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1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser

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  • 1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser

    I recently inherited my Great Grand Dad's 1950 Land Cruiser. It is definately gonna need some work, but I am ready to take on the project "full steam ahead"! The car has a lot of surface rust, but no rust through anywhere. All of the chrome is still in phenomenal condition and only a few pieces of glass need to be replaced. Being the VP of a custom "Rat Rod" crew, I want to keep the car in it's rusty state, polish the chrome, and do some trick things to it. It has the original flat top inline 4 cyl., but I really want to put a V8 in it. I am new to the Studebaker community, so my resources are limited at this time and it is difficult to find stuff for these cars online. Does anybody on here have any ideas where I can acquire a Studebaker engine/trans combo. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thank you all so much for your time and for the shared interest in these fine automobiles.

  • #2
    '50 Land Cruiser

    Welcome John, that is a great find! The Land Cruiser is the top of the line, simi-limo, luxury Sedan Commander on a longer wheelbase, one of the longest ever at 122 inches.

    This engine is no slug, it is a 245 cid Commander Big 6, a Flathead "L" Head type Engine as many 30's 40's 50's and a few early 60's Engines of most makes were.

    It is a very tough, dependable engine which would de-value a good solid Land Cruiser if removed, but of course it will not be super fast, so if you must replace it, there are members with '51 and on Stude. V-8's here that might sell, but we would need to know where you are, to be able to help.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3

      welcome to the forum and congrats with your car. I'm working on a '50 Commander, the little sister of your Landcruiser, of which I'm keeping a blog (in Dutch but the pics speak English). My signature picture links to it.

      Of course we all would like to see pics.
      The Blog:


      • #4
        I will be posting pics of my "Moody Stoody" soon for all to see. I am in California for those of you with any info or who are willing to help me with this new found project of mine. Since I recently recieved this car, I really need to look it over and go through it to know what I have to work with. I wanna say that it has an in-line 4 cyl, but I'm not quite sure. I would love to get a hold of an early 50's Studie V8, but I am also considering an older Ford flathead V6/V8. I love the rusty patina look, so I won't be restoring it to it's original state. Instead, I will be going for a totally custom "Rat Rod" appeal. I already have many ideas for the car but I still have limited resources right now. If anyone has an early 50's Studie V8 for sale, or knows someone who does, please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your replies. I'm extremely appreciative! Also, how do I go about posting pics of my new gem on here?


        • #5
          Hey Rich, I'm in Northern California. Know anyone that might be able to help me out this way? I would really appreciate it.


          • #6
            good luck finding parts for it. those stude inline 4 bangers are rare and expensive to fix, much like those flathead ford v6s.

            A word of advice from a professional car builder,, if you really like this car dont jump in with both feet and start making modifications on a whim, you will get overwhelmed and probably never finish it. Start with basic maintenence stuff, fix the brakes tuneup tires etc. get it running and driving before you start modifying it so you know what really needs to be done.

            on a side note, puhlease dont rat it out.


            • #7
              4 Cyl. Studes and V6 flathead Fords! ???????????

              You forgot these after that first sentence Tinman!

              Have you noticed that the younger generation knows nothing of "in-line" Engines?
              I have noticed in ebay ads, they often call all 6's V6's!
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner


              • #8
                Hey,, I'm trying to be nice and its straining my system....

                I thought I would let someone else point out the obvious, no such thing as Stude 4 cyl (other than the flat four prototypos), and no flathead ford v6s.

                I better shut up now,, my sarcastic overbearing inner child wants control of the keyboard and I dont want to scare the new guy off.


                • #9
                  Hey guys, I did some more research and the engine is a numbers matching 245 cid flathead "Big 6" like Rich said it was. It just looked like a big 4 cyl because it is stuffed so far back in there. The car also has the original 2 speed transmission. I started digging out the hillside around the front of the studie so I can get it out. I discovered that it still even has the original license plates. There is absolutely no rust through anywhere on it except for inside the bottom of the spare tire tub (an easy fix). Tinman- I don't plan on making any big modifications, but I'm also not going to restore the car to it's original state, because I believe that if I do that, the car won't have as much of a story to tell at the shows. I am going to keep it rusty and patina, but I do plan on restoring the chrome and customizing the interior. I will be using the original black gator skin door panels and polishing all of the chrome trim. The steering wheel is also going to be restored to original, but everything else will be custom and very unique. I am really looking forward to this project. How do you post pics on here from your computer? I would like to share the treasure I've recently been gifted with. Oh and by the way, I do know the difference between in-line and V engines! I have owned both types.


                  • #10
                    there is a sticky post that show how to post pictures.
                    Welcome to the forum. You can put where you are in your signature on the left side of your post. It helps us to help you.
                    Mabel 1949 Champion
                    Hawk 1957 Silverhawk
                    Gus 1958 Transtar
                    The Prez 1955 President State
                    Blu 1957 Golden Hawk
                    Daisy 1954 Regal Commander Starlight Coupe


                    • #11
                      I am looking forward to the pics.
                      1960 Lark VIII Regal Wagon


                      • #12
                        I've always regretted letting go of my '50 Land Cruiser back in '59. It died, no money to investigate the problem, I had to let it go. I did replace it with my '53 Commander coupe, though, but its not the luxury car the LC was.


                        • #13
                          Two Speed transmission? Ah, its actually a 3 speed if it is an automatic. Studebaker had this weird idea with its automatic (1950 onwards), that for big cars with a big engine, either the Commander big six, or the V8 from 1951 onwards, it would start in second gear, unless you manually selected "L", or floored it from a stop. The smaller six cars had all three gears on tap, because, well, the engine was weaker. The idea was to save gas most of the time. I think, although I would have to check, that the Big Six and the V8 that replaced in 1951, had the same horsepower, 120 hp. Later on they got inventive with the (same block) V8 engine, and the displacement went from 232 down to 224, up to 259, then 289, (and finally 304) Power from the factory went from 120 all the way to 275 (2 bbl, 4 bbl, high out put, and supercharged) although there were some rare engines which were over 300 hp too.

                          That automatic that Studebaker used 1950-55 is a Detroit Gear division of Borg Warner product, and is quite advanced for its is still pretty competent compared to modern cars. Air flow cooled, it could stand higher heat than the competition without special modifications for cooling. Solenoids to prevent accidental selection of say reverse or low when you are moving at speed, and it locked up with a clutch in top gear for better highway mileage. Lots of other makes such as Jaguar used this automatic as well. 1956 and after they used a Borg-Warner transmission version that AMC and Ford also used, without as many bells and whistles. You should Google it or look it up in Wikipedia.

                          Your car, your choice, but I'd suggest you do the engine and transmission dead last. You definitely don't want to get buried in a project when you are unfamiliar with Studebakers. Get it running, redo the entire braking system with new lines, cylinders etc, linings redone etc, redo the interior to your liking and make it a safe and smooth running car. With that big flathead six, it will be a smooth running beast, (and it has about the same power as a Ford Flathead) and the brakes in a Land Cruiser were better than some of their smaller offerings. Not power, but really not necessary if properly adjusted, and you won't outrun the brakes with the original power plant. If you up the power by changing power plants, you will have to investigate complete changes to the braking etc.

                          Because the (and 1950 model year in particular for all models of Studebaker, because it is a 'one-year only' design in several different ways) Land Cruiser is unique, including the sheet metal but also the suspension and brakes, there may be just a few more things to deal with than say if you were upgrading a 51 or later Champion 6 or Commander V8 or Land Cruiser V8 Studebaker. You might find that there are less headaches if you trade with someone for a 51 V8 car. Engine upgrades would be a direct bolt in, in most cases, with doable modifications to linkage and so forth. Even changing over to 12 volt would be easy, as Studebaker did that in 56. Same engine block...


                          • #14
                            Where in Ca. I am located near Sacramento. Perhaps I can help. roy 530-320-6299
                            Last edited by royvaldez; 07-25-2011, 02:08 PM.


                            • #15
                              Hey Roy, I live in the Roseville area, I have saved your number and will give you a call soon so I can pick your brain for some good info. Thanks.