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  • New member - 1954 Studebaker Commander

    Hello! Just joined the forum and bought my first Studebaker. Original owner bought this car new in Council Bluffs, IA and was a member of this club years ago. Three of the four stickers on the car are for the Driver's club! Figured I would use this post to say hi. The car itself sat for many years after the owner's passing around 1991. I bought it from the granddaughter with the motor completely frozen. I found out the passenger side head gasket leaked between two cylinders. This caused oil and coolant to flood in and seize the engine. Working hard now to dismantle the motor and repaint everything along the way. Car is nearby in Omaha, NE now and hopefully will be back on the road by next spring.

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  • #2
    Welcome Jacob!
    It looks like you have found yourself a true gem!
    These sedans are some of the best cars Studebaker ever made, and with it's 232 V-8 with 3-speed and overdrive I think you will find it a joy to drive, and able to maintain speeds with any car on the road. It's one of the strongest engines any manufacturer ever put in a car.
    We look forward to hearing your progress, and will assist any way we can.

    I highly recommend you join the Studebaker Drivers Club; the monthly magazine Turning Wheels will connect you with the experience and expertise of over 10,000 SDC members.
    http://studebakerdriversclub.com/join.asp

    Here's also a link that will help you find a local chapter where members in your area will be familiar with reliable Studebaker services in your area.
    http://studebakerdriversclub.com/chapters.asp

    You will want to procure the original factory Shop Manual, as well as the Body Parts Catalog and the Chassis Parts Catalog; all available from several of our most active vendors. Here's the link to just about anything you might need.
    http://www.studebakervendors.com/



    Again, Welcome!

    Last edited by rockne10; 08-26-2019, 12:59 PM.
    "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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    • #3
      Gee what a pearl! Yep, I'm soft for 53-55 sedans, but even so: just lovely...!
      sigpic

      Josephine
      -55
      Champion V8
      4d sedan

      Comment


      • #4
        One thing I should have mentioned; the brakes on models through 1954 weren't much better than their predecessors, especially considering the additional power supplied by the V-8. 1955 and up were greatly improved and, if you look around you can find these fairly easily. The whole assembly is a direct bolt on.
        If your existing brakes feel adequate, live with them for a while. It may be something you decide to do later; or not.
        "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"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
          One thing I should have mentioned; the brakes on models through 1954 weren't much better than their predecessors, especially considering the additional power supplied by the V-8. 1955 and up were greatly improved and, if you look around you can find these fairly easily. The whole assembly is a direct bolt on.
          If your existing brakes feel adequate, live with them for a while. It may be something you decide to do later; or not.
          Close Brad, ‘54 was the first year for the bigger 11” front brakes.

          That looks like a really nice car. I too like the 53-54 sedans.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for the helpful suggestions! I did go through a Studebaker vendor online to get a complete gasket set for the whole car. I also bought a reprint of the shop manual. I am very happy to find this particular example with the 232 V8 and three on the tree. I expect it to be a fun combination. So far I have had a buddy media blast and primer everything I take off the motor. I am mostly done painting those parts. I have the passenger head off and found one cylinder filled with gunk! I cleaned it out and am soaking it in "Safest rust remover" now to help with the corrosion. Most likely I will be pulling the whole motor this weekend. The rear main seal appears to be leaking so I might as well yank the whole thing out.

            Comment


            • #7
              Gosh, what a nice car...and a V-8 with stick overdrive to boot! Congratulations on the acquisition, and welcome to the SDC Forum.

              Are you familiar with the Overdrive? If not, read up on it in the Shop Manual. It's a wonderful feature on that car.

              Welcome aboard. BP
              We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

              Ayn Rand:
              "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

              G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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              • #8
                Looks like a great start - nothing better than a nice original car that needs some touching up and being driven. Great color combo. The roof color is the same as my father's '53 coupe and Uncle's '53 Landcruiser.

                You might check to see if the car is equipped with a hill-holder. My step-father was born, raised, and lived in Council Bluffs for almost 40 years. He used to always laugh about how hilly it was and in the winters, if the streets were bad enough, people would just park at the bottom of the street and try to walk to their homes.

                Keep us posted.

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                • #9
                  Speaking of midwestern winters, this car came with two whitewall winter tires and spare wheels! I know for sure I have overdrive but I have not checked yet for the hill-holder.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wertz View Post
                    Speaking of midwestern winters, this car came with two whitewall winter tires and spare wheels! I know for sure I have overdrive but I have not checked yet for the hill-holder.
                    They are probably way too old to mount on the car, but that would be cool just to put on display. The HH will be inboard of the frame from the master cylinder.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Huh. What do ya know.... I do have a hill holder! That’s neat.

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