Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Lark VIIIs were Muscle Care back before there were Muscle Cars

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Lark VIIIs were Muscle Care back before there were Muscle Cars

    No other Ford, Chrysler or GM compact had the power to weight ratio of a Lark VIII back in the day. My 60 Hardtop was almost race ready right off the showroom floor. The addition of Traction bars to keep the rear end from wrapping up made a world of difference.

  • #2
    I remember back in high school, my 59 Lark VIII was pretty fast. No one wanted to race me (with another "stock" car).

    Now, though, it doesn't seem to have the power that I recall it having. I have changed the rear end gears multiple times, and I think I finally have it back to the original and it hardly pulls the hat off your head. I used to power brake it and smoke the tires off it, but now it can barely cut loose the tires unless there is LOTS of loose gravel.

    Maybe I was just young and dumb with more right foot than brains........
    Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
    1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by BILT4ME View Post
      I remember back in high school, my 59 Lark VIII was pretty fast. No one wanted to race me (with another "stock" car).

      Now, though, it doesn't seem to have the power that I recall it having. I have changed the rear end gears multiple times, and I think I finally have it back to the original and it hardly pulls the hat off your head. I used to power brake it and smoke the tires off it, but now it can barely cut loose the tires unless there is LOTS of loose gravel.

      Maybe I was just young and dumb with more right foot than brains........
      ==============

      Seems most folks don't have much regard for the factory ignition timing, advance curve, etc, etc, etc.
      But Lots of things may have strayed pretty far from "like new" after 50 plus years, so a comprehensive effort to get all the systems back in good, stock condition might bring a nice improvement.

      Maybe a compression test to start, followed up with a complete tune up, as described in the shop manual. Not just a plugs-n-points "tune up."
      I had a Corvair that had filled some of its intake ports almost completely with stick black carbon. I discovered THAT on the way to a rebuild with a hot rod cam and big valve heads, so how much better it might have run with a simple "de-coke" can only be a guess.
      Last edited by Dan Timberlake; 03-30-2016, 07:46 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dan Timberlake View Post
        ==============

        Seems most folks don't have much regard for the factory ignition timing, advance curve, etc, etc, etc.
        But Lots of things may have strayed pretty far from "like new" after 50 plus years, so a comprehensive effort to get all the systems back in good, stock condition might bring a nice improvement.

        Maybe a compression test to start, followed up with a complete tune up, as described in the shop manual. Not just a plugs-n-points "tune up."
        I had a Corvair that had filled some of its intake ports almost completely with stick black carbon. I discovered THAT on the way to a rebuild with a hot rod cam and big valve heads, so how much better it might have run with a simple "de-coke" can only be a guess.

        Good points, Dan. My impression of the 259 has always been a positive one. I put one in a GT Hawk combined with a 5 spd stick and 3.73 gears. It was very quick and yielded 25 mpg to boot.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm finishing up an article for TW about the Holman and Moody Larks; one of them was timed at 138 mph on the back straight of Sebring, and that was with an unsupercharged 259 V8. It had a cam kit and was carefully set up, of course. Also, Studebaker claimed a 0-60 time of 9.5 seconds for a 1959/1960 Lark V8 with Power Kit. That was pretty fast for 1959; that time was backed up by several magazine tests. The December 1958 Motor Life got 0-60 in 10.3 sec. for a '59 Lark HT with 259/2-barrel/Fightomatic/3.54 axle, and several other magazines got Larks into the high nines with 259/2-barrel and standard transmission.

          George
          george krem

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BILT4ME View Post
            I remember back in high school, my 59 Lark VIII was pretty fast. No one wanted to race me (with another "stock" car).

            Now, though, it doesn't seem to have the power that I recall it having. I have changed the rear end gears multiple times, and I think I finally have it back to the original and it hardly pulls the hat off your head. I used to power brake it and smoke the tires off it, but now it can barely cut loose the tires unless there is LOTS of loose gravel.

            Maybe I was just young and dumb with more right foot than brains........
            Too many years of driving newer cars will do that to you. Zero to sixty in 10 seconds felt fast in 59 now 6 seconds is common. Remember also, tire technology has changed a lot. Those hard as a rock narrow bias ply tires are now longer lasting, stickier radials that are much harder to break loose and spin--really cuts down on the "fun factor".

            Comment


            • #7
              At the drag strips in Tulsa in 1960 the Ford Starliner 352 - 360 HP and the Corvette 270 HP (don't remember any 315 HP 283 FI Vettes running) was king. Just sayin.
              101st Airborne Div. 326 Engineers Ft Campbell Ky.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by karterfred88 View Post
                Remember also, tire technology has changed a lot. Those hard as a rock narrow bias ply tires are now longer lasting, stickier radials that are much harder to break loose and spin--really cuts down on the "fun factor".
                That's what I was thinking too. Not only is it harder to break tires loose on acceleration, but also they don't slide as easily. As a kid I remember hearing cars squalling the tires easily if someone had to slam on the brakes. I sometimes would do it on purpose to wake up a person who had pulled out in front of me.
                sigpic

                "In the heart of Arkansas."
                Searcy, Arkansas
                1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                1952 2R pickup

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am not sure what you include with "back in the day". I have owned many 259/289 Larks. The 1959-1961 models were quicker than most of the competition, primarliy due to the weight difference. If you get up to 1964, things went away from Larks being up front. For example, at the same time, I owned a low mileage 1964 Daytona hardtop with 259 and AT and a 1964 Plymouth Valiant Signet hardtop with 273 and Torqueflite. The Studebaker was no match for the Plymouth.

                  EDIT: Before someone retorts with high performace engine options for 1964 Studebakers, I also owned (from new) a 1964 Plymouth Fury hardtop with hipo 383 and Torqueflite as well as a 1964 Studebaker Avanti with R1 and AT. The Plymouth seemed much faster.
                  Gary L.
                  Wappinger, NY

                  SDC member since 1968
                  Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by clonelark View Post
                    At the drag strips in Tulsa in 1960 the Ford Starliner 352 - 360 HP and the Corvette 270 HP (don't remember any 315 HP 283 FI Vettes running) was king. Just sayin.
                    Sorry, but to me the king was always the Chrysler 300. The 1960 'F' could be had with a 400HP engine and a 4-Speed. Not saying it was cheap (or light) but it was fast.
                    Tom - Bradenton, FL

                    1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                    1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How many of those Chrysler 300s were you likely to see while out cruising or at the drag strip?
                      sigpic

                      "In the heart of Arkansas."
                      Searcy, Arkansas
                      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                      1952 2R pickup

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd be interested to see how my little '60 Marshal 2-door sedan would do against other 1960 offerings in pure stock. Do a complete factory spec blueprint of the original 289 power kit taken to legal PSMC specs and gear accordingly. The original water cooled HD Flite-o-matic might eat up a few horsepower over a T-86, but probably still a good choice without the option of a 4-speed. I believe even the mighty "300" would have it's hands full with the weight difference.
                        Skinny___'59 Lark VIII Regal____'60 Lark Marshal___

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Skinnys Garage View Post
                          I'd be interested to see how my little '60 Marshal 2-door sedan would do against other 1960 offerings in pure stock. Do a complete factory spec blueprint of the original 289 power kit taken to legal PSMC specs and gear accordingly. The original water cooled HD Flite-o-matic might eat up a few horsepower over a T-86, but probably still a good choice without the option of a 4-speed. I believe even the mighty "300" would have it's hands full with the weight difference.
                          Since your Marshal was a special police package not available to the general public, it would have to be measured against other police vehicles of the time. A friend owned a 1961 Plymouth two door sedan police car with a 361 and three speed. I think that it would have fared quite well against your Marshal, even with the weight disadvantage. (no 1960 models come to mind that I have experience with, but the 1961 would be similar to a 1960)
                          Gary L.
                          Wappinger, NY

                          SDC member since 1968
                          Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would have to agree with the Mopar offerings being quite formidable, I reluctantly had the pleasure of some "community service" in 1964 and part of that was, washing police cars. When everyone left for lunch let's just say "I tested the transmissions and tires on most of them," and they were fast. BTW, my community service was for "Street racing!"
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "The older we get, the faster we wuz"

                              In my recollections, the glory days of the Studes on the street were '51-59. The OHV8s with solid lifters and overdrive could usually handle the flathead V8s, stovebolt 6-cyls and most of the two-speed automatic V8s of the day. Ted's string of class wins at the drag strip showed what a prepared Stude could do stock-against-stock. But even then, he was running way down the alphabet, maybe K/Stock?

                              When the Golden Hawks came along, they could usually pull the T-bird, Corvette and 300s in the magazine road tests of the day.

                              However, by 1960, when the Big Three came out with their own big block big cube performance cars, as the previously mentioned 360hp Ford, 348" tri-power Chevs, 413" Mopars, owning a Stude was bringing a knife to a gunfight. That's why the NHRA had weight/horsepower factored classes; to give everyone a place to run and a chance to win, like-against-like.

                              The last brief blaze of glory were the '63-64 R2s and those nine R3s; we don't have to wonder if they were quick. Each year at the PSMCDR, they still take it to the big guys.
                              PackardV8

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X