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  • Fiberglass body

    I am looking for the cheapest method for restoring my 57 hawk.

    On consideration would be an entire fiberglass body from

    Would getting it dipped and repaired be cheaper?

    Media blasting?

    Anyone have any cheap suggestions? I know when it comes to restoration cheap is not listed however what would be the least expensive alternative? Fiberglass?

  • #2
    Without getting into the obvious...
    Take a real close look at this website before you make your plans...
    905 area code is Canada..
    Their own website says it has recently been updated in.....2003.
    You have to buy a $14.95 CD Rom to look at pic's, and they say the CD Rom is full of 'other' pic's for you to look at.
    So... Buyer spades.
    Trying to restore anything 'on the cheap' is going to take time, planning, perserverance, cunning, and guile.
    If you have to ask about what is the cheapest method, you are already behind the 8-ball.
    If you really, truly want to have a nice Studebaker, and you have never (and I mean never) restored a car (any car)...
    You need to side up to some people who have done the deed and ask them for their opinion on this subject.
    If you love the 'process', then restoration is a fun thing to persue.
    If you just want a nice Stude... Go borrow the money and buy one already done.
    The 24, 36, 48 months you are making payments on it, you can be driving it.
    This is just an opinion, but this is not a hobby for the feint of heart, or the casual player...unless you are willing to do the ugly, nasty, smelly, and very low paying grunt work yourself.
    There are no shortcuts, and a fiberglass body is more work than a steel body.
    Good luck on your quest.

    quote:Originally posted by Kenny

    I am looking for the cheapest method for restoring my 57 hawk.

    On consideration would be an entire fiberglass body from

    Would getting it dipped and repaired be cheaper?

    Media blasting?

    Anyone have any cheap suggestions? I know when it comes to restoration cheap is not listed however what would be the least expensive alternative? Fiberglass?
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


    • #3
      The terms restore and cheap do not really go together. To properly restore takes a lot of time and money. Now if you just want to fix the car up to drive it the cost will depend on how good a car you are starting with. If the Hawk in question is so bad that you are considering replacing the whole body with fiberglass then it probably is too far gone to save. I would wonder about the frame and other parts you wanted to reuse.

      1952 Champion Starlight, 1962 Daytona, 1947 M5. Searcy,Arkansas
      "In the heart of Arkansas."
      Searcy, Arkansas
      1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
      1952 2R pickup


      • #4
        So fiberglass is out of the picture...What about dip tank vs sand/media/soda blasting?

        Basically I want the body to be stripped down to metal. I have been doing some research but asking you guys is part of "starting int he right direction" I have herd from 1000-1500 for a strip dip but I want to know, is there a cheaper alternative to dipping it? My planns so far is to dipp is then primer it, then when I have the money repir one by one the areas that used to have rust. While the body is off I will be replacing bushings and hopefully grinding down and repainting the chassis.

        Because of tight money issues I plan to take this one...long step at a time. So any cheaper alternatives would be great.

        So whats bettor? Dip it or blast it? other?




        • #5
          Basic rule of thumb, if you have rough Hawk body, chose another car. If you just have to restore the car you own, expect to spend about twice what a solid car would cost you in the end. In my area, you can have the body soda blasted on the frame, even with the glass installed for about a grand. Having said that, rust free bodies can be had for 3 or 4K out west and that might be a cheaper way to go. Just for a bit of a baseline, I spent 22K doing a solid 57 Golden Hawk a few years back and only farmed out the chrome, paint and interior.

          63 R2 SuperHawk (Caesar)
          spent to date $54664,75
          64 R2 GT (Sid)
          spent to date $62,839.60
          63 Lark 2 door
          51 Commander
          39 Coupe express
          39 Coupe express (rod)

          JDP Maryland


          • #6
            So I will look into the soda blasting, I kinda figure I will need to take the body off, this way I can replace bushings and what not while its off. Give it a good lookin over...but soda blasting may be a cheaper alternative then getting it dipped?


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by Kenny
              but soda blasting may be a cheaper alternative then getting it dipped?
              If you are looking for it yourself. An angle grinder with some sanding discs and wire brushes. Dirty nasty, hard work, but if cheap is what you are after...

              If you start "farming" stuff out (ANYTHING for that matter) "cheap" goes away very quickly.

              Dick Steinkamp
              Bellingham, WA


              • #8
                quote:Originally posted by Kenny

                So I will look into the soda blasting, I kinda figure I will need to take the body off, this way I can replace bushings and what not while its off. Give it a good lookin over...but soda blasting may be a cheaper alternative then getting it dipped?
                I have been playing with these old cars for over 40 years and I have never took a body off a frame in order to 'restore' it. I have changed a lot of body mount pads without removing the body. But then you have to remember I am a StreetRodder and the word 'Concours' doesn't come up in my conversations very often.

                Jerry Forrester
                Douglasville, Georgia
                Be sure to check out my eBay store
                for your shiny Stude stuff

                More pix of Leo the '55 Pres HT here...
                Jerry Forrester
                Forrester's Chrome
                Douglasville, Georgia

                See all of Buttercup's pictures at


                • #9
                  "If", you are going to farm out the paint removal(again IF) don't media or soda blast! Media or soda will remove the paint but it doeasn't expose weak metal ready to fail.

                  Use the acid dip method and know what metal is strong enough to paint over and last more than 6 months. Spend 1000.00 for a blast job or 1500.00 for a contest, I'll dip it and know for certain what needs repaired before I spend hard earned dollars on body and paint, then less than a year later see rust bubbles appear.

                  "Cheap restoration" is not possible, it's like buying a beautiful dress for an ugly date........... once she gets under the lights we all get to see her........

                  Dip the car............ then dip any replacement panels. DOCUMENT all receipts and pictures of the panels affected, it will pay off in the end should you decide to sell it.

                  It is an addiction!
                  It is an addiction!


                  • #10
                    Please beware of starting a project of this scope. If you really want a nice car, consider buying one that runs, but may need work. Drive it while you work on one system at a time. My brother has done that with his 67 F**d Fairlane and it has turned out to be beautiful in just a few short years. And he has been thrilled to drive it while restoring it bit by bit. The task of removing a body off the frame is so daunting, I'm not sure you can grasp the magnitude of it. Realize how many different sizes and shapes and types of screws, bolts, nuts, washers, spacers, fasteners, rubber, gaskets, glass, chrome, stainless, wiring, gages, gears, bearings, oils, fluids, greases, bushings, linings, lights, switches, upholsteries, carpets, finishes, materials, handles, cranks, latches, hinges, tracks, mouldings, lenses, housings, brackets, springs, axles, brake drums, wheel cylinders, kits, bleeders, fenders, doors, trunks, hoods, grills, surrounds, inserts, bumpers, signals, levers, dashes, pins, keyways, pulleys, fans, motors, thermostats, capillary tubes, oil lines, filters, carburetors, manifolds, generators, pumps, pedals, relays, valves, rods, pistons, lifters, rockers, valve covers, pans, steering, shocks, plugs, caps, rotors, points, condensers, distributors, hold downs, blockoffs, hoses, clamps, radiators, transmissions, cooling lines, shifters, clutches, pressure plates, release bearings, input shafts, levers, and hundreds of other parts and systems. This is after all, only scratching the surface of what a complete dismantling will entail. Now you have to put in all back together, not only in the right place, but in the correct sequence or you are in bigger trouble than when you started.
                    Am I rambling? Gosh, I just got carried away. Don't let your project get carried away. Have fun and enjoy driving the beast while you play with it. You'll be miles ahead and at least have something driveable while you're doing it. Driving a project to car shows can be very helpful too, as there are tons of folks willing to lend a hand with parts, service, and tech advice for any who ask. Good luck


                    • #11
                      It's hard for me to imagine a rusted body that's good enough to actually dip. I would only dip a body that was almost perfect. I don't like grinding off all that paint to bare metal because of the scratches. Maybe grind off the top layers then use a chemical to take it all the way down. A common mistake is to take a car all apart enthusiastically, then run out of steam and end up selling it in parts. Drive it whilst you fix it up. These words of wisdom were hard earned doing exactly what you are planning.


                      • #12
                        Fiberglass body wise...the "Rod N Race" guys...used to offer a complete Stude body. I noticed that it's not on their list of parts anymore.
                        But if you're still interested, give'em a call.
                        They may have sold off their Stude stuff to someone idea. But the picrures of what they DID offer looked very intriguing. From the cowl back was all one piece. The front end could be had as a three piece (plus grill) or a one piece.
                        And as I recall...for a fair price.

                        They did a hood for my Lark a few years back that is VERY nice.

                        Worth a shot.



                        • #13
                          In my neck of the woods (Alberta) you can buy time on a commercial sandblasting setup for about $60.00 per hour. You can can get a lot done in an hour. Plan on several 2-hour stints to do an entire body, because handling and setting up the parts for blasting really eats into the time on the clock.

                          You won't warp the metal unless you dwell on one spot too long, and if you do that, it's because the metal is rusty, and needs fixed anyway.

                          Be ready to shoot some epoxy primer as soon as the blasting is done, because bare metal will rust in a heartbeat.

                          Compared to sanding or grinding off paint and rust, sandblasting works like magic; you have to watch the process to believe it.

                          I am a little leery of acid dipping because of the difficulty of getting the acid residue out of body seams. Sand is chemically inert, and does not induce corrosion.

                          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
                          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


                          • #14
                            Sell it on E-bay. Buy a decent car to start with. It will be cheaper and less frustrating in the long run. Get a loan if you can or save up till the right car comes your way. If you can secure a loan for a good car you will enjoy driving it while paying for it. If you buy junk on the cheap you will in all probability end up spending more to restore than its end worth. You will end up making payments of a different kind as opposed to a bank note. It will nickle and dime you a whole bunch plus you get the added convenience of it lying all over the place in quite a few piles that you better hope you remember how to reassemble. Restorations can take years. Once you dig in to the car the finished product can somemetimes,------------ lets put it this way---------- I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. You may become unable to finish due to a lack of funds or the project might have becme too overwhelming. There are a lot of reasons for a stopped dead in the water project. You may at this point be saying to yourself {I should have listened to others when I was doing my research. You are welcomed to the club whether you a restoration ace or a driver. It's called the Studebaker Drivers Club. My opinion, buy a good car to start with. You can always sell it if you can't afford the payments. jimmijim
                            sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member


                            • #15
                              I dipped my 56 after replacing the floors. The rust on the quaters were bad enough for some repair panels to be needed. The key with my dipper was he first chemicaly removed all the paint and bondo and the dipped to remove the rust. The car has been sitting a year and a half in epoxy primer (good old body shop time)with NO signs of any rust popping through. I would recommend this to everyone. It cost me about $2,000.00 with no doors but did include frame.

                              1956 Studebaker Pelham Wagon Houston, Texas
                              Remember, \"When all is said and done. More is always said then ever done.\"