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1955 President Coupe - Advice and Parts Search

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  • Cool/Heat: 1955 President Coupe - Advice and Parts Search

    I am beginning this thread to search for some parts and some advice.

    It is sure nice to have a Studebaker parked in my garage after a 50 year absence. My Studebaker President (see prior posts) has arrived. It is a President Coupe (not hardtop). Semi rare? The VIN # is 7898233, and the Build Number is 6H C5 2882. Engine is "Passmaster" V8, 4 bbl. carb & dual exhaust, automatic transmission. Can anyone on the forum break down those numbers for me as to Cu. Inches, where built, how many, etc? I will, in addition to your answers, probably be ordering a build sheet from the Studebaker Museum.

    I would like to add air conditioning to the car. Advice from Dave is to see if I can find an original A/C unit to keep the car stock. The car is presently all Studebaker Drive train and equipment and I would like to keep it that way.

    Parts needed (not sure what years & models interchange?):

    Original Studebaker used A/C unit complete

    Shift knobs - (auto on tree) and turn signal knob.

    Sun visors - (interior both sides). Upholstery is black.

    Wiring harness - Interior (or whole car) (new or good used) Present wiring @ steering column is shot.

    Trim - Interior door sill trim (the aluminum under the door sill).

    Gas Tank - May need gas tank if the present one is cruddy beyond repair?? I saw the listing for the custom aluminum one posted but want to stay stock if at all possible.

    NOTE TO DAVE: The original generator came off the guy's 51 and he kept it. The car presently has an alternator on it so I may be in search of a stock generator too. Could this be a 6 volt alternator? The battery is 6 volt for sure. I phoned the guy today. I think he may be going to sell that 51. Sounded really motivated to me. (For other forum Readers...See Dave's post and this will make more sense): http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...1955+president

    As always, thanks for any and all assistance here.


  • #2
    'Lots of questions, there, Chief, so I'll try to answer several.

    1. All 1955 Presidents had a 259 cubic-inch engine with 4-bbl carburetor. Early ones had single exhaust standard with duals optional, but by the end of the year, duals were standard. AFAIK, it's not been determined exactly when in the model year dual exhausts became standard on Presidents. It might have varied between South Bend and Vernon production, too, for all I know.

    2. The number 7898233 is the car's sequential Serial Number; no more, no less.

    3. 6H denotes 1955 model year President. C denotes the long-wheelbase coupe body. 5 denotes the trim level. 2882 is the sequential body number, not a "build number" (although I guess you could say it was the 2,882nd 1955 "C" body built for the President line).

    4. 22,450 1955 Presidents were built in all body styles, not including the Speedster. Of those, 3,327 were your "C" body coupes, almost the same as the 3,468 "K" body 2-door hardtops. So roughly 15% of 1955 President production were coupes like yours, excluding Speedsters. Rarity is in the eye of the beholder, so you can interpret those figures as you'd like.

    5. Factory-installed air conditioning was not available on C and K bodies in 1955, although it was available on other Presidents. Therefore, you really can't find "factory air" parts for a 1955 President coupe or hardtop. Unless you're really going all-out nuts for authenticity, why not install one of the more compact and useful Vintage Air setups for the car? It couldn't have "factory air" anyway, so anything you do in that area is non-stock. (I do commend your keeping the driveline all stock Studebaker.)

    6. Unless you know for certain the gas tank is good and clean, just send it off to a Gas Tank ReNu franchisee and be done with it once and for all.

    One of our Indy Chapter SDCers, Marvin Snider, has an unusually-nice 1955 President Coupe. Perhaps you saw it in the recent Turning Wheels account of our adventures at the high school Indiana History Class outing:

    Best wishes with the car; they are nice. BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.


    • #3
      Thanks Bob for the quick reply. I have seen the after market air units. One such (I'll have to search for it again) is about $1395. The add says if it doesn't cool your Studebaker send it back for refund. I take it that source will have a compressor that fits under the low hood line? I am going to try to keep the car as "Stock" as possible but not go nuts (or $$$ Broke) doing so.

      Your information on car numbers, etc. is greatly appreciated. Good advice on the Gas Tank Renu franchise idea too. I think that's what is going to happen.

      I have joined the national SDC and will be attending the Avanti LTD Chapter of AOI, and the Sequoia, Karel Staple and San Joaquin Valley Chapters of SDC in April here in California. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...ighlight=KAREL

      Very Very grateful for your reply

      Chief Blaze


      • #4
        HI Chief For those small parts check with Studebaker International , wireing go to Studebaker West. You can have a 6volt alt if you want but if you want air you might as well go 12 volt and use voltage redusers or go 12 allthe way. Check with Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts.


        • #5
          Thanks 55 coupe: I could use a web address or two for those resources to make sure I go to the right locations. Studebaker West Studebaker International & Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts.

          Re: 12 volt all the way. I think I read on one of these forums about someone hanging a bunch of volt reducers behind the dash. Probably not good. If I go 12v all the way that's good for lights, etc. but how about gauges and stuff? Do those who have done the 12v complete drop the volts for certain areas of the car? I probably should know that answer, but I don't.

          Chief Blaze


          • #6

   (Probably best to CALL Studebakers West. And they close for lunch. Look over their website and get an idea what you're in for. They're the best for Stude wiring. They are in Redwood City, Ca.


            (read it backwards)

            Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln


            • #7
              Door sill plates, wiring harnesses and shifter knob I bought from S.I. Signal knob came from my good friend 55s. Had to soak it in hot water to get it on properly. I went with GasTank Renu, very happy Had my sunvisors and arm rests painted with vinyl paint. Good luck.
              Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)


              • #8
                Hi, you can get a newly made wiring harness from Y'nZ's in nRedlands, Ca. Phone is 909-798-1498. Ask for Gene1


                • #9
                  If you go to 12 volts, please spend some time researching how to do it. You can't just hang some "reducers" here and there and expect it to work. Fifth avenue auto parts publishes a booklet on how to do it.

                  Basically you have to:
                  -replace all the bulbs
                  -replace any solenoids
                  -replace any motors (heater, wiper, etc)
                  -all the switches are OK as they are (headlight, fan, turn signal, etc)
                  -replace turn signal flasher
                  -voltage reducer for gauges (gas and temp) Oil pressure is OK as it is
                  -swap the leads on the ammeter (because of changing battery polarity)

                  Remember that your car was originally 6 volt, POSITIVE GROUND. That means the positive terminal of the battery goes to the chassis or the engine. Just the opposite of modern 12 volt cars. Almost all 6 volt cars were positive ground with the exception of cars built by General Motors. It's very common to find the battery in backwards because no one thinks of positive ground. 12 volt cars are NEGATIVE GROUND.
                  RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                  10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                  4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                  5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the good information Roy. I knew not to hang reducers too. I was referring to a post I saw on the forum when I first joined an began surfing. Someone had a Studeride where a prior owner hung a bunch of voltage reducers behind the dashboard. Sheeshhh! My curiosity on my car is sparked (pun intended I guess) by the fact that there is an alternator on the mill. I have yet to see or touch the car. It is in Arkansas at my son's home. He tells me the wiring, especially in the area of the steering column, is pretty messed up. I am not far from you up in the CA Mountains (above Jackson). As I convert to aftermarket A/C, I am giving a lot of thought to converting to 12 fact I may have to do so.



                    • #11
                      Progress on my 55 (A/C, Tank, etc.)

                      Update: Thanks Bob for all the good info. I went to the Gas Tank Re Nu site and found a franchise guy in Stockton, CA. Very prompt reply by phone. Quoted $285 if I bring them the tank (no problem...65 miles). They punch drain holes in 4 corners, sandblast inside and out, repair tin if necessary, paint, etc. 3 day turnaround, long time guarantee. FWIW: They want the float plate left as is. They want to do the removal.

                      Aftermarket Air it is! I saw an add or a link (I think on this forum). I think the quote was around $1395 and the add said "This will cool your Studebaker or send it back for a refund". (I take it they mean the A/C...not my Studebaker ). I can't find that add. It may have been for Vintage Air. But their own web site doesn't have an add like that. Do any readers have information on that source?

                      This forum is a Godsend! I found good information on car shippers, brakes and sources for trim. Just imagine how long that would take without the great information from the guys and girls here.

                      Thanks to Y'All
                      Chief Blaze


                      • #12
                        Stude A/C

                        I believe the ad in question was for Bob Helm in Texas I saw it in TW classified He's there every month Recall it uses a sanden compressor Check him out 53 Stewed Baker