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Restoring a 56 Champion

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  • Restoring a 56 Champion

    Bought this 56 Champion several years ago in Michigan. It was an Arizona car and had been off the road since 1998 and sat in outdoor storage since then near Detroit. Water had seeped in and did a number on the floor due to the window seals all being rotten from the sun. From the bottom you could still see the paint on the floor but once the mats were lifted there wasn't much more than the paint on the bottom.
    I have included a bunch of pictures from how I found it and some through the restoration process. You will see my floor panels I made, chassis restored and rebuilt, body work done and painted up to that point. You will note the damaged rear fenders when I got it, looks like someone jack knifes a trailer into the rear corners. That was a real challenge to stretch that right rear fender back out. I have the shell finished and painted. Am in the process of installing the engine and finishing the drive line right now and will likely set the body shell back on the frame over the next few days.
    Nick

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    Last edited by njonkman; 12-02-2012, 05:35 PM.

  • #2
    Wow. Nice job. Thanks for saving another one.
    I'm guessing this is not your first major restoration.
    KURTRUK
    (read it backwards)




    Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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    • #3
      Really a very Beautiful job, Nick. That car sure shows having been in Mich. Wow serious rust!

      You show some serious Stude. love to go to all that work and expense to restore a '56 Champion 4 Door, cudos brother!
      It is a bit more cost consious to frame off restore a C or K, Avanti or Super Lark with the thought of getting at least Half of your investment back if you ever have to sell a "keeper".
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        This is my first frame off restoration. I have probably done about a half dozen or so since I was a kid, mostly panels and patching but nothing like this.
        Here are a few more pictures.
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        Last edited by njonkman; 12-02-2012, 05:34 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
          Really a very Beautiful job, Nick. That car sure shows having been in Mich. Wow serious rust!

          You show some serious Stude. love to go to all that work and expense to restore a '56 Champion 4 Door, cudos brother!
          It is a bit more cost consious to frame off restore a C or K, Avanti or Super Lark with the thought of getting at least Half of your investment back if you ever have to sell a "keeper".
          Thanks guys. Actually that car never drove in Michigan on the road so no salt. That rust was from water laying in it over a period of 12 years before I got it. It still had the original 56 Arizona plate on the front when I got it. The body had no rust issues except two small holes behind the right front wheel by the vent, only about 1/2" diameter. As you can see I have all the interior stuff ready to install right down to the sun visors and carpets. I have all new chrome where needed including, grill and mouldings, bumpers done, even got new sill plates, windshield, hood ornaments and trunk handle etc. Still need a muffler and tires. Otherwise I should have every thing to complete it. Total cost so far about $13,000 including purchasing it. I figure about $15,000 when done.
          As soon as I get the shell onto the frame I can start on the doors, front fenders and hoods. Doing the painting myself too and since I haven't painted anything in over ten years I am very pleased with the finish. I never had a spray booth like this before either, just painted in a garage with everything around it. When I built my new shop 4 years ago I designed it to accomodate all my needs including a hoist, spray booth and machine shop when I sold my old place in town to retire. So far I have about ten months of work into this car, 6 the first winter 4 last winter and about 2 weeks so far this fall. Nick
          Last edited by njonkman; 02-28-2013, 05:02 PM.

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          • #6
            I have pair of NOS tail light housing if interested.

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            • #7
              Nice job!

              I guess I am not the only one who likes 1956 Sedans. I am in the process of restoring a '56 Commander and have another that is restorable.

              T-cab

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              • #8
                Nick,

                Very impressive work!! Who did your interior? Are you doing BC/CC? What brand of paint? Is there any chance you will be able to make next year's international meet in Colorado?

                Charlie D.

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                • #9
                  Nice job nick....sounds like a very nice shop as well, good planning.
                  Maybe we'll see you at an event in Ontario next year.

                  Bill
                  Bill Foy
                  1000 Islands, Ontario
                  1953 Starlight Coupe

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                  • #10
                    Nice job on your restoration.

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                    • #11
                      I'm impressed! ...& I also've gotta weak spot for 53-58 4-door sedans.
                      Last edited by Noxnabaker; 10-24-2012, 10:31 AM.

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                      • #12
                        You are doing a fine job. A great xample of what restoration is when properly done. You can work on my car any time. Keep up the great work. cheers jimmijim
                        sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

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                        • #13
                          Nick,

                          You do great work!

                          My 57 Champion was hit in a parking lot and took out my taillight bezel and part of the quarter panel. A friend fixed it in his yard, damage was a bit worse than yours. Whoever hit my car took off!!!

                          It seems like the 56-58 Studebakers are now getting the attention they deserve.

                          Keep us informed on your progress.
                          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

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                          • #14
                            I REALLY love the '56s! A very underappreciated year for Studes, to be sure. You did some great work, you should be proud. Congratulations!
                            John
                            1950 Champion
                            W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
                            Holdrege NE

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the offer. I already have both tail and front parking lights in NOS as well as new front lenses. My tail light lenses must have been replaced after the damage.
                              Nick

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