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  • Other: Expectations

    Kinda grey area here if this is really tech talk, but bear with me. When I first got our Champ, I wanted to restore it. Not to showroom quality, but kinda close. Restoring a vehicle on your own really requires so many different talents/skills. I'm reading a book, that emphasizes focus on what you are trying to do, not on what you hope to accomplish. What I hoped to accomplish, is now so different from when I started. I find myself getting frustrated, thinking about how this is not going as well as I would like, instead of just moving forward, and doing what I can.

    My point is, restoring a Studebaker is very challenging and complex project, if doing most of it yourself. I would advise those starting out, be flexible with your expectations. Engines, body work, interior, electrical........ all take some amount of skill. Its a learning process for all of us. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information in these tech pages. Search, read, and ask, will help keep your expectations closer to what they were originally. Though our Champ isn't really going to be what I had originally expected, I've realized how much better it will be thanks to those taking the time to help and comment here.

    Thanks to all who take the time to comment here in the tech talk pages. And those with a project, keep focusing on what you can do, that's how results are made.
    Mike and Dawn

    '61 Champ

  • #2
    Care to share your plans now?
    Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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    • #3
      I totally agree. Not much turns out the way we have planned in our minds. And people are opinionated. There are a ton of different ways to tackle every step. This forum is a great resource. In an effort to pay it forward I try to help out with what little I have learned for the help I have received. If you ever need anything don’t be afraid to ask.

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      • #4
        Remember that the first idea that pops into your head is not necessarily the best one. Pondering on it for a while often leads you to a better idea, or simpler way to do it.

        Some people get stuck on their initial thought and fail to see improved ways to accomplish the task because they have closed their mind to other possibilities.
        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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        • #5
          This is something I wrestle with every time I start a project. The question is, do I want a well sorted driver, or a garage queen? Some factors that I consider are condition, value, and budget (both time and money).
          As a rule of thumb, concours condition rides are worth twice as much as good condition drivers. That being said, few, if any Studes, are valued in the six figure range.

          IMHO, this is not a money maker for me. It is just a passion to put one of these bygone automobiles back on the road to the best of my abilities.

          Following your posts, you have already accomplished much. I would guess that the quality of the work you have done would equal or exceed that of a "professional" restoration shop simply because you are invested in the outcome.

          Please keep in mind that, even when new, these vehicles were not concours, just good condition drivers.
          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

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          • #6
            I was lucky in that I had a very experienced man, Michael LeVeque of LeVair engineering doing most of the work. He had the experience and skill to do whatever was needed. I never worried about the quality of his work. The fact that my car was taking a bay in his busy shop was enough to always keep me moving on decisions. He has extensive experisnce building adn repairning race cars. Everything turned out very good in the end. We began with a plan to rebuild the Studebaker front end but that quickly faded as nobody offered a front end kit for it for disc brakes. We went with a Fat Man mustang 2 style setup.

            Also the choice of engines….I originally wanted to do a Stude V8 but for lack of mounting kits for accessories such as power steering, brakes and AC were not available. I ended up with the Mercedes 300 TD motor. I have tons of experience with them and I happened to have one on hand with an excellent condition five speed overdrive manual transmission

            In the rear we were able to do what was planned all along....we re-used the stock leaf springs and replaced the rotary shocks with tubular Koni adjustable shocks. The diff is a ford 9" from a 92 or so pickup. This will work if in the future a v8 is desired.

            In building a street rod or resto mod as mine is now called is like life....you have to be flexible to turn directions based on what you find you are dealt.
            Diesel loving, autocrossing, Coupe express loving, Grandpa Architect.

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            • #7
              Mike, don't get discouraged. It's a hobby and your income doesn't count on what you are doing to the truck. There have been many days I felt overwhelmed in working on my car. There are times I won't touch the car for a week, only to work on it for hours each day for the following week. Take a little on at a time. Do it in small segments. "I'll do the rear brakes today" "I'll do the front brakes tomorrow". Eventually, it will be done and you move on to another part of your project. As long as you make progress, it will be satisfying in the end.

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              • #8
                Good post that many of us can relate to.
                I would suggest knocking out the projects first that are easy and small, and are ones you can do yourself.
                Once you have completed all of those small tasks, prioritize the remaining large tasks in order of safety and driveability.
                The tasks that require professional tools, or involve risk (replacing a gas tank) budget for the pro repair.
                Instead of making a monthly car payment, think of it as making a monthly repair payment.
                Very few "car guys" are equally good at everything, and it's best to choose the battles that you know you can win.
                Don't spend 3 weeks of frustration with your car out of commission and it's parts strewn across the garage floor, instead of spending $300 and 2 days to get it fixed at a shop.
                Best of luck!

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                • #9
                  There's some good advice, by people who have been through the process, but since you are already elbow deep in the project, it may ring hollow. Nobody know for sure what they are capable of doing until they try. Congratulations on the recognizing that limiting your expectation to what is possible in the real world, to me it just makes sense.

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                  • #10
                    Mike, you can always look at things the way I do. My standards are so low, I'm never disappointed.

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                    • #11
                      I find that having multiple cars can work as a buffer between me and stressing about failure. The way it works for me, is by always having a car to drive, a car to show and a project to work on. The process has allowed me to accept cars that are not perfect and never will be as long as I own them. Saving the survivor cars is my passion, restoring cars is not. It wasn't always this way. Long gone are the days that everything had to be restored. Today it's a matter of survival for both my cars and me.
                      Last edited by Hallabutt; 12-31-2020, 11:30 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by t walgamuth View Post
                        Care to share your plans now?
                        I wanted the pickup to be a driver. And for sentimental reasons, I really wanted it to be as original as possible. That's the part where my expectations are being lowered. I want to be able to call it my dad's old pickup, but so little is really original from when he had it.

                        Realistically now, my expectation is to have a pickup that was my dad's more or less in spirit.
                        Mike and Dawn

                        '61 Champ

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. The Champ is in such sad shape, its really more of a project than a beginner really should be undertaking. But, I love the pickup, and I really do love working on it. The help I have received here in the forum, I can never repay, other than someday having another Studebaker on the road.
                          Mike and Dawn

                          '61 Champ

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                          • #14
                            Around 2003 I bought a 56J that a guy had been restoring in his basement since 1974. He had spent a ton of $ on NOS stuff available back in the 70s-80s, had done maybe 2000 labor hours, yet it still was in his basement. Meanwhile, he grew old and developed terminal cancer. I bought the car, helped him remove basement doors that had not been open in decades, and loaded it on a trailer to bring home. It was very easy to get it running and on the road. I had three 56Js at that time, all roadworthy, so sold that one to an old MC friend, who still has it today. Only thing I could never do, nor has my friend, is get the basement smell out of that car.

                            Somewhere between growing old while restoring a Stude, and just putting one on the road that still has hazardous mechanical issues, is a balance point each of us must decide on. I have usually just got them on the road safely, then treated them as rolling projects. Of course, as projects, they are never done.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChampCouple View Post

                              I I want to be able to call it my dad's old pickup, but so little is really original from when he had it.

                              Realistically now, my expectation is to have a pickup that was my dad's more or less in spirit.
                              A good friend has a Studebaker that his father bought used in 1960 while living in New York. The car has been a part of their family since. In 2000, the car was treated to a full body off restoration.

                              The reality was, it was a rusty New York car. Rather than end up with a welded up rust bucket, they started replacing everything that was rusted out with better parts, including the complete body shell.

                              When it was done, the only parts of the finished car that were used from the original car were the frame and the serial number tag.

                              But as far as that family (or anyone else) is concerned, it’s the same car they’ve owned for the past 60 years.

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