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Warren and Day Studebaker

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  • #16
    Richard- sorry if I got your hopes up any. A cranial flatulation, a common occurrance lately. When I roomed with Ron Williams in '67 in Fontana, he had a dark blue '63 R1 4sp Lark. We pulled the motor on the back patio, took it through the sliding glass door and rebuilt it on the kitchen table. That was my first engine building experience,he took me through it step by step.So I kinda learned it from Gordon. Anyway, I had a dream abt the car last nite and remembered that it was a hardtop. Sorry

    Ken Pyle


    • #17
      Thanks Ken, I dream about Studebakers too! I sure would like to find out more about mine!
      Thanks, Richard
      The annual all Studebaker Nationals and Orphan Car Drag Race is Saturday May 27th 2017 9:00 am at Brown County Dragway in Bean Blossom, Indiana. "Studebaker Drag Racing you can't beat it" For more information contact Richard Poe


      • #18
        Richard- A good guess might be that your was bought from Warren and Day by some testosterone-fueled airman from Norton AFB in San Bernardino. Seemed like at least half the E st cruisers in Berdoo were guys from Norton AFB or March AFB in Riverside. Moved to Berdoo spring '63 but wasn't converted to Studeterianism yet.

        Ken Pyle


        • #19
          To Rich, Richard, and Ken,

          I am the current owner of Gordon Williams R2 Super Lark. I bought the car from Gordon in California in 1971. (I now live in Minnesota).
          The car is Red, and is an R2 with R3 Heads. As Ted Harbit mentioned in his note, Gordon picked up the car in South Bend, and drove it back to California for "break in". Gordon spent a lot of time on the car before getting it right - and the car was a very fine example of a Storming Studebaker when I purchased it. Gordon was bracket racing the car when I bought it from him, and the car turned a consistent 12:07 in the Quarter. Gordon had a best time of 11:79 in the Quarter, I had an 11:97 on a cool night at Irwindale. Shortly after buying the car, I brought the car back up to stock specs, and raced it in SS class on the AHRA circuit. NHRA still frowned on the Supercharger back then, and wouldn't classify it in any class except Gas Supercharged. I had few problems with the car during my drag racing days. The most odd problem was when the car wouldn't fire after coming back from a run at Irwindale. Gordon Williams was at the track at the time, and helped me diagnose it. The rotor wasn't turning, and it turned out that the shear pin in the Distributor was busted. We replaced the shear pin - it immediately sheared again. I brought the car back to Simi Valley where I lived, and took off the Oil Pan. I found some aluminum in the pan, and after removing the oil pump I found a piece of aluminum stuck in the oil pump gears. Looking up at all the cylinders from the bottom, I found that a small piece of skirt missing from the bottom of the pistons. It was small enough as to not be a problem, so I did not replace the piston. (The car still has the same broken piston in it to this day). I cleaned up the engine, replaced the rod bearings, and it was good to go. How did the aluminum get into the oil pump? On the bottom of a 289 Oil Pump, there is a 3/4" plate that runs across the bottom screen and covers a circular hole that is a little over 1/4" in the center of the screen. That plate is held on to the oil pump with small bend up tabs (like you find on the old metal toys). That plate vibrated off the oil pump and fell into the pan, the piston broke on that last run I made, and the broken pieces were sucked up through that 1/4" hole and jammed the oil pump gears, causing the shear pin to shear in the distributor.

          A couple of years after I bought the car from Gordon, I was in College, and had taken all the stickers off, and replaced the front fenders with proper ones that had inner fenders. (Gordon had cut them away for the large headers that were on the car). I had bought a smaller set of headers that fit better, and had a 1 piece exhaust system with blown out glass pack mufflers that bolted to the headers. This made the car street legal, and the 'Street Streaker' was born. The muffler system knocked off 3/10ths of a second, so I was turning 12.4 on the street with the car (checked them out at the strip). Anyway, anyone who lived in Southern California in the 60's and 70's knows about Van Nuys Blvd, and the Street Streaker made it's debut on that famous street in 1973. That was a different era, and I wouldn't think of doing that again (and think about how dangerous and scary it was back then), but I will say that there are a lot of Hemi's, Big Block Chevy's and Ford's that were rather embarassed by being soundly beat by red, boxy, 2 dr Studebaker Sedan. The car had quite a reputation on the Blvd.

          One other side note. When I replaced the front fenders in Calif., I believe that I either left them at my house in Moorpark when t was sold, or I may have given them to a good Studebaker friend. Anyway, a nice fellow named Nick Hanson called me last week, and heard that I had bought Gordon Williams old car, and he thought he had the old fenders for it. It seemed very incredulous that those fenders could make it back from California, back up to Minnesota where the car resides. It was true, he sent me pictures, and there was the old painted 'SPEED C


          • #20
            Just a great story [8D].

            Thanks for posting, Rich.

            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA


            • #21
              Great story, Rich. Made my day. [8D]

              Welcome to the Forum.

              Matthew Burnette
              Hazlehurst, GA


              • #22
                Wow, What a cool read. I felt my muscles flex, my game face came on. The only things missing were the sound and smell.[:0] Thanks so much for the post.



                • #23
                  Thanks Rich for taking the time to give us that great and inspiring high performance Studebaker history[8D].

                  Dean Croft

                  CLEM DESEE



                  • #24
                    Thanks very much Rich. for putting to an end, all the rumors, guesses and hearsay concerning this wonderful race car!

                    When I was still in the South Bay area: Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hawthorne etc. I belonged to the Orange Empire Chapter of SDC and we were the ones that started the Annual Gordon Williams memorial Drag Race, I THINK it was at Erwindale. Unfortunately it lasted only 2 or 3 years I think, but we had a lot of fun remembering Gordon and racing our Studes.

                    When Gordon and I raced together one time at Lyons, I think (he rarely went there) he told me about how his tune-up experience at the Stude. Dealer in Ontario taught him many tricks about improving the advance curve in the Prestolite dual point Dist. and he offered to do mine, but we never got together to do that, he was a Great guy, the best! [^]

                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


                    • #25
                      Very cool story, and thanks for taking the time to come share with us on the forum Rich.

                      And how cool of you Nick to make the CALL, (I remember your post)
                      Sometimes that's all it takes, a call, an email and now we know the story.



                      61 Lark



                      • #26
                        Rich Childers- I've had that name on the tip of my tongue for about 35 years now. Thanks SO much. If I ever get up that way will you let me see the car again? It'd be like goin' home. Thanx again, Rich KP

                        Ken Pyle


                        • #27
                          The annual all Studebaker Nationals and Orphan Car Drag Race is Saturday May 27th 2017 9:00 am at Brown County Dragway in Bean Blossom, Indiana. "Studebaker Drag Racing you can't beat it" For more information contact Richard Poe


                          • #28
                            Growing up in Pomona, I attended the Winternationals in the '60's as a teenager. I could not believe some guy in a Studebaker would drive in, uncork the headers and whip everyone. He corked the headers and drove home. Before I was a Studebaker fan, I was suprized by a guy, with one arm out the window, driving away from all the popular cars of the day.

                            Thanks for all the information about this interesting person and his car.


                            • #29
                              I know this is an old thread, and I am not sure exactly how I found it but, I see the mention of Rich Childers and thought I might share a little story.
                              When I was a kid growing up in Simi Valley California, there was a guy that lived at the end of my street (Sawyer Ave) that had this very cool, very loud red Lark. As a kid, I was facinated by the cars attitude. It was bright, loud, and looked really fast.
                              I remember riding my bicycle by and looking at it any time the garage was left open. The guy that owned the car, Rich, I think was amused by the little kid that thought his car was so cool.
                              And, in fact, one time actually walked down the street and talked to my Dad about me.
                              That conversation turned into me getting to ride to Irwindale raceway with Rich and watch drag racing for my very first time!
                              I am 47 years old now and still remember that day! From riding in the Dodge (A-100?) flat towing the Lark, to be givien paper and pencil to record what the other cars were running, to being treated to McDonalds on the drive home. that day stuck with me!

                              Its influence has kept me drag racing my entire life! Brusa, NHRA, NHRDA, AHRA, doesnt matter, I race anytime I can!
                              I remember Rich moving to Moorpark(?) and my friend Brian and I running into him at the store a couple tiimes in the years after that.
                              Always think back on that trip to Irwindale Raceway.

                              Now to try to do for others what Rich did for me, I actually teach a little drag racing course with some friends at Bremerton Raceway. We call it Drag Racing 101! lol
                              Anyway, thats my Rich Childers story, hope it entertains you in someway!

                              Jim Cassidy
                              Olympia, Wash
                              Last edited by meneep; 02-22-2011, 04:35 AM.


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by studeken View Post
                                Just a couple of notes abt. the Gordon Williams '63 Lark. I was always under the impression that both this car and his wife Jerry's 63 cruiser were ordered at the same time from Warren and Day and they picked up both from the factory. Gordon had specifically ordered the std SANS undercoating to keep weight down, but since Studebaker always gave more than they promised, and he was such a good customer, they undercoated it FOR FREE! Ken Pyle
                                Hello, Jim Cassidy, and welcome to the forum...and having dug up this topic from two years ago! Good memories, and glad you are paying it back, helping younger guys get involved. (Geeze, at 47, you are one of the younger guys! <GGG>)

                                By way of additional information, Ken Pyle's recollection, above, is correct: Gordon and his wife ordered their '63s together, picked them up in South Bend, and drove them back to southern California.

                                Now here's an item that hasn't been mentioned yet: Today (February 2011), Studebaker parts vendor Ed Reynolds owns Gordon's wife's 1963 Cruiser. It is stored inside at Studebaker International in Greenfield IN.

                                The car's original Blue Mist was covered with a poor-quality white repaint years ago, much of which is flaking off. The car needs a complete restoration but is not especially rusty and is indeed documented, by Serial Number, to have been the car Gordon's wife picked up and drove back to California when Gordon picked up his R1/heavy-duty Flightomatic 1963 Standard. BP
                                We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                                Ayn Rand:
                                "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                                G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.