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Need For Traction Bars?

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  • Need For Traction Bars?

    In the process of building my 54 Coupe as a mid-70's style car, I am really liking the look of Traction Master syle traction bars. What I need to know is if C/K Studes actually needed such a device? Some where, some time ago someone told me that these traction bars were actually factory installed. In 1975 I was a junior in highschool, and as I recall the hot set-up of the day were yellow 'slapper' style bolt-on traction bars, and in some instances for coil sprung GM cars such as Chevelles ladder syle bars were used. After thumbing through mid 70's Hot Rod mags, I see no photos of any cars with Traction Master syle bars. So here's my questions: 1. Did Studebaker install traction bars, and if they did, what did they look like? 2. Do you think Traction Master style of bars would look out of place on a car built as a mid 70's street car? 3. Are there any negative aspects with using Traction Master style of bars on a steet driven car? Thanks, Junior.



    54 Champ C5 Hamilton car. In my family since 1958.
    sigpic
    1954 C5 Hamilton car.

  • #2
    Studebaker did not install traction bars on anything as early as 54. If you like the look go for what strikes your fancy. If you just want to eliminate wheel hop some guys add some leaves to their rear springs.
    If you search traction bar and springs you will find lots of discussion on this in the forum.

    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    1952 Champion Starlight w/overdrive. Searcy, Arkansas
    sigpic

    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup

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    • #3
      These are only needed if you have serious POWER under the hood! The '63 and '64 Avanti powered (Jet Thrust) Larks and Hawks had optional factory installed Traction bars installed like the ones Standard on the Avanti. These cars have a minimum of 240+ H.P. & over 300 Ft. Lbs. Torque and do NEED them to prevent axle windup.
      Any stock Studebaker older than that, did not have nearly the need for them unless they were Drag Raced.

      If you keep the Champion 6 in your car you will have no need for them, unless you want them for the "look". The factory ones have no "look", they are invisible unless you are under the car.

      StudeRich
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        From what I can gather, Bill Frick put Traction Masters on his Studillacs. Here's my uncle's car:

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        • #5
          For any Stude V8 with serious power, some "traction bar" modifications and a TwinTraction differential are mandatory.

          The OEM tapered axle is a weak point. When the right rear tire is hit with off-the-line horsepower, it begins spinning wildly, catching briefly and hopping up and down like a pogo stick as the leaf spring winds up and unwinds. Axle breakage is inevitable. The only unknown is how many drag race starts it will stand.

          The Studebaker OEM traction bars as installed on all Avantis and the package Super Hawk/Lark cars and the TwinTraction help some. They are not nearly as effective in preventing wheel hop as are aftermarket bars. In order of effectiveness, as based on lots of experience:
          1. OEM traction bars - rides best
          2. Adding an extra main leaf and clamps on the front halves - stiffens the ride
          3. Traction Master under-the-axle bars - stiffens the ride
          4. Slapper bars - looks boy-racer
          5. CalTracs bars are the best traction enhancer, bar none, but you'll have to fabricate your own.

          thnx, jack vines

          PackardV8
          PackardV8

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          • #6
            My Lark looks like a pogo stick when it spins the tires. I think new springs are needed, along with some kind of traction "enhancer".



            Jamie McLeod
            Hope Mills, NC
            Jamie McLeod
            Hope Mills, NC

            1963 Lark "Ugly Betty"
            1958 Commander "Christine"
            1964 Wagonaire "Louise"
            1955 Commander Sedan
            1964 Champ
            1960 Lark

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            • #7
              sigpic
              1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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              • #8
                Don't have any side shots of the '53. But here's one of a '55 Studillac with the bars.

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                • #9
                  Various types of 'traction devices' for rear axle control have been around for almost as long as the automobile.
                  Certainly from the post-war growth of 1/4 mile 'drag racing' in the late '40s and early '50s, hard take-offs revealed the control deficiencies of simple parallel leaf-spring rear suspensions,_ cars suffering from severe spring wind-up & 'axle hop' didn't just break parts, they lost races.
                  After experiencing that a couple of times, serious racers would improvise some form of traction device to prevent the inconvenience of expensive parts breakage, and to WIN at these acceleration contests.
                  (and as almost all of these 'Gas class' cars were driven to the strip, the embarrassment of needing to be hauled home on a hook)
                  As these early 'competition' vehicles, for the most part, were also the owners 'daily transportation' these traction aids usually showed up on the streets from the day they were installed.

                  My 259 powered '64 has more than enough torque to induce serious wheel-hop, especially if I bring the RPMs up, and 'dump the clutch' in a drag-racing type start, the same would have been the case on any similar equipped '51-'66 Stude, whether it be in 1951 or any time since.
                  However, it is not just 'racing' that reveals the need for traction devices, If you have a copy of the "STUDEBAKER GOLD BOOK" on pages 136-137 you can read the complaint the Motor Trend testers (Feb 1962 issue) had with the 210 hp Hawk's "terrific amount of rear-axle windup", other mentions of this problem are scattered throughout '50s & '60s road tests and drive reports, although it is as often as not, not mentioned, being endemic to so many makes and models.

                  'Traction Masters' is a brand name, and they were around for a looong time, I believe since the early '50s
                  By the late '50s and early '60s, racers wanted to flaunt their Hot Rod 'bad boy' images, and 'slapper bars' either 'chromed' or painted in bright and noticeable colors were the hot item to indicate a serious performance car, the 'hidden' and subdued style of the original 'Traction Masters' although they worked well enough, were passe in the days of the 'slappers' or the coveted 6 foot long 'Gasser Style' 'Ladder Bars'.
                  If you are building your car in '70s style, you have already answered your own question, by then 'slappers' (or ladders) were the rage.

                  Yes, Studebaker did install factory 'traction bars' beginning with the introduction of the Avanti, however the factory design was quite different in appearance than Traction Masters which were mounted below, and parallel with the spring leaves.
                  Still waiting for someone to post a photo or diagram of the actual factory set-up.

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                  • #10
                    Doing a quick search for "traction bars" in the subject line brings up ten threads.
                    At least one will be of help. I'm sure there are more to be found if you look deeper...


                    StudeDave '57 [8D]
                    StudeDave '57
                    US Navy (retired)

                    3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                    SDC Member since 1985

                    past President
                    Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                    San Diego Chapter SDC

                    past Vice President
                    San Diego Chapter SDC
                    North Florida Chapter SDC

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                    • #11
                      Thanks StudeDave57, but every time I try I get a 'time out' message. I use the exact phrase 'traction bars' for all forums. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks for any assistance. Junior.



                      54 Champ C5 Hamilton car. In my family since 1958.
                      sigpic
                      1954 C5 Hamilton car.

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                      • #12
                        My Coupe has homemade "Lakewood" style traction bars. The aftermarket style hang down too low, so I made my own by taking a piece of plate and welded a piece of rectangular stock to it. I drilled the plate to act as the lower plate under the springs. Its worked OK for a couple of decades so far. You can see them (yellow) in the pic below.

                        sals54
                        sals54

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                        • #13
                          Here's my '54 with slapper bars, Phil Harris flanged axles, 4.27 gears with a Richmond Gear locker in the stock Dana 44. No wheel hop...

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hchNhT2oq3w

                          Dick Steinkamp
                          Bellingham, WA

                          Dick Steinkamp
                          Bellingham, WA

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                          • #14
                            http://tractionmaster.com/
                            Jessie is correct in that Traction Master has been around since the 1950's (according to their website).


                            Lark ala mode
                            In the middle of Minnesota
                            sigpic
                            In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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                            • #15
                              I have vintage Traction Masters on my mild custom 55 President. My car had been entertained on the dragstrips in the late 50s and early 60s and the bars have been there presumable from the late 50s. When I got the car I took them out, cleaned them a bit and put in new bushings and they do work fine and do help with the wheelhop even though I drive with a pretty light right foot.[:I]

                              I have now a McCulloch powered 289 from 57 GH under the hoood with a floor shifted 3-speed. The rear is a Dana 44 with TT and 3.54 gears.[]

                              Some pics (2008)here ( .. it is a driver ... not show.. some progress since that with the car..)

                              http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...64371389gVSjai

                              http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...64371389ZKYoVt





                              Pekka

                              1955 President State Coupe

                              1961 Lark Regal VIII Convertible
                              sigpic

                              1960 Lark VIII Regal convertible - 1964 Daytona Wagonaire

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