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'64 parts into a '59 Lark

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  • '64 parts into a '59 Lark

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Max and I'm a 21 year old college student who got into cars by getting my mom's '59 Lark 6, 3spd back on the road. The car's engine is in very good shape, but the interior is seriously bad, so I have been on the look out for a parts car with better seats since that would probably be a lot cheaper than re-upholstery. I've found a '64 cruiser for sale for a good price, so i was wondering if those seats would work in the '59 Lark. The cruiser also has a stude 289 and 4 speed (sweet!). The engine is free, but not running. How doable would it be to swap the engine trans and rear into the Lark? I don't have much access to fabrication equipment. It would be great to go faster than the little flat head and 3speed can manage, though it is a cool engine.

    Thanks for the advice/help

    Max
    Central NJ

    Click image for larger version

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ID:	1751846 - Older picture of the Lark and I

  • #2
    The engine/transmission swap is doable, but if that '64 Cruiser came from the factory with a 4-speed, I'd seriously have second thoughts about parting that one out!!

    Craig

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    • #3
      I agree with Craig. In fact your Lark sure looks nice from the front end shot, and I'd try to keep that a nice original car. Think about fixing both of the Studes. That little 6 will do the speed limit. If you feel the need for power then the Daytona will be a nice ride.

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      • #4
        Can't tell if the '59 is a 4-door or not. The Cruiser front seat back may not tip forward for access into the back seat. If you swap the drive train, don't forget the rear end, the six rear end won't last. Also make sure the V-8 brakes are swapped over too, as the six brakes won't be up to the job. The V-8 front springs should be part of the deal also, lots of extra weight up front.

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        • #5
          Welcome to the Forum!

          59 Larks are the BEST! Especially in that color!

          It looks to me like your car is a two door.

          Yes, those parts will fit into your car. The donor car that you have mentioned is actually a "rare" car combination. Get the VIN and body numbers from it also and post them here. Do the same for your current 59.

          The folks here will really help you with what you have.

          If you still insist on doing the swap, here are the highlights:
          You will need to take the following list of items:
          engine mounts
          engine
          Transmission (pull them together....about 800 LB)
          Driveshaft
          Rear axle (for gear ratio as well as it is most likely a Dana 44 instead of a Dana 23 or 27.)
          I would also take the steering column (for the hanging clutch and brake pedals) (just to improve things)
          Brake master cylinder (for the now column-mounted brakes)
          Front hubs and spindles and calipers for the front disc brakes if it is equipped. Even if it is drum brakes, take them because the V8's had larger brakes in front and rear.
          Clutch linkage
          Front Springs (The V8's are much heavier springs to take the increased weight of the V8.)

          Maybe you can just unbolt the entire front crossmember and slide it under the 59 (I'm not sure if that will work....)
          You will need to do fabrication on the firewall to accept the clutch linkage and the firewall mounted brake master cylinder.

          Most of this will bolt in, but this is a pretty large undertaking unless you have access to a full shop with hoists, stands, and plenty of tools. Hopefully, you're very mechanical or have a really understanding mentor.

          The seats will work if the donor is a two door and your car is a two door. None of the interior panels, dash, or gauges will work. I don't think the rear seats will work due to the shape and I think the height of the rear seatback.

          Oh, and while you have the engine out, go ahead and do all the seals and gaskets that you can get to and clean it and seal is while it's out. It's a LOT easier then.

          And most importantly, don't forget your checkbook. These aren't as cheap ass they once were. Even though you have all this in hand, you should still go through all the brake lines, brakes, master cylinder, wheel cylinders, shoes, pads, drums and rotors.

          I've owned mine for 35 years and just to put in safely back on the road without any cool stuff has been about $5000.
          Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
          1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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          • #6
            Since you would have all the Parts from the Cruiser this would be a good swap, about all you would Pay for other than Fresh Engine Mounts etc. to do it right while it is out, would be paying the Driveshaft Shop to shorten and Balance the Driveshaft, as Cruisers have a 113 Inch Wheelbase vs 109 Inches for '59-'61 Lark non-Cruiser 4 Door Sedans, plus the Dana Model 27 to 44 length difference.
            StudeRich
            Second Generation Stude Driver,
            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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            • #7
              Congrats Max! Whatever you chose to do, enjoy the process and have a blast!

              All the best
              Dean Seavers
              Sacramento, CA

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              • #8
                Also when you have the engine out, that's a good time to replace the steering gear box seals.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                  The engine/transmission swap is doable, but if that '64 Cruiser came from the factory with a 4-speed, I'd seriously have second thoughts about parting that one out!!

                  Craig
                  If anyone is in a position to save the four speed Cruiser, it is on eBay right now.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by qsanford View Post
                    If anyone is in a position to save the four speed Cruiser, it is on eBay right now.
                    I am not having any luck finding it-- do you (or anyone else) have a link?
                    StudeRich
                    Second Generation Stude Driver,
                    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just a thought: while the engine is out, as in any old engine, pop the frost-plugs & dig out the rust sludge... will save you loads in the future, the plugs are usually rusted from inside & even if they look fine from outside it's no fun finding out the hard way later... + it'll help the cooling big time to get old sludge out!
                      Purdy cars them early Larks...
                      sigpic

                      Josephine
                      -55
                      Champion V8
                      4d sedan

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                        I am not having any luck finding it-- do you (or anyone else) have a link?
                        It is eBay item number 17235688012. It is in the salvage car section.

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                        • #13
                          Not an easy find, but I did~

                          http://www.ebay.com/itm/1964-Studeba...lXlliT&vxp=mtr

                          Interesting ride...
                          StudeDave '57
                          US Navy (retired)

                          3rd Generation Stude owner/driver
                          SDC Member since 1985

                          past President
                          Whatcom County Chapter SDC
                          San Diego Chapter SDC

                          past Vice President
                          San Diego Chapter SDC
                          North Florida Chapter SDC

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by StudeDave57 View Post
                            Not an easy find, but I did~

                            http://www.ebay.com/itm/1964-Studeba...lXlliT&vxp=mtr

                            Interesting ride...
                            Wow...nice car, good price for a starter. Someone please save this car!
                            Mike Davis
                            Regional Manager, North Carolina
                            1964 Champ 8E7-122 "Stuey"

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                            • #15
                              Seriously, someone needs to save that one.

                              If no one steps up, I am really tempted to buy it. If I do, it will not be saved, as I would use the complete drive train and the bucket seats on my 53 hard top (currently a 232 auto bench seat car).

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