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Overdrive on Post-1964 Studebakers

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  • Overdrive on Post-1964 Studebakers

    At one time overdrive was a very popular option and many Studebakers were equipped with it. No doubt overdrive played a role in Studebaker's consistenly good performance in all of those Mobil fuel economy runs. Does anyone know if Studebaker continued to offer overdrive until the end of production in 1966? I know the 1965 and 1966 cars built in Canada were equipped with GM engines, however Borg-Warner trannies were bolted to plenty of GM engines and I am fairly sure GM also had some overdive transmissions, possibly Saginaw or even Muncie. I ask because my mad dream is still to restore a 1951 Commander which I want to equip with a later model Studebaker engine. Given my preference for manual transmission, I would want overdrive. Anyone who couold shed any light on this, please post.

  • #2
    To elaborate a bit more - they did indeed continue to offer O/D right thru the end. They kept using the same basic trannys they had when the driveline was all Studebaker.

    Miscreant adrift in
    the BerStuda Triangle!!

    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
    1960 Larkvertible V8
    1958 Provincial wagon
    1953 Commander coupe

    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

    Comment


    • #3
      quote:Originally posted by steve_smith54
      I ask because my mad dream is still to restore a 1951 Commander which I want to equip with a later model Studebaker engine. Given my preference for manual transmission, I would want overdrive. Anyone who couold shed any light on this, please post.
      I'm confused. You asked about OD in a '65 and '66 Stude with the GM engines, but then say you want to build a '51 Commander with a late model Studebaker engine [?]. Do you want to put a GM engine in the '51 Commander or a Studebaker engine?

      If GM, your best bet would be to use a GM bellhousing and GM Saginaw 3 speed OD (synchro 1st even [8D]). Of course you would have to fabricate engine and trans mounts, clutch, shift, throttle linkages, exhaust system, cooling, driveline, etc.

      If Studebaker, the latest (1964) Studebaker V8 is essentially the same motor as the 1951 Studebaker V8 and is a bolt in replacement. 1951 V8 Studebakers were available with the OD transmission.



      Dick Steinkamp
      Bellingham, WA

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      • #4
        For the 1965 models built in Hamilton, 1725 were equipped with overdrive. That's 10% of the total production. Of those, 934 were V8s.
        For the 1966 models built in Hamilton, 767 were equipped with overdrive and of those, 435 were V8s. That comes to 8.5% of the total production so overdrive was still relatively popular with Studebaker owners.

        Comment


        • #5
          quote:Originally posted by Dick Steinkamp

          quote:Originally posted by steve_smith54
          I ask because my mad dream is still to restore a 1951 Commander which I want to equip with a later model Studebaker engine. Given my preference for manual transmission, I would want overdrive. Anyone who couold shed any light on this, please post.
          I'm confused. You asked about OD in a '65 and '66 Stude with the GM engines, but then say you want to build a '51 Commander with a late model Studebaker engine [?]. Do you want to put a GM engine in the '51 Commander or a Studebaker engine?

          If GM, your best bet would be to use a GM bellhousing and GM Saginaw 3 speed OD (synchro 1st even [8D]). Of course you would have to fabricate engine and trans mounts, clutch, shift, throttle linkages, exhaust system, cooling, driveline, etc.

          If Studebaker, the latest (1964) Studebaker V8 is essentially the same motor as the 1951 Studebaker V8 and is a bolt in replacement. 1951 V8 Studebakers were available with the OD transmission.



          Technically a 1965 or 1966 Studebaker engine was a GM engine, either a 283 v8 or an inline six cylinder. I suppose my first preference would be a 1963 or 1964 Studebaker 289 v8, however I would not rule out using a 1965 or 1966 engine. I asked my original question about overdrive because I would want to make sure the transmission would be strong enough to hold up to either a later model 289 engine or 1965 or 1966 283 engine, both of which have considerably more power than the original 232 engine used in a 1951 Commander. The truth is I am far from getting in to such a project. I am trying to get facts like this in advance. I am sure we would all agree that foresight is much better than hindsight. I appreciate the information provided by fellow members.

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          • #6
            If you want to use a GM soft-block engine with the Stude 3-speed overdrive transmission in a 1951, all you need is the 1965 - 1966 bellhousing that matches the two together and the front motor mounts (available as repros) for the engine. You would also have to cobble up a throttle linkage of some sort, but it should be a pretty easy job as engine swaps go. Personally, I love the 3 speed OD Borg-Warner behind the Stude engine, and I can see how you might like to try it behind a belly button motor. You might also consider something along the lines of an early Cadillac V8, which is almost the same size as the Stude V8 engine and looks almost stock. Do consider changing the rear end to something a little stronger if you do put a lot of power under the hood, however.

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            • #7
              Stude used the B-W T-86 behind it's V8s from '51 thru '66. Trucks used the beefier T-85/89 and Golden/Packard Hawks and HD fleet cars used the T-85 as well.
              The T-86 ought to hold up just fine behind a Stude V8 or a Belly-button thing.

              Miscreant adrift in
              the BerStuda Triangle!!

              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
              1960 Larkvertible V8
              1958 Provincial wagon
              1953 Commander coupe

              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just my opinion but the T86 is junk. I destroyed three of them in my Hawk before I switched to a T10. I recently got a 65 Studebaker and the T86 in it has broken gears, and it was behind a wimpy Chevy V8.

                The T85 is the way to go if you want three speeds with overdrive to bolt to a Studebaker engine.

                David

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm sorry to hear of your multiple failures. Is this a stock engine that's eating these up?

                  Stop and think about it for a moment.... Stude used these in V8 cars for 15 years. If they were junk, they would've started causing warranty woes for the company eventually. That or the reputation of the trannys failing would have had an impact on sales over time - something Stude could ill afford. Sure, they went with the T85 for heavy duty applications but certainly they figured that if they put a supercharger in a particular car, the owners were take advantage of that blower and push the car to the max. Rambler used the T-86 behind 8s as well and I don't think they ever used the T-85 in anything. T-10s yes, but that's a whole different thing.
                  Now factor in that alot of the T-86s we're dealing with are 40 or 50 years old at this point. Do you think they'd be "as new" anymore?

                  Not trying to argue here - just offering some perspective of observations.

                  Good T-86s aren't that easy to find anymore. T-85s are getting downright SCARCE. Maybe a late model 5-speed is what's needed.

                  Miscreant adrift in
                  the BerStuda Triangle!!

                  1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                  1960 Larkvertible V8
                  1958 Provincial wagon
                  1953 Commander coupe

                  No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The first T86 I broke was behind the stock 259 and the transmission was the one that came in the car. The other two were after I put a R2 in the car. The torque from the R2 in first gear was enough to snap the teeth off the gears, both of these were in gear and not on shifts when they broke. Considering that it was costing me over $350 every time I floored the car I decided to switch to the T10.
                    I agree with Mr.Biggs that if you aren't going stock anyway why not put in a newer 5 speed.
                    David

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Based on some of the other posts, perhaps I should consider the B/W T-85 that was used in heavier duty applications as a precaution. The choice of engine will either be a stock 289 or a stock 283, not a high performance engine. I do however hope to build a very stock appearing car with the original floor mounted starter button, the original floor mounted pedals, and the original three-speed column shift and overdrive. The main thing I need to do at this point is decide what bank to rob before I really get into this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you really want to "restore" a 1951 Commander and put in a more powerful engine, I recommend a newer Studebaker based block with a 289. In most cases, this will be a bolt in replacement. I say in most cases because if you go with one of the supercharged versions, or if you want a stock-style air conditioner, or any of the accessories that require more than one pulley on the crank, you will have to move the radiator forward, as space in front of the engine is very limited. This is not a difficult job, but it won't be bolt in either. You can get a lot more horsepower out of the better fitting Studebaker engine than you will get out of the GM belly button. I say "restore" because restore means to return to stock, like new, condition. What you are talking about is not a restoration, it is a modified. You would also need to address the rear end, as the old 27 is not up to the torque that a big V8 would put out. Again, this is not a big job, but you should plan for it.

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