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hood and grille alignment 53 Coupe

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  • Body / Glass: hood and grille alignment 53 Coupe

    I wasn't able to find any specific suggestions searching the forum so before I go much further I'll see if one of you good folks can point me in the right direction. The hood sits a little proud and I suppose I can move the hood back about a quarter of an inch and help a bit. The hood as it settles on the rectangular hood bumpers sits low although the hood is a little high along the fenders. I can live with that.

    It appears that the upper and lower radiator grille panel sits too low (and I have already tweaked it up to get it too this point with a hydraulic jack) and possibly a little "back" from where it should be. I was going to loosen the bolts on the various panels so they could slide/move a little and use a porta power to gently push it closer to where it should be. If that is wrong PLEASE tell me, am I missing some other possible adjustment areas?

    Someone will probably note that I went in the reverse of the "proper" way of gapping the panels. I've replaced the floors/trunk corners/inner quarters/outer quarters (a decent used set) lower six inches of the doors/trailing edges and vents in the fenders and the hood came from another car since the original hood was a mess. The frame is a 58 Hawk V8 frame to get better brakes/rear axle etc as well as an engine swap. I started three years ago this month. I put it together in this manner because the engine was one of the last things to be installed.

    Thanks for your help. We are sheltering in place like I assume most of you are, I feel fortunate to have something to do even if I am a little flummoxed at how to continue. I want to drive this car



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    Last edited by 1953champcoupe; 04-04-2020, 03:02 PM.

  • #2
    Align the hood with the cowl. It appears to me that the rear of the hood needs some reshaping (lift the center). Align the fenders to the hood. The rubber bumpers at the sides of the hood came in different sizes. They can be adjusted with a razor blade. It appears to me that the lower front grille panel is way off. I doubt that the grilles will fit by the looks of it.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

    Comment


    • #3
      To expound on what Gary said. Any time a Studebaker from 1947 on needs a hood realignment, your really need to take the front clip off the car. Several pictures made during production show the body drop with the hood attached to the body then fenders attached and all lined up. Keep everything loose as far as fenders go to get the hood to line up.

      Not to be a wet blanket but in 1953 brand new coupes/hardtops were not the shining moment in build quality. Factory pictures again show gaps between the front end and hood. Quality improved in 1954 onward, but that is little consolation. Also with a 67 year old car with use and unknown history adds to the challenge. Don't give up and be prepared to walk away at times when your frustration rises. It will get there but don't expect it to happen in a short period of time.

      Good thing the engine work is done. Trying to do simple adjustments on the rear of the engine (distributor etc) with the hood held by the prop rod does not give much room.

      Best of Luck
      Bob Miles

      Comment


      • #4
        See Ray-Lin restoration index and instructions at top of technical section. My original 1955 had 5 washers on one front fender and 1 on the other. Finesse and patience required....

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        • #5
          To go further, a step I forgot to mention. With the clip off, hang the hood first, just like when it was assembled then go from there.

          Good Luck again
          Bob Miles

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 6hk71400 View Post
            Not to be a wet blanket but in 1953 brand new coupes/hardtops were not the shining moment in build quality.
            Precisely! These have always had notorious reputations for fit and finish. Just about any restoration is going to show better than the original.

            "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.
            '33 Rockne 10,
            '51 Commander Starlight,
            '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
            '56 Sky Hawk

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
              Precisely! These have always had notorious reputations for fit and finish. Just about any restoration is going to show better than the original.
              We spent a lot of hours on Bob Bourke's Starliner to get the hood and nose section to fit as good as it does now.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

              Comment


              • #8
                [QUOTE=55s;n1828123]See Ray-Lin restoration index and instructions at top of technical section.

                I'll second this ! Become completely familiar with all the adjustments, and go slow. I probably spent 15 to 20 hours getting my front sheet metal to fit . And then it needed a little more shimming and shifting.

                Comment


                • #9
                  After going back and rereading the original post, hydraulic power and porta power is great for frame straightening but really not so great for sheet metal. This sheet metal as I mention in my post was not a shining moment in build quality. My thought is that using a hydraulic jack to "tweak" may have made it impossible to align back.

                  As a brief history lesson, when the coupes/hardtops were going down the assembly line, the front sheet metal did not fit due to the frame flexibility. Production stopped and a quick fix was started. The problem was kinda corrected in 1954 and better fit was obtained.

                  Since you have invested 3 years in this project, you may want to consider finding a coupe/hardtop parts car with an intact front clip. Check the alignment and take measurements before buying and disassembly. Buying a piece at a time such as hood fenders grille panel can lead to hours and hours of trying to get alignment right.
                  Ask me how I know

                  Anyone out in the mid west around Iowa or there about that can help Marv out with a good clip still on a car? Any other suggestions or thoughts?

                  ​​​​​​​Bob Miles

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My initial take from your pictures....

                    The lower grill panel is pulled down by the filler panel. Filler panel is pulled down by the under-bumper air scoop.

                    I had all sorts of issues on my own car with this fitment. Everything tends to pull the grill down from the hood and create a big gap. Leave the under bumper air scoop fit for last.

                    Fit gap to cowl
                    Fit fenders, door gaps parallel. Spread so the hood fits level between.
                    Filler panel and grill panel fit so the gap is right.
                    Bumper gap
                    under bumper scoop.

                    I messed with this several times with my own car. It was built out of non-original parts but I got it to fit pretty well in the end. Good luck!

                    Jeff in ND

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 6hk71400 View Post
                      ... hydraulic power and porta power is great for frame straightening but really not so great for sheet metal.
                      Even at the factory, big three as well as Studebaker, and later at body shops, the preferred method for minor final tweaking involves the insertion of a 2x4, against which the offending metal would be caressed. Use of a Porta-power is definitely reserved for unseen places.

                      "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.
                      '33 Rockne 10,
                      '51 Commander Starlight,
                      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                      '56 Sky Hawk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the tips (I checked with Studebaker International to see if they had the jig to set the front end up with but they were out of stock

                        I've came to the conclusion that some parts had been swapped on the hood that I am using. It came off of a 53 Stude drag car that had a Chevy front clip. The safety latch wasn't right and....I couldn't get the hood to latch so........I had a 61 Hawk hood and pulled the dovetail off of it. The hood latches. I've fabricated my own safety latch mimicking the pictures I've gotten of the original. The chrome grilles fit in their openings OK (well I think they do...going to start putting them in shortly and then I will hang the lower air dam. Is it right? No. Like I always tell my wife "at 70 MPH the fitment won't be noticeable".

                        I want to drive the car and at my age (way past 70) I don't have years to mess with it to make a show participant look with wonderment on how those old cars were put together so well My wife wanted to know what I was going to do after I got this car finished. Well....I said there was some "house work" that I probably needed to do. I've replace all of the windows (except three) and all of the doors and a lot more. I went and checked two of the windows and detected rot under the caulking.

                        Next winter (assuming the Covid 19 doesn't get me) I can readdress the fit and finish when it's too cold to putter outside!

                        Thanks again, lots of knowledge in this Studebaker library!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Quote: "At 70 mph the fitment won't be noticeable" That's what I call a Studebaker "driver". Wish I had stuck to that bout a bunch of years ago But no, I wanted it to look nicer? Now The Saturday Night Special has been sitting without me enjoying driving it ( like i did before i started to make it fit better) and now i am 75 and when and if i get finished it's still gonna be just another "Backyard Hot Rod".

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Flashback View Post
                            Quote: "At 70 mph the fitment won't be noticeable" That's what I call a Studebaker "driver". Wish I had stuck to that bout a bunch of years ago But no, I wanted it to look nicer? Now The Saturday Night Special has been sitting without me enjoying driving it ( like i did before i started to make it fit better) and now i am 75 and when and if i get finished it's still gonna be just another "Backyard Hot Rod".
                            You are my kind of guy!! my age too

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Let's hear it for Back Yard Hot Rod's!!! Drive them Sucker's! Luck Doofus

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