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Comparing the 1949 - '54 170" to '59 - '60 170"

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  • Engine: Comparing the 1949 - '54 170" to '59 - '60 170"

    An old Stude guy for whom I have a lot of respect states the earlier generation 170"s pull stronger and are more free-revving than the later 170"s. "Those last 170"s just got no guts."

    The major difference I'm aware of between the two is the change to larger main bearings, left over from the brief 185" interlude.

    What are your experiences and thoughts on this assertion?

    jack vines

    PackardV8

  • #2
    I didn't think any of them had any guts, but I really do not know.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    • #3
      Having driven 59 up L head Studebakers, no matter what the car they run out of breath at 45 miles per hour. In overdrive 65-70 seems to be it. Sure you can coax them to a higher speed but the noise jars my dentures loose.

      As far as pulling and revving, it really depends on whether a Lark or a Truck how it feels.

      On our drive your Studebaker day, we had a 50 champion starlight with overdrive make the 45 mile trip and back. Marge the owner said it was just fine. She also owns a Morgan. No idea how to compare that with the Champion.

      Bob Miles

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      • #4
        Some people can drive cars hard and get a lot out of them. I knew a Studebaker owner that back in the late 60s had a ‘59 Lark 6 cylinder and a straight 3 speed. He lived in Portland and his son was stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington. He would blast back and forth the 2-1/2 hour trip up I-5 Freeway as fast as that Lark would go. And he did the same trip regularly for a couple of years, and that 170 kept on going. Another friend of mine, who also drove hard and fast, had a ‘62 Champ pickup with a OHV 170 and a truck 4 speed. No one would ever accuse that truck of being slow. He was just good at getting everything out of it. Maybe some cars are slow because people drive them slow.

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        • #5
          Is it a difference between the earlier ones having a Stromberg carburetor and the later having a Carter carburetor?
          sigpic
          In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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          • #6
            I've put about 70k on my 60 Lark VI bringing it up to about 113K total and just turned 20K on my '50 Champion bringing it up to 97K total. I'm the second owner on the 60 and know that the engine has had regular oil changes all its life. It starts instantly and idles so quietly that at busy intersections I have to glance at the idiot lights. The '50 had a much harder life from all evidence and is not that quiet but just as willing. They will both pull the local steep hill on the interstate at 70 in OD which I think is quite fair.

            I really don't notice any difference in how they rev up except that the 4.56 axle in the '50 make you want to shift a lot sooner than the 4.10 in the Lark. I know they had a lot of trouble at first with the AS Carter carbs on the Larks and wonder if that's the basis of the gentleman's complaint. The cams and valves are the same except perhaps the first two years. All Champion engines like lots of revs; you can not drive them like a Commander 6. On the other hand my Commanders really don't like high revs but will pull like the dickens at low revs.

            Anyway, I've had hundreds of thousands of miles of driving behind Champion engines of all flavors and had a tremendous amount of fun and utility from them.

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            • #7
              I don't have any idea how the "Taller Block" would affect the performance of these little 169/170's but that IS one Major difference between the Peppy '47 to '54's and the gutless '59/'60's that and the very troublesome '59 Model AS Carbs.

              There were several Service letters trying to correct the many issues with those early Carter AS Carbs, and magically, by '62 they got them Right!

              Just in time to replace them with those cheap Carter RS (Rambler) Carbs that give More trouble on '63 and '64 6 Cyl. Cars.

              I can tell you this, you REALLY CAN feel the difference of that 28 HP increase when you drive a '61, 118 HP OHV 170 Six after a 90 HP Flathead 1960! I think the "Ram Induction" Intake helps a lot!
              Last edited by StudeRich; 09-25-2020, 11:15 PM.
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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              • #8
                In the early 60's my high school partnered with a driver education school and if you took their course, you got a discount to obtain your license. My driver education car was a '59 Lark 4 door sedan, 6 cylinder, three speed standard. During my test drive I got rubber on the one - two shift and my teacher stated he didn't think it had it in it! Needless to say I passed with flying colors.

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                • #9
                  Kenny James told me about the older (53/54?) 170 he had was gutless until he put the higher compression Edmund's head on it and he was shocked by the increase in performance. Both the 170's I've driven were stroked, bored, and turbo-charged so I can't make a fair comparison.

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