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Lancaster, CA - '64 Daytona (Commander, Cruiser???) It's Home - #1

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  • Lancaster, CA - '64 Daytona (Commander, Cruiser???) It's Home - #1

    Well, I got the "mystery" Studebaker out of Lancaster CA. on Wednesday.

    I've bought a lot of cars in my 53 years and some I buy a bit on faith - with not too much of an expectation. That said the Ebay ad was a bit misleading. That whole bit about "It starts right up and drives down the road nicely." And "The motor runs cool and maintains excellent oil pressure" isn't quite on the money.

    When I arrived they were pouring gas into the carburetor. When it started it was obvious there was no muffler (the pipe was only about 12" beyond were it "Y's.") They drive it out and when I get in to drive it onto the trailer he tells me there are no brakes! Even the parking brake ever and I do mean e-v-e-r so barely works. Somehow with bodies pushing/pulling and I popping it in and out of gear (that is how I found out reverse is where low normally is!!!) we managed to get the car on the trailer. Immediately I see anti freeze running down the trailer floor.

    Now, like I said I have learned to buffer my expectations. So, while I wasn't expecting this, I was "dealing" with it. However, this was minor compared to the surprise when I first laid my eyes on the car. The real shocker was the cracked windshield!!! That (based on the Ebay pictures and the lack of disclosure) I was NOT expecting. Anyway, I bought it, I'll have to live with it.

    So, besides all that, what did I get? The car appears very unmolested and original. Well..., as original as a car can be for not being what it's build numbers identify it to be. Whenever the ''65/'66 parts were swapped onto this '64 car it sure must have been a LONG time ago. Frankly it looked like it was built that way. However, there are tell-tale signs of fender panel replacement by the blue paint showing in places.

    The engine is Chevy for sure, black, not gold as I seem to see on other Studebaker's. The intake does have "Canada" cast into it. A Canada car for sure with block heaters. As someone suspected it seems to have had the full drivetrain update. The tranny is water cooled, the rear is flanged with 3.07 gears, NO trac-loc :-( .

    Oh, yes, I also recall the comment about the floors being good. Trust me I have never seen a California car that spent anytime outdoors that didn't have floor rust. It rains, water leaks in, it gets trapped under the carpet, it rusts. In my case the rust in mostly in the front. I'm just getting too old to replace another floor. So, I'll use POR-15 a and a fabric matting. I'm pretty articulate in how I lay the fabric and how many coat I use. I've done it in other cars with marginal floors and it works fine. It will surely last my lifetime.

    Yesterday I bleed the brakes so it would stop and started sorting the car out. That included joyously cutting up that flowered kitchen carpet. :-) Today I got the pressure washer out and hit the very thick, crusty oil/dirt layers in the engine and front suspension. Why, once I got the "gunk" off the freeze plug behind the starter..., it was obvious why there was a leak. The gunk WAS the freeze plug!

    Anyway, as much as I'm extremely disappointed with the windshield, I'm actually rather content with the car. The things that are wrong I can fix. Given that it is 46 years old, it still has good "bones." If this car spent time in Canada it sure doesn't show like a rust belt car. I have seem lifetime California cars half this cars age that looked far worse.

    My goal is not to make this car pristine. Rather it is to "arrest decay" and improve where I reasonably can. I've been a "Pick A Part" guy my whole life. So, a nice set of bucket seats at their 50% off sale will replace the worn out bench. I have used $25 of black, indoor/outdoor carpeting with great success and will continue with this car. I won't go crazy with the engine, but an aluminum manifold and a 4 bbl. are likely to happen. Maybe dual exhaust or a 2-1/2" single. I've already got my eyes out for nice wheels. I can go with aluminum or say..., Mopar Cop car wheels like I have on my Valiant. It's all about the "deal" I get on them.

    Lastly I might go to a T-5 as I am familiar with them in my Turbo Pinto. But that is a lot further down the road. Like I said it's all about the deal I get on stuff. I don't buy stuff because I want it, I buy stuff because it was a great price. Otherwise I live with what I have.

    Thanks everyone for making a new guy feel welcome. Lastly a thanks to my friend Matt. He is legally blind yet runs a blimp photography company. It was his trunk and trailer that got "Stewie" ( my car) home on Wednesday. And no, don't worry, he wasn't driving.

    Attached Files
    Last edited by wittsend; 07-23-2010, 08:17 PM.
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

  • #2
    It's a Daytona!

    Nice car, a bit of original patina is a good thing!

    I see she got the premo ride home, enclosed trailer with Helium (hi-ride) "floating, suspension !
    Last edited by StudeRich; 07-23-2010, 08:46 PM.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
    SDC Member Since 1967


    • #3
      Tom; sent you an email thru the forum. Let me know if you receive it. Thanks!

      studedick from the lower Ozarks


      • #4
        Dick, it has been a few hours and no email.

        Studerich, That was the first time the trailer hauled a car. Crazy that it typically holds the blimp - which is lighter than air!

        '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.


        • #5
          I have a Lancaster CA too!

          I just read your post. Where do I find the beginning of this saga? I like the car and your plans for it. I learned my '63 Lark Custom was originally from Antelope Motors in Lancaster and if you come up with a license plate frame, from there, I will add a few dollars to your restoration fund. Good luck and remember to have fun with your new project. Huck, in Detroit/Dearborn
          Gary Hildebrandt


          • #6
            Tom; Give me a call 501 247 6828.

            studedick from the lower Ozarks


            • #7
              Thanks for filling us in. I have to admire your low-key approach to this car. Something tells me that you're on top of the situation and will have a nice car to drive in the end.
              Good luck.
              '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
              Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club