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Top cruising speed? 55 president

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  • #16
    105 is about what I'd guestimate. At that speed with a 259, either the rpms ran out if it was not in overdrive, or the torque ran out if it was in overdrive. I seriously doubt a Speedster could do much better. In 1955, that speed was pretty impressive, but not in comparison to the 56J the following year, however, which approached 130 mph in stock form.

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    • #17
      Our Commander sounds pretty tight at 70mph, 3:31 gear with an automatic. My Lark on the other hand, sings at 70 with plenty of power to spare. (still sounds loud). In overdrive, I could run comfortably at 80mph, but I kind of like 70-75. Less speeding tickets.
      Jamie McLeod
      Hope Mills, NC

      1963 Lark "Ugly Betty"
      1958 Commander "Christine"
      1964 Wagonaire "Louise"
      1955 Commander Sedan
      1964 Champ
      1960 Lark

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      • #18
        Originally posted by yoshimitsuspeed View Post
        It freewheels if I let off the gas. It drives if I step on it.
        I am happy to hear of the progress that you have made. However, quite frankly, I think you have reached the point that you should make friends with some of your regional fellow SDC members. It would be good to have someone familiar with your car to assist in evaluating just where you are with the mechanicals who could make some great suggestions and save you time and effort. No sense in you "re-inventing the wheel." If you can get some good free help in keeping your progress moving forward, you will be way ahead of some of us who had to learn it the hard way.

        I had a friend who once trashed a good overdrive because he just decided that the OD cable was the way to engage and disengage the unit while flying down the highway. You need to know about the little 1/8 pipe thread fitting that needs to be removed every year or so and a grease fitting temporarily installed to lube your rear wheel bearings on these Studebaker axle housings. Proper adjustment of the "kickdown" switch gives you neat passing power (and a fun sensation) when it works like it should.

        It is knowing and attending to these little details that increase your confidence and pleasure when driving one of these wonderful old machines.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975

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        • #19
          Originally posted by jclary View Post
          I am happy to hear of the progress that you have made. However, quite frankly, I think you have reached the point that you should make friends with some of your regional fellow SDC members. It would be good to have someone familiar with your car to assist in evaluating just where you are with the mechanicals who could make some great suggestions and save you time and effort. No sense in you "re-inventing the wheel." If you can get some good free help in keeping your progress moving forward, you will be way ahead of some of us who had to learn it the hard way.

          I had a friend who once trashed a good overdrive because he just decided that the OD cable was the way to engage and disengage the unit while flying down the highway. You need to know about the little 1/8 pipe thread fitting that needs to be removed every year or so and a grease fitting temporarily installed to lube your rear wheel bearings on these Studebaker axle housings. Proper adjustment of the "kickdown" switch gives you neat passing power (and a fun sensation) when it works like it should.

          It is knowing and attending to these little details that increase your confidence and pleasure when driving one of these wonderful old machines.
          Unfortunatley I live in the stix. I am a 2-3 hour drive from denver and it's about the closest place with any population density or substantial car activity.
          I learned a long time ago to be pretty self reliant. Even with my MR2 there isn't anybody near enough to really do me any good and I have a feeling there are better odds of finding someone into MR2s than Studebakers.
          If there is anyone near Carbondale CO who wants to meet up I would love to.
          My boss used to own a mechanics shop and is pretty familiar with old cars and so is my neighbor. Not so much specifically to Studebakers but they have helped me a lot with General Era knowledge.
          I had fun driving it to work today and it was a great chance to test it, push it and get it broken back in but I will be keeping it in town for a while and taking it real easy on it while I get everything else dialed back in.
          I will do some reasearch on OD diagnisis and maintenence in the manual and see that it's working properly. Any other input is always appreciated.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by JoeHall View Post
            If it freewheels above 25-30 mph, the OD is not working. It is simply engaging direct drive, but not upshifting into OD.

            Whatever the rear end ratio is, multiply it by .7 to determine final drive ration in high gear overdrive. That will allow calculation as to safe road speed when you get the OD to working, f you figure on keeping the rpms between say, 2300-2800 on the road..
            Just to make sure we are both understanding freewheel to mean the same thing. When the OD lever is pushed in and you let off the gas the revs drop to idle and the car coasts so the engine is not being driven by the wheels. When you step on the gas the car goes. If you pull the OD lever back towards you then the motor is directly tied to the rear wheels and letteing off the gas and RPMs match wheel speed. I have not been able to tell a definite change in RPMs or aformentioned clunk when the OD should kick in.

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            • #21
              Oh the joys of rewriting answers.

              You do understand the meaning of Free Wheeling.

              Please get in the habit of using the OD handle only when stationary! Bad things can happen at speed.

              The following suggestion is meant to be done with the OD handle pushed all the way it. I do not use my OD handle at all, don't feel the need.

              The governor may be your problem. It is a make/break switch to a ground circuit, only making above a certain speed. This speed varies with years and power supplies, between 20 mph and 30 mph.

              With the car sitting on level ground (If you have such) jump across the governor. If its the problem, you won't be able to shift the car into reverse.

              This is just one thing you can easily check.

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              • #22
                In the Summer of 1955 there were two cars that I went over 100 mph in on more than one occasion - a 1955 Studeaker President hardtop and a 1955 Buick Century hardtop.
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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