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1963 Lark Wagonaire auto shop project

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  • 1963 Lark Wagonaire auto shop project

    I'm new to the forum, kicking off my first thread...

    I "teach" an auto shop class for Seattle Lutheran High School and our project this year is a 1963 Lark Wagonaire. I'm new to Studebakers, so I thought I'd document the build here to get feedback and advice from the experts.

    About the class:
    This is an all-volunteer funded and taught class for Seattle Lutheran High School in West Seattle Washington.

    The class meets every other Sunday afternoon from 1-4pm, for a total of 18 class sessions over the course of the school year and for this effort the students will earn an elective credit.

    I limit the class to four students and as of right now we have a full group of guys.

    I am not a professional mechanic and don't claim to be teaching a real auto tech class - it's just me and a couple volunteers who are all car guys getting to share our love of old cars with some kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity to get their hands greasy.

    The car
    My dad had the car around for a year or so and decided he needed the space more than he needed another project, so he donated it to the class. Lucky for us, he started collecting parts for it, so we've got a lot of what we need to get it fixed up.

    Here's what the car looked like when we got it a couple weeks ago:


    The car actually runs pretty good, so our priorities are brakes, suspension rebuild, and floor repair so that we can get the car on the road. Then we'll figure out what we're going to do to the body and interior.

    I've got a bunch of extra parts from a '64 wagon, so I'll probably be asking lots of questions about what parts might be worth money and what I should do with them.
    Last edited by olivepick; 10-09-2011, 09:24 PM.

  • #2
    Session 1

    We had our first class on September 25th. After introductions, safety briefing, and quick overview of the garage, we dove into the suspension and brakes.

    Here Ian gets the car up in the air while the rest of the class looks on.


    Our newest volunteer, Shahbaz, cleans up the backing plate and wheel cylinder after Kris took the brakes apart.


    Here Kris helps Ken get the lower control arms off.


    By the end of the class we had the rear brakes all apart and cleaned up, ready for the wheel cylinders to be rebuilt, and we had the front suspension off the passenger side.


    In this year's class we have four boys: Ian, Zach (returning from last year), Kris, and Ransom (not present this session).

    I have three volunteers helping me out this year: Dave, Ken, and Shahbaz.

    Like previous years, we'll meet every other Sunday for three hours and the volunteers will get together on Friday nights as needed to keep the project moving and do grunt work.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is a wonderful way to get young people to know old cars. Your efforts are to be commended, I am a retired teacher.
      1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

      "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to the forum. Looks like your and you crew are making great progress. This is the best place to have any questions answered. Thats a nice looking wagon. Does it have the sliding roof? I like the wind deflectors at the back window. Going to be fun to watch the progress on this project.

        Gordon S

        Comment


        • #5
          REALLY COOL pursuit! Yeah, it's so sad, the lack of emphasis on vocational skills in our public schools. Not to guess at these kid's goals, but not everyone is gonna benefit from college. I know several youngsters with good careers that never set a foot on a college campus. Local farmers and mechanical endeavors here in California are having a hard time finding truly capable "technicians" - one's that have more skills that just replacing an old part with a new one.
          And of course, even if these kids ARE headed towards a higher education, there's NOTHING like some hands on wrenching to forge a better engineer or innovator!

          Oh yeah - and they get introduced to Studebakers as well. Such a deal!
          No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great project. I think I saw the wagon on the back of a trailer on I-5 a couple weeks ago.

            Comment


            • #7
              Welcome!
              Is it a wagon (fixed roof) or a Wagonaire (sliding roof)?
              If you need funding help, contact the Studebaker National Foundation.
              If you have questions, don't be shy about posting them here. There are likely some here that have done whatever you inquiry about.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by studegary View Post
                Welcome!
                Is it a wagon (fixed roof) or a Wagonaire (sliding roof)?
                If you need funding help, contact the Studebaker National Foundation.
                If you have questions, don't be shy about posting them here. There are likely some here that have done whatever you inquiry about.
                I'm already learning something It's a Wagonaire (guess I better update the thread title).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Commando66 View Post
                  Great project. I think I saw the wagon on the back of a trailer on I-5 a couple weeks ago.
                  Could be. We transferred it from Mason Lake to Seattle on labor day weekend.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    While the rear brakes are apart, pull the axels and repack the axel bearings. Jim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What a neat way to keep youth involved...dig the 63 Chubby long roof, love the color combo. As for the Stude, do you get $ from the school for parts and supplies...and who owns the car once it's finished? Might be kinda cool to keep that original paint and finish the car as kind of a barn find 60's Stude wagon that was customized/rodded in the late 60's/early 70's and stuffed away for 40 years ...just thowing the thought out there. Some thing like home brewed diamond tufted interior, warmed over 289, 4 speed, skinny bias-ply tires with crome reverse rims with baby moons, sun tach. Would be relativly cheapby not having to do body work/paint/interior restoration and up the cool factor IMO. Regards, Junior.
                      sigpic
                      1954 C5 Hamilton car.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Excellent; so good to see this project underway. As a former high school auto mechanics teacher myself, these guys are getting the best of both worlds; Studebaker exposure and an auto mechanics education. Useful endeavors by all accounts.

                        Keep up the good work and progress posts. 'Much appreciated and enjoyed by all here. BP
                        We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                        Ayn Rand:
                        "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                        G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by junior View Post
                          What a neat way to keep youth involved...dig the 63 Chubby long roof, love the color combo. As for the Stude, do you get $ from the school for parts and supplies...and who owns the car once it's finished? Might be kinda cool to keep that original paint and finish the car as kind of a barn find 60's Stude wagon that was customized/rodded in the late 60's/early 70's and stuffed away for 40 years ...just thowing the thought out there. Some thing like home brewed diamond tufted interior, warmed over 289, 4 speed, skinny bias-ply tires with crome reverse rims with baby moons, sun tach. Would be relativly cheapby not having to do body work/paint/interior restoration and up the cool factor IMO. Regards, Junior.
                          I tell the kids the Chevy is my project, the Studebaker is their project. The fact of the matter is, the Chevy hasn't gotten much love since I started this auto shop endeavor three years ago.

                          All the school gives me is four students a year. The first couple years we worked on a '58 Ford wagon that I bought myself. I funded the effort with the occasional donation from my volunteers and other friends. I sold that car over the summer and banked the money to pay for future classes. My dad gave me this car with a bunch of parts, and we're going to split the money when I sell it next summer - so I'm hoping to keep this going for a few more years without dipping back into the personal bank account. I dream of one day attracting donors and/or sponsors to help cover the costs and I think if I work at it a little I can keep getting project cars for free.

                          Your design idea is right on - that's just what I was thinking. I've seen some really neat wagons where they wash it down with CLR and clear coat it. I don't know if we'll do that, but I'd rather not get into stripping this thing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Session 2

                            Well, the truancy has begun. This week we had two students - one of which is Ransom, who missed the first class. The good news is that Ian and Ransom were really into it and put in a good day's work.

                            We got the rear wheel cylinders rebuilt, both rear brakes put back together, the front suspension and brakes completely apart, several suspension components sandblasted, primed, and painted and the front coils cut to lower the car (we have an extra set in case we screw up or regret this decision).

                            Here Ian and Shahbaz work on the brakes (that's my new press in the foreground)


                            Ransom puts in some time on the sand blaster:

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DieselJim View Post
                              While the rear brakes are apart, pull the axels and repack the axel bearings. Jim
                              Hmm... good point. The brakes are back together now, but I might still consider this.

                              Comment

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