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Complete Conversion 51 Studebaker Commander

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  • Complete Conversion 51 Studebaker Commander

    I recently purchased a 51 Studebaker Commander that the frame has been redone and a lot has been taken care of. Most of the work is in the body.
    It currently has a Chevrolet 283 motor with an Automatic Transmission. Everything else is gone, or in boxes, and I'm thinking it might be easier to purchase a different car or truck to put the body on. Plus this would give me disc brakes, a complete wiring harness, and a better jumping off point. Is this feasible? Is there another car frame that is close that wouln't require too much mdification? I've heard rumors that an S10 is pretty close. Any help would be great. Thank you.

  • #2
    Red--Folks aren't jumping to reply because studebaker used the same front suspension from 51 all the way up to 66 and then on up with the Avanti, at least til 85. So, that suspension has been around for quite some time and has been modified many different ways with disc brakes, mitsubishi steering, heavy duty sway bars, and more. It has it's problems, but so does stubbing off the frame and welding on something different, or changing the frame.

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    • #3
      I didn't initially respond because I wondered, if the best part of the car is an already finished frame, why is that the part you're considering chucking? Suspension and brake upgrades (all available) would be easier than changing geometry to fit a different chassis.
      Could certainly be done but...why?

      Brad Johnson
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
      Brad Johnson,
      SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
      '56 Sky Hawk in process

      Comment


      • #4
        I would like to keep the frame actually. I was just wondering how much it would cost and how feasible converting it to disc brakes would be. No one has been able to direct me to a kit or do it yourself instructions to convert it. It currently has a chevy 283 and an automatic trans, but I'm not sure if they are going to be worth anything yet. Why I was considering putting it on a different fame was to take advantage of a complete brake system with a good motor and trans, as well as a wiring harness.

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        • #5
          54 and up Studebaker V8 self energizing drum brakes are a bolt in and work well. Jim Turner sells disc brake conversion kits and dual master cylinder conversions that are an easy install if you want discs...

          http://www.turnerbrake.com/

          Original wiring harnesses are available from Studebakers West...

          http://www.studebakerswest.net/main.sc

          ...or use any number of aftermarket hot rod harnesses like this example...

          http://www.ezwiring.com/wiring_harness.html

          Putting a Stude body on a different chassis is certainly possible (ANYTHING is), but is quite a major undertaking. If you have experience with this and excellent engineering and fabrication skills and see it as a fun challenge, go for it. If not, the task will most likely result in a lot of frustration and probable failure.



          Dick Steinkamp
          Bellingham, WA

          Dick Steinkamp
          Bellingham, WA

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          • #6
            Thank you a million Dick. This information has been great. I've been buying from Studebaker International, but they don't seem to have the parts I need. They are great for Avantis though!

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            • #7
              Erik,

              Some of us have been around Studebakers, and the Studebaker Drivers Club, so long we take some things for granted.
              Start here for brake conversions.

              http://www.turnerbrake.com/

              Turner's been around here a long time with good reputation.

              http://www.slickstreetstuff.com/

              RENE' & BONITA HARGER are long-time vendors who specialized in interior restoration and are now offering complete suspension upgrades.

              Lots of other options available. Just ask.

              AND, WELCOME TO OUR FORUM!


              Brad Johnson
              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
              '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight
              Brad Johnson,
              SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
              '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
              '56 Sky Hawk in process

              Comment

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