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Putting 350 in a 61 Lark Vert

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  • Putting 350 in a 61 Lark Vert

    Hello All,
    Very new to this forum and not certain if I am posting in the right
    area.
    For purists this will be a BAD question. BUT

    Here goes. A little back ground info.
    I am 60 and my friend is 70. He owns the Lark.

    His motor is shot and they want $4500 to rebuild.
    My friend would like to install a 350 Chevy into the car.

    We have pulled the motor and have a 350 Chevy with a 700 trans.

    It looks as though the steering must come out for certain (saginaw) I am pretty
    certain.
    I am an OLD shade tree that works mainly on MUstangs and fords but I can
    wrench.

    I was hoping some people on this forum could advise us as to what we will encounter.

    We have tools compressor torches etc. As I say I can wrench but don't know about
    this conversion. All I know is he would like to do this swap and my wife and I would
    like to help him out.

    His car is in great shape but was a 6 automatic. He wants more power as well.
    His other car is a 64 Falcon with a supercharger under the hood. I guess he like power.

    I would appreciate any ideas tips etc as to what to expect.
    Issues seem to be what motor mounts?
    Will there be issues with the front cross over
    Exhaust ?

    We figure likely have to swap entire front suspension

    Thanks to all that take the time to read this and hope some can offer tips

    Thanks - - Print DAd

  • #2
    The 1965 and 1966 Studebakers came from the factory with Chevrolet engines...I would try to find one of those in a scrap yard and you could see how it was engineered from the factory and probably would have many of the parts you would need to help in the conversion...The transmission would be different, though...The 1965 andd 1966 would be basically the same chassis, etc as the 1961 you already have.

    Comment


    • #3
      There are mounts for sale that will help with a Chevy implant. We've discussed the issues with the original 6 cylinder cars having frames which are made of a thinner gauge steel than the V/8 cars, but I think (can't remember) the convertibles all came with the heavier gauge frames, so you are probably okay. It also has an X frame, different from most other Larks. There are many things that you will need, but there are cross members made for your transmission and the Lark, too. Is your friend a member of the SDC? If he gets the SDC monthly magazine, Turning Wheels, many helpful vendors and contacts for your project are in there.

      By the way, he certainly could have found a decent running Studebaker engine for much less than $4500 for that Lark. Even Studebaker 259s or 289s are out there and would be easier to drop in. Your 6 automatic is worth some money to a few people, so save it and the engine. Someone will rebuild them both for much less than your quote. What state are you in?
      Last edited by barnlark; 07-04-2011, 09:45 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not only did Studebaker put SBC's in the 65-66 cars but when Avanti was sold, they continued the Brand until 1985 in Studebaker frames much like you have and the later ones have 700R4's and 200R4 in them.

        My bet is the biggest problems you will have are tunnel clearance for the 700R4 which is merely sheet metal and not a lot of that. I have a 700R4 in my 54 Hardtop. You will need to modify the rear crossmember to take the GM unit. There are Studebaker vendors that sell the cast motor mounts but they are not cheap. Fabricating those mounts is not rocket science and just use the standard 70-80"s SBC rubber mounts that are commonly available to bolt to the SBC block

        Lastly, the exhaust will be an issue. I'd use the standard SBC ram horns with the center dump. They will clear, are cheap and available in 2 1/2" outlets. They flow quite well for a stock setup.

        By the way, If you want big horse power, be sure you have a Dana 44 rearend with flanged axles. Earlier 44's have a tapered axle and you may have a 27 which is light weight for this application if he stands on it.

        Again, Lasty, The Avanti below has a 355 SBC (400 HP), 200R4 Stage II and Dana 44 with 4:10 and Auburn posi in a frame almost exactly like yours. It is a BLAST to drive. You may also need to consider rebuilding the front suspension if your's is sloppy but a complete front clip is probably overkill.

        As a Newbie, WELCOME!! There is a valuable tool in the upper right hand corner a search tool. All of your questions have been cover previously.

        Bob
        Last edited by sweetolbob; 07-04-2011, 09:57 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          It looks as though the steering must come out for certain (saginaw)
          Issues seem to be what motor mounts?
          Will there be issues with the front cross over (maybe you mean crossmember?)
          Exhaust ?
          We figure likely have to swap entire front suspension
          None of the above. It's a bolt-in with factory parts. Studebaker did all the work for you in '65-66.

          Since his car is a sick-six, you'll need to find a Stude Dana 44 rear axle with Twin Traction from a V8, but those are readily available.

          Someone here would probably sell you the motor mounts and the rear axle for cheap.

          jack vines
          Last edited by PackardV8; 07-04-2011, 09:58 AM.
          PackardV8

          Comment


          • #6
            First off let me say welcome to the site, even if it is for only a couple of questions, you'll find differing opinions on the age old question of stock vs mod.
            But the very engine change you and your friend plan to do is quite common, and relatively easy due to the fact that the factory did use GM engines in the last two years of production.

            You'll find most of the challenge's in this swap with pictures/solutions within this past thread by Dick Steinkamp, while Dick doesn't pop in as much as we'd like him too, the shared information on his challenges are invaluable.

            http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...-Lark...Update

            Specifically addressing the main....small....issues you'll encounter, specifically, trans cross member, specific headers to clear the stock steering column, and the
            engine mounts that you'll need, (which are available from several Studebaker vendors.....bolt right in.)

            I too agree with others, there are plenty of 259, 289 engines out there that would have swapped right into place for MUCH less than $4500.
            Have your friend hang onto/sell the transmission for sure, (automatic???) and there is value in many of the OHV 6 parts within the engine your friend has.
            One thing I'd suggest your friend think about now that a 350 is being installed......is better brakes, and a dual master cylinder. That little single will do the job, but there are better products out there.
            Turner Brakes (a Studebaker vendor) has kits that will make stopping the more powerfull Lark safely.
            And the Dana 27 rear end is pretty week, if your friend plans on mashing it time to time, expect some broken axles, there are dana 44's for the Larks out there that are a much better fit..........Look for v-8 parts car Larks? or ask around for one.
            I like modifications, but appreciate and have a complete stock Stude as well, it sounds like you and your friends are embarqing on a resto rod type journey. Enjoy either way, and......drive and be seen.

            And by all means, we like pictures of any and all stages of anyone's project, and being 61's are a favorite of mine I'm biased in wanting to see some of the convertible.
            Last edited by 4961Studebaker; 07-04-2011, 10:03 AM.
            61 Lark

            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              WELCOME to the Forum!!! As as been posted- you're not in new territory by any means.
              The swap has been done many times, and been discussed a bunch.
              That link above is about the BEST information you'll get on your swap.
              I do wonder about that $4500 rebuild, though- seems pretty high.

              I do have one question for you~ location, location, location?
              Knowing where you are can be of help in locating a parts car for you.

              And that'll make things easier in the end.
              StudeDave '57
              US Navy (retired)

              3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
              SDC Member since 1985

              past President
              Whatcom County Chapter SDC
              San Diego Chapter SDC

              past Vice President
              San Diego Chapter SDC
              North Florida Chapter SDC

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sweetolbob View Post
                Not only did Studebaker put SBC's in the 65-66 cars but when Avanti was sold, they continued the Brand until 1985 in Studebaker frames much like you have and the later ones have 700R4's and 200R4 in them.
                Maybe there is a junk Avanti II (bad hog throughs, rear frame, etc.) to be had cheap that would be a good parts car for the project to donate the mounts, rear end, cross member and all of those little bits that you'll need.
                Jim Bradley
                Lake Monticello, VA
                '78 Avanti II
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hello All,
                  It is late BUT I had to say THANKS so much for the info.
                  I looked at the thread and plan to print it out for "Tom".

                  I appreciate the words of encouragement. I was gonna try to
                  have him keep it stock - -BUT - -he wants power.

                  We are just outside Boston, Massachusetts about 6 miles north.

                  Tom is a GREAT guy and is liked by my wife and I a lot.

                  Here is the only quick picture I could find of his car

                  I will write more Tues
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Contact Dave Thibeault (we call him Dave T-bow in here) in Maynard, Mass. His # is 978-897-3158. He can help you in what you need & advise. If the OHV 6 is still running he may know someone looking for one, either for parts or to rebuild themselves. Same goes for the rest of the drivetrain. I personally got my exhaust system & disc brake calipers from him some years ago. Great guy that will steer you straight & trust.
                    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                    62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                    64 Zip Van
                    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Putting 350 in a 61 Lark Vert

                      Hello Mr. Webb,
                      Thanks for the contact info. We are NOT far from the area.
                      We cruise to places like the "Red LIne Diner and Kimball Farms
                      in that area.
                      There is about 15-20 of us that go by the name "Medicare Cruisers".
                      It is just a bunch of street drivers but we have a LOT of fun.

                      Tom cruises all over the place. He goes to Old Orchard, NH and
                      lots of car places. Perhaps you have even seen his Lark or Falcon.
                      I hope we get a chance to meet sometime.

                      My wife and I really like Tom. He is a kind and funny guy.
                      I really want to help him on this project.

                      It seems as though you are a picture guy so here is a picture of his
                      Falcon - -289 with a small blower under the hood. I like Fords and
                      he does as well BUT the Chevy motor was a deal he could not pass.

                      His other car is a 50 Plymouth that he is putting in a 318 from
                      a donor car. That car is a longer term project - -for now the focus is
                      on getting the Lark back up and running.

                      Thanks for the help and info. If I can ever help you on a Ford
                      issue PLEASE contact me. I do know them pretty well.

                      Thanks and I plan to give the info to Tom tonight

                      Thanks - - Print Dad - (Jim)

                      Before I forget - THANKS - -to all offering help and ideas
                      Attached Files

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        One more quick thought to consider.......If you guy's decide to swap in a Studebaker 259/289, factor in the cost of upgrading the Front springs,
                        If you go the GM SBC route I think the 6 cylinder springs will be OK.
                        But the Studebaker V8 is considerably heavier and you'll want those added,
                        Some vendors in the past had a "heavy duty" spring.....skip the temptation to buy that one, it's for Taxi models, and will give a stiff ride. (it's in the archives 678 lbs rings a bell)

                        Thanks for the added picture, Looks really nice and a lot of fun.
                        61 Lark

                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Would the 61 convert have a X member in its frame like a wagon?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AKAchamptrucking View Post
                            Would the 61 convert have a X member in its frame like a wagon?
                            A '61 'vert oughtta have an 'X' frame, yes.
                            A '61 wagon- not so much.
                            That came later ('63) on a Wagonaire.

                            sliding roof Wagonaires, that is...
                            StudeDave '57
                            US Navy (retired)

                            3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                            SDC Member since 1985

                            past President
                            Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                            San Diego Chapter SDC

                            past Vice President
                            San Diego Chapter SDC
                            North Florida Chapter SDC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hello All,
                              Just a quick update on the project.
                              We are cleaning up the engine compartment and attaching the 700 to the 350.
                              Then it is onto trying to fit her in.

                              I talked to Tom last night and he knows the gentleman "Dave T-Bow"
                              Tom speaks real highly of him and has used him in the past.

                              Last year Tom replaced the entire front end with heavy duty components.
                              The plan is for a split bowl master if the motor goes in.

                              Talking to Tom last night he explained his motor is really BAD.
                              Needs everything crank rods etc. The 350 was free so like most of
                              us - - he opted to go for the cheapest way out.

                              We plan to talk to "Dave" as our resident EXPERT. he has helped Tom
                              in the past and I guess Tom has purchased some items from him.
                              A CLASSS act for sure. I hope he will give us some phone assistance.

                              Thanks to all and I will keep updating as this goes along.
                              I will also take some pictures

                              Thanks - -Print Dad

                              Comment

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