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Classic Enterprises GT Torque Box Installation in 53-61

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  • Body / Glass: Classic Enterprises GT Torque Box Installation in 53-61

    Does anyone have any experience installing "Classic Enterprises" 62-64 GT Hawk torque boxes on a 53? I know there are some issues with the center floor mounts but I am replacing the entire floor anyway so a variance is no big deal. It will be a Stude powered hot rod so concourse correctness is not required. I am just looking for added strength.

    JK

  • #2
    I've never done it but I can recommend that after you install them, coat the inside with a rust preventive, then inject a CLOSED CELL FOAM. DO NOT use an open cell foam found at most big box hardware stores. Open cell will act like a sponge & will give you rust back in no time. Infiniti for one uses closed cell foam to add strength to important areas while adding very little weight. Any body shop jobber will be able to recommend a brand such as 3M.
    59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
    60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
    61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
    62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
    62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
    62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
    63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
    63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
    64 Zip Van
    66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
    66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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    • #3
      I think somewhere there is a Dick Steinkamp post on how to do this. Don't recall if it is on a K body or Avanti. Someone will recall more.
      Last edited by ddub; 02-15-2014, 11:41 AM.
      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by ddub View Post
        I think somewhere there is a Dick Steinkamp post on how to do this. Don't recall if it is on a C/K or Avanti. Someone will recall more.
        Avanti http://hogtrough.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          Years ago Classic offered torque boxes specifically for '53-'58 'K's, but as You say, only '62-'64 GT Hawk boxes are now offered. These should fit OK with modifications here and there.

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          • #6
            If all your after is to stiffen up the body shell and floor just built your own out of 16 or stronger sheet metal or even 3/16 tubing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 3x2stude View Post
              Does anyone have any experience installing "Classic Enterprises" 62-64 GT Hawk torque boxes on a 53? I know there are some issues with the center floor mounts but I am replacing the entire floor anyway so a variance is no big deal. It will be a Stude powered hot rod so concourse correctness is not required. I am just looking for added strength.

              JK
              Is this a '53 K body (hardtop), or C body (coupe) that you are considering installing the torque boxes into?
              Paul
              Winston-Salem, NC
              Visit The Studebaker Skytop Registry website at: www.studebakerskytop.com

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              • #8
                I used them on my '54 hardtop. They fit perfectly. It is like the outside section of the '54 box. The original had a second section, which the GTs don't have. However, the classic piece is heavier gauge steel, somewhat offsetting any difference in strength. Anyway it's stronger than the rotted out piece it replaced.
                I also ordered the GT inner rockers to go with them, adding another stiffener.
                Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 3x2stude View Post
                  Does anyone have any experience installing "Classic Enterprises" 62-64 GT Hawk torque boxes on a 53? I know there are some issues with the center floor mounts but I am replacing the entire floor anyway so a variance is no big deal. It will be a Stude powered hot rod so concourse correctness is not required. I am just looking for added strength.

                  JK
                  It can be done, but you will have to modify the Classic box. extent of modification depends on which model they go on and how particular one is in doing in safely and making it look good even in areas people will not see. I have installed them on a 54 Starliner, 2 56 Golden Hawks, 1 57 Golden Hawk and several 63GT Hawks. The first one that I did was shortly after they discontinued making them for earlier models; Several pictures were sent to them on how it was done and I know they were sent to at least on subsequent customer who called me (prior to email days). When I did them, all of the rusted parts were cut out, including the original flange. The non rusted portion, which was, mostly the inside portion was preserved for added strength. The GT box is about 3 - 4 inches narrow then the original cars box, so most of the inner portion of the original box was left as it was not as rusty. The new box was chemically treated was then welded from the inside the car. I am not a professional at this but it was not that difficult, but you must be proficient in welding. If you like, I can forward underside pictures of the 54 Starliner, as soon as the weather permits. ALSO just added - Do this while on the frame but be sure doors align properly, if not, align before continuing; in one case I had to weld doors shut after realignment. Ken, Deltaville, Va
                  Last edited by ken-renda; 02-16-2014, 07:14 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ken-renda View Post
                    It can be done, but you will have to modify the Classic box. extent of modification depends on which model they go on and how particular one is in doing in safely and making it look good even in areas people will not see. I have installed them on a 54 Starliner, 2 56 Golden Hawks, 1 57 Golden Hawk and several 63GT Hawks. The first one that I did was shortly after they discontinued making them for earlier models; Several pictures were sent to them on how it was done and I know they were sent to at least on subsequent customer who called me (prior to email days). When I did them, all of the rusted parts were cut but, including the original flange. The non rusted portion, which was, mostly the inside portion was preserved for added strength. The GT box is about 3 - 4 inches narrow then the original cars box, so most of the inner portion of the original box was left as it was not as rusty. The new box was chemically treated was then welded from the inside the car. I am not a professional at this but it was not that difficult, but you must be proficient in welding. If you like, I can forward underside pictures of the 54 Starliner, as soon as the weather permits. Ken, Deltaville, Va
                    I'd like to see those underside photos posted Ken......Thanks!

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                    • #11
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ID:	1687803Here are some before and after shots. I Installed GT floor braces at the same time. The stock center brace was removed. Not a problem in my case, as I was swapping in a GT frame. With a stock frame you could shorted the center brace, or notch the box. As ken-renda said, do this on the frame! I installed the boxes and braces while the car was on the original frame, and did the swap after things were solid. I put a jack under the new box and lifted the sag out of the body prior to welding. I jacked it 'til the door gaps looked good, then plug welded from the top.
                      Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 1954khardtop View Post
                        [ATTACH=CONFIG]32420[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]32421[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]32422[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]32423[/ATTACH]Here are some before and after shots. I Installed GT floor braces at the same time. The stock center brace was removed. Not a problem in my case, as I was swapping in a GT frame. With a stock frame you could shorted the center brace, or notch the box. As ken-renda said, do this on the frame! I installed the boxes and braces while the car was on the original frame, and did the swap after things were solid. I put a jack under the new box and lifted the sag out of the body prior to welding. I jacked it 'til the door gaps looked good, then plug welded from the top.
                        Yes, the 'oh so critical' "A" body pillar sag....it means a lot to get that right!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SN-60 View Post
                          I'd like to see those underside photos posted Ken......Thanks!
                          Here are 5 photographs of adapting the GT Hawk box to a 54 Starliner. 1. shows adaptation ( with 18 ga cold rolled steel) to sub floor around the new body support, part of original inside flange visible. All portion of original outside flange was removed so new flange would lay flat. 2. Larger portion of old inside flange left in for support. 3. original remaining inside flange. 4. attachment to new inner and outer rocker. 5. Attachment to floor, tacked under and welded every 2-3 inches from inside car. This was done about 15 years ago and I have old pictures of the box after it was modified but before it was installed, but can no find (that might of been part of what was sent toClassic). Ken
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            If it takes a lot of work to modify the CE ones, a sheet of 16 ga, something to cut it, a MIG welder and a HF 24" bender can make them fairly inexpensively.

                            That's how I made them for my 54K.

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                            In fact, you can do the floors at the same time if you're not interested in originality.

                            Bob
                            Last edited by sweetolbob; 02-16-2014, 02:38 PM.

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                            • #15
                              ken-renda & sweetolbob.....BIG job.....You guys really did this major rebuild superbly....gives us all something to shoot for

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