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Paint on Vinyl Interior

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  • Paint on Vinyl Interior

    I think I have a unique situation regarding my interior and hope
    someone has information to help.

    Here are the facts of the issue:

    1) I have a late '53 Champion Starliner, South Bend born in Bombay Red
    and Salem White. This is a true "Spring Special".

    2) As a true Spring Special, it has the correct flax colored vinyl
    interior (seats, headliner, and door panels).

    3) I was at the recent Omaha SDC International meet and had my car
    judged. I did receive a first place but had a whopping 10 points taken off
    for a "dirty" interior.

    4) When I bought and car and started the restoration four years ago, I
    tried cleaning the seats without success. After further inspection, I
    found the dirt was actually paint. It was applied very sparingly.
    lightly, and intermittently in a pattern like you would see with sponge
    painting on a interior wall of a house. It looked like a color very
    similar to Loma Gray, that mousy color that Studebaker used for interiors

    5) I called my father who owned a Studebaker dealership for 32 years.
    He indicated that he thought the painting was intentional. The
    intermittent "dabbing" of paint was used to make the interior look like flax
    (an organic material). The previous owners verified they had not
    painted anything on the interior to this nature.

    My questions:

    a) Has anyone ever heard of this situation?

    b) Does anyone have any documentation of the subject? I would like to
    avoid the deduction next time.

    As a Spring Special, there were not many made and finding information
    is difficult. I figure if anyone is going to know it would be here.
    Thank you in advance for any help.

  • #2
    Gee, I just can't resist. Did your Dad run Hodak Motors?
    Where was that, South Dakota? Nebraska?


    • #3
      Hodak Motors was located in Kankakee, Illinois - about 60 miles south of Chicago. The business was opened in 1932 and ran until the end.


      • #4
        I am glad to hear that someone has a true 1953 Spring Special. There are usually three or four phoney ones at Studebaker International Conventions. These made up cars usually have something incorrect. I have a couple of questions; 1) Are your seats (seating area) vinyl or leather? and 2) Do the flax door/side panels have the same "paint" on them? I ask because I have run across a few '53s with factory leather seats. The leather would have a color dye on it.

        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        1959 DeLuxe pickup (restomod)
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer


        • #5
          To answer your questions:

          1)my car has vinyl interior, not leather. There is no leather on the car that would give the appearance of dye inconsistency.

          2) the back of the front seat, the back seat, the back console and the headliner all have the paint that I described. The only exceptions are the front of the front seat (it appears the paint was rubbed off by years of use) and the door panels which were replaced with reproductions.


          • #6
            I found my answer. The discoloration is not paint. It is the remnants of the original "dot" pattern that was printed on the vinyl surfaces. Apparently the ink degraded in the sun and created a blotched widespread pattern. The discoloration ranges from light gray (mistakenly Loma gray) to a moldy green color.
            The discoloration can be taken off with some cleaners (that I have not yet identifed) but will no doubt deterioate the cotton stiching. You either have to redo the entire interior or leave it alone.


            • #7
              You would probably have to get a salesman's fact book, or some such to get an original upholstery sample.
              The John Bridges book 'Studebaker's Finest' has some good interior photos of just such a car. Black and white of course, but you can definitely see the 'mottled' effect that you describe.

              [img] [/img]
              Dwain G.