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50 Champion

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  • 50 Champion

    I just picked up my first Studebaker and am eager to get going with either modifying it with some upgrades,both engine and drivetrain or with keeping it original.I am leaning towards upgrading it however,I do want to keep the powertrain all Studebaker. Being the newby to the Stude world that I am,I have many questions.But simply,can I put a 259 or 289 in my 50 Champ easily? Can I convert to disc brakes? and do most guys convert their cars to 12 Volts.Any input is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Sadly, you are a year to early for all the bolt in stuff. From 51 on, you can bolt in later engines and brakes, but for the 50's, even the later Studebaker stuff is pretty much a custom swap.

    64 Commander-64 Daytona
    64 GT R2 clone-63 GT R2
    63 Avanti R1
    63 Daytona convert-63
    63 Lark 2 door
    62 Lark 2 door
    60 Lark HT-60Hawk
    59 3E truck
    52 & 53 Starliner
    51 Commander

    JDP Maryland


    • #3
      JDP is right. The '50 Champion is a one-year-only design as far as the front suspension and engine mountings go, and later parts simply won't bolt up. There was no V8 engine in the Stude line-up for 1950, so there was no need for V8-compatibility in the chassis design. For 1950 and prior, Champion and Commander were completely different car lines, as unlike as, say, Chevrolet and Buick. There was some commonality of styling, but little commonality of parts, and what little there was, was minor parts. From 1951 onward, V8 and six cylinder cars shared the same basic body and chassis, with certain parts on the V8 cars being made bigger and tougher, including frames. But you CAN put a V8 engine, transmission, springs, and axle and brakes into a car which was originally a six; the stuff all fits.

      If you want to get increased performance out of your Champion, look into getting a souped-up Champion engine from Bill Cathcart, or one of the other vendors who do this work. You won't get V8-class performance, but it will be better than stock, and will look great, and have a unique sound. You may be able to get disc brake kits from one of the brake conversion vendors, but there are no stock Stude brakes avaialble to replace those 9" drums

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


      • #4
        What model is your car? I have a 50 Starlight coupe Model 9G5C. It has the original six clyinder 170 Cubic inch engine. I have foung it extremely reliable,easy to work on,and plenty of power since I don't race Ferraris. With the overdrive, it cruises nicely at the speed limit of 65mph.
        You might consider staying with the factory engine. and---
        WELCOME to the forum-many great guys and gals here to help you..
        ...Dick Curtis

        1950 Champion Starlight
        1963 Hawk GT
        Santa Barbara

        The 1950 Champion Starlight
        Santa Barbara


        • #5
          I do not know if the 1950 body will bolt up to a 1951 frame or not (maybe someone here knows), but I got a rolling chassis for a 1951 Commander. I haven't had a chance to look it over real close yet, but it seemed to be in good shape when I pulled it over to my friends house.