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  • 1956-58 custom convertibles?

    Hi
    Does anyone recall seeing any of the '56-'58 sedan series customized into convertibles? Other than a '57 President Classic in Australia pictured in TW, I have never seen any pictured in this country.
    I wonder if maybe someone encountered such cars in the late '50's/early '60's when those cars were plentiful and cheap, just what customizers seemed to use for such jobs.
    I like the idea, would love to build a '56-'58 President convertible, though finding solid usable basis and parts up here in the rust belt is nearly impossible now.
    Regards
    Steve

  • #2
    quote:Originally posted by 56H-Y6

    Hi
    Does anyone recall seeing any of the '56-'58 sedan series customized into convertibles? Other than a '57 President Classic in Australia pictured in TW, I have never seen any pictured in this country.
    I wonder if maybe someone encountered such cars in the late '50's/early '60's when those cars were plentiful and cheap, just what customizers seemed to use for such jobs.
    I like the idea, would love to build a '56-'58 President convertible, though finding solid usable basis and parts up here in the rust belt is nearly impossible now.
    Regards
    Steve
    <h4>I've never seen or heard of late 50's Stude sedans being turned into convertables. Any other details...pics...links???

    The Hudson's '53 is the only one I've seen and it was made from a K body...



    Here they are at the GoodGuys meet in Spokane following the SDC International meet. It looks like Steve has just noticed that the top is missing

    Seems like making a convert out of a Sedan would be a tougher job than making one out of a hardtop. I also can't picture it being as good looking as one from a hardtop (but I don't have much of an imagination).

    -Dick-</h4>
    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA

    Comment


    • #3
      This is an idea that I have given a lot of thought to over the years as the first Stude I ever rode in was a '56 President, and I've always liked the '56-'57 sedan's style.
      It seems the easiest and most practical way to build a convertible version would be to employ the body tub from a '59-'60 Lark convertible and mount it to the earlier frame, welding in the Lark's X-member first, with a little trimming and welding, the earlier body's inner and outer quarters should fit well. (Remember, the '59 Lark was 'just' a '56-'58 body shell shortened-up front and rear)
      and with the '56-'58 frame, all the front sheetmetal should bolt right up.
      With sharp two-tone paint, WWW, and a supercharged 289, this one would be really cool to park next to those the '57 C***y and F**d 'vert's.

      Comment


      • #4
        Boy the '53-'54 would have made great factory convertibles!! What a nice looking machine.

        Dan White
        64 R1 GT
        64 R2 GT
        Dan White
        64 R1 GT
        64 R2 GT
        58 C Cab
        57 Broadmoor (Marvin)

        Comment


        • #5
          Jessie, 56H-Y6, we think alike! I've got this 57 President 2-door that I've given brief consideration to soft-topping, but it's too rare a car in it's own right to do that to.
          However, it would be OK with me to sacrafice a Commander or Champion 2-door to an exercise like this! Just need that 60 Lark ragtop (they didn't have a ragtop in '59 Jess)to fuse tub and X-frame from.
          Almost amazing to me that it hasn't been done before but then the sedans have always taken a back seat to the "darling" C-Ks. The irony of that is that the sedans WAY outsold the C-Ks over time.
          The sedans are much better riding and creature comfort cars than the C-Ks. I've owned both over time. I'd much rather set out on a long drive in a W, F, D, J or P bodied car than a C or K. An L-bodied 57H would be really special![]

          Miscreant at large.

          1957 Transtar 1/2ton
          1960 Larkvertible V8
          1958 Provincial wagon
          1953 Commander coupe
          1957 President 2-dr
          1955 President State
          1951 Champion Biz cpe
          1963 Daytona project FS
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mr. Biggs,
            Boy, you said what I've felt all along. Contrary to what many people have said about the '53 to '58 sedans, I have always liked them. My take on these cars has always been that they ride better and are more comfortable than the C and K.
            Actually, I wouldn't mind adding one of those cars to my '59 Lark hardtop.
            Rog
            '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
            Smithtown,NY
            Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club

            Comment


            • #7
              Jim Maloney from CT also made a '53 Stude convertible. I don't remember details about the frame, but he did use a Lark convertible top frame and related bits. The top bows had to be narrowed for the C-K body. Fit and finish came out well.


              Gary Ash
              Dartmouth, MA
              '48 M5
              '65 Wagonaire Commander
              '63 Wagonaire Standard
              www.studegarage.com
              Gary Ash
              Dartmouth, Mass.

              '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
              ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
              '48 M5
              '65 Wagonaire Commander
              '63 Wagonaire Standard
              web site at http://www.studegarage.com

              Comment


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

                Jessie, 56H-Y6, we think alike! I've got this 57 President 2-door that I've given brief consideration to soft-topping, but it's too rare a car in it's own right to do that to.
                However, it would be OK with me to sacrafice a Commander or Champion 2-door to an exercise like this! Just need that 60 Lark ragtop (they didn't have a ragtop in '59 Jess)to fuse tub and X-frame from.
                Almost amazing to me that it hasn't been done before but then the sedans have always taken a back seat to the "darling" C-Ks. The irony of that is that the sedans WAY outsold the C-Ks over time.
                The sedans are much better riding and creature comfort cars than the C-Ks. I've owned both over time. I'd much rather set out on a long drive in a W, F, D, J or P bodied car than a C or K. An L-bodied 57H would be really special![]
                It has always seemed to me that Studebaker made a real blunder by not having any convertible model's available between '52 and '60, the decade when the convertible was the darling and style leader of all the major manufactures, and the hottest new advertising medium, TV commercials, were prominently showcasing the fanciest convertible in every manufactures model line-up.
                Kids were dragging mom and pop into the dealerships, and they were driving away in that brand-new *****- 4 door sedan, based on the appeal of the rag-tops.
                What would have been the impact on Studebaker's image if they had followed the rest of the auto industries practice and topped their '56 model line-up with a handsome and luxurious supercharged President convertible? I am inclined to think that it would have greatly increased showroom traffic.
                In my opinion, although the Hawk's were nice cars, their entirely different styling contributed very little to boost the sales of the 'bread and butter' sedan lines.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Oh, maybe you mean one of THESE convertibles...



                  Gary Ash
                  Dartmouth, MA
                  '48 M5
                  '65 Wagonaire Commander
                  '63 Wagonaire Standard
                  www.studegarage.com
                  Gary Ash
                  Dartmouth, Mass.

                  '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
                  ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
                  '48 M5
                  '65 Wagonaire Commander
                  '63 Wagonaire Standard
                  web site at http://www.studegarage.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Makes even the '58 look good!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I, too think a mid-'50s Stude convertible would be a cool custom. Have you ever noticed there is quite a resemblance between the '56 Champion cars and the '55-'56 Fords? Quite a few body lines, and in particular, the headlight treatment are similar.

                      I've often though it'd be neat (but a HUGE project) to take a '56 2 door, chop the top, and then section the whole body vertically by about 3 inches, and shorten it at the same time, to end up with a Stude having about the dimensions of an early T-bird.

                      Maybe if I win the lottery....[8D]

                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Geez Gary! Where'd you find (fabricate?) that photo. Yeah - THAT'S my idea of KEWL!

                        Miscreant at large.

                        1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                        1960 Larkvertible V8
                        1958 Provincial wagon
                        1953 Commander coupe
                        1957 President 2-dr
                        1955 President State
                        1951 Champion Biz cpe
                        1963 Daytona project FS
                        No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi
                          Thanks to all for your interesting responses. While I love the K-bodied convertible conversion now appearing, the sedan-based cars are generally overlooked and always overshadowed. Indeed, the lack of sedan series based convertibles and hardtops in the '53-'58 period was a real sales promotional deficit.
                          For those who have considered the idea of converting a car you own, I can just be encouraging. Just make sure the result is completed and is well done; consistent with what the factory would have produced.
                          While it's true the '56-'58 President 2 door is a real rarity, correctly converted by using the '60 Lark body structure and support units would produce a worthwhile car that we'd all appreciate.
                          Regards
                          Steve

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Geez, Mr. Biggs, you are such a tough audience, LOL! Would you doubt the veracity of pictures? So, here from Gary's amazing collection of absolutely real cars is a '54 convertible, 2-door "sedan" body. Boy, is Gene Casanelli going to be pissed when he sees what I did with a Sawzall and his recently restored 2-door sedan. Is THAT what you all wanted? &lt;G&gt;


                            Gary Ash
                            Dartmouth, MA
                            '48 M5
                            '65 Wagonaire Commander
                            '63 Wagonaire Standard
                            www.studegarage.com
                            Gary Ash
                            Dartmouth, Mass.

                            '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
                            ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
                            '48 M5
                            '65 Wagonaire Commander
                            '63 Wagonaire Standard
                            web site at http://www.studegarage.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That is handsome looking!
                              Jeff (Looking for SawZall blades..)[8D]


                              quote:Originally posted by garyash
                              &lt;snip&gt;
                              So, here from Gary's amazing collection of absolutely real cars is a '54 convertible, 2-door "sedan" body. Boy, is Gene Casanelli going to be pissed when he sees what I did with a Sawzall and his recently restored 2-door sedan. Is THAT what you all wanted? &lt;G&gt;
                              Gary Ash
                              Dartmouth, MA
                              '48 M5
                              '65 Wagonaire Commander
                              '63 Wagonaire Standard
                              www.studegarage.com
                              DEEPNHOCK at Cox.net
                              '37 Coupe Express
                              '37 Coupe Express Trailer
                              '61 Hawk

                              http://community.webshots.com/user/deepnhock
                              HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

                              Jeff


                              Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



                              Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

                              Comment

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