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  • New guy from New Jersey

    In a moment of madness, I have bought a '55 Speedster. I have never owned a Studebaker before, and so I am a babe in the woods when it comes to this car. I just trailered it home yesterday, in time for the nor'easter that is headed our way. I have questions:

    1) How crazy am I?
    2) I am told the engine ran a few years ago. Any advice on first steps to getting it going? I pulled the plugs and squirted penetrating oil in the cylinders, that is all so far.
    3) In the Ford hot rod world (ie the HAMB) which I am a little more familiar with, the thinking is to convert 6V systems to 12V. What is the thinking in Studebaker land?
    3a)I don't have a 6V battery, but I do have a very nice new 12V battery I would like to use to at least try and turn over the engine, what are the issues?
    4) Looking ahead a bit, how rare are these cars? More importantly, is there some Moral Imperative that I restore this car faithfully, or do I have some leeway without making myself an outcast in the Studebaker community?

    Thanks,
    Peter Helck

  • #2
    Well, for question No.1, yes, just as crazy as all us Stude guys,LOL!!
    I don't have enough experiance on No.2 to adequetly answer that question, someone else I'm sure will chime in that has done it more than me.
    No.3, in my opinion, since its a speedster, I'd leave it 6 volt, but it may be better to have 12 volts for a daily driver, I don't know.
    No.4, sorry, I'm extremely electrical illiterate.
    No.5, yes, they are rare, with only 2,215 built. There is some very knowledgeable speedster guys here that I'm sure will chime in. If it was mine, I'd do a faithfull resto, but, I also enjoy customizing. Also, its your car, what do you want to do? You sure won't be on my bad list if you are enjoying it the way YOU want to!

    Welcome to the forum! If you haven't already, I'd join the Studebaker Drivers Club, lots of available info, chance for good friends, great activities, ect.

    Dylan Wills

    '61 lark deluxe 4 door wagon
    Dylan Wills
    Everett, Wa.


    1961 Lark 4 door wagon
    1961 Lark 4 door wagon #2 (Wife's car!)
    1955 VW Beetle (Went to the dark side)
    1914 Ford Model T

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess "A funny thing happened on the way to this forum". Welcome. Speedsters have quite a following since there aren't enough to go around. Kinda almost like the 56 Golden Hawk. You'll find yourself in the midst of a select group. Most would probably say to upgrade the electrical system and the brakes for frequent driving. Maybe even install a petronix electronic ignition inside your stock distributor. Also, I might add, you'll find this forum to be a group of the most knowledgeable and technically educated restorers and hot rodders unsurpassed anywhere else in this solar system.

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      • #4
        Welcome to the Studecrazies. A wonderful, weird world.

        '50 Champion, 1 family owner

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        • #5
          The engine will start and run with a 12 volt battery but it will quickly burn up the ignition points and cause other damage. So go buy a new 6 volt battery. Getting it started is typically just a matter of getting fuel into the cylinders and getting spark at the plugs. The fuel system and ignition is no different than other old cars. If it doesnt get fuel, reply back to the forum for more encouragement. [8D] If it doesnt have spark, its typically dirty ignition points which simply need some filing. If that doesnt get you spark, reply back to the forum for more encouragement. [8D] The 1955 Speedsters are one of my all time favorite cars. Compare it to any other American car built in 1955, and it looks extremely futuristic and modern. Nice choice!


          Lark ala mode
          In the middle of Minnesota
          sigpic
          In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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          • #6
            Man, I would just grab a 12 volt coil and go from there. You'll need to put a resistor in the line to knock it down to about nine volts, unless you go electronic immediately. And after that, you'll want to convert gauges and lights to 12. The electric motors can just be run on low. A GM alternator is about standard anymore. The only thing is, you really need to wire it so that it gets 12 volts to the points during cranking.

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            • #7
              welcome radioFlyer.

              Your no crazier than the rest of us here.
              I am not a big fan of the 12v battery make it spin faster club .
              But lately in new jersey a couple of the studnuts have been using 8 volt batteries.
              I haven.t needed one but I would look into this before buying a new 6volt.

              1959 HARDTOP R2 4speed
              1960 conv R2 auto
              SDC member since 1972
              1959 HARDTOP R2 4speed
              1960 conv R2 auto
              SDC member since 1972
              http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff21/59r2/DSC01514-3.jpg

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              • #8
                If you are only going to drive during nice weather, I dont think changing to 12 volt is worth the expense. 6 volt worked in the car for over 50 years, and it can keep working. One downside however is finding someone else with a 6 volt battery if you should ever need a jump start.


                Lark ala mode
                In the middle of Minnesota
                sigpic
                In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would use the 12 volt battery just to see if the engine turns over okay. I wouldn't run the car on it. Be sure to have everything turned off when you do this.

                  I recommend keeping the car 6 volt and basically stock appearing. It is a rare and valuable model. Of course you can do whatever you want, but if you want to build a modified Studebaker I would prefer that you start with something not quite so rare and desireable. Be sure that your cables are heavy enough for a 6 volt system.

                  You are not crazy. Welcome! You won't be an outcast no matter what you do. The vast majority of us accept all versions of Studebakers - stock or modified (I have owned both.).

                  Gary L.
                  Wappinger, NY

                  SDC member since 1968
                  Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                  Gary L.
                  Wappinger, NY

                  SDC member since 1968
                  Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Welcome to the Wonderful World of Studebakers!!! Where in NJ are you?

                    1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
                    1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.

                    "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." -Albert Einstein

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                    • #11
                      quote:Originally posted by FlatheadGeo

                      Welcome to the Wonderful World of Studebakers!!! Where in NJ are you?

                      1957 Studebaker Champion 2 door. Staten Island, New York.
                      George V. - His profile states: Morristown, NJ.

                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        radioFlyer1955 - I just noticed your name, Peter Helck. Are you related to the famous automotive artist Peter Helck that I used to see driving Locomobile Old 16? He lived in NY, but I remember him having relatives in NJ. In fact, I think that Old 16 went to NJ and then to some major museum.

                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        SDC member since 1968
                        Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                        Gary L.
                        Wappinger, NY

                        SDC member since 1968
                        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Welcome to the Studebaker world. Your going to love it here.

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                          • #14
                            Welcome to the world of Studebakers. Can never have enough Studebakers in New Jersey.



                            New Jersey & Studes Perfect Together

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                            • #15
                              Studegary-

                              I am actually the grandson of the famous Peter Helck, and no, I did not inherit any of his artistic talent. Old 16 is now in the Ford museum at Dearborn, I haven't seen it in a number of years, guess I should make that journey some day, though it won't be the same. My father Jerry lives in Lakewood NJ, and several of my siblings are in the state as well. I avoided all things old and dirty for a long while, but somehow, I seem to have gotten sucked back it at long last. I am building a 1930 Ford AV8, and have a ways to go still, so buying the Speedster was perhaps hasty of me, but there it was, and I said, what the hell.

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