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  • assistance needed in 805 area code

    I am considering purchasing a '50 or'51 Champion. I have never ridden in one of these cars and was wondering if someone in this area could help me get familiar with them and take me for a ride. If a '49 or '52 is the same platform, that would be OK. Thank you.

  • #2
    The 50 and 51 have totally different suspensions. The 50 has planar suspension. I don’t like it or the ride. But that’s just me. The 51 will have suspension nearly identical to all Studes that follow it till 66. I prefer the latter by far.
    sals54

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    • #3
      Thank you for your response. I understand that's your opinion, but do you feel that's the general consensus?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Edsel Face View Post
        Thank you for your response. I understand that's your opinion, but do you feel that's the general consensus?
        I can only speak for myself. As I understand it the 1950 Champion is a one year only and rather fragile suspension. This is not my words but that of the late Earle Haley who worked for Studebaker during that time.

        I have owned a couple of 48's with the planer (horse and buggy leaf spring in the front end) suspension and I have owned and currently own a 52 Commander. It is the best riding drive cruising all around great car to have. If you must have a bullet nose, go for a 1951.

        As I say, it is my opinion but I think most on the forum would agree.

        What say folks?

        Bob Miles
        Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

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        • #5
          Anyone in the 805 area code willing to help Edsel out?

          Bob Miles
          Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sals54 View Post
            The 50 and 51 have totally different suspensions. The 50 has planar suspension. I don’t like it or the ride. But that’s just me. The 51 will have suspension nearly identical to all Studes that follow it till 66. I prefer the latter by far.
            Not quite. The 50 has a coil spring front suspension. The 49 and earlier cars have the planar front suspension.
            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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            • #7
              Yeah... I couldn't remember fer sher about that orphan 50 suspension, but I do know that I've driven 47s 49s 50s and all the later Studes. The early ones are scary to drive. Again, just my measly opinion, having owned and driven a couple hundred Studebakers in the last 45 years.
              sals54

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              • #8
                My '47 Champion has the planar suspension. I find it drives nicely. A few years ago I added one extra leaf to each of the rear springs, which greatly helped the handling and the ride. (That's how Studebaker made a heavy-duty spring at the time.) BUT --- do not expect any 40s/50s Studebaker --- or any other car of that era --- to handle as well as your 2019 vehicle. On a long drive, my 2014 VW Jetta is a very much easier and less tiring car to drive than the 1947 Champion. From experience I can say than driving 1,100 km. (680 mi.) in a day with the VW takes far less effort than 670 km (415 mi.) with the Stude. Of course, the trips taken with the Stude are mostly in our home area with much less distance.
                Bill Jarvis

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                • #9
                  Wish you were closer, then I'd take you for a ride in my 1950 Champion and 1950 Land Cruiser. I've put a lot of miles on my 1949 through 1952 Studebakers, as they were my only cars and daily drivers through the 60's and early 70's. I've driven them thousands of miles in a couple days and find the ride very enjoyable. My 1950 Land Cruiser is like riding on a cloud.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sals54 View Post
                    Yeah... I couldn't remember fer sher about that orphan 50 suspension, but I do know that I've driven 47s 49s 50s and all the later Studes. The early ones are scary to drive. Again, just my measly opinion, having owned and driven a couple hundred Studebakers in the last 45 years.
                    It's possible that they were scary because they were worn out, not because they were poor designs.
                    Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-15-2019, 09:43 PM.
                    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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                      It's possible that they were scary because they were worn out, not because they were poor designs.
                      Roy... that's a good point. I did have most of the cars in pretty decent condition, but I did not overhaul all the suspensions of the cars that passed through my hands. But for some reason, the early cars that I did get all seemed to drive very similar to one another. Each one of them tended to lean quite heavily around corners. And that was in normal driving, not the very spirited driving I would do in my Coupe or the Avantis. Nearly every one of the later cars had very mild manners in every day driving.
                      At any rate, point taken. The new owner can make up his own mind, but I would admonish him to drive both before making the final decision. See if he thinks they are equal.
                      sals54

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                      • #12
                        OR... William (Edsel Face), why not take a "Virtual" Ride in a 1950 Studebaker?

                        https://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?111385-The-pride-of-South-Bend

                        A word of caution though, you DO have to keep in mind that this Car and Test Drive would be like Apples to Oranges to compare a '50 CHAMPION to this car.

                        That is because a 1950 Commander Land Cruiser is like comparing a Chevrolet to a Buick or Cadillac!

                        Except for the common styling ques, they are two very different Cars.
                        Last edited by StudeRich; 06-15-2019, 11:33 PM.
                        StudeRich
                        Second Generation Stude Driver,
                        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                        • #13
                          Thank you all for your assistance. My other question concerns transmissions. I am a little leary of the early automatics. Should I be?

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                          • #14
                            In our collection we have a little of everything from 1931 on. While the suspensions changed during the mid 30's and again in 1951 the one thing that is a constant is that ride characteristics on all Studebakers is consistently good. The one caveat is condition, as Roy has already mentioned. No suspension in warn out condition is going to deliver a good ride. Just don't fall into the trap, that many seem to have fallen into, that just because a design is old, or unique, that it is substandard and requires change.

                            To be more specific to the question, we own both a 1950 Champion Starlight coupe and a 1951 Champion four dr. The 50 has 57K miles and the 51 70K miles. Both suspensions have been well maintained and neither rebuilt other then shocks. I can say without hesitation that there is virtually no appreciable difference in handling or ride characteristics. The front leaf springs of the pre-1950 planar suspension did require a little different maintenance schedule, but everything being equal, I find little to recommend the later iterations over the early planar suspensions.

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                            • #15
                              So I take it William that you are considering a '50 Champion with Studebaker Automatic Drive?

                              There are many opinions of these Transmissions, expensive and difficult to find Parts and qualified Mechanics to rebuild them and also very GOOD, strong Transmissions used in Jaguars, Mercedes etc. but long story short, they perform MUCH better with a V8 Engine or over 120 HP, an 80 HP Champion labors quite a bit to drive the Car AND that Automatic.

                              That is not to say that you (or someone) could not drive a Car like that in excellent, well maintained condition for 10 years or more and just LOVE it. Would I? Probably not.
                              Last edited by StudeRich; 06-16-2019, 01:31 PM.
                              StudeRich
                              Second Generation Stude Driver,
                              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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