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1950 pickup, custom or original?

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  • 1950 pickup, custom or original?

    Before this becomes a debate, let me start by saying I have decided to stay as original as possible. My father gave me the truck and it currently runs and drives. There is something to be said about the dependability and parts issues of going with a modern V8 and auto trans, not to mention the sound of a V8, but I just can't bring myself to pull a nice running Champion 6 with OD out of the truck. My dad purchased the truck in 85 without an engine or tranny, then found a parts truck at a local junk yard. The motor was rebuilt and installed in 86. Since then, there probably hasn't been more that 500 miles put on the truck. I plan to start a complete restoration on it this summer. I would like some input on my idea of driving the truck to local shows and maybe even as far away as 500 miles. Anything I should upgrade? It has been converted to 12 volt, but that is all so far.

  • #2
    A few years ago I redid a '50 pickup and kept it all original except I installed a later Champ truck rearend with a better hyway gear so I could drive it 50 + mph. With the original rearend in those early 50s trucks they are stump pullers and at 40 mph you think the engine is coming out the top of the hood!
    Good luck with your restoration , those early R's are so nice.
    sigpic

    Home of the Fried Green Tomato

    "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

    1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

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    • #3
      The OD isn't hooked up right now, and this past summer I drove to a local parade and you're right. 42 mph was all I dared. I'm hoping it will do much better with the OD hooked up though.

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      • #4
        It's your truck. build it the way you would enjoy it. That said I think you'll have more fun and the Studebaker name is in front of more people.

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        • #5
          Since you indicate your driving will be for occasional pleasure and shows "to local shows and maybe even as far away as 500 miles" I would suggest your upgrades should be the functional overdrive. You can also change the rear ratio and run the Interstates with the big dogs.
          If you want to go to the hassle and expense of a full V8 w/automatic conversion you should only go that route if you plan on running this thing a whole heck of a lot.
          Don't let me discourage you from that route. There's no reason why the flathead w/overdrive can't be driven and enjoyed a whole heck of a lot; did that with mine for many years. If having the flathead in the truck means it will spend the majority of its time sitting in the garage, that's your choice.
          "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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          • #6
            Are there ring and pinion parts available to change the gear ratio, or do I have to find a different read end? Is there an electronic ignition that can be swapped for the point system, or are the points dependable enough? I think for now, I'll stick with the flathead and enjoy the ride.

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            • #7
              On those early R trucks the gearing in the rear is very low. The later Champ trucks used Dana 44 rearends and if you could find one with a 411 or even a 427 ratio with that OD working you'd have a good cruising truck .
              sigpic

              Home of the Fried Green Tomato

              "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

              1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

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              • #8
                Originally posted by pushrod63 View Post
                Are there ring and pinion parts available to change the gear ratio, or do I have to find a different read end? Is there an electronic ignition that can be swapped for the point system, or are the points dependable enough? I think for now, I'll stick with the flathead and enjoy the ride.
                I would agree with the suggestion concerning a Champ rear end. I believe that Cathcart, and probably some other folks, have Petronix kits for the Champion six. You could talk with Cathcart about other engine modifications that would leave the engine looking basically stock, but giving you a little more power. I'm with you concerning keeping the truck as orginial as practical.
                Joe Roberts
                '61 R1 Champ
                '65 Cruiser
                Eastern North Carolina Chapter

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                • #9
                  A champ rear end might be hard to locate. Is there a rear end from a different brand that would work without a ton of modification?

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                  • #10
                    Anything can be done but a Champ rearend will bolt right in,
                    sigpic

                    Home of the Fried Green Tomato

                    "IF YOU WANT THE SMILES YOU NEED TO DO THE MILES "

                    1960 Champ , 1966 Daytona , 1965 Daytona Wagonaire

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