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32 Rockne... worth this price? Parts availability?

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  • 32 Rockne... worth this price? Parts availability?

    Good day ladies and gents,

    I apologize if my questions are answered somewhere else. I did extensive searches both here and other resources and have come up somewhat empty.

    I'm looking to purchase a 30's era car with a body style similar to the most recent one I have become very interested in... a '32 Rockne. Quite honestly, I expect to take many many years restoring the car I settle on (hopefully this one). My son is only one year old, but I imagine that I will still be turning wrenches on this thing by the time he is able to help hand me tools. The owner is looking to get $6,000 for this beauty, but unfortunately it has seen better days as many of these cars have. So, given the state of the car in the pictures below, is $6,000 a good asking price?

    When I told him I was researching part availability, he assured me that nothing is missing including the glass, and that everything would just need to be restored. Now I'm not a restoration professional by any means, but if something has to be restored, doesn't that mean that it may need new parts? What is the part availability for a '32 Rockne? What are some of the most difficult parts to find (including cosmetic parts), and which parts can I almost be guaranteed will need to be replaced?

    He also claims,"... this is the lowest serial number recorded matching number engine and proper body tags". Not sure if that's true, and how it would play into his price if true.

    To make matters more difficult, the car is located about 600 miles away, so I have to do this through photos and trust.

    Hopefully I haven't been too vague and bothersome to anyone with my somewhat general questions. Please let me know where I can be more detailed if necessary. From what I have seen on these forums, I expect good honest answers from some very respectable people.

    Talk me out of this project or talk me into it!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Way too much money for this car. I can tell you most anything about a Rockne that you want to know but the bottom line would be you would have more than 5-10 times the amount of money in it that you would ever get out of it if you ever sold it. You would also tie up two garage spaces for 20 years or so. I would suggest that you look for something that needs cosmetics and upgrading that you could enjoy driving while you are doing it. The Rockne is not particularly rare. Can supply a roster from the Antique Studebaker Club (via Larry Tholen) if needed. Can also confirm or deny the owners claim re lowest serial number. However that would have almost no bearing at all on value.
    Richard Quinn
    Editor emeritus: Antique Studebaker Review

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    • #3
      Most cars of this era had metal body panels attached to a wooden frame (a carryover from the carriage days). After 80 years this substructure will undoubtedly need repair, if you are lucky there will be enough left for patterns. Unless you are a good carpenter you will need to farm this out and then tackle the remaining issues you will find with any car restoration.

      It appears this car was just unloaded off a trailer, someone probably gave $1000 for it and is looking to flip it. Given the condition, $1000 is more than I would give (but I am a 1st Class CASO)

      I would suggest you may be better off with an all metal car from the late '30's. As always, buy the best car you can afford as the more it needs the more it will cost in the end.
      Last edited by Guido; 05-24-2015, 08:29 PM.
      Join me in removing narcissists, trolls, self annoited "experts" and general idiots via the Ignore button.

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      • #4
        Hi Richard,

        Thanks for your quick reply and information. I'm definitely not looking to make money on it. I have always loved this style car, particularly when it's a four door sedan with suicide doors and sidemount wheels. One it meets that very basic criteria (oh, yeah and part availability!) then I'm interested. The car I choose will definitely be a long term hobby for me. I would love to get one of these cars to moderate show quality, but by no means an award winner. Just something that I can drive around and bring to shows as a vintage car. I am slightly confused when you say Rocknes aren't particularly rare, but I would take up two garage spaces for twenty years or so. I'm assuming you mean that although this isn't a rare prized gem, it also won't be easy to get parts for it?

        I love Packards, but they seem tough to come by and hard to get parts for. Fords seem too generic for me and it seems like the wheelbase is shorter than the others from that timeframe. I don't want to sign up for all sorts of forums and jam them up with my onesie twosie questions just to find out what car will suit me. I would be just fine with a Studebaker if it was originally produced with sidemounts, has the suicide doors, and has decent part availability. Basically, if it looks like the car above, that's what I'm looking for. I'm sure I'm showing my true novice colors here, but I need to start somewhere, right?

        And then there's the fact that I'm as middle class as they come. My disposable income would certainly be the number one hindrance to a quick restore. I wish I had the income that many do who enjoy seeing a restoration project come to life. It is what it is, and I'm realistic enough to know that whatever I get will take me a long time to fix up.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the info and quick reply Guido. My reply to Richard does somewhat sum up what I'm looking for and the reality of how long it will take me to do one of these projects. Given your information about the wooden frame, I'm beginning to think that this may not be for me. I can be patient and farm it out, but I've worked on heavy aircraft for 10+ years, so metal is more up my alley. I'm A OK with a late thirties car. Given my novice criteria in what I'm looking for, I'm all ears on suggestions, Studebaker or otherwise.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's hard to tell from the pictures the actual condition of the car. If it is not rusted out, if it starts, runs, drives, and stops, the price may not be too far off.

            If you intend to restore it to its original glory, Richard is correct (as usual) in that you will have more money into it than you could ever get out...not to mention your time. Also, if this would be your first restoration, you may be biting off more than you can chew.

            Any part for this car...both cosmetic and mechanical...will not be easy to find. That may be part of the fun of the hobby, but it can also be frustrating.

            OTOH, (again if it is not rusty, runs and drives) it would be tempting to just make it safe (brakes, steering, tires, etc), do some thing temporary for the interior, and just enjoy it as it is. If you could pick it up for $4-5k and put another $2-3k into it plus a lot of your time, you couldn't get stung too badly.

            I hate to say this on this forum, but if you want a car of this era, I'd pick a Model A Ford. Relatively inexpensive, parts are readily available, all kinds of help out there, big resale market. Running, driving, rust free cars like this out there to start with...

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/1931-Ford-Mo...p2047675.l2557

            Dick Steinkamp
            Bellingham, WA

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for clarifying some of the points Richard made Dick. All of your information is well received except for the Ford recommendation

              As I hear from the forum more and more, it seems obvious that not only is it overpriced, but it may be a project bigger than I may be able to handle. I haven't asked yet, but I'm almost certain it doesn't run.

              I have a 1990 motorcycle that I work on and finding parts, at least the cosmetic ones, are difficult to find. Mechanical parts are simple, however it's only 25 years old at this point. But the point is, it is exhilarating to stumble across a part I want, but I'm not necessarily looking for that thrill on a project car. Sure, I have to be realistic that there will be some of that going on here, but if I can minimize it, that's key to me. If a Ford is the only realistic option for me, perhaps I should flush this pipe dream of mine?

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with Richard that the price is way too high. But in the end, the purchase price will only be a small bit of the overall cost. I'm also a member of the Model A club and have 3 Model A's. The Model A is tight in the front and while much more affordable than some other makes, the Studebaker is like a luxury car compared to my Model A's.

                This Rockne may actually be a metal body with wood used only to hold upholstery in place. Ford went this route in early 1931, and Studebaker was more advanced than most other car makes. The car will take a lot of work, and if you get serious, you need to inspect it in person before laying out any money. If the engine is free and the gauges are all there and working, that is a big step forward, but I still think the price is way too high. I'd rather pay more and keep looking for a Studebaker in better condition. BTW, I also think Packard parts would be easier to find than Rockne parts. This would be a nice car restored, even to just driver quality. Have you looked in Hemmings, and also check craiglist nationwide for cars. There have been some nice Studebakers from the 30's in the Minneapolis craigslist for not much more than this Rockne.

                BTW, I also have a 1960 Parilla 350 that I have been trying to find parts for since 1970.

                Comment


                • #9
                  agree with Mr. Quinn and others about the price/condition. i'd go elsewhere - for that price, i believe you can find a early to mid 30's Studebaker that at least runs, drives and stops.

                  i purchased a original survivor '40 Champion a few years back with 23K miles for a little over $10K. i wish i still had her, but the "ex-Mrs. Corvanti" saw to it that i had to sell it.

                  join the Studebaker Drivers Club. check out their great magazine: "Turning Wheels" Classified section.
                  look thru here: http://forums.aaca.org/forum/21-stud...rskine-rockne/
                  for pre-war car info.

                  i purchased all 3 of my Studebakers on ebay - just be careful...

                  hope this helps, and good luck!
                  Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

                  '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

                  '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.

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                  • #10
                    15-20 years ago, people were paying crazy prices for cars like this. By now, everybody that did that realizes that there isn't much sense in spending $20-$30K+ to make a maybe $10,000 car. That's why so many of these old cars end up being street rods, you can buy a new crate SBC engine and late drive train for 1/2 what it would cost to rebuild that Rockne six and you could drive it on the highway. A '32 Rockne will have a top comfortable speed of about 40. There was a nice '32 Rockne roadster on ebay recently that didn't meet reserve, bid was $22.3K http://www.ebay.com/itm/321757579854...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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                    • #11
                      http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/cto/4993043415.html

                      How about something like that? Doesn't seem like a horrible price.

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                      • #12
                        Doug, that looks like a good deal to me. I'd be all over it, if I had a place to keep it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you are looking for a Studebaker built vehicle, you might also consider an Erskine. However, that may put you prior to the time period you want.
                          Join me in removing narcissists, trolls, self annoited "experts" and general idiots via the Ignore button.

                          The official SDC Forum heel nipper ���

                          �Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.� E. Joseph Cossman

                          For every mile of road, there are 2 miles of ditch. ���

                          "All lies matter - fight the kleptocracy"

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                          • #14
                            A '32 Rockne "65" Deluxe sedan is almost as beautiful as a '33 Rockne "10" Deluxe sedan but, almost the only parts that would swap from a later Studebaker would be the Commander 6 engine. One was recently restored at a cost of over $40,000 and, unfortunately, would probably sell for just under half that. The owner is a Notre Dame alumnus and plans on having it for a loooong time; so, there is that. Doing much of the work yourself would reduce costs but involve a tremendous learning curve and, as Richard indicated, at least two garage spaces and twenty years. Much as I hate to say it, this particular Rockne would be a good candidate for a street rod, and substantially less than $6000.
                            "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                            Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                            sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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                            • #15
                              There was a 1932 Studebaker Dictator 4 door sedan on craigslist recently (it may have appeared on ebay too). It was maroon and black and had the artillery wheels. It was a really solid and nice looking car that would be perfect for a restoration. I can't find the ad. Does anyone else remember this car and could dig up for the ad for driveitlikeistoleit?

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