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  • New Stude

    Hello, My name is David, and I am new to the Studebaker scene, but not new to the classic car scene. I picked up a 1937 Studebaker Dictator, with the original flathead 6 (218.6?). The car is a bit rough around the edges, and the engine was sitting in the dirt about 20 feet from the car where I found it, but its not unrestorable. What I want to do is rip out that old flatty, and go with a more unique engine choice like a 350 chevy (kidding, don't send me hate mail). I want to really go all out on the original flathead, performance cam, head, stainless exhaust, 3 one barrels, the whole 9 yards. My question for all you Studebaker guys and gals, is where can I find speed parts for a 37 Studebaker flathead? Does anyone know of any good flathead 6 performance books, or rebuilding books? This car will be my daily driver once its finished, so I want a peppy, yet reliable drivetrain. Studebaker claimed that these flathead 6's could turn 5000rpm for days on end, which impresses the heck out of me, so it sounds like a nice motor. Any help you guys can give would be appreciated. Once I figure out how to post pics, I will include some of my Dictator in this thread, just give me a few minutes...

  • #2
    Ok this is where it sat when I got it

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    • #3
      This is the motor

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      • #4
        This is my paintbrush "photoshopped" motivation...

        Basically original except sitting a little lower, with a chop top and fender skirts (and the hot rodded flathead under the hood.)

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        • #5
          Hi Dave, you may have to update to a 1939 or newer Stude 6 in order to find performance parts. Here is a link to a site dedicated to the 1939 & newer Stude 6 engines: http://www.cathcartsstudebaker.com/
          Good luck!


          Brent's rootbeer racer.
          MN iron ore...it does your body good.
          sigpic
          In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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          • #6
            I appreciate the reply. I'm going to try my best to stick with the original mill, if I can't find any performance parts, I may just have to make my own, that would be a fun project. I know a guy who designs cams for nascar, maybe he could help me whip up a cam (only if I can't find one, this guy wont be cheap).

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            • #7
              I like your photo shop pictures. Although my preference is "stock restorations" I think most club members welcome customs that are "tastefully" done.(of course you know that is very subjective) As far as what you intend to have for a drive train..."Cathcart" Studebaker specializes in "performance" sixes and can provide you with a complete rebuild from stock to the extreme. Someone else could provide you with a link and info on how to contact them. I don't have it at my fingertips. For a daily driver, I would seriously consider a SBC crate. Reason being, you can almost rebuild one or get all your parts from wal-mart. Also consider upgrading your suspension and brakes. Join the club and attend all the meets you can and pick the brains of other custom builders. There are some wonderful customs that look near original and "run modern." Whatever you do...make sure to do your homework on the cooling system. No matter how powerful, how pretty, or how good the ride...its near worthless if you have to creep down the highway to keep it from running hot. Welcome to the forum and good luck with the project.

              John Clary
              Greer, SC

              Life... is what happens as you are making plans.
              SDC member since 1975
              John Clary
              Greer, SC

              SDC member since 1975

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              • #8
                thanks John, I've had my share of sbc's and I want to run this one original, I would like to upgrade the distributor to some kind of solid state ignition so I don't have to worry about points, and as far as speed is concerned, I think the flathead will be enough pep for this car, I know it wont be fast, but if I feel like driving fast, I can just take my impala that day (68' Impala sport coupe, with a pretty hot 496c.i. BBC) I dont know anything about studebaker engines, if this one breaks down a lot I may change my mind in the future, and I dont know anything about the stock suspensions either, I am guessing its decent because its an independent front suspension. If there are any known quirks or problems with these drivetrains, or suspensions, I would appreciate the heads up.

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                • #9
                  David (sorry I called you Dave earlier), I like your idea of keeping the original engine. It will definately make the engine bay look more unique and be far more interesting than a run of the mill 350 v8. As for that roof chop, you may have to remove the seats and sit on the floor.


                  Brent's rootbeer racer.
                  MN iron ore...it does your body good.
                  sigpic
                  In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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                  • #10
                    No problem, Dave or David is fine. yeah I've seen so many 30's cars with SBC's that I'm beginning to think ford invented the SBC in 1932!!! I may have gotten a little over zealous on the roof chop picture, I will figure out my seating situation, then figure out how much chop I can get away with after that (the original seats are gone, so I will build some new benches for it). Luckily I'm not too tall so I could probably get away with a bigger chop than someone over 6ft. My goal for the engine compartment is all semi-gloss black, with only stainless being unpainted. I want to replace every bolt under the hood with stainless, and make brackets and the like out of stainless also, it should give the engine bay a really nice industrial look.

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                    • #11
                      Hi David, and welcome to the club. You have a very desirable project.

                      Keep in mind that the "Big 6" of your Dictator is a completely different engine from the "Champion 6". Nothing is interchangeable. Most of the links above refer to performance parts for the latter.

                      Here is a link to a discussion on rodding a "Big 6" like yours:
                      http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...TOPIC_ID=17803

                      Most Big 6 speed parts are very rare. If you find any, buy them. If you have the skills to fabricate, you'd likely finish making them before old ones show up. Best wishes! [8D]

                      Andy
                      62 GT

                      Andy
                      62 GT

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                      • #12
                        There was one of those sitting here in Visalia for a couple of years - hoping to find a new owner. Body was excellent. Guy wanted$1500 for it


                        1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                        1963 Cruiser
                        1960 Larkvertible V8
                        1958 Provincial wagon
                        1953 Commander coupe
                        1957 President two door

                        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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                        • #13
                          How can I tell exactly which engine I have? I am assuming it is the original, but I don't know for sure, someone could have swapped it in the last 80 years.

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                          • #14
                            would be a nice place to put a 300 ford 6,with 5-speed.loads of proformance parts and ford made millions of them.uses same bell housing as 302.cluth,pressure plate etc.....

                            2006,f-150,2x4,v-6,5-speed manual,8ft bed, will post stude info when i get it on the road.

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                            • #15
                              This link may give you the info that you are looking for: http://www.studebakerdriversclub.com/tech_6data.asp
                              On closer inspection, I see that the chart is confusing and may not be of any help. Here is a link of general specs: http://carnut.com/specs/gen/stud30.html


                              Brent's rootbeer racer.
                              MN iron ore...it does your body good.
                              sigpic
                              In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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