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Engine swap assistance

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  • #31
    I agree, a full-dress modified Champion is a cute engine and would pull the '57 around decently, but the full-Stage IV would cost as much as swapping in the running gear from a donor President/Lark and wouldn't be as fast or as much fun.

    quote:Offenhauser in there add (sic) states a 20 H.P increase by using there (sic) dual intake manifold,
    Offenhauser lies like a rug. I built my first hot rod 185" Champion in 1962 and having tried one I doubt that dual intake will add 10 HP to a stock Champion, much less 20 HP. The other thing is percentage performance increases are not necessarily additive. It would be like bolting on every one of those Popular Mechanics devices which claim to increase fuel mileage. If one added up all the percentage gains promised and drove around the block and the fuel tank would overflow. I'll also bet that the modified Champion won't keep up with a sound stock 232" V8. Most 232"s aren't as fast as Ted's, but they could be made to run the quarter in 15.40 at 87 mph.

    thnx, jack vines



    • #32
      I think, To hop up a Champ 6 to any great extent would be a labor of love, not for reliabilty or performance. Even a small V8 starts out with more Hp and torque than the 6 will have built. It's easy to talk about this but if you were to look in my garage you would see a modified F--d 59A getting ready to be installed in my model A. Why not a OHV.????????

      55 Speedster
      55 Speedster/Street Machine
      63 Avanti R2
      64 Convertible R1


      • #33
        Hmmm, yes one could improve from "woefully underpowered" to simply "underpowered", but the basic engine design will still be undersized and outdated, heck, it was first introduced way back in 1939! for a vehicle weighing around 2300 lbs, and even in '57 it was already outdated. Studebaker's engineers knew it but the Company was already "on the rocks" with no money available for tooling up a modern 6 cyl. replacement
        People tend to get stars in their eyes when they get into "bench racing", or rather in this instance "bench engineering" an orphan make.
        Stop and think for a minute though, remember the McCullough Supercharged 226 Kaiser Flathead 6? a whopping 140 hp produced a 17.5 sec. 0-[u]60</u> time. Not too bad for an old flathead 6 but painfully slow by contemporary OHV V-8 standards. (see Packard V-8's post just above)
        Now think of what the effect would be of both losing the supercharger, and reducing the displacement by 56 cubic inches.
        Road testers complained of the early Lark sixes anemic performance, 123 hp (IF you could ever actually get that much) in a '57 Champion sedan is not going to be setting any acceleration records.
        There are enough "built" Champion engines in SDC to get a pretty good idea of what their actual 'performance' capabilities are.
        FWIW, I own a '48 M-5 with its original Champion engine, so I'm not particularly biased against them, just aware of their limitations when subjected to today's traffic.


        • #34
          After reading all of the posts, I'm wondering just how much power that little flat six is down as it is. What are your compression numbers? Maybe an overhaul would raise the power level to something you can live with. Because; to tell the truth, a swap of this magnitude; for the inexperienced, (one of us is a welder) will probably take six or seven times longer than you think. The excitement will start to wear off somewhere between crossmember fabrication and exhaust routing. I take a cautionary tack on this one because I believe that if your engine made a little bit more power and didn't have a nerve-racking knock, you might just leave it alone. Also, you should at least wait until you've checked the compression and then disassembled the engine to find the source of the noise. As far as power parts; I would opt for higher compression and a larger carburetor; a two barrel of the two stage variety that you might find on a late seventies early eighties engine. If I could find a more aggressive cam for a good price; that's where I would end my quest for power.


          • #35
            Or then again one could just drop in a late Stude OHV 6, and probably could find one for free, or for next to nothing-
            According to Studebaker's own engineering tests, a tremendous improvement over the old flathead.
            "Car Life" of July 1961 credited the OHV 6 with being "a good 10 mph faster" on the top end than the previous years flatty.
            With the "zero-60 time .. a good 4 seconds quicker, and zero to 60 in 14 seconds is mighty respectable performance..."
            While that the supercharged 226 cid Kaiser referenced above was only capable of a 17.5 zero to 60.
            Road tests on the flathead Lark 6's only credited it at best with a 17.9 zero to 60 ("Road & Track" Jan 1960) and noted that in overdrive "cruising at 60 to 70 mph....a strong headwind will actually slow the car and passing reserve is virtually nil."
            This being with the smaller, lighter, and more efficient Lark body.

            My perspective is that hopping up the flathead, other than for appearances sake, is only an expensive exercise in futility when the intended usage is in a full-sized sedan, "faster acceleration" and "increased performance" being rather more of a joke under these circumstances.

            Fix, repair, or rebuild it as it is, and learn to be satisfied with the anemic performance.
            Or simply sell it, or trade it for a more powerful and satisfactory model vehicle. (Still plenty of Commanders and Presidents to be found- you just trade dollars off, for time and aggravation saved)
            Or go ahead with a swap, some are easier, some are harder. Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?
            But with the original flatty you can spend one hell of a LOT of $$$$$, and still end up slower than molasses in January.
            Your car, your time, your money, and your choice. Good Luck!


            • #36
              The OHV six does sound like the best idea. My first car had one and it was no dog. I put a two barrel on it with an adapter and I think it wanted more.


              • #37

                I never expected such good advice and a great discussion. I have been around Studebakers for a very long time and you guys really do your homework.

                It seems that I will have to take all of this into consideration. However, my main objective is to drive safely and to attend SDC meets w/o the inherent negatives of the original engine. As I said before, I'll keep the flathead stored away. Right now I just wish to drive the bloody car until I go to the big Dealership and let my sons worry about it when I am gone. Thanks, guys!!!


                1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
                1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

                "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein