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Champ pickup flatbed

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  • Champ pickup flatbed

    Hi All,

    I have (potentially) a couple of Champ pickups to restore, and was thinking of fabricating a flatbed instead of the styleside/sheet metal tray on the back. On doing a Google image search for "Studebaker Champ flatbed" I got no results, just lots of pics of Champs. Maybe one with a flatbed & a timber cage.

    It doesn't seem many people have gone down the flatbed path, well at least not the people who put pics on the web.

    Is there a reason there aren't more custom flatbed trays, other than retaining the original look? And don't worry I'm not planning to dispose of the original back, it's still in reasonable shape, and may yet option to use it.


  • #2
    I think it's a great idea and have often contemplated the idea on previous projects where the box was too rough to resurrect. By then though, the cab was on its way as well, past my abilities as a craftsman.

    If you're a decent carpenter and welder-fabricator, I think a stake-side, flatbed, etc would look awesome with the Champ cab.

    Let's face it - none of us Champ owners can truly say the Dodge bed flows nicely with the Lark cab. The lines and width, etc are just all wrong. But true to its S-P origins, however!


    • #3
      I always said when Studebaker contacted Dodge to buy a pickup bed the manager told the kid working there ( Go out back and find the ugliest box you can were going to sell them to Studebaker)


      • #4
        I like the look of a nicely done flatbed. They can get pretty custom with different headache racks, underbed boxes, and tailboards. If you go that way, send us an update with pics. Studebaker International has the flatbed name plate on sale in their Christmas catalog.


        • #5
          This one Was at the Studebaker National Museum, but was Sold. I remember when Bill Oliver and a friend built it down in the Oxnard, Calif. area.
          Of course it WAS a Pickup, very few were Factory built with the South Bend Body Builder Beds on them.

          Is a "TRAY" in OZ a Box or Bed maybe?

          Actually the Styleside Beds and Rights to the Tooling etc. were were bought by Studebaker from the Mfg. Budd Corp. and the Beds had to be Sold to Dodge for Replacements and possibly the last year of Dodge Production.
          The Studebaker Versions are better than the Dodge one's, they have an extension on the Front to easily allow a Full 4X8 Plywood sheet or Wallboard etc. to easily be lifted in and out.

          Click image for larger version  Name:	61 Stakebed.jpg Views:	0 Size:	170.4 KB ID:	1868137Click image for larger version  Name:	8E13 T Cab2_63 Larks at Factory.jpg Views:	0 Size:	96.1 KB ID:	1868138 It would work better on THIS one!
          This one is not ALL '61, there are various Year Parts like the Fender Mouldings,
          a Major Improvement IMHO!
          Second Generation Stude Driver,
          Proud '54 Starliner Owner


          • #6
            Andy, you should go for it. Here in Melbourne, Australia, there is a guy who owns quite a few Studebakers and one of them is 64 Cruiser that he removed the back of at the B pillars and welded in a wall and fitted a rear window, then added a steel framed flatbed/tray with a timber floor or is it checker plate, doesn't matter, it looks great! With the Champ you already have the stand alone cabin so you're half the way there with the project, good luck. Harryhawk


            • #7
              I was told by the family of my Champ's original owner that he removed the bed and fabricated his own flatbed for it. He was a cabinet maker and strawberry farmer in Oregon. When he retired, he reinstalled the bed and drove the truck in local parades. I wish I had some pics of it.
              Mike Davis
              Regional Manager, North Carolina
              1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"


              • #8
                IMHO if it has a flat bed it looks correct only if the truck has dual's (as the black Champ). Full disclosure....I have a Ford F-350 diesel dual wheel flat bed. Generally I feel the reason for the flat bed is to haul very heavy odd shaped loads. You could feel differently! PS I really like the looks of the Champ! Sherm / Green Bay / 63R1089


                • #9
                  I would say it is a definite go - tray tops just yell Aussie utes- and it would be the talk of the car show.

                  Any Champ trucks shipped to Oz would have had a locally sourced tray top - so I would guess any you can find or copy from a similarly yeared Ford or Holden would probably be about right. The number of half-ton Champs in the states ordered from the factory with a tray top could probably fill a McDonald's parking lot - if you needed that type of arrangement, you probably wanted a 3/4 ton or more of carrying capacity.

                  Good luck and keep us informed!
                  Last edited by 62champ; 12-01-2020, 05:13 AM.


                  • #10
                    I believe it was a Longreach service vehicle at some stage of it's life, it's a pity the signage on the tray (yep Rich a tray is a bed in Australia) isn't a little more prominent still, it's rusted off, it has been sitting in this paddock near Toowoomba untouched since the early 80's. There's a '47 sedan on the property as well, but unfortunately it's seen the wrong side of a falling tree.

                    I am a designer in my day job, and a carpenter in a previous life, so timber will be my finish of choice, however my current job will push me to draw it 1000 times before anything begins. It's feels like a legit form of procrastination.

                    Dual wheels is a nice option!


                    • #11
                      I like the looks of a flatbed even on the small pickups like an early toyota. Also looks good on a CE. I believe I have seen one on a CE though it could be a mixed memory of a thirties Mercedes 170 pickup, which has lines almost as good as a CE....well, not really that close but still pleasant.
                      Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.


                      • #12
                        A flatbed is mounted far above the rear tires so that tire clearance is not an issue, however this creates a very high bed floor. You might consider building the bed floor as low as possible, with cut-outs in the floor for tire clearance, and then fabricate a pair of basic fenders/aprons to cover the cut-outs.
                        In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.


                        • #13
                          Yes a mate of mine is going through that now with a old International (pic attached), he sourced some generic guards & is looking at how to integrate them with the tray. He’s lowering massively on a Holden frame with an LS1 - not the road I’ll be travelling, but it will be super mean.

                          Interesting idea - but I don’t think I’d mind the higher bed on the champ, try to somehow continue through those Lark fender lines.


                          • #14
                            I like that S-series International, late 1955 to early 1957 model if I recall correctly. As for a true flatbed (flat tray) like you speak of, you may want to look at new factory-made units that are typically available at dealerships that sell utility trailers. They are usually all aluminum or all steel construction, and have lights built into them. If nothing else, they may give you some design ideas.
                            In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.


                            • #15
                              Here's another one I found on the internet.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Attached Files
                              Mark L