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Champion cruising speed

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  • Champion cruising speed

    I've owned 2 prewar Champions before that had 4.55 gears and no overdrive. I cruised on the highway and interstates about 50-55 mph without problems. i am getting a '50 Champion with overdrive and am wondering what a prudent highway speed would be. The seller thinks 50-55 should be the max. The rpms I turned at 50 with my old Champs would give about 70 mph in o.d. Please comment.

  • #2
    Cruising speed w/Overdrive

    Hi:
    I have a '50 Champion with overdrive and a 4:56 rear end ratio. I have cruised at 65 to 70 MPH many times and the engine speed seems to be quite "comfortable". I have not connected a tachometer, but I don't think the RPM's are excessive.
    Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
    '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
    '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
    '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

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    • #3
      Since December, 1949, my 50 Champion has been very dependable cruising at 60-65 mph. Sometimes I wonder why Studebaker owners question if their cars will drive at highway speeds, they were built to do so. Maybe not exceeding modern speed limits like many people do, but dependable transportation at decent highway speed.

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      • #4
        I just completed an approximately 250 mile round trip in my 1948 business coupe driving to the South East Zone Meet. While on the interstate, I drove with about a 10 mph swing from 65 to 75 MPH with my wife following in our Dodge Ram. Once you have driven your Studebaker enough to get a "feel" for how it runs...you should be able to operate it without "obsessing" over the speedometer reading. I rarely look at the speedometer. I try to focus on the traffic flow, temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, the road ahead, and my mirrors. I try to run at a speed that "feels comfortable" to the car. If you get pulled over for speeding on the interstate in a flat head six Studebaker, either you have no talent for "feeling" the comfort of the car...or you have something to brag about!

        The same principles apply to the V8 powered Studebakers but for those of us who tend to revert back to our teenage years with V8 power...additional dicipline and restraint is required!
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #5
          With today's cars having infinitely better sound insulation, deep overdrive transmissions and electric cooling fans, we're become accustomed to quiet cruise. Studes have a swiss-cheese firewall, no sound insulation, an engine driven fan and relatively low gearing which means lots of noise at highway speeds. At freeway speeds, the old Studes do sound like an airplane taxiing for takeoff, but no more miles than we'll drive them, they'll take it. I put many 65-70 MPH freeway miles on a '56 Power Hawk with the long stroke 185" Champion, overdrive and 4.56 gears. If the engine is in good condition, clean inside and out, top quality oil, it will be OK.

          jack vines
          PackardV8

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          • #6
            In the 50's I often drove a 50 Champion with OD at 65 to 70 with no problems. Stopping it was a different story.
            Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

            40 Champion 4 door*
            50 Champion 2 door*
            53 Commander K Auto*
            53 Commander K overdrive*
            55 President Speedster
            62 GT 4Speed*
            63 Avanti R1*
            64 Champ 1/2 ton

            * Formerly owned

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