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  • Yesterday's Trip MPG

    We, a family of five with total weight of about 700 pounds, piled into the 63GT yesterday for a 180 mile round-trip. Of course we had a wonderful Thanks Giving dinner at the destination with family and friends. Our speed averaged 65-70, and about 75 per cent of the trip was on the Interstate, with the remainder on Kentucky back roads. We gassed up when we left home, and again upon return, and the same gas station & pump. MPG was 18.2. To help increase MPG from the car's automatic tranny, I have installed a 3.07 rear end, with a "baby Holley", 450 CFM 4-barrel "economizer" carb. I know some have gotten 25-30 MPG from these cars, but I think 18.2 is about as good as it is gonna get for this car. Only thing that may have helped get a little more MPG woulda been to have left the 500 pounds of family behind, but of course that ain't gonna happen.

    I thought a good example of stock Stude V8 MPG was inadvertently provided by an ebay seller about a year ago. In listing a 63GT from California (automatic tranny), with about 75,000 miles on it, he included a scanned copy of a meticulously maintained maintenance schedule from the 1960s thru 1980s for that car. The records included miles & gallons, for each and every time the car was gassed up. I did the math from that schedule, and noticed the car never got better than 16.5 MPG. It probably had a 3.31 rear end, and I don't recall the carb it had. I recall it had a Powershift tranny, and PDBs. The reason I paid so much attention to that car was because, being in the market for a 63GT at that time, I almost bought it.

  • #2
    I personally think that you have optimized the MPG. I've heard those stories of 20+ mpg. I live in reality and 20+ stories belong right up there with 130 miles an hour silver hawks

    Russ Shop Foreman \"Rusty Nut Garage\"
    53 2R6 289 5SpdOD (driver)
    57 SH (project)
    60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

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    • #3
      Hi, Joe,

      Glad you had a good, safe Thanksgiving holiday with your family.

      FWIW, I've known Joe for a while and can attest he is as good as it gets in tuning and featherfoot driving. His 18.2 MPG is about as much as an automatic GT is going to get. In fact, my '56 Flight Hawk with overdrive behind the Champion six seldom approached that mileage. Typically, it was closer to 16 MPG.

      Been mentioned before, but with the age of the guage, that tires and transmissions and rear axles may have been swapped around, anyone posting MPG figures should begin with, "After testing the odometer against highway mile markers and then factoring in observed odometer error, my 'XX Stude got xx MPG."

      jack vines
      PackardV8

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      • #4
        That sounds pretty good to me. I think most people would be happy with that in a V8 car from the early 60s.
        Pat Dilling
        Olivehurst, CA
        Custom '53 Starlight aka STU COOL


        LS1 Engine Swap Journal: http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/jour...ournalid=33611

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        • #5
          Lemme try again. "After testing the odometer against highway mile markers, and then factoring in observed odometer error, the GT got 18.2 MPH."

          I do agree with that statement JV. I have had Stude odometers read as high as 10 per cent high or low, the same for speed; have been "doing the math" almost subconsciously on Studes now for many years. The best little gadget of recent, to verify a stubby pencil and/or calculator is a GPS. Greatest thing since a pocket on a shirt.

          This is the first Stude with automatic we've had since the wife wrecked her other 63 GT 8 or 9 years ago. That one used to get a little better, but ran a 2.73 AMC rear end. It was a dog on take-off, but the wife didn't mind.

          Our 1962GT, with HFI and overdrive, woulda got 20-22 MPG on the same trip yesterday. But the final drive ration on it is 2.55. I have two "chips" the guy made, to choose from. The one chip runs a little leaner, and woulda got closer to 22 MPG yesterday. The second chip, which I prefer and is now in the car, woulda got closer to 20, but it makes the 289 pull like a Holley double-pumper !

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          • #6
            Forgot to mention, the other thing added to this car to help MPG is a clutch fan. I liked the results of the first clutch fan installed on a Stude about 8 years ago, have since installed three more. I prefer the 7 blade, 18.5" Corvette fan with Hayden #2797 "severe duty" clutch. In addition to a little better MPG, it also gets rid of the "airplane noise".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JoeHall View Post
              We, a family of five with total weight of about 700 pounds, piled into the 63GT yesterday for a 180 mile round-trip. Of course we had a wonderful Thanks Giving dinner at the destination with family and friends. Our speed averaged 65-70, and about 75 per cent of the trip was on the Interstate, with the remainder on Kentucky back roads. We gassed up when we left home, and again upon return, and the same gas station & pump. MPG was 18.2. To help increase MPG from the car's automatic tranny, I have installed a 3.07 rear end, with a "baby Holley", 450 CFM 4-barrel "economizer" carb. I know some have gotten 25-30 MPG from these cars, but I think 18.2 is about as good as it is gonna get for this car. Only thing that may have helped get a little more MPG woulda been to have left the 500 pounds of family behind, but of course that ain't gonna happen.

              I thought a good example of stock Stude V8 MPG was inadvertently provided by an ebay seller about a year ago. In listing a 63GT from California (automatic tranny), with about 75,000 miles on it, he included a scanned copy of a meticulously maintained maintenance schedule from the 1960s thru 1980s for that car. The records included miles & gallons, for each and every time the car was gassed up. I did the math from that schedule, and noticed the car never got better than 16.5 MPG. It probably had a 3.31 rear end, and I don't recall the carb it had. I recall it had a Powershift tranny, and PDBs. The reason I paid so much attention to that car was because, being in the market for a 63GT at that time, I almost bought it.
              I went on the same trip today, in the same car, under the same conditions mentioned earlier. This time, the car got 18.5 MPG, which is a .3 MPG improvement. The only changes made to the car since the last trip was to install Pertronix II, new car & rotor, and plug wires. I still plan to change the spark plugs, but after that, I cannot think of anything else to do to squeeze anymore MPG out of it. In another trip a few weeks ago, before the Pertronix & tune up, it got 18.9, but that was with just me in it. I believe the car would probably top 19 MPG if just me riding in it. The extra 500 pounds of family makes it suck a little more fuel

              I recall in the late 1980s, an old friend in California named Leonard Ainsworth used to get 25 MPG in a V8 Wagonaire. He was an engineer of some sort, and loved to tinker. He wrote a few articles in the TW back then about tweaking a Stude for improved MPG. His Wagonaire had an OD transmission, 3.31 rear end, modified power valve in the carb, and a few other tricks I am sure. Plus, he got the 25 MPG at 55 miles per hour, back when the national speed limits were lowered to 55.
              Leonard died around 1990 in a crash near San Diego, while flying his private plane (Cessna IIRC). Lester Schmidt told me Leonard had a metal STUDEBAKER script attached on the dash in the Cessna.
              Leonard used to get the 25 MPG in his Wagonaire, loaded down with family; I recall he had twin, teen age daughters back then.

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