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  • New guy to the group. What I'm up to.

    Hello everyone. I'm new to the group. At long last I have finished work on my other antique truck (1959 GMC), and have given it to my son in Pensacola, FL. It was his to begin with. He bought it as a rusted derelict in a horse pasture, but I did most of the work since he went and joined the Navy.

    After having been faithful to "original" in my restoration philosophy with that truck, I have now come to the conclusion that if I want this Stude truck of mine to serve as a daily driver, then engineering upgrades are going to become mandatory. The '59 GMC taught me a hard lesson that new stuff is, in many instances, scads better than the old in terms of accuracy, efficiency, power, performance, handling, reliability, and safety.

    With this in mind I have now turned my full attention to the '51 Stude truck. I'm looking at a total replacement philosophy, as nothing under the skin is serviceable. My goal is to have the truck appear original from the outside, but with new, upgraded "innards", noticeable only when you pop the hood. I realize this is blasphemy to the purists out there, but I am a realist. Like I said, I intend to drive this truck every day. This isn't going to be one of those fragile trophies you see being hauled in air-conditioned trailers to competitions all over the country. It was originally built to serve on a farm, (it has a granny gear, max speed is 45 mph, and it shakes going that speed), but now it has to perform efficiently and safely on the interstate, which wasn't even thought of back then.

    I started work 2 weeks ago. Rust is heavy on the underside, the floor and toe board of the cab, and the inside face of all sheet metal. Complete disassembly was my first chore. Engine, fenders, hood and bed are now removed (most bolts had to be cut off). Gas tank, shocks, muffler exhaust and tailpipe are also off, as are the fuel lines, wiring harness, and vacuum lines. All lines and hoses are gone. Cab is also off, as are both axles and leaf spring sets. I had to build a wooden frame with casters so I can lower the cab onto it. This will give me maximum mobility in my small garage. Nothing is left now but a stripped frame.

    Scraping and sandblasting is now being undertaken. There's over half a century of detritus on this beast, from grease, mud dauber domes, wasp nests, bird nests, insect infestations, pine needles, and manure from every describable creature on earth.

    Restoration will begin with the chassis. A nice paint job is needed after sandblasting. I was thinking of POR 15 applied by brush on the new, clean metal. Front end will be replaced with independent front suspension, rack and pinion steering, front disc brakes with power steering and power brakes. Fatmans Fabrications makes such a front end kit for one price, and they make adaptors to fit Studebaker trucks. Next comes engine/tranny. I need an upgraded power plant to replace the weak and worn-out 170 cu. in. flathead six. I was thinking of a Mercedes diesel power train, front to rear, for uniformity, reliability, fuel efficiency, and biofuel compatibility (used veggie oil). I may have to weld new engine mounts and maybe re-route some frame cross members and struts. I have my eye on a donor vehicle which fits the bill for a reasonable price. It is a 1980 Mercedes 300 CD sedan with automatic tranny and 135,000 miles. It's in a salvage yard near me. The interior and body are horribly trashed, but the power plant/drive train is good. I test drove it. Those engines go 500,000 miles on average, and get about 30 mpg. I won't be breaking any land speed records with this, but hot-rodding the truck was never my goal. Asking price is $1,450. If I don't use the Mercedes rear end, I'll probably go for an old Ford 8" rear from a junked Maverick or something. All the hot rodders I know seek this rear end for it's reliability and durability. Drive shaft can be sized and fitted with new ends to adapt between manufacturers. New wheels are needed, since the old ones are rusted to the point I can see

  • #2
    Not sure I like your heading



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    Home of the Fried Green Tomato
    "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

    1960 Champ
    1964 Daytona HT
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    Home of the Fried Green Tomato

    "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

    1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

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    • #3
      Welcome and Good Luck! Be sure to join the Studebaker Drivers Club (from this site) if you haven't already.

      I have owned four Studebaker trucks. Two were resto-rod pickups similar to what you describe. Both had GM subframes (Camaro/Trans Am). The subframe route gives V8, power steering, power disc brakes, independent suspension, etc. This eliminates a lot of the "engineering" of components. Perhaps you could do something similar with the Mercedes Benz diesel donor car.

      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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      • #4
        Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you will be busy. But have a real nice C cab when you get it done. I think plenty of these trucks hav been rodded, so you should be able to find on the web info on the suspension mods you are planning. I'll guess that the mercedes swap is probably new territoty though.


        www.studebakerhardtop.com

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        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by Michidan

          Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you will be busy. But have a real nice C cab when you get it done. I think plenty of these trucks hav been rodded, so you should be able to find on the web info on the suspension mods you are planning. I'll guess that the mercedes swap is probably new territoty though.
          I remember seeing a diesel engine in a Studebaker at an SDC Northeast Zone Meet (back a few years).

          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer
          Gary L.
          Wappinger, NY

          SDC member since 1968
          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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          • #6
            quote:Originally posted by 2R5 assassin
            [
            Sounds like you have a plan for a pretty cool truck. Hope you do a digital album on photobucket so you can share your progress.

            And of course join the SDC and join in on the truck forum here's the link

            http://www.network54.com/Forum/23885/

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            • #7
              Never mind the naysayers, Eric!
              Full speed ahead with your project, and we'll see you at Midway Chapter meetings and Zone Meets.

              Chris Pile
              Midway Chapter SDC
              The Studebaker Special
              The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

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              • #8
                Welcome to the forum! Sounds like a fun project, keep us updated on your project.

                Dylan Wills

                '61 lark deluxe 4 door wagon
                Dylan Wills
                Everett, Wa.


                1961 Lark 4 door wagon
                1961 Lark 4 door wagon #2 (Wife's car!)
                1955 VW Beetle (Went to the dark side)
                1914 Ford Model T

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