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  • FlatheadGeo
    replied
    Wow,

    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!!!

    George

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

    Leave a comment:


  • buddymander
    replied
    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.

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  • Jessie J.
    replied
    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!

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  • buddymander
    replied
    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.

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  • Jessie J.
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • klifton1
    replied
    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.????????
    Klif

    55 Speedster

    Leave a comment:


  • PackardV8
    replied
    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

    PackardV8

    Leave a comment:


  • Dick Steinkamp
    replied
    quote:Originally posted by JDC


    Knew I didn't make it up. If at 123hp, with less weight than the V8, it would put it in a comparable power ratio.
    Thanks...That is the same or more than a 232 V8. Should actually be faster than a Commander since the 6 is substantially lighter. Wonder if you would still have to upgrade the transmission, rear end and brakes in that case.

    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA



    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Purdy
    replied
    I know I shouldn't be into this discussion. But years ago I had a flat head 6 that had a knock. It drove me crazy. I keep seeing that I had to add water every so often. We were discussing this at work. It would knock at idle but would go away when you gave it the gas. I pulled the plugs and one was clean as new. Turns out I had water getting into the cylinder. I drove it another 3000 miles and made a Commander out of it.


    7G-Q1 49 2R12 10G-F5 56B-D4 56B-F2
    As soon as you find a product you like they will stop making it.

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  • JDC
    replied
    Just found this on his site,

    "How much horse power increase can be made in a Champion engine, that depends on which engine you are using, the 170 CU IN engine or the 185 CU IN engine, if you look at percentages, it is as follows, Offenhauser in there add states a 20 H.P increase by using there dual intake manifold, add a set of headers and pickup another 5 percent, add a hi lift cam and add another 10 , add bigger intake valves and a port and polish job and add another 5 raise the compression up to say 8.5 or 9:00 to 1 and add another 5 percent for a total of 45 percent so a 170 of 85 H.P is now 123 H.P and a 185 of 101 H.P. is now 145 H.P."

    Knew I didn't make it up. If at 123hp, with less weight than the V8, it would put it in a comparable power ratio.

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  • JDC
    replied
    I think they were stock at 85 and he has the increase up to 120 on his site. Last I looked.

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  • Dick Steinkamp
    replied
    quote:Originally posted by JDC

    Just for kicks, anyone have a Cathart hoped up 6? I have been curious about these. I would think that a 35-40 hp increase would be enough for a 50's Studebaker. Just curious.
    Are you sure about those HP #'s? Even with his stage IV that sounds like a big increase...50% or so.

    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA



    Leave a comment:


  • JDC
    replied
    Just for kicks, anyone have a Cathart hoped up 6? I have been curious about these. I would think that a 35-40 hp increase would be enough for a 50's Studebaker. Just curious.

    Leave a comment:


  • Warren Webb
    replied
    As has been suggested, you should weigh all the possibles that you can & will encounter. I put a 327 4 speed in my 66 Daytona, but:
    1. it originally had a Chevy engine
    2. it was originally built with a 3 speed overdrive trans (so clutch linkage was all there & wouldn't need to be modified)
    3. trans mount for the 4 speed needed to be moved-fixed that with cutting a section of a front bumper from a Jeep CJ7 & drilling the 4 holes to bolt it to the existing 66 trans crossmember & the 4 speed mount.
    4. since the 66 used the same u-joints as a Chevy, I took a Malibu driveshaft to have it cut down & balanced-then a bolt in deal.
    5. Hurst 4 speed linkage for a 57 Chevy put the shifter about 1/2 inch in front where the 4 speed boot mounted from a Stude setup, but again, this is for bucket seats. Clearance for a bench seat may not be enough.

    Hope this helps in making your choice.

    60 Lark convertible
    61 Champ
    62 Daytona convertible
    63 G.T. R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2)
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan

    Leave a comment:


  • Jessie J.
    replied
    A "hopped-up" Cathcart 170 does look cute with the hood up at a car show, but even with a several thousand dollar build-up, when installed in a full-sized '50s sedan, it will still be a limp noodle in the performance department when in comparison to almost any modern vehicle.
    A whole lot of moolah for very little actual gain, and even then a stock '57 Commander would still run rings around it without even straining.
    With only 27,000 original miles, it might be assumed that the basic body and chassis is still solid and presentable, although woefully underpowered, (as it has been since day one). Modifying the original flatty is never going to substantially change the basic engineering short-comings of a too small & outdated engine powering such a large sedan.
    If significantly increased performance is the goal, then a swap to a larger, or a more efficient design modern engine is the logical choice, this however does not necessarily entail the hot-rodders favorite high-HP SBC, or even a V-8 for that matter, as there are a variety of readily available modern "V" and "straight" sixes that efficiently and reliably produce double or triple the power and torque of that old flat-motor.

    Or then again, as I suggested earlier, with a V-8 parts car, and with unbolt and bolt back together simplicity, and no re-engineering involved, a '57 Champion can be upgraded into a "Commander", still to all appearances other than one letter on the VIN tag, an original and "classic" Studebaker, rather than an obvious "hot rod".

    As for the 350 4-speed swap, I have examined several over the years, as swaps go it is really not all that difficult. If you decide to proceed in that direction, you will have more room to work with than on the popular C&K coupes or the latter Larks. But you will still be needing to fabricate and adapt almost everything from mounts to linkages, wiring, exhaust pipes, and radiator hoses. And of course you will still need to install a stronger rear axle, bigger radiator, and upgraded brakes.
    Will the results of any of these choices be "worth it"? You are the only one who can answer that.
    Some Stude "experts" will despise what you have done regardless of how well, or how successful you are in pulling it off, in their eyes you will have "ruined" a perfectly nice old Studebaker.
    Others, while they will claim to appreciate your workmanship and efforts, should sale time come, will want to negotiate a reduction in the asking price because it is no longer a "numbers matching original".
    Just the way it is, and always has been. You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself. Life is short, make it yours.

    Leave a comment:

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