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The building (saga) of my 12E7-0127 S100 truck (October 29 update)

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  • The building (saga) of my 12E7-0127 S100 truck (October 29 update)

    The Premise: If Studebaker had continued producing cars past the ’66 model year and somehow managed to increase profits to satisfy the shareholders/Board of Directors, perhaps the company would have elected to offer a line of light-duty pickup trucks to its customers. To this point I’m willing to bet they would only have been able to offer a badge-engineered version of another manufacturer’s truck. With the already established link between Studebaker and GM with the McKinnon engines, and with the remarkably coincidental styling of the ’66 Studebaker car and ’67 Chevy pickup grills, I think the ’67 Chevy pickups would have been the ‘new’ Studebaker pickup.
    I’m thinking that if Studebaker actually did badge engineer a Chevy truck they would have followed the trend of manufacturers naming their trucks by number to differentiate the payload ratings such as C10, C20, C30 for Chevrolet, and D100, D200, D300 for Dodge. So the ‘S100’ would signify that the truck was a Studebaker ½ ton.

    The Build Objectives: this whole build started out as a whim on my part to depart the rat-race once I retired. Growing weary of keeping my fleet of 3 vehicles clean, and in tip top shape, plus maintaining my daughter’s cars I wanted to build something cool that I could drive in all weather, something that I didn’t have to keep clean, and something that I didn’t care if I got a scratch or two on…in other words something I could have fun with all the time, any time. Anything I do with this truck is done with the following objectives in mind:
    -it has to look like a ‘farm’ truck that’s been worked hard its whole life.
    -it has to be safe, reliable, and a daily driver.
    -it has to a Studebaker.
    -it has to be low budget
    -it has to be fun, as in fun to build and fun to drive.

    Removing the Roadblocks: So far (in the last 4 years) there have only been two real roadblocks, one expected, the other one rather unexpected. The expected one was Mrs. Junior. Usually she does not put up much resistance with my car shenanigans, but this one was a bit of a struggle. It went something like “Let me get this straight. You have a perfectly good new truck that you bought and said would be good for your retirement years and now you want to sell it, buy a beater, fix that up and call it a Studebaker? Are you CRAZY??” Somehow with a lot of ‘discussion’ I got my way, with one provision, the same one that I’ve had placed on my last few builds…whatever I bought had to be a running/driving vehicle, it wasn’t allowed to be towed home.
    The unexpected roadblock was finding a truck to buy. My list of ‘has to haves’ was not too extensive: 67 to 72 Chevy/GMC truck, long wheelbase, fleetside box, manual transmission. Most candidates were too good, too expensive, too rusty, automatics or not running. It’s not like there were hundreds to choose from in my area and since the demand for these trucks is fairly high most of the jokers selling them, especially the ‘needs some TLC’ ones figured their trucks were worth way more than I was willing to pay. It took about six months of looking, but I found a suitable one at a price I was willing to pay in August of 2016.

    The Successful Candidate: The truck is a 1971 GMC. From the factory it was equipped with a 350 4bbl engine, 4 speed, heavy duty springs and shocks, leaf spring rear suspension, wood box floor. Not much else on the option side of things. Taylor, the guy I bought it from, told me the truck was originally purchased by the Alberta Linseed Oil Company from Medicine Hat Alberta. It served as their shop truck, and judging the ‘custom’ body work by ‘Dent’ I figure it led a hard life indeed. At some point it was stolen, and Taylor bought it as a ‘theft recovery’ unit from an auction. He had put some money and effort into ‘rat rodding’ the truck which included making it LOUD and rolling on coat of black paint…nice and thick…over the factory turquoise paint. New clutch, carb, headers, sparkplugs and wires, aluminum intake, rad, fuel tank, mild cam, rear tires, aluminum wheels, and half-assed exhaust system were the mechanical updates. Cowl induction hood, rolled rear pan, and peep mirrors were the extent of body mods. The interior ‘up grades’ were limited to no-name monster tach and cheesy radio/cd changer bouncing around in the glove compartment.
    A quick spin down the nearby freeway confirmed all systems were intact…well, sort of… and the truck was capable of being driven home. An exchange of cash, paperwork, and licence plates and down the road I went in my new-to-me Studebaker truck.

    Just About 4 Years Later Report: So two months short of 4 years into the project and I’m happy to report that the project is progressing, just not at the rate I had thought. Seems in retirement, just as in the working world, life gets in the way of my car builds. At first, most of the time and money was spent on making the truck safe and a fairly reasonable daily driver. After getting that done most of the effort was spent on turning the truck from a rat rod into a stock looking ’68 Chevy truck. It gets driven all year round…hot, extreme cold, rain, hail, snow, salt… hardly gets washed, and never gets pampered. The engine runs strong, the transmission is worn out but hanging in there. I get all kinds of ‘thumbs-up’ and ‘cool’ comments from all kinds of folks, just about as many as I do with my modified ’54 Stude coupe…go figure. The best part though is I that I love this truck and have a lot of fun driving and working on it. My present focus is keeping it running and transforming it into a Studebaker. At the pace I’m going it may actually be fully converted in the next decade. From time to time I will update this post with what I’ve done to the truck in the last 4 years, and progress on how it’s becoming a Studebaker.

    Cheers, Junior

    The attached photos are the truck as I bought it in 2016
    Attached Files
    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  • #2
    Looking forward to the next chapter.
    Skip Lackie


    • #3
      Very cool, Junior! I love how you are taking a dream and turning it into a reality. I look forward to following your adventures with the S100.
      Mike Davis
      Regional Manager, North Carolina
      1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"


      • #4
        Really cool ol truck !! You done done a lot of writing ( Interesting writing) but near the end you said "the best part is I love this ol truck and have a lot of fun driving and working on it" Bottom Line, that's what it's all about


        • #5
          Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. Even though this truck is not a true Studebaker I figured I would create a thread about it because many of you can relate having fun with junk. I find it highly entertaining reading about progress made on other member's builds, both the high $ and low $ ones and many times just reading about their work motivates me to get off my butt and do something on mine. Tasked with modest tools and garage, a short build season, and a CASO mentality adds even more spice to the build.

          Chapter 2 (sorry, no photos) documents the first repair I had to make to the truck. As I said in the first post the PO made the truck loud, as in not just loud but LOUD! He said he usually ran around with the headers uncorked and I have no doubt about that. The collector flange to exhaust pipe flange (new-age gasket-less ball and bell ones!) bolts were only hand tight. Once I tightened those properly that led the exhaust noise to be quiet enough for me to hear the next loudest exhaust leak which was the exhaust pipes into the muffler inlets...there was about a 1/16" difference in pipe size and the shop that built the system tried to take up the gap with u-bolt style clamps! So, out comes the welder, drop the pipes and mufflers, weld them together, reinstall and go for a test spin. Well, no more exhaust leaks, the truck is somewhat quieter but wait a minute, what's that terrible squeaking noise?? Back to the garage, back up on stands, and back underneath the discover the rear u-joint is about ready to fall apart. The needle bearings were either MIA or turned to dust...the cross was so worn and shiny that you couldn't see a defined edge where the trunnions were machined. joint far so good. Sure happy that joint didn't break when I was testing the trucks 'burn-out' ability.

          cheers, junior
          Last edited by junior; 07-12-2020, 12:02 PM.
          1954 C5 Hamilton car.


          • #6
            Chapter 3:
            Well it's forty below
            And I don't give a f**k
            Got a heater in my truck
            And I'm off to the rodeo…
            Some well-worn lyrics from ‘the Rodeo Song’ by the underground band Showdown way back in the 80’s…perhaps you remember? In Calgary the words ring clear with the rodeo heritage of the city and the cold temps (not quite -40, but dang close at times) endured in the winter. So if this S100 truck is to be a daily driver, it better be ready for the cool temps. New heater controls as the old cast zinc (I think) ones were toast, new block heater as the electrical connection and block heater itself were melted into a glob of guck, add a choke cable (bracket I fabbed and then robbed from the old AVS carb that was on the ’54) and fresh antifreeze were in order. Frustrating with the headers on the truck because I can see things that need to be changed, but can’t get my hands or tools where they need to be. More than once I’ve had to yank them off the engine to make room for the task at hand. Could I have made a bigger mess? Mini-rant of the day…as much as I like the advantages of headers, I’m done with them. As soon as these suckers rust out, stock rams horns are going back on. Long live rams horns! Cheers, Junior
            1954 C5 Hamilton car.


            • #7
              Chapter 4:
              Keeping the insurance company happy…and me safe.
              Perhaps it’s a case of safety third as I did other things in this build before I attacked prepping the truck for the required insurance safety inspection, but in reality, safety is always high on my priority list unlike the ‘reality’ of series such as ‘Roadkill’. So the truck rolled down the road well and seemed to brake ok, the only real issue being that nasty rear u-joint. So I got it up in the air, pulled the tires and made a list of safety have-to’s. What a surprise! This thing was rolling junk…how could it drive so well??
              The front tires were junk…what appeared to be good rubber turned into bad when a close inspection off the truck showed cracks around the perimeter of where the tread met the sidewall. The rears were in excellent condition, but waaay too wide to suit the farm truck vibe I wanted to give the truck. So problem solved with the purchase of some new skinny rubber (235-75-15) mounted on some freshly painted stock steel wheels and hubcaps. The wheels and hubcap were traded straight across for the alloy wheels that the previous owner put on the truck. The tires/wheels can be seen in chapter 2 photos.

              New horns and washer tank required… the original horn was DOA, and being a budget build I used some cheap horns I bought years ago from a liquidation center for a grand total of $5. Cheap offshore junk yes, but they’ve worked for 4 years now…plus they are indeed LOUD. The washer tank was MIA , so pulled one from a newish Chevy truck from the local pay and pull yard.

              Front brakes were like new, rotors nice and true and the front bearings had no play, so only changed the rubber brake hoses. Rear brakes were another matter…leaking rear axle seals contributed to a whole brake job including drums, cylinders, springs, seals and rubber hose and plenty of elbow grease to clean up the mess.

              Front suspension needed a lot of help. All new ball joints…what a joy drilling/grinding out the original factory rivets from the uppers. New springs required. What I thought was a nice rake that the PO gave the truck turned out to be broken springs. You can see the ‘iron bracelets’ in the photos…each spring had a broken bottom coil that had somehow worked themselves out from the rest of the spring…there they were sitting loose on the lower A-arms! A couple of tie-rod ends and steel upper bushings the truck was ready to go get inspected. Looked good too, sitting all high and proud on it’s new steelies and skinny tires. Oh ya…passed the inspection with flying colours.

              Attached Files
              Last edited by junior; 08-12-2020, 07:17 AM.
              1954 C5 Hamilton car.


              • #8
                Great looking truck! I had a 67 GMC 3/4 ton for a few years, and it was a total workhorse. Now you need to figure out how to graft a 66 Stude grill onto it.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tsenecal View Post
                  Great looking truck! I had a 67 GMC 3/4 ton for a few years, and it was a total workhorse. Now you need to figure out how to graft a 66 Stude grill onto it.
                  thanks! The '66 style grill is taking place...just at a snail's rate of progress. cheers, junior
                  1954 C5 Hamilton car.


                  • #10
                    Chapter 5
                    Good bye GMC…Hello Chevy
                    A huge part of making this project move forward was changing the GMC front clip to an early ’67 or ’68 Chevy front clip…after all, how can the truck even look like a Stude if it had no components that even remotely looked like a Studebaker? Easier said than done, because the $ required to make the change weren’t so easy for a CASO to swallow. Sure most of the parts are all repopped, so that wasn’t the issue, but trying to find used ones for a decent price was the challenge. After much searching and waiting I hit a homerun. I met a guy who had all the parts I needed, and he was willing to trade straight across for all the GMC parts I was taking off. Once the parts were off my truck the exchange was made.
                    Bolting the components onto my truck presented a few surprises. The biggest one was that my truck had a later model ’69 to ’72 Chevy front fender. The difference between the fenders are depicted in the photos. The ‘eyebrow’ areas have different contours, but this was unknown to me until the GMC trim was removed. It turns out that the PO hit a deer on driver’s side and had to replace the fender. I was told that info, but not that the fender was replaced with a newer model Chevy fender. I ended up getting another fender (actually two and an good tailgate) from another contact for the low low price of $50 for all 3 parts! The other surprise was the hood hinges on the truck were worn-out…making getting the hood to align and stay put proved to be nearly impossible. After much adjusting, swearing, research, and swearing and re-adjusting more I got a reasonable fit. Turns out that trying to adjust the hood with worn hinges is a dumb idea…even 1mm of adjustment = a hood that will sit 20mm too high.
                    To finish the swap, I rolled on some black paint, modified the bumper, painted the bezels and bumper silver, installed re-popped signal light lenses and added some used bright aluminum grill trim that I scored off the local Kijiji. Regarding rolling the paint…talk about fun! Never has it been so easy to colour match panels…gotta love it! The bumper mods required cutting out the ‘dips’ for the GMC quad headlights and filling them in with 16ga.flat stock. Not perfect, but worked for the short term. Looking a lot more like a Stude now! Cheers, Junior
                    Last edited by junior; 08-30-2020, 03:41 PM.
                    1954 C5 Hamilton car.


                    • #11
                      I'll have to admit the grill does have a hint of Studebaker. Just so you are still havin fun.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Flashback View Post
                        I'll have to admit the grill does have a hint of Studebaker. Just so you are still havin fun.
                        Oh ya is the name of the game! I have just as much fun driving this junk as a I do my 54 coupe simply because I don't really care what happens to the truck. It gets driven in all weather, sometimes worked hard, and sometimes hooned. The 54 coupe not so much...its a fair weather car only, I keep it shiny and clean, I care where I park it, and generally don't relax so much when I drive it because of all the idiots out there that don't seem to be able to drive as well as they can operate their stupid cell phones. cheers, junior
                        1954 C5 Hamilton car.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by junior View Post
                          The 54 coupe not so much...its a fair weather car only, I keep it shiny and clean, I care where I park it, and generally don't relax so much when I drive it because of all the idiots out there that don't seem to be able to drive as well as they can operate their stupid cell phones. cheers, junior
                          Amen to that, brother!
                          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


                          • #14
                            Chapter 6
                            Changing the RATRUCK into a farm truck:
                            The PO spent some time, effort and $ modifying the truck into a ratty looking rat truck. He even went so far as getting vanity plates that read "RATRUCK". Kind of cool, but by no means meeting my goal of having the truck themed as a worn-out old farm truck. The body basically spoke for itself, its got the rust, bangs and bruises to prove a hard existence. Being painted black with a roller by the PO helps to support the theme. To further support the farm truck look, here is what I have done:

                            -moved the spare tire and added a toolbox. The truck already had a bed mounted spare tire, and the mount was a GM sourced one. The SPID decal on the glove compartment door did not indicate that this was factory installed, so it must have been installed at the dealership. The mount had to be moved so I could install the CASO-priced aluminum tool box (cost=a case of beer). No fun getting the 50 year old rusted mounting bolts out of the 50 year old rotted wood floor, but once that was done I moved the spare behind the driver side rear wheel tub. Mounting the box was easy, got some keys cut for the locks at a local locksmith shop as I didn't get any with the initial purchase, and added new gas struts to the lids to replace the useless original ones.
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                            -good bye to the monster tach that was installed on the A pillar by the PO, and hello to the mini tach installed on the steering column. Now the tach was a have-to, as my Uncle had a 71 GMC that had a similar column mounted small tach that I clearly remember watching rise and fall as the spunky 402 pounded trough the gears when I was all of 11 years old.
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                            -got some real mirrors installed. The PO installed small 'peep' mirrors high up on the side window frames. Those had to go, and I replaced them with original single arm mirrors…the rectangular ones used on later 69-70 trucks, not the round 'correct' 67-68 ones. I figured the rectangular ones were more fitting of a real Studebaker truck. Interesting to note that a number of different mirrors have been mounted on this poor old truck since day 1. There is evidence of the original sport mirrors, and I think 2 different styles of 'camper' style mirrors. Many interesting screws, bolts, and holes in the door skins.
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                            -took off the fat rubber and alloy wheels installed by the previous owner, and installed stock steel wheels, painted hub caps and skinny winter grip tires mentioned in an earlier post. (Studebaker dog dishes are on the to-do list btw)
                            -so long to the cool cowl induction hood, and welcome to a good stock hood. This amounted to a temporary measure as I didn't keep the later 'flat-nosed' hood when I changed the front clip to the 'slant-nosed' 67/68 front clip. No matter, no money lost as all hood exchanges were trades with other truck owners.
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                            -traded the rolled rear pan for an awesome factory 'step n tow' bumper. These factory rear step bumpers are awesome, and extra heavy duty. The main bar of the bumper is thick 3/16 channel stamped into the finished shape. I had to fabricate the bumper brackets out of 1/4 plate, and had to form a filler piece of sheet metal and weld it back into the original box crossmember where the PO cut away for the licence plate pocket on the roll pan he installed. Talking about the plate…I mounted it higher than where the factory mounts were because the plates sit too high and get bent over on the top in everyday use. Okay for a farm plate I suppose, but I am planning to get my own vanity plate for the truck and don't want that one to get damaged. The PO installed the slick LED licence plate bolts that light up the plate at night. T PO told me he got ticketed one night by the police for not having the plate lit, so I decided to keep them on.
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                            -what's the worth of a farm truck with no jack-all?? Problem solved with the addition of 48" jack-all mounted to the passenger side of the box. I fabricated a bracket and backing plate that bolts onto the stake pocket of the bed. Easy to use and it secures the jack during spirited driving and from being jacked by hoodlums that frequent my street.
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                            Next post may even contain small Studebakerish steps in actually transforming the truck into a S100!
                            Cheers, Junior
                            Last edited by junior; 10-29-2020, 10:56 AM.
                            1954 C5 Hamilton car.