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Antenna location on '54 Commander Starliner

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  • #16
    Originally posted by northern View Post
    I just had another look at the spot where the antenna should go, from underneath.
    I don't believe it is possible to see the spot where the antenna goes from underneath. The stock hole goes through the outer fender, then another hole in the cowl into a fairly narrow well inside the left kick panel. No way that I know of that you could look up from there to the area where the holes would be.
    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA

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    • #17
      If you want a slightly different look I have a pair of matching antennas.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Dick Steinkamp View Post
        I don't believe it is possible to see the spot where the antenna goes from underneath. The stock hole goes through the outer fender, then another hole in the cowl into a fairly narrow well inside the left kick panel. No way that I know of that you could look up from there to the area where the holes would be.
        Lying on my back on the floor (seat is out at the moment and kick panel is off) and with my head against the kick panel area, with the trouble light I can look up through a squarish hole an inch or a bit more in size. Above that, I can see the bottom of the metal that is below the actual fender. There does appear to be a double layer of metal there - the fender and the metal below that.

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        • #19
          David,
          You are more flexible than I am...but that isn't saying much.


          Does the PO indicate a radio was in the car from the factory?
          Dick Steinkamp
          Bellingham, WA

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Dick Steinkamp View Post
            David,
            You are more flexible than I am...but that isn't saying much.


            Does the PO indicate a radio was in the car from the factory?
            That big indent in the pillar area (that I assume was for the retractable antenna option) helps with the line of sight up there. I was surprised that I actually could see up there.

            All the PO said about the radio was that it did not work. He was correct about that. It did not even have a connection wire coming out of it. It must have been in there a long time like that as someone had used a black tarry substance around the faceplate and between the radio and speaker grill area below it. The tarry stuff was hard and dry. Not sure why they did that, although another radio that I found for the same model car was also plastered with tar. Maybe they did that to stop rattles or to help hold the radio in place?

            Did the factory put build sheets in these cars? I looked above and behind the glove box but did not find anything. Or is there another spot to look? Someone also mentioned that one can obtain a copy of the production record from an archives service. Is that true? If so, how would one go about this?

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            • #21
              My bad, David. By PO I meant Production Order (you'd call a build sheet). They are available from the Studebaker National Museum.

              https://studebakermuseum.org/store/production-orders/
              Dick Steinkamp
              Bellingham, WA

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              • #22
                Hello David,

                That black tarry substance between the radio and the speaker grille is (or was) a rubber insulator -- I think to keep the grille from vibrating. Our '54 Commander Starliner also had a radio but was missing an antenna. I located a roll-up antenna and with the aid of an antenna installation template put a 3/4" hole through the outer fender. The cowl has an opening in it already. I had to feed the roll-up antenna up through the holes from the inside. We had the radio rebuilt with a new solid-state AM/FM stereo unit behind the original face and installed a rear speaker below a Studebaker rear speaker grille that I talked a forum member into selling me. I bought two modern speakers locally. The radio generally works quite well, though I think I have to take the interior kick panel off to fix an intermittent ground (one of these days).

                If you decide not to use your radio (I'd almost guarantee you that it won't work as it is), I have a radio delete plate you can have if you want it. Contact me through my email.
                Kindest regards,

                Alan Mende
                Grantville, PA

                I'm not a mechanic; I don't even play one on TV.

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                • #23
                  The plan is to have a functioning radio, converted to a modern AM/FM unit. I bought a second one of the same radio on eBay and am having it shipped to someone who will convert it using the Aurora Designs conversion. The outside, including the face plate, dial, and knobs, will look original. If I want to go back to original in the future, I can do that with the radio that came out of the car.

                  Regarding the antenna, I will either cut the hole in the fender or try a hidden antenna. It seems that the hidden antennas do not work well, especially not on AM. So cutting the hole in the fender may be the way to go. Alan, if you still happen to have that template - PM sent
                  Last edited by northern; 12-26-2013, 09:54 AM.

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                  • #24
                    re: AM radio reception with a "hidden antenna" - anything inside the vehicle to pick up AM signals is going to be partially blocked by the vehicle's metal structure. similar to going under a bridge on the interstate. not to mention electrical interference from the vehicle if the proper resistors are not installed.

                    a possible solution may be a "AM/FM car radio antenna booster". when i lived in the upper Mojave Desert in the 80's, i picked one up at a Radio Shack and it helped boost reception of LA radio stations i liked.

                    here's a link to more than what you may want to know about them - some appear to work well, some are crap: https://www.google.com/search?q=radi...en-US:official

                    good luck with whatever you do! my '51 (6 volt/positive ground) has a non-working AM radio with no antenna, wiring, etc... i'm still thinking about my options from repairing the radio to setting up a hidden system using my "smartphone" for radio/stored tunes. with all the room i have behind the front seat to the trunk in the business coupe, i could go really wild!!!
                    Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

                    '51 Champion Business Coupe - (Tom's Car). Purchased 11/2012.

                    '40 Champion. sold 10/11. '63 Avanti R-1384. sold 12/10.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by raoul5788 View Post
                      This guy might actually have the right antenna for your Commander: Dennie Turner Belleview FL 352-245-8346
                      I tried this phone number - "not in service" message.

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