      • #4
        now a few more dreams then plan out on paper. That is the front end look I want. looks like it may hit when turning. I have never used air bags either and have no idea what it does for the ride.


        • #5
          51 conv's are very desirable cars. I would leave it as stock as possable. You did not say if it was a 6 or 8, manual or auto.
          51 was the first year for the modern suspension. Brake swap and rear axle upgrade is all most people need for a driver. Alot easier than a frame swap if the frame is in good shape. An earier fi sbc with aod is easiest to swap in. Make sure trans is not a elect odometer. I would keep the car running and drivable. Do upgrades as short term projects returning it to drivable condition. Much more enjoyable to have a drivable car. How about some pics?


          • #6
            It is a 6cyl manual trans. The front sits too high. I want the nose down, not on the ground but lower than the rear. Does the turner brake stuff have any way of dropping the front?
            I really want a v8 also sbc? manual trans????
            Just love the look of the picture above. Thats the look I want.


            • #7
              What s10 frame switches. An extended cab or just 2 door


              • #8
                Extended cab is 117" WB and needs to be shortened about 4" to match the wheelbase of your car. Google S10 frame swaps and you will get a lot of information and videos to show you the procedure.
                Originally posted by cabforward View Post
                What s10 frame switches. An extended cab or just 2 door
                sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
                1950 Champion Convertible
                1950 Champion 4Dr
                1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
                1957 Thunderbird