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Speedster wiring harness

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  • Electrical: Speedster wiring harness

    Have been in contact with Lark Works and they have indicated that 55 was a transition year from cloth to plastic covered wiring. The Speedster I am working on had an aftermarket harness from the 80s that was mostly plastic covered. There were some cloth covered wires and a lot of jerry rigged splices. My driver Speedster also has plastic covered wires as well as the parts car. Does anyone know if the wiring should be cloth or plastic covered? Maybe some combination? Sure wish we had an authenticity guide.
    78 Avanti RQB 2792
    64 Avanti R1 R5408
    63 Avanti R1 R4551
    63 Avanti R1 R2281
    62 GT Hawk V15949
    56 GH 6032504
    56 GH 6032588
    55 Speedster 7160047
    55 Speedster 7165279

  • #2
    As the transition was being made there were inventories of various harnesses that got used up at different times: tail light harnesses, overdrive harnesses, various accessory harnesses, etc. I don't even know if there is a before and after Serial Number for the main harness.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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    • #3
      Can't speak for cars, but agree with rockne10 for 55 trucks. Most of the main wiring harnesses seem to be vinyl, but many of the other smaller ones were still cloth. Same thing with slotted and Phillips screws in 54 and 55 trucks: a mixture as the company switched over.
      Skip Lackie

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      • #4
        I have an unrestored '55 State President Coupe. The main harness is plastic insulation. Short wiring harnesses that connected the main harness by way of a terminal block (eg. headlight harness pigtail) is cloth covered. I'd have to waddle out to the man cave to check other items. I suspect that certain behind the dash gauge & accessory wires may be the same.

        In my opinion, the quality of copper wire used in the old wiring was first rate and heavier gauge than the 12 volt wiring that came later. However, I hate the quality of the older cloth covered wire insulation. So much so, that if I were a show judge (and I don't do that), I would never take off points for modern wiring on a car that didn't have it originally.

        For a driving car...Like dirty underwear...Original wiring is nothing to be proud of.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a driver Speedster as well as a parts car. I plan on checking the wiring and try to make my best guess so I can order. Looks like we will need 3 months lead time for delivery.
          78 Avanti RQB 2792
          64 Avanti R1 R5408
          63 Avanti R1 R4551
          63 Avanti R1 R2281
          62 GT Hawk V15949
          56 GH 6032504
          56 GH 6032588
          55 Speedster 7160047
          55 Speedster 7165279

          Comment


          • #6
            Only the earliest South Bend built cars, that I have owned, had cloth covered wiring. I really don't know what that means, but just my observation. Accessories like windshield wiper motor, and heater/defroster motors always seemed to have the old cloth wiring. If your wiring harness seems to be good shape, other then a few bad ends that need replacing, you can do a creditable job of removing the original tape and doing a proper job of soldered splicing and then re-wrapping the entire exposed portion. I know that with your predisposition this is somewhat alien to you, but it has served my International first place car for the last forty years. The cloth wires had to all be replaced.

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            • #7
              The harness I removed is so hacked up that it is not salvagable. Today's task is to remove the harness from the parts car to determine condition. Hopefully, it can be saved.

              FWIW, I have repaired harnesses on a 63 and 64 Avanti as you have suggested. In those cases, they were in good enough condition to proceed.
              78 Avanti RQB 2792
              64 Avanti R1 R5408
              63 Avanti R1 R4551
              63 Avanti R1 R2281
              62 GT Hawk V15949
              56 GH 6032504
              56 GH 6032588
              55 Speedster 7160047
              55 Speedster 7165279

              Comment

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