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  • Customizing a hardtop into a convertible

    I have a '55 President Hardtop that I am customizing. I am seriously kicking around the idea of turning it into a functional, drivable, convertible. If any of you folks have ideas on what cars will work as donors for the convertible top components I would really appreciate it. I know of one fellow that has a gorgeous red convertible that uses a '65 Dart as the basis for it. I'm just looking for more options for when I start looking for the donor. The more choices I have the easier it will be to find what I need.
    I am using all of the suspension & drive components and electronics from an '09 Dodge Charger Hemi R/T All Wheel Drive that I picked up from an insurance auction as the muscle and brains of the car. The frame is an Art Morrison.
    I will have lots of parts and pieces that will come off the Studebaker that I need to pass along to folks that need them. I could use some good advice on handling that as well.

    Kyle Grinnell
    Kyle Grinnell
    Tacoma ,WA
    \'55 President State (under construction)

  • #2
    I don't know if it will work, but you might want to look at a 1990's Chrysler Lebaron or Ford Mustang covertible as they are plentiful.


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

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    • #3
      Wow! Sounds like quite the fun project! And that powertrain in it![8D] I bet you are talking of Steve Hudson's red 'vert, very very very (did I say VERY) beautifull car! The only top I know of that I believe will fit is the '64 (and probably '65) dart tops as you say. As for getting the parts out there, you can list some here for sale, Ebay, and craigslist for starters. If you are a member of the Studebaker Drivers Club, you list them in our monthly magazine, Turning Wheels, and also on the Studebaker Swap page as well. Welcome to the forum Kyle!

      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

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      • #4
        Thanks fellas, and yes, I was referring to Steve Hudson's stunning car. He has graciously agreed to let me and my builder drool on his car in January. I am an SDC member, based upon the insistence of every Stude owner I have met. What a crowd of mutual support.

        If the Mustang or LeBaron top would work that would be great. I should be able to find one of them really easy and pretty cheap too. I haven't started looking yet for the Dart, but guess it will be tougher to get one and will probably have to add lots of expense for shipping, too.

        Kyle Grinnell
        Kyle Grinnell
        Tacoma ,WA
        \'55 President State (under construction)

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd measure the mustang or lebaron top, its width, hieght, lenth, ect. Its very possible they could work, from a distance, it looks about right, but the tap measure tells all. I'm sure there is a wrecking yard near you that would let you do all of this measuring.

          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


          • #6
            I'd really like to cut the atop off my GT. I just never did like the roofline. I know I have to double box the frame. I'm concerned about the width where it meets the door and side glass but the windshield to a lesser degree. Is a lark framework all that much different?

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            • #7
              I doubt they are much different, its just that Lark convertibles are more difficult to find.


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

              Comment


              • #8
                I would go to a pick a part of something like one and walk around and look. There seems to be plenty of conv. in the yards these days and you never know what you may run across. And the price always seems to be reasonable when I ask. Good Luck.


                1956 Studebaker Pelham Wagon Houston, Texas
                Remember, "When all is said and done. More is always said then ever done."

                1956 Studebaker Pelham Wagon Houston, Texas
                Remember, \"When all is said and done. More is always said then ever done.\"

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                • #9
                  I responded on your other post of the same topic.

                  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
                    You might want to contact Jim Maloney in CT. He has a '53 Commander that he made into a convertible. IIRC, he used an early 60's Lark convertible as the donor. Email me if you want his phone number.


                    Chip
                    '63 Cruiser daily driver
                    '57 Packard wagon on the road!
                    Chip
                    '63 Cruiser
                    '57 Packard wagon
                    '61 Lark Regal 4 dr wagon
                    '50 Commander 4 dr sedan

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