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Rambling Newbie questions...53 trim & tailights

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  • Rambling Newbie questions...53 trim & tailights

    So I have an intact (for the most part) 53 "C" coupe that i would like to start finding parts & info for. One of my questions is how to remove rear qtr trim spear in order to remove fender? Next question is does anyone offer repro 53 taillight housings or front grill surrounds and center bars? Studebaker intl. said they have none- but offer 55/56 tailhousings, will they fit? That would also help my concern regarding lack of side profile light visibilty since I have the flat 53 tail lens and front signal/parking lens is hidden within grill she has no lights visible from the side. I know they never thought of such things in 53 but in todays traffic i would like a little more night visibilty & would hate to be broadsided cause some idiot "didn't see any lights". The 55/56 tail lenses bubble out from housing & would be visibly lit from sideview. Still dont know how to address front side marker type light without messing up stock look or making holes in front fender. Was the 53 originaly 6 volt? If so should I change out any switches (headlight, dimmer etc) or relays (horn) flashers etc? most of these things work now but not all. Many questions will arise over time. Thx in advance!
    Tony in Hawaii

  • #2
    Originally posted by twoprimo View Post
    So I have an intact (for the most part) 53 "C" coupe that i would like to start finding parts & info for. One of my questions is how to remove rear qtr trim spear in order to remove fender? Next question is does anyone offer repro 53 taillight housings or front grill surrounds and center bars? Studebaker intl. said they have none- but offer 55/56 tailhousings, will they fit? That would also help my concern regarding lack of side profile light visibilty since I have the flat 53 tail lens and front signal/parking lens is hidden within grill she has no lights visible from the side. I know they never thought of such things in 53 but in todays traffic i would like a little more night visibilty & would hate to be broadsided cause some idiot "didn't see any lights". The 55/56 tail lenses bubble out from housing & would be visibly lit from sideview. Still dont know how to address front side marker type light without messing up stock look or making holes in front fender. Was the 53 originaly 6 volt? If so should I change out any switches (headlight, dimmer etc) or relays (horn) flashers etc? most of these things work now but not all. Many questions will arise over time. Thx in advance!
    Re. the grills, the bars are the same as found on the sedans and are plentiful. The surrounds are made of an unobtainable mineral and good plateble ones are hard to come by.

    Re. the tail lights, No reproduction of the '53's that I know of, the '55's will work and IMHO they are a much better looking tail light. The only problem there is, they don't look quite right in relationship to the bumper.

    Re. The fender spear, get a shop manual. There' a lot of other info in there you are going to need.

    Re. The changing of voltage. I don't change any motors, switchs or relays (except for the starter relay (aka solenoid). I only change the battery, gen. to alt., coil (install a ballast resistor and run a wire (pink I think, I'm color blind) from the 'I' terminal on the new starter solenoid to the coil side of the ballast resistor), all light bulbs, install resistors for the temp. and gas gauges and resistors for the wiper motor. The defroster and heater motors will be fine, just run them on 'low' (high will blow your toupee (sp) off.
    The electrical engeeneers on this forum will probably disagree with a lot of stuff I do but if I try it and it works for me, I call it done.

    Others will tell you different, I'm just saying this is how I do it
    Last edited by Jerry Forrester; 10-31-2010, 06:15 AM.
    Jerry Forrester
    Forrester's Chrome
    Douglasville, Georgia

    See all of Buttercup's pictures at https://imgur.com/a/tBjGzTk

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    • #3
      Use the Runtz voltage reducers for the gas and heat gauges. The others don't care. The switches will be fine. Change all the light bulbs to 12v ones. The wiper motor (if electric) can be replaced with a later version that is 12v. Same with the heater motors. Otherwise as Jerry says they will run really fast. A bad thing for the wiper motor though not so bad for the heater perhaps.... You will need 12v horns and a horn relay. BTW, for a 12v horn relay that looks just like the stock 6v one use a early 60s Tbird part.

      I've not done this on my '53 but you can modify the lighting so the front parking lights come on with the headlights like modern cars. I wondered about the side visibility concern you mention since those lamp lens are not that far recessed into the grill. Went out to the garage and checked it out:

      These are with the blinker in mid-flash. There is some side visibility there I think.

      At one time (back in the 90s) there were reproduction tail lamp housings made but they have been off the market (sold out) for a long time. Replateable ones turn up.

      I've seen photos of cars in Europe and other places where added lighting was put on the car (side markers) due to local laws.
      Attached Files

      Jeff in ND

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      • #4
        Thanks Guys! OK got the manual so yes it answers several questions! Anyone have pics of the 55/56 or alternative taillights over a 53 bumper? I guess my only motor voltage concern would be with the wipers then, which works fine...is there a possibilty it is 12 volt already? HaHa- Grill bars made from rare element "unobtainium" Yeah I guess so since a recent listing for surrounds went for over $600 geez!
        Tony in Hawaii

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        • #5
          Originally posted by twoprimo View Post
          Thanks Guys! OK got the manual so yes it answers several questions! Anyone have pics of the 55/56 or alternative taillights over a 53 bumper? I guess my only motor voltage concern would be with the wipers then, which works fine...is there a possibilty it is 12 volt already? HaHa- Grill bars made from rare element "unobtainium" Yeah I guess so since a recent listing for surrounds went for over $600 geez!
          $600? That was cheap!
          Chip
          '63 Cruiser
          '57 Packard wagon
          '61 Lark Regal 4 dr wagon
          '50 Commander 4 dr sedan

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          • #6
            For fender spear advice try:
            http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...-fender-spears

            And get the factory manuals.
            sigpic
            Lark Parker --Just an innocent possum strolling down life's highway.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by twoprimo View Post
              /Cut/I know they never thought of such things in 53 but in todays traffic i would like a little more night visibilty & would hate to be broadsided cause some idiot "didn't see any lights"./Cut/
              Just don't run any red lights in the dark, and you'll be fine!
              StudeRich
              Second Generation Stude Driver,
              Proud '54 Starliner Owner
              SDC Member Since 1967

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