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1962 7E5 Champ

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  • 1962 7E5 Champ

    This thread is meant to be more of a march of progress thread than a "hey, look at my finished vehicle" type thread. Want to keep this in the public sphere so I can keep my eye on what I have been able to do and maybe have others to keep pestering me about what I am going to finish here we go.

    Back in 1991, I joined the SDC about the same time my Uncle got his 1960 Champ pickup out of a 15 year hibernation and decided to restore it back to running condition. We went to a couple local chapter meetings and my Uncle bought a close friend's '62 Champ and restored it as well - the "blue truck" I currently own. This was followed by his '50 2R5 and then in 1996, he started on the truck this thread is about, 7E5-135849, or as my Uncle would refer to a vehicle, the "white truck."

    This truck was produced on July 9, 1962. That was a Monday, so there is a good chance it was probably the last week of 7E production. On the production order, there is a deviation to possibly use up parts because of changes for the 8E Champs. Instead of having normal E5 front springs, this truck has the heavy duty front springs - which were the standard springs for the 7E7. Someone else in the Studebaker world stated they have a note in their Champ parts book that states the last 80 or so E5 were built this way - and by checking total numbers of trucks made with starting VINs, this truck is the 30th truck from the end of 7E5 production.

    The truck was shipped from South Bend to a dealer in Henderson, Texas - a small city in north east Texas, near Marshall. Only accessories on the production order are an overdrive transmission (thank goodness - 4.55 rear), PCV valve, and those heavy-duty springs, but it had already been sold so rush was on the order as well.

    The dealer must have had a deal worked out, because the truck did not go to its new owner without a radio, cigarette lighter, and climitizer. The trucks history is a mystery until about 1975, when a cousin, while at football practice in a new town, saw the truck sitting in a farmers field. The town was Hillsboro, Texas, about 160 miles west of its original home. My cousin found the person who owned the farm and found out that the truck was for sale. He told my Uncle about it and a deal was struck. The truck was pulled to my cousin's family farm and that is where it sat until 1995, the bed being filled with trash in that time period.

    By 1995, my Uncle was finished restoring the three trucks that were close to home, so he asked my cousin to haul the truck to his home so he could start on it. Photos below are of the truck shortly after it arrived there, showing what 33 years of being outside had done to its state of being. The interior was pretty ragged, there were some holes rusted in the floor, the tailgate was toast, and the bed had a hole rusted in the floor about the size of a basketball... My cousin states he believes the drive train was pulled because the intention was to go with a V8 motor instead.

    My Uncle started working on the truck sometime during 1996, and these photos are from 1997 when I stopped by for a visit. These are scans of actual photographs, so they have a little different look.

    Will continue the story later...
    Last edited by 62champ; 10-20-2019, 03:33 PM.

  • #2
    In 1998, knowing that he was not doing well health wise, my Uncle could no longer work on the truck. A short time later, he said it would be mine if I would finish it. At that point, I started gathering things to finish the truck, such as gauge cluster, grill, hubcaps, etc...

    It was clear that unless a new bed floor could be found, it would have to have something else replace the hole that had rusted in it over the years. A gentleman in north Central Texas who had restored another short/wide bed happened to have an extra bed that he would part with, so in the winter of 2000, my Uncle and I went to his place and loaded the bed up and hauled it back to my Uncles house.

    Since the truck already had V8 springs, the plan was to put a 289 out of a '56 Studebaker under the hood and I started looking for all the transmission parts needed to make it all work. I got married in July 2000, so things turned down quite a bit as far as Studebaker and restoration stuff was concerned. My Uncle's health continued to decline and he passed away on July 10, 2002. Once that had taken place, I started to sell all the accumulated parts, thinking I would never have the time/place/money to ever finish it.

    Fast forward to December 2016. On a trip back home from our new residence in Kentucky, I decided to stop by the family farm and my Uncle's former home. It was pretty depressing seeing how dilapidated everything had become, with the small shed my Uncle had done all his restoration work in falling in on itself. When I saw the truck in the huge chicken house my grandparent had built in the early 1950s, it really brought a sad feeling knowing that no one might ever take the time to try and finish the vehicle. I talked with my wife, and we though at least it deserved a chance at a continued existence. Photos below are what it looked like that December day.


    • #3
      It looks like a project, but I agree, it should have a second chance. Since it was part of the family, that gives you even more reason. Trucks don't really have to cost a fortune to get back to at least driver condition. Cars seem to need a lot of expensive things done. ( Upholstery, glass, brightwork, etc. Good luck with the truck.


      • #4
        I never knew the pick-ups came with padded dashes like the Lark. Thanks for posting your project in progress. I always had a soft spot in my heart for these vehicles.


        • #5
          This is the bed that was bought back in 2000 for the original restoration attempt as looked in July 2017.

          Since the old bed was not going to be used, the bolts were removed and it was unloaded in the trucks old resting place.

          I knew the old seat had not been thrown away, and sure enough, I was able to find it among all the old Studebaker parts.

          With wheels/tires off my current Champ installed, the truck was pulled out and the other bed set on the frame and pulled to the driveway to be loaded up for the trip to its new home.

          As much stuff that was loose that could be bolted on was reattached so it would not have to jostle around in transit.

          Last edited by 62champ; 08-09-2018, 07:04 PM.


          • #6
            Cool! It looks like a good solid project now.
            Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.


            • #7
              Truck (without the motor) pulled on the trailer with little effort.

              Old Studebaker friend had a complete drive train from another 7E5, so this is the motor/bell housing before it slid into the engine compartment.

              Truck made it to its new home with no problems other than answering a lot of questions while stopping for fuel or other reasons...

              Concrete floor is something this truck has probably never seen. Here it is squeezed between two relatives.

              Still need some simple things like wheels

              Last edited by 62champ; 08-09-2018, 07:03 PM.


              • #8
                Nice story! Please keep us updated on your progress!


                • #9
                  I wonder how many folks noticed the Lark grille INSIDE the Champ grille? Perhaps you could enlighten those interested as to its purpose! Good luck with the truck.
                  Rob in PA.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by stude1964 View Post
                    I wonder how many folks noticed the Lark grille INSIDE the Champ grille? Perhaps you could enlighten those interested as to its purpose! Good luck with the truck.
                    Rob in PA.
                    He's making the Packard version.

                    Doesn't Ford install a finer mesh grille on certain models of their truck line to turn them into Lincolns?



                    • #11
                      How about some more pictures of the 51 Starlight or the 55 Starliner?
                      RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                      17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                      10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                      10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                      4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                      5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                      56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                      60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by stude1964 View Post
                        I wonder how many folks noticed the Lark grille INSIDE the Champ grille? Perhaps you could enlighten those interested as to its purpose! Good luck with the truck.
                        Rob in PA.
                        This was a solution to a problem my Uncle had while using Champ trucks for farm work. Central Texas corn stalks and dried sunflower plants had a nasty tendency to poke holes in an unsuspecting radiator - so the '62 Lark mesh kept everything from needing a repair. This is the '60 5E7 that was a farm truck from @1965 to the late '70s. Photo is from 1992 when it was pulled out of hibernation and in the process of being restored.

                        Now the next question - how does a 1/2 ton truck wear 1958 14" wheel covers...

                        Last edited by 62champ; 08-09-2018, 07:02 PM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RadioRoy View Post
                          How about some more pictures of the 51 Starlight or the 55 Starliner?
                          The '55 is actually a Champion owned by my late Uncle Ernest from about 1995. He always wanted a Speedster until I told him how many of these models were produced compared to the Speedster... Photo below is from 2010 - car hasn't been on the road since about 2012.

                          Last edited by 62champ; 08-09-2018, 07:02 PM.


                          • #14
                            So the hunt for parts is beginning, starting from the bottom up. The old wheels and tires that were originally on the truck were not in any kind of condition to keep, and they were a mix of 15 and 16 inches. Have feelers out now but not much action finding some accurate 15" originals, so I needed to find a temporary replacement for the short term - enter local car guy who restored a 1937 coupe less than a decade ago. He created a hot rob under the original body work so the whole drive train was removed - including all the original wheels and tires. Tires are Gillette and could be 50 years old - but no way to know.

                            While it might seem odd to have 6.00 X 16 tires on a 1962 Champ, it could have been ordered on these trucks originally. According to my price and ordering guide for 7E trucks published in December 1961, five 6.00X16 - 4 ply wheels tires were approximately $4.10. If you wanted 6 plys, that would run you $24.52...

                            Last edited by 62champ; 08-09-2018, 07:01 PM.


                            • #15
                              So with some time this week, I managed to get stuck into the front axle - thinking that I want to work from the outside in and up as far as mechanicals go.

                              This is the right side brakes with drum off - there is plenty of meat on the shoes, so it might be a matter of retaining the 7E brakes and rebuilding everything to make them stop everything.

                              Whomever last repacked the wheel bearings needed to finish off their grease supply, so the hubs were half full of grease - the poor rear seal could not keep everything in...

                              Got both front drums and associated brake parts off without too many problems.

                              Next thing will be dropping the front axle and getting the front leaf springs off...
                              Last edited by 62champ; 08-09-2018, 07:12 PM.