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Seeking an old friend

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  • Seeking an old friend

    My first car was a 1959 Lark 8 with two speed automatic. I was the second owner, and it was my first experience with Studebaker, since my Grandfather rebuilt a '57 scottsman station wagon when I was seven. That was one great little car. Easy to work on and drive. Sadly I sold it to buy my late Grandfather's 1968 Volvo 164. My second Studebaker was a Lark two door with the infamous 6cylinder and two speed automatic. Again, second owner. It was pristine inside, and out. I lost a heater hose and the head at the same time. Fast forward, and my last stude was a 1963 Wagonaire. The engine had been swapped out for a crappy Chevy v8 paired with a checker two speed auto. When I asked the owner if it leaked, he said the seals were new! That is when research and good information is necessary when buying a Stude. I had no garage. The car leaked, water got into the fuel system, not an ideal situation for a really beautiful wagon. Sold to a fine fellow in Santa Clarita, he travelled all the way to Santa Rosa to trailer it back to his home. So now, I just want another 'old friend' to drive daily. A lark, of course. I travelled this weekend in the nastiest downpour two hours north to Ft. Bragg, Ca. where a young fellow had a Lark Regal two door hardtop with V8 and two speed auto. His ad said: Great driver, no rust, garaged. Not used much. time to sell. The photo revealed a cherry red lark with the dual headlight feature, and nicely updated interior. All the stainless was in good shape. My wife and I fell in love as soon as we entered the garage it was stored in. I took a walk checking all the known spots - and there was rust, and some bondo, and some serious bondo on the roof above the front seats. But all in all, fun to look at and drive. I don't want a show car, just a daily driver. The interior was good, floor pans good. I turn the key - Nothing! I drove two plus hours to get to this, after emailing and talking on the phone with the owner. He was 13 when his 'god grandparents' left the car to his family, so this car has emotional value to him. We agreed on a revised price of 4,000.00 for the car, in a cashiers check all in advance. I asked if the car would make it two hours over a coastal ridge back to my home. He was concerned about the bias ply tires needing replacement, and that helped get the price down from 4500.00.
    Eventually, after a jump start and 30 minutes of attempts, it fires up. The 259 V8 roars and sounds strong. Time to take it for a little drive. I check the braking, and it pulls hard right, with fade. this is a single master cylinder feeding all four tires. The bias ply's are rock hard. The transmission linkage is out of sync, and is not happy with a hard kick of a shift into gear, when I find it between low and Reverse! We really love the look of this car, even with the obvious bad bondo work, and the interior is comfortable. I am really saddened that the car isn't coming home. How could it? It wasn't a 'great driver', much less safe. The owner offered to trailer it to Santa Rosa if we really wanted it. He realized that, after I let him know exactly what condition it was in, that he wasn't going to get 4000.00, and wanted to know what it would take to make it work for me."would a new battery help?" Oy. He wants a studebaker fan to own it. But when I suggested 3000.00 before I even made the trip of two plus hours, He said he would rather just keep it in the family. So now, after a lovely drive home along the coast, and another day to think about everything, I find I am just angry that some people can't be honest about what they have to sell, much less are informed about what they are selling. I priced a rebuild for the transmission, and it is ballpark 1500.00. plus new tires, a complete brake overhaul and upgrade to a dual master cylinder makes it about 4000.00 to have a fun and beautiful daily driver, that is safe. It will still have the body rot and weird roofline. I don't want a project. I just want a safe and fun car to drive to work and back. Well, thanks for reading. If there is anyone in the Sonoma Count

  • #2
    Welcome to the Forum.
    Sorry to here your Stude adventure didn't turn out well. I'm about 3 hrs North of Ft. Bragg. I've wanted to look at the car but I interested in a different one right now. Studes that sit need TLC. Brakes redone are a given for safety reasons. As for the trans, they are tough old birds. They are actually a 3sp auto even though the selector only shows two. Most times the engine & trans mounts are shot causing bad shifts, rough engagements ect. and doesn't need rebuild. It could be low on fluid. I see in your post that you don't want a project. You found the right place to find a Stude. Some one here probably has what your looking for in a Lark.



    • #3
      Welcome to the forum. Sit back and enjoy the company. You'll find just the right car for you before you know it.

      Venice, Florida
      1950 Champion
      9G F1


      • #4
        Great advice Doug, There is lots to enjoy---[8D]