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Thread: assistance needed in 805 area code

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    assistance needed in 805 area code

    I am considering purchasing a '50 or'51 Champion. I have never ridden in one of these cars and was wondering if someone in this area could help me get familiar with them and take me for a ride. If a '49 or '52 is the same platform, that would be OK. Thank you.

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    The 50 and 51 have totally different suspensions. The 50 has planar suspension. I don’t like it or the ride. But that’s just me. The 51 will have suspension nearly identical to all Studes that follow it till 66. I prefer the latter by far.
    sals54

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    Thank you for your response. I understand that's your opinion, but do you feel that's the general consensus?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edsel Face View Post
    Thank you for your response. I understand that's your opinion, but do you feel that's the general consensus?
    I can only speak for myself. As I understand it the 1950 Champion is a one year only and rather fragile suspension. This is not my words but that of the late Earle Haley who worked for Studebaker during that time.

    I have owned a couple of 48's with the planer (horse and buggy leaf spring in the front end) suspension and I have owned and currently own a 52 Commander. It is the best riding drive cruising all around great car to have. If you must have a bullet nose, go for a 1951.

    As I say, it is my opinion but I think most on the forum would agree.

    What say folks?

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

  5. #5
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    Anyone in the 805 area code willing to help Edsel out?

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

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    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sals54 View Post
    The 50 and 51 have totally different suspensions. The 50 has planar suspension. I don’t like it or the ride. But that’s just me. The 51 will have suspension nearly identical to all Studes that follow it till 66. I prefer the latter by far.
    Not quite. The 50 has a coil spring front suspension. The 49 and earlier cars have the planar front suspension.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    Yeah... I couldn't remember fer sher about that orphan 50 suspension, but I do know that I've driven 47s 49s 50s and all the later Studes. The early ones are scary to drive. Again, just my measly opinion, having owned and driven a couple hundred Studebakers in the last 45 years.
    sals54

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    My '47 Champion has the planar suspension. I find it drives nicely. A few years ago I added one extra leaf to each of the rear springs, which greatly helped the handling and the ride. (That's how Studebaker made a heavy-duty spring at the time.) BUT --- do not expect any 40s/50s Studebaker --- or any other car of that era --- to handle as well as your 2019 vehicle. On a long drive, my 2014 VW Jetta is a very much easier and less tiring car to drive than the 1947 Champion. From experience I can say than driving 1,100 km. (680 mi.) in a day with the VW takes far less effort than 670 km (415 mi.) with the Stude. Of course, the trips taken with the Stude are mostly in our home area with much less distance.
    Bill Jarvis

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    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Wish you were closer, then I'd take you for a ride in my 1950 Champion and 1950 Land Cruiser. I've put a lot of miles on my 1949 through 1952 Studebakers, as they were my only cars and daily drivers through the 60's and early 70's. I've driven them thousands of miles in a couple days and find the ride very enjoyable. My 1950 Land Cruiser is like riding on a cloud.

  10. #10
    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sals54 View Post
    Yeah... I couldn't remember fer sher about that orphan 50 suspension, but I do know that I've driven 47s 49s 50s and all the later Studes. The early ones are scary to drive. Again, just my measly opinion, having owned and driven a couple hundred Studebakers in the last 45 years.
    It's possible that they were scary because they were worn out, not because they were poor designs.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-15-2019 at 11:43 PM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadioRoy View Post
    It's possible that they were scary because they were worn out, not because they were poor designs.
    Roy... that's a good point. I did have most of the cars in pretty decent condition, but I did not overhaul all the suspensions of the cars that passed through my hands. But for some reason, the early cars that I did get all seemed to drive very similar to one another. Each one of them tended to lean quite heavily around corners. And that was in normal driving, not the very spirited driving I would do in my Coupe or the Avantis. Nearly every one of the later cars had very mild manners in every day driving.
    At any rate, point taken. The new owner can make up his own mind, but I would admonish him to drive both before making the final decision. See if he thinks they are equal.
    sals54

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    Thank you all for your assistance. My other question concerns transmissions. I am a little leary of the early automatics. Should I be?

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    In our collection we have a little of everything from 1931 on. While the suspensions changed during the mid 30's and again in 1951 the one thing that is a constant is that ride characteristics on all Studebakers is consistently good. The one caveat is condition, as Roy has already mentioned. No suspension in warn out condition is going to deliver a good ride. Just don't fall into the trap, that many seem to have fallen into, that just because a design is old, or unique, that it is substandard and requires change.

    To be more specific to the question, we own both a 1950 Champion Starlight coupe and a 1951 Champion four dr. The 50 has 57K miles and the 51 70K miles. Both suspensions have been well maintained and neither rebuilt other then shocks. I can say without hesitation that there is virtually no appreciable difference in handling or ride characteristics. The front leaf springs of the pre-1950 planar suspension did require a little different maintenance schedule, but everything being equal, I find little to recommend the later iterations over the early planar suspensions.

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    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    So I take it William that you are considering a '50 Champion with Studebaker Automatic Drive?

    There are many opinions of these Transmissions, expensive and difficult to find Parts and qualified Mechanics to rebuild them and also very GOOD, strong Transmissions used in Jaguars, Mercedes etc. but long story short, they perform MUCH better with a V8 Engine or over 120 HP, an 80 HP Champion labors quite a bit to drive the Car AND that Automatic.

    That is not to say that you (or someone) could not drive a Car like that in excellent, well maintained condition for 10 years or more and just LOVE it. Would I? Probably not.
    Last edited by StudeRich; 06-16-2019 at 03:31 PM.
    StudeRich
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    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




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    Actually I was wondering if I SHOULD consider it. I think my suspicions have been confirmed. Also, nowhere can I find the dimension of the width of a '50 or '51 Champion. I need to determine if there is adequate space with another car in the garage. I'm OK on length.

  17. #17
    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    Studebakers are pretty narrow; more so than many of their contemporaries. 47-52 are the same width, with the widest part being the bulge in the forward end of the rear fenders.

    Studebaker Champions are great cars, but when equipped with an automatic transmission, their acceleration is quite leisurely. Read that S-L-O-O-O-O-W. Also, since the top gear is 1:1, they are limited in top speed - around 55 or so - much more limited than an overdrive equipped car.

    The reason that automatic transmission equipped Champions are coming out of the woodwork these days is probably because they have been passed over for decades in favor of cars equipped with overdrive transmissions. Overdrive equipped Champion cars are much more fun to drive, get better gas mileage and can actually go on the highway.
    Last edited by RadioRoy; 06-16-2019 at 04:15 PM.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

  18. #18
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree about the automatic and overdrive. A couple years ago there was a near mint 1950 Commander automatic for $10,000 about 50 miles from me. I thought about it for a couple weeks, then decided that I should buy it, but it sold a few days before I got back there. I'm sure glad it sold, because a year later I wound up buying an excellent original 1950 Land Cruiser with overdrive for $2000 less. I consider an automatic just an around town car for driving, while my overdrive is much better for cross country drives.

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    The real question appears to be Which year model car is this?

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    Well.... is there anyone CLOSE to area code 805, Calif. central coast, who could give me a tutorial and a ride in their 1950 or '51 Champion?

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    William,

    If you could narrow it down to your vicinity, I can make some contacts in the area to help you out. Central as in Palm Springs, Bakersfield, or other areas. I can make some contacts but I don't know California Geography other than LA and San Diego.

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

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    I am located near San Luis Obispo, in Nipomo. 90 miles north of Santa Barbara. The central coast could be defined as being from Monterey extending south to Santa Barbara. Unfortunately there is no SDC chapter in this area. I did send an e mail to the Bakersfield chapter president asking if any members had a '50 or '51 Champion that I might take a ride in, but I never got a reply.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edsel Face View Post
    I am located near San Luis Obispo, in Nipomo. 90 miles north of Santa Barbara. The central coast could be defined as being from Monterey extending south to Santa Barbara. Unfortunately there is no SDC chapter in this area. I did send an e mail to the Bakersfield chapter president asking if any members had a '50 or '51 Champion that I might take a ride in, but I never got a reply.
    William,

    I have a 2018 Membership roster and I can email some folks in the area that may have the models listed you want to "test drive or ride". I will work on this on Monday. Jenny and I are celebrating our 39th Wedding Anniversary this weekend. Hopefully someone will respond to my emails.

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

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    Congratulations! I estimate the population between Monterey and Santa Barbara to be 300,000 400,000. Maybe someone could research the roster to see if there are enough members residing in this area to warrant forming a chapter.

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    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    There USED to be a SDC Chapter in the Ventura County Area around Santa Barbara!

    It would be Great to get one going again.
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner




  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edsel Face View Post
    Congratulations! I estimate the population between Monterey and Santa Barbara to be 300,000 400,000. Maybe someone could research the roster to see if there are enough members residing in this area to warrant forming a chapter.
    I will call on one of our regional managers in California for additional assistance. The Regional Manager North, Lou Van Anne, is out of town but will be back in two weeks. Currently in California we have approximately 900 members. That is approximately 10 percent of the worldwide membership in one area. I am certain William, that will not much effort we can find a few members with a 1950 and 1951 Champion to assist.

    As in 2020, the position for Board Member and Zone Coordinator will be open. Malcolm Stinson is term limited and we will need to elect a new Board Member. Keep this in mind after you find the car you want to see about a position with the Studebaker Drivers Club.

    For all of our California Members, keep this in mind about volunteering to represent the Pacific Southwest Zone.

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

  27. #27
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    Just looking at the roster from A to H, I have found in Santa Barbara a 1950 Champion and in San Carlos, a 1952 Champion which will drive like a 1951 Champion. I can keep looking and then contact by email the members, who I am sure will be willing to help out. Also, Mimi (regional manager south) and Bob Halgren have 2 1950 Champions but they are in the 919 ZipCode.

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

  28. #28
    Silver Hawk Member RadioRoy's Avatar
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    San Carlos is a looooooong way from Santa Barbara in a Champion.
    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

  29. #29
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    Santa Barbara would be the closest, about 90 miles south.

  30. #30
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    Maybe I am missing something. William, are you willing to drive to where I can find both a 50 or 51 that an owner would have you test out the car? As I can this weekend, I will contact the owner(s) and wait for a response. Have you found a car it is just not in your area?

    Also to consider, at the end of September, the Pacific Southwest Zone Meet is in Sacramento at the end of September. There might be a car there waiting for you. Great way to make good friends and great contacts. I will be there, but that should not be the reason to come!!!!!

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

  31. #31
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    Why would it be incumbent upon the owners of the Studebaker’s to do the travel distance? The “favor”, it seems to me, is taking the time and prep to let someone test drive their cars. Which is for no other reason but to drive them.
    No offence Edsel, but you’re asking a lot.
    Why not make contact, set up a look see, offer a nice lunch out or something, drive the distance yourself, and see what happens?
    sals54

  32. #32
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    I've had 2 53 Commanders with the Studebaker Automatic Drive and never had a problem with them.
    Steve

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    55 Commander Conestoga
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  33. #33
    Golden Hawk Member StudeRich's Avatar
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    It's a little hard for me to understand why someone would want to ride in a '50 or '51 Champion to consider a purchase, if I had a prospective Car I was interested in buying, I would go check it out and drive it.

    On the other hand if you are too young to have ever ridden in a 1950's Car (they all ride similar), you might be wondering if you could deal with it's differences from say a 2017 Honda, I do not know your situation but suffice it to say, the Two are quite different, among other things you would have to deal with NO irreparable Electronics!
    Last edited by StudeRich; 06-23-2019 at 02:55 AM.

  34. #34
    Speedster Member Champ51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edsel Face View Post
    Also, nowhere can I find the dimension of the width of a '50 or '51 Champion. I need to determine if there is adequate space with another car in the garage. I'm OK on length.
    A 1951 would be just under 71 inches wide.

  35. #35
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    I'll try to answer all of the above. I'm closer to being too old than too young. I will drive to the owner's location. If the owner has both years that would great. There is a '50 convertible on Hemmings that I would consider buying. It is in Texas and I would have to have someone evaluate it for me. I'm working on that. Getting my introduction closer to home would be helpful. Most people seem to feel the '51 is a better riding car. That's a good reason to check out both. With respect to the event in September,
    I am entering a car that weekend at the Ironstone Concourse in Murphys, which isn't too far from Sacramento. Not sure I can do both, but I will if I can.

  36. #36
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    William,

    The reason that most people feel that a 1951 is a better riding care is probably that they have never ridden in a 1950, that is in good condition. Why do I believe this to be true? I have been in this Studebaker hobby for 59 years, and until we discovered "Amelia" our 1950 Champion Starlight coupe, I had never had the chance to get behind the wheel of a nicely preserved 1950 Studebaker. That was about seventeen years ago, and any preconceived notion that I may have had about the model's suspension shortcomings, went out the window. IMHO the difference that you might discern is not so much one of engineering, as it is in the relative condition of the two cars that you might be testing. My opinion is that you should try to ignore the engineering differences and concentrate on condition.

  37. #37
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    That's fair advice, thank you.

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    Try contacting the San Joaquin Valley Chapter (559 area code). Fresno aint that far from Nipomo if you can find a willing owner to take a drive with.
    KURTRUK
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurtruk View Post
    Try contacting the San Joaquin Valley Chapter (559 area code). Fresno aint that far from Nipomo if you can find a willing owner to take a drive with.
    Thanks everyone for your help. Thank you too William, and if you can stop by the Zone meet even for just a few hours it will be great for future contacts and fun events.

    Now, I am just getting ready to go to work at 11pm so when I get home, the emails will be going out so as to help with your original quest. I did drive a 50 Champion a long time ago and it just was in a mall we were setting up for a show. Not really a drive but the car did feel light and easy to drive. Lots of driving of many 52 Commanders. Balance, ease of steering and with overdrive a very smooth riding comfortable road car.

    I will keep you updated on what can be arraigned. Thanks to everyone in response and suggestions.

    Bob Miles
    Pacific Southwest Zone Coordinator

  40. #40
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Hallabutt.
    The first Studebaker I bought in 1968 was a good original 1950 Commander, and it rode and handled like a dream. The 1950 Champion I bought about 5 years ago was restored about 1993, and the guy put on every NOS part he could find. It also rides and handles like a dream. The 1950 Land Cruiser I bought a year and a half ago is an excellent original car, and it also has a fantastic ride.

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