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New Lamb in the Flock.

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  • New Lamb in the Flock.

    Well, I made a trip out to McBride, B.C. to buy some Stude stuff from an estate sale. The two Champ pickups, both runners, were sold, along with two rough 2R truck cabs. Car-wise, all that remained were a pair of Champions, a '50 and a '51, the latter being in better condition, but not exactly primo. There was also the front clip from a '65 car, maybe a Cruiser, complete with a 194 six still in it. It's still there, crusher bait.

    Neither Champion had decent wheels under it, and both were up on blocks. The '50 was in real tough shape, and had no engine in it. The '51 had at least part of the engine, but no transmission. It had two Ford rims on the rear, with flat tires on both. There were also quite a number of Stude parts in a shed. I made the lady an offer for the '51 and most of the parts, and she accepted, so I got to work. There was a set of winter tires on rims for a Ford Ranger, so I put them on the '51 temporarily. At least all four brake drums turned freely. Then I jacked the car up, and got the blocks out from under it. The steering wheel did move the front wheels, I checked. There was no way that I could back my trailer up to where the car was parked on a sort of terrace in the yard, but it appeared that I might be able to roll the car down hill. I got behind it, and pushed and grunted, and grunted and pushed, and it moved fairly easily; light car, 4 good wheels, and the ground wasn't too uneven. I got the car to the start of the downgrade, got it rolling, and hopped in behind the wheel.

    Woo-Hoo! Talk about Mr. Toad's wild ride. I went down the first steep little slope lickety-split, and got around the bend OK, and kept right on a-rollin', heading straight for the front end of my Suburban. No brakes, of course, and I also discovered that I couldn't open the driver's door from the inside handle. There were a couple of garages on the high side of the road, with a raised gravel apron in front of the doors, so I steered for that, not going all that fast, maybe 5 miles per hour. The car climbed up the apron, scrubbing off most of its speed, and the front bumper hit a projecting panel of flakeboard, bringing the car to a stop, at the expense of making a 3" divot in the flakeboard.

    I was able to roll the window down, and reach outside, and open the driver's door by the exterior handle. I got the Suburban turned around, and backed the trailer up in line with the car. From that point, everything went without a hitch, and I was able to winch the car up on the trailer easily. I removed the Ranger wheels, and put them back where they had been stored, and found a couple of other stray rims with tires, one of them an actual Studie rim, and put them on the car, along with the two flats on the Ford rims. Then I boomed the car down.

    Then I got to work loading boxes of Stude parts into the car. Horn buttons, scripts and emblems, 2R headlight rims, grilles, carburetors, ignition switches, locks, a few NOS parts, bearings, seals, bushings, lamps and lenses, chrome strips, wheel covers. I got all the Stude wheel covers I could find, and they were all 14", for '58 cars. Two styles, too. I got 13 of them. Couple of AM radios, one for a '66 with black buttons. And more stuff.

    I was about done loading, and Pogo the dog was asleep in the front seat of the Suburban, when the realtor who was acting as the widow's agent in this sale came by. I made out a check, and we were chatting. He says, "look, there goes a bear!" I said, "where?" He said, "just past that old Toyota." Which was right by the pathway I'd trod about a dozen times carrying wheels and jacks to get the '51 moved. It was getting on toward sunset, and the bear was probably coming down off the hill to go get a drink from the nearby Fraser River. I doubt I was ever in any danger. The dog would have set up an uproar if she had caught scent of a bear while we were out where the cars were.

    Anyway, I got the car home late Thursday night, about 2:30 A.M. An 11 hour drive home. I had taken the trailer with me on my last well in Edson, so I had only a 4 hour drive Wednesday evening to get to McBride. Got the car offloaded OK on Saturday, and got all the parts out of it and somewhat sorted and put away. I did get the hood open, and the engine was there, but minus accessories, like starter, water pump, carburetor and air cleaner, and voltage regulator, and fuel pump sediment bowl. I was able to turn it a little with my hands on the vibration damper, and later turned it through a full revolution using a screwdriver on the ring gear. There was oil in the pan.

    Today, after getting some other chores done, I made an effort to fire it up. Bolted on a starter that I thought was OK, and it does crank the engine. Ran some abrasive paper through the points and cleaned them a little. Found a coil (that was missing, too). Took the spark plugs out, and they were really tight, too. Pumped some oil into each cylinder, and put the plugs back, with some anti-seize on the threads, and they all spun in nicely. I squirted some gas into the intake manifold, hooked up juice to the coil, and cranked it over. It fired, and popped back; got some nice flames in the intake manifold, but further cranking just sucked them away. The engine never did run, but it did pick up revs on the starter, and tried to run. Too many stuck valves, I guess. Also, there's a good chance the exhaust pipe is plugged or flattened.

    If I get a day at home tomorrow, I will check for a plugged exhaust, and fix it if I find it, and try again. If the exhaust is clear, I'll pop the head off, and give the valves a going over. If I can get the engine to start, I will run it enough to warm it up, and check for oil pressure, and do a compression check. If it looks like it may run tolerably well, i.e. no knocks, I will replace the missing pieces, and put a transmission in the car. I have several T-96 overdrives to choose from, and probably have the matching driveshaft, too. The car didn't have overdrive, but Champions all should.

    The body on this car is pretty tough, and the interior is 100% decayed, but if it can be made to motivate, it might be a restoration project for somebody. The back bumper is off the car, but I have it, complete with the back 6" of the frame rails. Might need a little welding, eh?
    Attached Files
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  • #2
    Made me tired reading your adventure. Thank you for all that you do to preserve and protect Studebakers. Your advice and knowledge are appreciated . Many times I have read one of your adventures or projects and it has helped me with what I was working on. Thank 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


    • #3
      Nice find, Gord. Good luck with it!
      Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)


      • #4
        I love reading your tales, Gord. You're a braver man than I am!!!

        Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |


        • #5
          The car looks just slightly worse than mine did when I brought it home. There's hope for the car in the hands of someone who will love it. 1951 Four door Champions RULE!
          Jon Stalnaker
          Karel Staple Chapter SDC


          • #6
            Well other than the hinges being stiff from lack of lubrication, all four doors open and close solidly, and the driver's window (at least) cranks down. It steers and rolls. Lower A-frame on the right side is cracked near a bushing. Upper trunnion on left side has been replaced by a large bolt! And right side has huge negative camber; something is out of whack there.

            If I were to get into it, I'd probably swap in a complete front suspension from a later model except for the springs, whcih seem to be OK. A-arms, king pins, brakes and all. And later brakes on the rear axle, too. I have plenty of that stuff on hand.

            There is floor rust, but I have dealt with worse before.
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


            • #7
              Great story, Gord! I can definitely relate to your wild ride with no brakes. I've taken that thrill ride a couple times myself over the years. During such a ride, your mind starts racing with all sorts of thoughts, most prominent among them, what the hell was I thinking when I jumped into this thing!
              1950 Champion
              W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
              Holdrege NE


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lothar View Post
                Great story, Gord! I can definitely relate to your wild ride with no brakes. I've taken that thrill ride a couple times myself over the years. During such a ride, your mind starts racing with all sorts of thoughts, most prominent among them, what the hell was I thinking when I jumped into this thing!
                Reminds me of when I was 10 or 12 and my sister moved to San Francisco. Skateboards were the newest craze but the technology (especially the wheels) had yet to evolve to anything near safe. If you hit a rock on the sidewalk, the wheel immediately came to a stop and you kept going. I was so excited to take my skateboard on the hill that surrounded her house that the thought of how was I going to stop this thing didn't even cross my mind till I had reached maximum velocity about halfway down the block. Needless to say there was considerable blood by the time I came to rest.

                Sometimes we just get so excited about things that we don't really think things through.
                Jon Stalnaker
                Karel Staple Chapter SDC