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  • Speedster Engine Question

    Several members of my local Studebaker Club have 55 Speedsters which have located on the valve covers the word "Passmaster". I never paid much attention to that fact. Now that I have one of my own is there anything special about the "Passmaster" engine or was it just a marketing tool?

  • #2
    The Speedster engine was a 4 barrel, dual exhaust, 259 cu. in. engine 185 hp.It was also found in the President sedans.
    There was a 2 barrel version in the Commander, called the Bear Cat, 162 hp. I also think the 185 hp could be found in the Commander, optional.
    Klif

    55 Speedster
    42 Champ Coupe
    55 Speedster/Street Machine
    63 Avanti R2
    64 Convertible R1

    Comment


    • #3
      There was nothing "special" about the engine's used in Speedsters. They were standard (of course, '55 was the debut year for the 259) 259s as were used in many, MANY Studebakers for years afterwards. As was said, the only REAL difference for the Speedster engines was that the Cater WCFB, 4bbl was standard along with the dual exhaust setup. Enhanced airflow - in and out basically. But the engine was the same as the "Bearcat" that saw use in Commanders of that year.
      Oh! Wait! There's the Passmaster decals on the valve covers. That's different too![}]

      Miscreant adrift in
      the BerStuda Triangle!!

      1957 Transtar 1/2ton
      1960 Larkvertible V8
      1958 Provincial wagon
      1953 Commander coupe
      No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

      Comment


      • #4
        quote:Originally posted by birdbrain1

        Several members of my local Studebaker Club have 55 Speedsters which have located on the valve covers the word "Passmaster". I never paid much attention to that fact. Now that I have one of my own is there anything special about the "Passmaster" engine or was it just a marketing tool?
        I find it amazing that "several members", as well as yourself, of your local Studebaker Club have 1955 Speedsters. I haven't known of any SDC Chapters with more than one Speedster. After all, there were only 2215 Speedsters originally built, and that was more than half a Century ago. Out of curiosity, what is your "local Studebaker Club"? To answer your question, Passmaster was Studebaker's 1955 name for the 259 V8 with four barrel Carb. and dual exhaust.

        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

        Comment


        • #5
          Gary
          You would be supprised at how many Speedsters are still around. The Badger Wheels Club in Wi. has at least 7 cars. There are at least 3 in the North Star Chapter. There at least 25 with in a couple hours drive of Minneapolis Mn. I am working on a roster of Speedsters but still a ways to go.
          Klif

          55 Speedster
          42 Champ Coupe
          55 Speedster/Street Machine
          63 Avanti R2
          64 Convertible R1

          Comment


          • #6
            Ah, the misuse of the english language. "Several" is two and I'm number three. Thank you to everyone for your answers regarding the engine.

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by birdbrain1

              Ah, the misuse of the english language. "Several" is two and I'm number three. Thank you to everyone for your answers regarding the engine.
              When I went to school, several meant more than two, so that would be at least four counting your car.

              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:When I went to school, several meant more than two, so that would be at least four counting your car.
                Gary,

                I realize that you are always looking to make corrections, but if there are two other members with Speedsters then Birdbrain's makes a third, thus meeting your standard for several. Notice that his original post indicated that "Several members of my local Studebaker Club have 55 Speedsters" which could potentially include him in the group. However, if "Several other members..." had been his statement then your observation would be correct.


                Guido Salvage - "Where rust is beautiful"

                Studebaker horse drawn buggy; 1946 M-16 fire truck; 1948 M-16 grain truck; 1949 2R16A grain truck; 1949 2R17A fire truck; 1950 2R5 pickup; 1952 2R17A grain truck; 1952 Packard 200 4 door; 1955 E-38 grain truck; 1957 3E-40 flatbed; 1961 6E-28 grain truck; 1962 7E-13D 4x4 rack truck; 1962 7E-7 Champ pickup; 1962 GT Hawk 4 speed; 1963 8E-28 flatbed; 1964 Avanti R2 4 speed; 1964 Cruiser and various other "treasures".

                Hiding and preserving Studebakers in Richmond, Goochland & Louisa, Va.
                Join me in removing narcissists, trolls, self annoited "experts" and general idiots via the Ignore button.

                The official SDC Forum heel nipper ���

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                • #9
                  Klif or Klifton1 however you are to be addressed in this forum. So far you are the only person I have seen keeping a list of Speedsters so here are a few numbers for you. 7163493 ; 7170453 ; 7169920 ; 7167177. Now three of these are in a field and one in an open shed. If someone has unlimited funds they might make one car out of them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Since 1964 I've owned eight Speedsters. Back in the 60's and 70's everyone knew about the Hawks and Avantis, but the Speedster had slipped from the radar. I would suggest that few people had even seen one, let alone know what they were. Many of the cars that I owned would have been considered parts cars, and I would like to think that I saved them from inevitable destruction.

                    What's obvious today was not so obvious then, that others felt the same way about these cars as I did. We affectionados were a far flung group, and there was no communication between us. We each lived in our own little world of anonymity. When I would go to a show it was fun to watch the response that the car received. It wasn't until well into the 80's that it began to be recognized by many Studebaker people.

                    When I restored my car during the 70's the process was a labor of love. Because of some deterioration of many of the models, unique parts, and their scarcity, it was a very time consuming and often expensive proposition. Early on the Speedster defined for me what was special in a collector car. My kinship with the Speedster was instrumental in charting a path for my next 55+ years as a car collector. It's been a great run, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

                    Bill
                    ​​​​​​​

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is only a minor point, but the Passmaster in the President sedan came stock with a single exhaust.
                      American iron, real old school
                      With two tone paint, it sure is cool

                      Its got 8 cylinders and uses them all
                      With an overdrive that just won't stall

                      With a 4 barrel carb and dual exhausts
                      With 4.23 gears it can really get lost

                      Its got safety belts and I ain't scared
                      The brakes are good and the tires are fair.

                      Tried to sell her, but got no taker
                      I"ll just keep driving my Studebaker

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is at least one more thing that is "special" about the Speedster engine. The engine serial number starts with the letter "P" for President, even though it is a 259. In 1956 the 289 was introduced and 289 serial numbers began with the letter "P".

                        So 1955 is the only year that a "P" serial number on the engine does not designate 289.

                        I'm not sure about 1964 when they started designating engine serial numbers by the date built.
                        Last edited by RadioRoy; 11-24-2019, 12:24 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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by greyben View Post
                          This is only a minor point, but the Passmaster in the President sedan came stock with a single exhaust.
                          This is incorrect. The Sedans came with dual exhaust standard. Just like the Speedsters. I have never seen a President Sedan with single exhaust from the factory.
                          Ed Sallia
                          Dundee, OR

                          Sol Lucet Omnibus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What should be mentioned is the '55 259" Passmaster might be the best all-around engine Studebaker ever built. The patterns and tooling were new, so the quality of the blocks were as good as they'd ever be. The 259" is smoother and more durable than the 289" and only slightly less powerful.

                            The one design problem is it's difficult to get higher compression with the available pistons and heads.

                            Question - most currently available 1955 specification data bases give 7.0 compression ratio as standard and 8.0 as optional. Most suggest thick/thin head gaskets wouldn't account for a full point of compression on a 259". What have you seen on Production Orders about the 8.0 being chosen and how it was accomplished?

                            Then, the '60s 259"specifications are usually given as 8.5 compression. My experience is it's difficult to achieve a true 8.5 in a 259" without milling both block and heads and using thin gaskets. What has been your experience?

                            jack vines
                            PackardV8

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              IIRC, the standard head had a casting number of 535976 giving 7.5 and an optional head of 537555 giving 8.0.
                              Last edited by 64studeavanti; 11-24-2019, 02:56 PM.
                              78 Avanti RQB 2792
                              64 Avanti R1 R5408
                              63 Avanti R1 R4551
                              63 Avanti R1 R2281
                              62 GT Hawk V15949
                              56 GH 6032504
                              56 GH 6032588
                              55 Speedster 7160047
                              55 Speedster 7165279

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