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1963 Lark Custom Project

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  • 1963 Lark Custom Project

    [Edit: I corrected the title.]

    Aside from a post in the introductions section, this is my first post. The subject car is my second Lark - the first one was a '64 that I drove between 1969 and 1973. I've been meaning to write a good introduction to this project, with glossy 8x10s and everything. I'll get to it, I promise. But first ....

    After getting the six-cylinder engine running in the "new" '63, it turned out to be a bad smoker. I tore it down and sent it to a machine shop that gave me bad news after pressure-testing the head. I've since learned they are notorious for cracking, although some previous owner had a valve job done not long ago (in miles, that is - might have been 30 years ago). That shop might have done something clumsy hardening the exhaust valve seats or something. My shop thinks it's junk, but someone has already told me that repair is sometimes possible and reasonable given that the situation may be desperate.

    But is it? So far, I've only found one replacement head available, NOS (!), for big money. I'm open to suggestions.

    Thanks!

    Curt Austin, Adirondacks, NY

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    Last edited by Adk46; 10-26-2019, 06:13 AM. Reason: Got the model name wrong.
    1963 Lark sedan 6-Cyl Automatic

  • #2
    I've never seen a '63 Cruiser that had the L A R K letters on the fenders, and besides they all came with 289s, not sixes.
    Chip
    '63 Cruiser
    '57 Packard wagon
    '61 Lark Regal 4 dr wagon
    '50 Commander 4 dr sedan

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    • #3
      Originally posted by raoul5788 View Post
      I've never seen a '63 Cruiser that had the L A R K letters on the fenders, and besides they all came with 289s, not sixes.
      I agree. The car pictured is not a Cruiser model.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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      • #4
        Keep your eyes open - not to long ago, someone posted online ( not sure where) that they pulled a running OHV6 from a vehicle to put in a V8 and had it for sale for $200. Good luck.

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        • #5
          Oops, I had the model name wrong - a brochure for optional equipment was in the glove box - that is, the "vanity" - that said Cruiser, but I knew better from the WSM. I guess the full name is "Lark VI 4 Dr. Sedan-Custom". That's based on a plate on the right side of the firewall that says "63S-Yb" which I'm taking to mean "63S-Y6". But S/Ns are supposed to be on the driver's door jamb. There is indeed a plate there that someone tried to scratch out. Looking closely, my best guess is that it says "63S-2I252" [two - eye - two - five - two]. A mystery! Maybe there's a "C" stuck in there for a Canadian body, and the "eye" is meant to be a "one" - 63SC-1252, but I don't think so. Since these two plates are attached to the same front body structure, it would be quite a Frankenstein repair job. Of the two, the firewall plate seems more genuine, covered in the original paint.

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          On door jamb

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          On upper firewall in engine compartment, right side.

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          1963 Lark sedan 6-Cyl Automatic

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          • #6
            For your amusement, some photos. The sensitive may wish to avert their eyes for some of them.

            Working on old cars has become a bad habit in my retirement, which started with the Porsche 928 in the background. I built a proper work space a few years ago. Not shown are the smallest and the biggest: a '59 Bugeye Sprite and a '78 Mercedes Unimog. The earlier photo of engine removal was taken in the Unimog shed, under a trolley hoist I installed for replacing its "double clutch".

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            A small victory while cleaning out the fuel system: I resurrected the fuel sender unit using stuff every Porsche 928 owner must have to deal with its troublesome electrics. This is the only victory with this car so far, but that's OK.

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            The rust bucket got pretty full. Replacement floor panels are on hand. Welding equipment purchased. Metal working and welding skills in development. Courage building? Not yet.

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            Odometer says "64XXX". What does this grime say? Oh - this photo shows a bit of automotive archeology: what I suppose must be the original horn, disconnected. There is another mounted on top of the radiator support on the right side.

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            When I got the engine running (and smoking), I ran the transmission though the gears to see if it worked at all (on the lift). But something seemed horribly wrong - it seemed to go from P to N to D to L to R. The indicator panel was missing, but surely an automatic transmission isn't supposed to do that, is it? I googled, found a photo of a Studebaker with "PRNDL". Damn. But eventually learned "PNDLR" is correct. Whew.
            1963 Lark sedan 6-Cyl Automatic

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            • #7
              Keep working on the courage building, and it looks like you will get plenty of practice on the metal working and welding skills. Keep asking questions, reading. and looking things up, and you will soon be familiar with your car. Good Luck with it!

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              • #8
                This was posted in the general discussion forum. "
                I have a 64 OHV 6 with 59k miles on it. I've not taken the time to fire it but guy I got it from did and ran good with the exception of RBS carb. Will sell for $200.00. If interested I'll get it fired up and see how it does. I have a pallet to ship it on. It has non overdrive trans on it that will go with it. I do
                " It's out of a champ pickup. Might be what you need.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for that reference. I've PM'ed the fellow. The thread that it's in is for a pickup that might be a far better project...
                  1963 Lark sedan 6-Cyl Automatic

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                  • #10
                    The I "eye" on the S/N plate is a 1 (one). That is the way that Studebaker did it. I wonder if the first part of the plate is scratched out because it said 63V instead of 63S. On a 1963, the S/N plate should be spot welded on, not held on with screws.
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                    • #11
                      PM sent
                      Kim

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                      • #12
                        Interesting project Curt - I'll be following!
                        Paul
                        Winston-Salem, NC
                        Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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                        • #13
                          Hello Curt- Check your private messages, I tried to send you one but the new system is so difficult I don’t know if it went through to you or not. I may have a solution for your engine issues.
                          Proud NON-CASO

                          I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

                          If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

                          GOD BLESS AMERICA

                          Ephesians 6:10-17
                          Romans 15:13
                          Deuteronomy 31:6
                          Proverbs 28:1

                          Illegitimi non carborundum

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