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    Hello to the group,
    I'm a new member that is really thinking seriously about restoring either a '53 or 54 Starliner 2 dr coupe. My first car at 15 (in 1955) was a 53 Champian 2 dr., and I loved it. My father had purchased it as a "second car", and on my 15th birthday, gave me the "back half" of the car. I then had to "purchase" the front half for $300. This was what he had paid for the car in 1954.
    As you can tell that was many moons ago.
    While going to high school, the 6 banger was replaced by a rebuilt and strengthened Chevy 327 V8. I traded some pinstriping on a buddy's car for an aftermarket manifold with 3-2s on the top, the three speed overdrive tranny was replaced by a Cad//Lasalle 4 speed tranny. I paid around $40 for a used Hurst shifter for the floorshift linkage. The Cad/Lasalle box was considered to be one of the really hot setup at the time; and the rear end was replaced by a very strong Ford unit which fitted in just fine.
    What I really loved about how the car looked was that I also fitted in 3 1/2" dropped spindles, which really put the nose on the ground yet gave full suspension travel for the ride. You could sit comfortably in the front bench seat and yet not see the hood at all.
    Because I did all of the work on the car myself, with guidence from my pals in high school, I was given birthday money (along with what I earned with after school jobs) for a full white naugahyde "Tiahuana job" tuck and rolled interior (with real cotten backing instead of "straw") as a birthday present from my folks.
    I then bought the body working supplies and filled in the two lower hood openings while cleaning up the front area in general, filled in the holes where all the emblems used to be, frenched in the front headlights and tail light covers, blended in the lower front valence into the front fenders where the front bumper had been, and then made up a set of nerf bars for the front end and ended by fabricating and "rolling" the rear pan.
    The final touch was a 6 coat deep red/burgundy metalflake paint job that I had shot on as I didn't know how to shoot paint mat the time. It was really the only thing that I didn't do.
    The 53 and 54 "Stude" was one of the favorite cars to customize in my high school and we had a club that had 12 of them in various levels of repair and/or customized when I graduated. Pontiac power transfers were more popular with the 348 V8 being used, but I liked the lighter, higher reving 327 Chevy better.
    Many years have pasted with many cars -- not one being a "stocker. My last "rodding" endeavor was an 89 Ford Probe with an EFI 3.2 liter Buick V8 sitting crosswise in the front. The block was tilted backwards 30 degrees (like a lot of the circle track racers do)so that if you gave the engine compartment a quick "look see", you would only see one head -- the other head was down next to the firewall. It really worked well and made "believers" out of a lot of kids in their Hondas. The V8 engine with almost 3 times the power as the engine it replaced, was almost the same weight and was mated to a beefed up Probe GT automatic transmission so my wife would drive it. She only drives automatics so I have had to have beefed up B&M hydro setups in all of our cars, especially my 91 Probe GT with it's Buick Grand National turbocharger setup.
    But being retired from engineering now, having the time to do this after some successful but pretty serious surgeries; my "better half" has let me know that she wouldn't mind me trying to resurrect that first car again. She understands me well and will undoubtably be a great help along the way.
    After reading some of the latest threads on this sight; I hope that I won't be looked upon as one of those guys that "mess up" a car by not rebuilding it to stock specks; as I would like to be able to come to the members here for advice on things that I have not followed in years.
    Anyway, if anybody is interested, I will be looking to purchase a restorable Stude in the future, get started, and possibly contribute t

  • #2
    Welcome to our fun little hobby. When you get ready for a coupe, drop me a line. I buy and sell a few every year. I have this one coming in to Maryland from New Mexico next week for some prep work before Ebay.

    Studebaker On The Net
    64 R2 4 speed Challenger
    63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
    63 Avanti
    54 3R Pickup

    JDP Maryland


    • #3
      quote:I hope that I won't be looked upon as one of those guys that "mess up" a car by not rebuilding it to stock specks;
      Welcome to the club!

      Several of us assembled here have modified cars, and we get along OK.

      You will have some that will not like what you are doing, but that have the common courtesty to keep their mouths shut. You might actually encounter a jerk or two that feel compelled to tell you what an idiot they think you are, but just ingnore them, they are not worth the effort.

      Hope you find a car to work on soon, and keep us posted!
      Dave Lester


      • #4
        Welcome to the forum. I am only slightly older than you and also a retired engineer with a similar taste in cars. Sitting in my garage is a '54 Commander Starliner with a Chevrolet 350 V8, 350 THM, ps, Bobcat/Mustang II front end, a custom interior from headliner to carpet based on Toyota buckets and the car is candy apple red.

        Are you looking for a builder to reconstruct what you had or would you rather buy something mostly done? Whatever course of action you take, I suggest starting with a good body from a no/low rust area.

        Gary L.
        1954 Commander Starliner (restomod)
        1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer


        • #5
          Welcome, Scott.

          Plenty of us here that like both stock and modified/custom Studebakers. I have a '54 Starliner with a 327 and T10 4 speed.

          Where are you located? I might have a line on a builder Starliner.

          BTW, a Starliner is a hardtop, a Starlight is a coupe. Which are you looking for?

          Dick Steinkamp
          Bellingham, WA


          • #6
            Welcome Scott, you have stumbled into quite a place. We're all certifiable here. Seriously their is no better place to go, for information, parts aquisition, and anything else Studebaker. The wealth of combined knowledge here is unreal. Stock or modified-- It's your car, do it your way. In any event,Pictures we need lots of Pictures.


            • #7
              I just want, as Paul Harvey says, the "rest of the story"!

              What happened to your original car?!?

              Robert K. Andrews Owner- IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)


              • #8

                Buy the best '53-'54 you can find to start with is the only way to do it ... no rust ...
                so many rod builders start with prime original examples... and they are the smart ones ....

                I have a friend in Gardnerville NV that has a 1954 Starliner, Mustang II frt suspension Chevy 350/400, Ford 9" rear, perfect body over $25,000 in it ... but needs final touches he asking $14K.. he is a perfectionist .... so it is done correct using the best stuff..

                then I have a guy in Marysville CA ...that has a what I call a "roller Heartache" 1953 Starliner for $400 bucks or less with extra body & panels .. and NO GRILLE

                if you want their ph numbers email me

                and when you buy one, keep in mind, you can never pay too much .... just pay too soon ....
                you'll hear a lot of conversation about prices here ... time has a way of making the price correct in a year or two .... as I look back of all the rust free California 53's-54's that I have parted with I wish I could have them all back ..,

                and one other point .. the garage floor is really cold & hard once you pass 60...
                buy a done car ... enjoy it today ...

                Folsom CA

                "Lone Dog ... No Woof"




                • #9
                  WELCOME Scott!

                  As Pat said we are "certifiable" but love the Studebakers! Incidentally you should see his Studillac that he has "uncovered."

                  Hang around here & get "hooked!"


                  • #10
                    He might get mad at me for doing this since he doesn't have any wheel covers on it yet, [:0] but here's a pic of his Studillac. He let me put the first mile on it since he's owned it. When I parked it, the bottom radiator hose blew. [V] I also went with him to get it, and even steered it into his brand new garage. Pat's a perdy good fella.

                    Matthew Burnette, the 16 year old Stude nut. South Georgia Chapter

                    63 Daytona HT (project)
                    51 Stude dump truck (yes, I won the raffle)
                    52 Commander Starliner (basket case)

                    MANY more Studes in the family and a few parts cars
                    And here:


                    • #11
                      Welcome to our nuthouse Scott!
                      I don't want to throw any oil on the mod/original fire,but the nice old gent that bought my 56 Transtar was telling me he just sold a nice 56 Golden Hawk, to a guy that is hot rodding it!
                      Again Im not saying thats right or wrong,just seems very unusual.
                      Why not start with just an ordinary Hawk?


                      • #12

                        you said that you are having problems with email

                        you asked for that ph number of the 53 Starliner in Marysville CA
                        here it is 530-743-0759 $400 (and no extra charge for the rust & mice)

                        Please post your location that will help this "mob" locate a car near you don't want to spend $1,000 towing a $400 heart ache

                        near Folsom Prison .. (but not in it)
                        Folsom CA

                        "Lone Dog ... No Woof"




                        • #13


                          • #14
                            Good to hear about your earlier experiences, Scott.

                            Don't worry about the modified stuff too much. Sometimes we all get caught up in the debate, but it's really not usually an issue within the club. At least with Studebakers you're not looking at sacrificing thousands of dollars in value simply by not repainting the car the exact color it came from the factory, like Kaiser Darrins (NO, I AM NOT KIDDING - IT'S TRUE!).

                            Good luck finding your car!
                            " the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.


                            • #15
                              quote:Originally posted by Scott
                              At least with Studebakers you're not looking at sacrificing thousands of dollars in value simply by not repainting the car the exact color it came from the factory, like Kaiser Darrins (NO, I AM NOT KIDDING - IT'S TRUE!).
                              A few years back when I was having my "other" car repainted I stopped by the body shop frequently to check on the progress (I knew the owner so it was okay) and among the many projects that came and went while the Bearcat was in the shop was a 1968 (soft rear window) Porsche 911 Targa.
                              The owner had to repaint in in a deep maroom because the factory color was coded on a body tag and the Porsche nuts would kill him (and its value would drop) if he didn't go back to factory correct color.

                              63 Avanti R1 2788
                              1914 Stutz Bearcat
                              (George Barris replica)

                              Washington State
                              63 Avanti R1 2788
                              1914 Stutz Bearcat
                              (George Barris replica)

                              Washington State