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How many on the forum drive an OHV 6?

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  • How many on the forum drive an OHV 6?

    I was talking to a friend yesterday that is converting a 6 cyl Lark to a V-8. He bought the car (not a running car anyway) fully intending to switch it to a V-8. He said the 6 is too underpowered although he personally has never driven one! It's been several years now but I used to drive a Lark with an OHV 6 and I thought it was fine. The OHV 6 has never received alot of love among the Stude crowd (I assume do to the head issues) but their were actually more Larks sold with a 6 than a V-8. All this made me curious how many on the forum drive an OHV 6, what are you driving impressions and general opinions on the engine? Any fans of the OHV 6? This is meant to be a light-hearted post, not a V-8 versus 6 post.

    Last edited by irish; 09-10-2010, 07:06 AM.

    1962 Daytona
    1964 Cruiser
    And a few others

  • #2
    I have an ohv 6 in my '61 Lark wagon. Obviously it doesn't have the power of the 289 in my '63 or '57, but it is fine for a daily driver. Even Bill Cathcart, an avowed flathead guy, says the ohv 6 in his '63 is a solid engine. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me!
    '63 Cruiser
    '57 Packard wagon
    '61 Lark Regal 4 dr wagon
    '50 Commander 4 dr sedan


    • #3
      My '62 Champ truck has the OHV 6 and it runs great. I'm not going to win any races with it and the lack of OD keeps the top speed around 60mph but it is a lot of fun to cruise around in. Very easy to work on. Just don't lug it when you dirve.

      1964 Daytona Convertible
      1964 Daytona Hardtop
      1962 Champ Truck
      1957 Golden Hawk


      • #4
        I have one in a 62 Lark 4dr, but I don,t get to drive it much, because people keep borrowing it. Matthew drove it for nearly a year untill the trans went south. Then my son James replaced the tranny, painted it, and has had it ever since.
        As stated, no speed demon but a good economical car. I like it. NT
        Neil Thornton


        • #5
          I'd suggest the OHV 6 is an improvement on the flathead, but still somewhat of a dangerous "driver" these days. I say that if you do any amount of highway driving. I'm speaking from the Northeast where aggressive driving is the norm and road rage, tho tamped down some, still exists and make these older, slower cars a danger. Otherwise, on the 2-lane "blue highways" off the beaten track, a joy to drive, not needing PS or PB and being a bit better balance fore & aft than the mighty V8 powered cars........


          • #6
            I drove a 1963 Lark with OHV6 and auto for years in the mid 1990's. It was my every day car and I did not hesitate to drive it anywhere. Always had enough power for me. But then I did not get a Studebaker V-8 until after that car. The 6 got great gas mileage even with the automatic. I worries about the cracked heads on the 6's but never had that problem and it was so much easier to work on with all that room around the engine.



            • #7
              My '59 Lark is a flathead six and it's fine. I live in the northeast and really don't have a problem keeping up with traffic. Yes, acceleration is a bit relaxed, so I keep that in mind when I merge into parkway or expressway traffic.
              I've never driven a car with the OHV six, but I understand that it's much peppier than the flathead.
              I really don't see the need for the V-8, but then, that's purely a matter of choice.
              '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
              Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club


              • #8
                I drove my 61 Lark VI wagon for a few years in college and loved it in town. The six makes for easier turning and stopping compared to the heavier V8. The straight 3 speed stunk out on the highway, but after I changed it over to overdrive it was great. Switching that car over to an overdrive transmission was probably the single greatest improvement I've ever made to a car. Ninety nine percent of my highway driving was on rural two lane roads so if I was going 60 I was speeding.

                In 1988 my grandfather bought a 61 Lark VI four door with an automatic to use as his daily driver. He drove the car almost every day of the summer making deliveries for over a decade and never had any problems, but he also had his engine rebuilt. His car was noticably peppier than mine.



                • #9
                  25 years ago I had a 63 Lark sedan with the OHV 6 and 3 speed manual with OD. I really enjoyed that car and I had few complaints other than smoking due to bad valve seals. It was fine after I replaced the seals. It wasn't fast, but it was comfortable and easy to drive. I took it halfway across the country and back and it performed well on the highway.

                  \"Ahh, a bear in his natural habitat...a Studebaker!\"

                  51 Land Cruiser (Elsie)
                  Jim Mann
                  Victoria, B.C.


                  • #10
                    My first Studebaker,55 Champion straight 3spd. swapped out the flathead for a ohv(WOW) another 20 horses,and at age 19 that was a big deal!!!
                    speeding up and down,speeding all over(mainly on back roads though) even got pulled over twice by the cops!so ya the six is a nice engine for sure.
                    Joseph R. Zeiger


                    • #11
                      I'm a fan of the 6s too. I still have my first Studebaker, bought in 2004. It's a 64 Commander 4dr., 6 auto. It was headed to the crusher, in spite of the fact that the engine was completely rebuilt and had new SS exhaust. I drove it for about a month until the trans. went bad. I didn't fix it because the body and interior are so bad. While I never drove it on the Interstate, it would have been fine IMO. It would get to 60 in a reasonable amount of time, and did just fine on local roads. I just love the way that engine purrs, and am looking for a decent candidate for that engine.

                      I have heard about the heads cracking too, but this is the only one I have had, so I have no experience with that. When I find a car for that engine, I will put it in and go with confidence!
                      Proud NON-CASO

                      I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

                      If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

                      GOD BLESS AMERICA

                      Ephesians 6:10-17
                      Romans 15:13
                      Deuteronomy 31:6
                      Proverbs 28:1

                      Illegitimi non carborundum


                      • #12
                        I've driven a few of them, a couple as daily drivers. Ones with 3 speeds seemed to be "peppier" in my experience. The lone automatic equipped car was pretty sluggish, but the engine was very tired and that might have been the reason it performed that way, regardless of it being an automatic. I'd say that if the engine is in top shape then it would make a decent car. I've driven a friend's '63 Regal 2 door, 6 with Overdrive, and it was one of the best driving Larks I've ever been in. (No R2 Daytona, but I didn't drive it like one either.) Of course it only has 20K original miles on it. The cars with the automatic and without Overdrive sounded like they would come apart if driven over 60 MPH. In my opinion, Overdrive is the only way to go.

                        As far as the cracked head saga goes.. If the head hasn't cracked by now, it's probably a good one.

                        If I had the option to install a Stude V8 in place of the OHV 6, I'd do it without thinking twice. Performance is much better with the V8 and gas mileage, at least in my case, was as good as, or better, than the 6's.


                        • #13
                          I have a 1963 Lark 4-door with OHV 6 and automatic that I used as a daily driver for a few months about 20 years ago. I was satisfied with the acceleration, even more so if I kicked it down into first gear being that it naturally starts in 2nd gear. It was a very nice driving car.
                          In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.


                          • #14
                            My 61 Lark is a VI, as all the Chilean assembled Larks

                            It is underpowered in aceleration but once it gets good speed is relaxed and sweet. The purr of the engine is nice to hear and the car steers quite easy. A delighful car to drive, even when I recognize that in aceleration it is slow


                            • #15
                              I LIKE sixes, the two 57 Studebakers, one overdrive, one automatic (and the Kaiser too) even if all flatheads. I might be driving a 64 OHV automatic 2 door post one of these days. The automatic 57 is a 30over 185 rebuild, so I suppose it has about nearly as much power as a stock 170 OHV--it cruises along on the 4 lanes nicely. Sixes keep me from speeding, unless I PLAN to