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1963 Champ Pickup - Long Term Restoration Project

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  • #16
    Part 10 - Body Rust Repair

    Oh boy, here comes the fun part! The body is not that bad, compared to some. Some floorboard work, new rockers, door repair (probably will use a NOS door on the drivers side since it’s just gathering dust in the garage), that weird rust-out on the firewall, and the rear cab corners. Was putting this off until Classic comes out with Champ cab corners, but have just about given up on that - the cab corners worry me the most. (That’s why those can wait until the end……..!)
    After that, a good sandblasting and epoxy primer, and it’s off to the painters.

    The cab looks worse than it really is, since it has a lot of surface rust from sitting outside disassembled after the paint flaked off. A good sandblasting will take that off.

    First order of business was to get the cab “portable”. A body stand that was originally built for a Lark was modified to serve this purpose. Actually, the only pieces from the Lark body stand that were used were the two end pieces. Here’s the modified stand……….

    (Reminder - click on the small pictures to bring up BIG versions)




    One of the previous owners took a lot of time to ‘reinforce’ the floorboards after the rust was cut out. The plate is 3/16″ and is bolted and riveted in - a lot of time here……

    …….including tying the floor piece into the cowl post. This is the passenger side, but the driver’s side was done the same way. Note the odd rust-out on the firewall just above the toeboard. Won’t be hard to fix, just cutting out and welding in; this will be done after the floors are fixed.

    Original plan was to use the cab with the previous owner’s repairs intact, but Ray F. talked me out of it. So off came the driver’s side metal, and this is what was left after trimming the edges some:

    The cowl post had some rust at the bottom, so this was trimmed:

    ………and a new piece formed to match the original shape:

    This is how it will look once it is welded in:
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


    • #17
      Part 10 continued - Body Rust Repair

      The lower portion of the post inside was trimmed straight across:

      …….and a new piece formed to replace it. Note even the oval hole is reproduced, and also the tabs to allow it to be properly welded to the part of the post that curves ‘down’ to the sill. Yeah, a little rough on the forming, but I don't have an English Wheel to smooth it out, but it will be covered:

      ……….and this is how it will look installed:

      After looking closely at the door fit, the driver’s side cowl looks to be in the right position except the bottom needs to move very slightly towards the back. Not really worried about that right now, since as long as the door stays attached the cowl can be adjusted as needed prior to attaching the cowl to the floor and installing the rocker panel. However, the cowl did need to be tied down to maintain its “side-to-side” position……this will be important because the next step is to cut the cowl the rest of the way from the floorboards and to remove the front portion of what is left of the rocker panel.

      Some on-hand tube steel was ran from the cowl over to the transmission tunnel; not pretty but it is strong:

      Next step is to cut out and replace the rusted rear area of the post where it curves into the sill:

      This area should look like the next two pics:
      Yes, the urge to sacrifice a NOS cowl post has been resisted. The pieces shouldn’t be that hard to make, and they are thick which makes welding much easier for a crappy welder like me.
      Winston-Salem, NC
      Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at:


      • #18
        That all looks great - nice the truck will live to see another day. Friend in PA and his father took three trucks to end up with enough good parts to make one good one. Rust and hard work lead many of these trucks to an short life.


        • #19
          Thanks for sharing your project. Good to see what other Champ owners are doing, good ideas for the rest of us too.
          Mike and Dawn

          '61 Champ