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  • 63 Lark - what to look for?

    Hi guys,

    I'm a longtime Studebaker fan, but have never owned one. I have a chance to purchase a '63 Lark Custom 2-door post coupe for $3500. It's a straight, rust-free California car with the 259/3-speed auto combo.

    Since the world of Studes is new to me (as an owner - been a Pontiac guy all my life), could you tell me what, if any "gotchas" I should be looking for when I go to look this car over?

    Many thanks,

    Clark in California

  • #2
    Basically no 'gotchas'that you wouldn't find with any other old cars. Drive it,see how it feels. [price sure sounds right!!!]

    LaSalle,Il
    61Hawk
    60Lark
    Oglesby,Il.

    Comment


    • #3
      Clark, Welcome to our world; such fun you will have.

      If it is, indeed, rust free, your 95% home. Normal rust occurs in lip above headlights, at back edge of front fenders, front floor corners, front lower corners of rear fenders, rear corners inside trunk and in top bolt rails inside trunk. If those areas look good you're a lucky man.

      Mechanically, this car is 43 years old and you should expect to address the brakes, wiring harness, etc. If you've been a Pontiac motorhead, you should Know what to look for; nothing out of the ordinary.

      You'll find parts and support more readily available for Studebakers than you ever could for those Chieftains, nice though they were.

      Tell us more![8D]
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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      • #4
        I have a special place in my heart for the 63's. My mother's first car was a blue 63 Lark Cruiser. I remember riding in it listening to the Carpenters and Neil Diamond on the 8- track player, and watching the road pass by through the holes in the rear floorboards. She still has it sitting out in the barn. I say go for it. What kind of used car would 3500 buy you?, A souless blob of a transportation pod, that's what.

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        • #5
          "the Carpenters and Neil Diamond"

          Now that makes me feel old.
          "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

          Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
          Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
          sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:I remember riding in it listening to the Carpenters and Neil Diamond on the 8- track player, and watching the road pass by through the holes in the rear floorboards.
            You owe me a keyboard.


            www.davesplaceinc.com
            sigpic
            Dave Lester

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            • #7
              LOL. I'm sorry about that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the advice, guys. I'm going to drive the car today and will snap some pix for you.

                I've loved Studebakers since I was in high school; an officer of the local SDC chapter lived down the street from me and he had a '56 Golden Hawk and a '57 Silver Hawk, and one of the teachers at my school arrived driving a '62 GT Hawk. I've waited a long time to drive a Stude, so I hope this one works out

                Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  Last week, after my regular visit to the blood bank (GIVING of course - giving[:I]), I set out to return home in the Transtar. I don't know if it was the Transtar or my inate sense of Studebaker detection, but I spotted a '63 Lark 2-door sitting on a side street with a For Sale sign in the side window.
                  I wheeled around (after checking traffic of course!) and went back to have a look-see. What I found was a very tired 63 Regal 2-door - V8, 3spd OD, radio delete plate still in place. Rust was starting to bulge out the rear of the front fenders, taillight lenses were busted bad, dents and dings galore to compliment the rotting interior. The For Sale placard made sure you knew how RARE this car was and that it had new tires, new exhaust and nice, shiny, plastic wheel covers[xx(] FORTY-FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS would make this parts source yours![8]

                  BTW, Clark - I'm in Visalia, CA. I sure hope this isn't the same car you're looking at! Also, I have a 63 Daytona hardtop project I'd like to find a home for. Some assembly required.

                  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


                  • #10
                    1963 Larks are great drivers,easy(and cheap) to get parts for,and the 259/auto is peppy and bullet proof. The only gotcha I can think of thats any different from any other car of this age is the dashes tended to crack,but new replacment covers are avaible from Studebaker International.
                    Hope you have a blast with it!

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                    • #11
                      One minor thing to set you straight. The car is not a "coupe", but rather is a two door sedan.

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

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hey Mr. Biggs, that's not it This one's a little further south.

                        Studegary, I stand corrected. Us Ponti-yakkers just call anything with two doors and posts a "coupe" out of habit

                        Clark

                        Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, I just came back with my buddy from checking out the Lark. The body is indeed just as straight and rust free as it looked - not a spot anywhere, and I looked at it underneath, sideways and every which way. A truly solid little sedan.

                          Unfortunatley, the motor is in a world of hurt. It's got a low-end knock at idle that's really alarming; sounds like a rod knocking - maybe a bad bearing? It clears up as the RPMs rise, but at idle it was so strong we could feel it through the valve covers. It'll need to be pulled and rebuilt.

                          I'm on the fence here...!

                          Clark

                          Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            sure it wasn't just a lifter ticking? Studes used solid lifter cams in all cars (except the Packard-engined 56J) you know...

                            got a real good deal once on a Dodge Dart (slant six) because of the unholy racket from under the hood (among other scary but easy to address issues)

                            how's the oil pressure? run it long enough to see what it was at hot idle?

                            nate

                            --
                            55 Commander Starlight
                            62 Daytona hardtop
                            http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel
                            --
                            55 Commander Starlight
                            http://members.cox.net/njnagel

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No, it was no lifter - my buddy put it in gear and stood on the brake while I got under and listened, and the noise was definitely coming from the bottom end. Sounded like right inside the pan.

                              We kept it idling in park for a while to warm it up and then drove it around the neighborhood for a good bit, stopping to perform the get-out-and-listen. Oil pressure seemed good, gauge was indicating well above 40 lbs. at idle.

                              I dunno, what do you guys think? If it wasn't for how solid the body was, I wouldn't even be thinking about it. I pulled back the carpet and climbed into the trunk, and there's no sign of moisture anywhere. Floor is solid front and back.

                              Somebody did a kind of amateur job on the interior; new carpet and (non-stock) seats. Vinyl headliner that's sagging a little. Weird thing is someone covered the dash in pleated vinyl - the whole dash, even the glove box. Can't get to it at all!

                              Clark

                              Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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