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New guy from metro detroit

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  • New guy from metro detroit

    I'm doing research on my next project car. My criteria are simple. I want a 2 door vehicle that can seat 4 adults in relative comfort, factory v8, factory manual trans (or easily swapped), upgradeable, and must have good parts support. Also No later than built in 1965. Built mostly for spirited street driving, with the potential for a road rally in the future.

    Although I'm a Chevy guy and early 60s full size is the obvious choice. I can't shake the attraction toward studebakers. Their unique styling, various engine and transmission choices, racing pedigree, and lightweight can't be ignored. I'm also finding them to be significantly less expensive than similarly equipped Chevy or ford counterpart.

    I am not very versed in studebakers and have some questions. Given completed project budget of $15k which model and year would best satisfy what I'm looking for? Are the brakes and suspension upgradeable? Does anyone manufacture reproduction body floor and trunk panels? What aftermarket resources are out there? I'm not a mechanic so I'm curious as to how DIY friendly they are also.


  • #2
    There is a wealth of information available on the SDC forum. Many of your sources may be having fun with their cars this weekend, but you will hear from them soon.
    "Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional." author unknown


    • #3
      Welcome Zack, sounds like a 65 or 66 Studebaker might be just the ticket for you as they were allready Chevy powered with either the 6 or the trusty 283. Brakes and suspensions are upgradeable and repair panels are available. They are do it yourself friendly. There is an active SDC Chapter in your area.
      Frank van Doorn
      Omaha, Ne.
      1962 GT Hawk 289 4 speed
      1941 Champion streetrod, R-2 Powered, GM 200-4R trans.
      1952 V-8 232 Commander State "Starliner" hardtop OD


      • #4
        Welcome Zack from a fellow Michigander.

        There are a lot of choices available in body styles so I've taken the liberty of Posting a Google page of body styles. Interestingly, not many 65-66"s in the mix but it is a potpourri of most models that are available.

        Post some that you might like and we can discuss options.

        As a note, Studebaker engines are more the size of cadillac engines and long lived so they are an option. If you are like me, my comfort zone is SBC and I'm comfortable with them so mine are SBC powered.

        SBC's will fit comfortably in about any body style you choose if you are some what handy, if Stude power is not an option.

        Last edited by sweetolbob; 09-02-2012, 12:33 PM.


        • #5
          i like the 53-56 champions (not sure what the model designation is), and the studebaker-packard hawk series.

          Sweetolbob. I agree, I am more comfortable with the 350 sbc. but I wont avoid learning something new. I like performance and love cheap performance even more.


          • #6
            Zack, the '53-'54 models are pretty beloved and a decent (read: no-rust) example won't come cheap. The later Larks ('59-63 and '64-66) have the advantage of less weight, shorter wheelbase (assuming you want a 2-door sedan, the lightest body type) and improved steering geometry. Generally speaking, it is easier to make a Lark-type "handle" than it is to do the equivalent for a Hawk. You also have the advantage of better steering boxes (Saginaw vs. Ross) and braking systems (bolt-up disc brake kits with firewall-mounted master cylinders) in the later Larks. And of course, as Bob notes, the '65-'66s, while somewhat harder to come by due to declining production numbers, are already set up from the factory for Chevy power.

            Either way, welcome to the Forum! You might also like to check out our brothers over at Sonny's Racing Studebaker Forum, at .

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