The Studeblogger

Saturday, September 09, 2006

New pics.

It's been several weeks since we brought the Lark home, and I realized that the only pix I had taken were the few cell-phone shots I took on the day we purchased her. So I went out and took some better shots today, both to show you what we're working with and to document the starting point of what I'm confident is going to become a standout little cruiser.

Here's a shot from the front. There are several things that make the Standard unique compared to other Larks; first is the absence of chrome beltline trim that begins as "eyebrows" over the headlights on Larks of all other trim levels. Also notice that there's no hood ornament, which came standard on other Larks. The PO put a couple of emblems on the grille - a Twin Traction ornament transplanted from the trunk lid and a '63 V8 grille emblem. (Standards had no grille emblems at all.) The PO put stainless trim from another Lark around the front window and chromed the vent intake as well; normal Standards had neither.

View from the rear shows the missing trunk keylock (broken tailshaft; a new one's on order), missing Twin Trac ornament (mounting holes on the left) and chrome rings missing from the taillights. Standards had nearly all exterior brightwork deleted; other Larks had "STUDEBAKER" spelled out in individual chrome letters across the face of the trunk lid, along with stainless trunk lip molding that went between the backup lights, and a chromed pot-metal molding at the top of the filler panel. There would also have been a round "V8" or Lark emblem on the top of the lid.

Side profile shows the lack of beltline trim. I really like the look the Cragar S/S wheels give the car. Tires are 225/70-R15 in the rear and 205/60-R15 in front. Most larks had "LARK" spelled out at the edge of the front fenders; Standards had the '50's vintage "Studebaker" script that also adorned the trunk filler panel of the Avanti in '63. The PO removed these scripts and filled the mounting holes.

Three-quarter view looks pretty good! Bricks are under the rear tires because the parking brake is non-op. Busted cable somewhere - I think it's the front, since the rear cable seems to be intact. Car is too low for me to shimmy under and see for sure and I haven't felt like digging out the chocks and jackstands yet ;)

As you can see from the side view, the sheet metal is very straight. Looks this way on the other side, too. I have discovered a tiny bit of rust in the front edges of the doors, bubbling under the paint. Doors and the rear edges of the front fenders are notorious rust spots in these cars; my fenders are in excellent shape (I've looked inside them from behind). I also checked the inner door skins when I had the door panels off; not much water damage in there, so I can only assume the door rust is surface stuff that started during the paint process - can't see it at all from inside the door. Fender lips are also in great shape, as is the area over the headlights. There are no inner fenders in a Studebaker - there's nothing behind that sheetmetal!

Wheel weirdness: what's up with those washers? Couldn't afford proper tapered lug nuts? So we've got flat lug nuts with 3/16" flat washers behind them. I don't even want to know what those nuts are torqued to.

Engine bay: Looks pretty unmolested in here (except for a few obvious mods). Dunno why the valve covers are painted black - they should be yellow. Pancake air cleaner has replaced Stude dry-filter model. The radiator is original (at least the tanks are!) but the "fan guard" (actually just a piece of 1" angle with a label that said "CAUTION - FAN" mounted to the top rad tank) is gone, and the fan itself has been replaced with a much larger 4-blade... probably why the fan guard is gone; it wouldn't have cleared the fan. Original Prestolite alternator is present! Engine serial number is V581775, which would be late -'63 production.

PO made a few operational mods, including converting the carb from its original Carter AFB to a WCFB and from manifold-heated choke to electric. You can see the heat riser tube capped with a piece of rubber tube and a screw...! Carb tag reads "2219S" which The Carburetor Doctor identifies as correct for a Stude but from a much earlier car - a '55 - '58 Champion, President or Scotsman, and maybe for '59 - '60 Larks. According to the manual, this should be a Carter AFB, 3540S. More investigation required here.

PO also upgraded the Prestolite distributor from points to the Pertronix Ignitor breakerless setup.

What have we here? This is just one reason I've got a new wiring harness ordered from Studebaker West. See the melted plastic wrap? See the bare stranded wire with the insulation melted off? I believe this is the remains of the horn relay circuit. I'm told that this circuit is a common one to fry - it's lucky this car didn't burn to the ground. The horn is currently wired with a length of brown Zip cord... gawd. Orange wire hanging there should go to the engine temperature sender on the back of the left head, but is... well, hanging there.

Cowl data tag tells the tale: "63V" = 1963 model with 259 V-8; "F2" = Lark Standard. "204" is trim code; I have to decipher that yet. Should tell me what color the car was originally.

By the way, see that slot above the cowl tag? Look closely - that's the heater core you see in there. Along with lots of evidence of population rodentia. I vacuumed about a quart of tree leaves, plant matter and other nest material out of there; there's more to go but I'm going to have to drop the core to get to it all. By the way, that slot? It's for the cabin air filter. That's right - Studebaker had one in 1963! In fact, I believe they started filtering the heater air supply in Larks beginning in 1960 or so. So all the carmakers these days who use "cabin air filter" as a selling point can bite me - Studebaker did it first 50 years ago!

This scared hell out of me when I first saw it. Yes, that's the right exhaust manifold resting against the right rear upper A-arm mounting. I couldn't figure out what the hell could cause this to happen, and then it occurred to me...

...yup, a collapsed motor mount. Sheared right in half, it looks like. Scary. But I'll be pulling the motor soon (that's a whole 'nother story) so all the mounts will get replaced.

Trunk looks pretty darn good. No rust anywhere. No spare or jack either! Luckily, SASCO has NOS jacks in stock. That's on my list of things to get as soon as there's some "extra" cash (yeah, right!)

Yeah, there really is a Twin-Traction rear end under there! All the tags are intact. It's a 3.31 gear. Good compromise between economy and go.

When my neighbor Bruce had the car on his rack, it was obvious the rear springs were shot. If you look at the forward spring eye, you can see that the main leaf actually curves UP before the spring clip. These'll have to be rebuilt or replaced. I'm going to try E&C Spring in Escondido first; I used them 4 years ago to re-arch the springs on my '87 Grand Wagoneer and they did a first-rate job. If they can't help, Eaton Detroit still makes 'em, but they seem to think they're forging 'em out of gold or something - $429 a pair!

That's all for now. Next post will have interior pix!

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