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'50 Champion-conversion to automatic drive?

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  • '50 Champion-conversion to automatic drive?

    "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

  • #2
    The easiest approach would be to find a '50 Champion with a working automatic drive, and swap all the parts. Buying them piecemeal would be pricey, and you might be delayed by scarcity of certain parts.

    Alternatively, you could get a Flightomatic from a later model 6 cylinder car, and adapt it in, using the rear engine plate that came with the FOM. You could use the existing column-shift mechanism to shift the FOM, but you wouldn't have any detents. That might be OK for experienced drivers using the car lightly in parade situations, but I wouldn't recommend it for the street! If you swap to a FOM, you will also have to convert the car to 12 volts, as the FOM ring gear requires a 12 volt starter.

    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      In that year, the small 6 had a dg150. I have that at home. I believe that Studebaker West has one in there barn.

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      • #4
        Rockne
        a key component would be the larger steering column "tube" used for automatics. I assume that a column from a 1951 or 52 with automatic would interchange?

        1950 Champion 4 Dr.
        Holdrege NE
        John
        1950 Champion
        W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
        Holdrege NE

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        • #5
          "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


          • #6
            I'm sure you could build, or make a floor shifter for the DG150. I expect just about any Brand X automatic floor shifter could be made to work, if you made a new detent plate and display panel.

            I think you could convert the "box" at the base of the standard shaft column to satisfactorily shift the DG150. Inside that box, the shift shaft has a dog in it, kind of like a cross-pin protruding on each side. It can fit in slots cut in the two levers. The holes in the levers are shaped kind of like the Studebaker logo at the top of this page, except the slots are square, not oblique. If you replaced the lower (2-3) lever with a fixed piece that had a double-thick layer on the top side where Park and Reverse are, at each end of the lever travel, that extra layer would become the "stop" that prevented engaging either Park or Reverse without lifting the hand lever. You would use the 1-2 shift lever to operate the transmission, and simply let the detents in the transmission itself do their thing. You could freely move between Neutral, Drive, and Low without lifting the hand lever, and you can't hurt anything by so doing, even under way. You'd have to lift the hand lever to shift into either Reverse or Park, which is the normal drill for a column shift automatic, anyway.

            Bottom line: if I had a '50 through '52 Automatic drive donor car to do this conversion, I'd use all the factory-engineered parts at my disposal. If all I could get were a loose transmission, or if I went with later FOM, I'd try to convert the existing shifter. The thing to do would be to make the fixed plate first as a single layer, hook it up to the transmission, and then mark it for where the blocker plate needs to be added.

            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
            Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

            Comment

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