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1956 Studebaker sedan

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nicky

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#1
Several years ago I purchased a 1956 Studebaker sedan on Ebay. It was an Arizona car so there was very little body rust but typical of many Arizona cars the rubber around the glass was rotten and while sitting in outdoor storage near Detroit it accumulated a lot of water under the floor mats which destroyed the floor. I started working on it 1 Oct. 2010 striping out the interior and rebuilding the floor. I had a bead roller so I made my own floor panels duplicating the original ribs in the floor and mig welding them in, my first attempt at mig welding.

c72b_12.JPG
5RFflr.6.jpg 4.left frnt2.jpg 7.LFflr.5.2.jpg 6.56-left2.jpg

c72b_12.JPG 5RFflr.6.jpg 4.left frnt2.jpg 6.56-left2.jpg 7.LFflr.5.2.jpg
 
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hq308

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#2
Nice fabrication Nicky.

Looks like a great project.
 

nicky

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#3
Three years ago we started building our new shop at home after selling our shop and store in town. It took us about two years to get every thing in place including building the machine room across the back and a spray/sandblasting booth along one side as well as a service bay in front of the spray booth in which we installed a new hoist. That is why we finally started working on the car Oct. 2010. We worked on it until May of 2011 when we had to get back to outdoor work and soon will be starting back to working in the shop when the weather gets bad here.
Pictured here you will see the car up on the new hoist and the lifting off the frame.

Last year in the two weeks before Christmas we built a rotisserie to clean and sand blast the frame and body. We built this rotisserie following the best ideas I found on the internet in both commercial and home built machines incorporating them all into one. You will notice how we can fine tune the balance point with our screw and clamp head. As a mater of fact you can see that my wife Jessie can easily spin the frame with one hand. When we stopped working on the frame in the spring we had all the suspension and rear end off it and all the crud cleaned off ready for sand blasting. This is where we will be picking up from this fall.

3.56 stud2.jpg 11.body lift1.jpg 12.rollout2.jpg 2rot.-22.2.jpg 1rot.-33.2.jpg jessie & rotisory1.jpg

Also this past spring we rebuilt the engine. It is a 186 ci six cylinder engine. One wrist pin had come lose and gouged up the cylinder wall so we had to have it sleeved. While we were at it we had it line bored, all cylinders bored .060 over, new pistons, crank turned, new valves, lifters, springs, guides etc. We found that where the rear seal rides it was badly pitted, hence the terrible oil leak it had. We mounted the crank in our old 1920s Barnes lathe and carefully machined a bit off the seal journal and than built it up with JB Weld and than machined it back to size with a very sharp parting tool and finished it with a square file with some extremely fine emery cloth wrapped around it.

crank4-1.jpg crank3.jpg engine1.jpg

3.56 stud2.jpg 11.body lift1.jpg 12.rollout2.jpg 2rot.-22.2.jpg 1rot.-33.2.jpg jessie & rotisory1.jpg crank4-1.jpg crank3.jpg engine1.jpg
 
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4R8

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#4
Excellent, H-M needs more Automotive stuff like this!
I hope you update this as progress is made
 

nicky

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#5
The spring of 2009 we were able to purchase the last 3 yards of original fabric that Studebaker used for my seats. Since then we have had the seats and door panels rebuilt by a professional team and they turned out beautiful. The sun vizors were also done by an other company along with the head liner. Then another company made up a new set of matching carpets for me. So now all we have to do is get the body finished and painted and we will have all ready to finish the interior. Over the past 2 years I also had the bumpers re-chromed, found new bumper guards for front and rear, NOS pairs of parking lights and tail lights. New grill and as new upper and lower grill mouldings, new hood ornament, as new trunk handle, new sill mouldings and new replacements for any damaged side mouldings and a new windshield. So that pretty well gives me every thing I could see I needed. A couple of dash gauges were bad as was the speedo so I got the two gauges new and picked up a speedo head that combined with my old one should make a perfect speedometer. I also have all new brake hydraulics, new gas pedal, new brake cables, new front exhaust pipe and tail pipe. Just need a muffler yet once I see how long it needs to be. I also picked up some add-on accessories such as original radio and gas door guard. All my small parts were all rebuilt last winter such as starter, generator, distributor, heater fan, manifold, front suspension part etc.
They were all cleaned in Evapo-Rust and then painted ready for assembly. All linkages were given the same treatment and look like new. Transmission gone over etc.
It may surprise you how easy it was to find parts for a post war Studebaker, Probably easier than a Chevy.

seats.jpg

seats.jpg
 

nicky

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#6
Here are some of the special tools I had to make so far.
The first is the set of dies for forming the floor pans.

View attachment 28662

The next is a set punches for the press I built for removing and replacing the control arm bushings in the front suspension.

View attachment 28664 View attachment 28663

Then we had to make a set of tools for the engine rebuild.

View attachment 28666 View attachment 28665

The small tool on the left is for installing the camshaft timing gear.
The centre tool is for holding the wrist pin when installing the connecting rod to the piston and securing the pinch bolt holding them all together.
The one on the right is for removing the font crank pulley and crank timing gear and re-installing them. I made these from drawings and the centre one from a photo of the tool in use and had to guess at what it looked like inside the wrist pin. It worked perfectly.
That should be all the special tools I need that I didn't already have from my mechanic days.
 

nicky

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#7
rol.die.jpg press.jpg pres.pnch.jpg tool1.jpg tool2.jpg

Somewhere along the line the pictures for the last post where lost so here they are again.

rol.die.jpg press.jpg pres.pnch.jpg tool1.jpg tool2.jpg
 

ejames

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#8
Looks like you will have a very nice old Stude when completed! I've always loved the Studes and although it's been several years, I have owned several of them. My favorites are the 53-54 C and K models. Also had a few Larks,63 Gt Hawk and a couple of t-cab pickups. If you haven't already you might check out the "Studebakers Drivers Club", a great club with chapters nationwide.
 

Fishchips

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#9
Very nice work.
 

reds

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#10
I remember being trimmed by a Golden Hawk on occasion, in the early sixties. Big motor, light car.

Nice job.
 

nicky

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#11
Thank you gentlemen for the nice comments. Yes I do belong to the Studebaker drivers club.
I also have 36 Dictator I started to pull apart years ago which if the Lord allows me the time. Am going to be 70 in May. I would like to get at it when this one is finished. A little harder to find parts for that is why I bought this one. I thought I could probably get this one ready for paint in a month or so but I guess I am too fussy to not do it right. Parts for post war Studebakers are quite easy to come by. A different story for prewar cars.

stud12.jpg

stud12.jpg
 

ejames

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#12
That 36 would make a sweet ride! Friend of mine has a 41 (if I remember correctly) that I'd love to have.
 

nicky

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#13
Hi guys
We finally got back at our restoration this month. Had to stop in May when the weather got nice. Had too much outside work to do as well as redoing our main bathroom etc.
So the first job was to make up a set of doors for the booth. Bought four used doors from Habitat for Humanity. Made them into two by-fold doors. Cut two foot square holes in them for filters. Strengthened them with appropriate framing inside etc. I kinda struggled with what to use to hold the filters in. Then I thought about 3/8" offset self closing cabinet door hinges. Worked perfect.
We then went on to sandblast the frame this week, sprayed on two coats of chassis saver and she looks like a brand new frame. Today we started to assemble the front suspension and steering.
Back when we get more done.
Nick

doors2.jpg frm.snd.blst2.jpg frt.snd.blstd2.jpg frm.pantd2.jpg fr.asmbled2.jpg
 
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GK1918

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#14
Re: 1936 Studebaker sedan

Excellent just wait for the first ride, also I advise to put insurance on the 36s hood ornament.
 

racecar builder

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#15
nicky
i've owned 2 '55 Presidents, 1 '55 Commander pink and grey California Special-radio, heater & defroster delete,
'55 Commander purple w/3 speed and '64 GT Hawk w/manual & hill holder feature.
we used to get some parts from Foster & French downtown in LA.
now i have Ford tranny that's same as one used in Studebakers or darn close to it.:)

Have A Nice Day!
 

reds

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#16
A 1957 Golden Hawk just sold on Barrett-Jackson for $ 135,000...WOW
 

racecar builder

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#17
reds
just the guy i wanted to talk to.
couple real deals on hemmings up in maryland.
search under $3000 everything.cars for sale.pick show price.
'55 cadillac limo w/ original pearl salmon paint job.$2500
'56 Ford Retractable Hardtop. $2000
i think there's more!

Have A Nice Day!
 

nicky

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#18
The next phase

Hi guys.
The chassis is back on the ground. Rolled it outside this morning through under the body which was still hanging on the hoist while the weather was so beautiful. Hate to open the big door when it is so cold out as you lose a lot of heat in a hurry.
Got the body attached to the rotisserie and rolled it into the spray booth. I couldn't believe how easy it rolled, just one hand would do it. When I designed the rotisserie I kept in mind that the sealing was only 7 ft. so I had to keep it close to the ground. Hence the drop centre axles. It took only a couple of minutes to balance it with my micro adjust balancing system. What a pleasure to work with. The body clears the ceiling by about 6 inches as well as the connecting link underneath.

chas.1.JPG
Chassis back on the floor.

onside.JPG
Body makes complete roll over with room to spare.

front.JPG
Front end upside down.

upsdown.JPG
Upside down from the front. This makes it nice to finnish my floor welds and install the new door sills.

botom.JPG
The bottom on it's side.

leftrear.JPG
Upside down rear corner.

chas.1.JPG botom.JPG front.JPG leftrear.JPG onside.JPG upsdown.JPG
 

racecar builder

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#19
nicky
that's old fashion good work!

Have A Nice Day!
 

nicky

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#20
A nice surprise

This week I started sandblasting. I started with the trunk which turned out pretty nice. We then turned it on it's side and started blasting the channel across the end which looked pretty daunting because it looked pretty scaly and only about 2" wide and 3 deep. I expected it to be quite a challenge but it blasted around hard enough between the sides that it cleaned up real nice. Then came the right rear fender which also cleaned up real nice. I noticed that when cleaning around the edges the undercoating on the floor started lifting off. So I grabbed my good gasket scraper and gave it a few scrapes. That stuff just popped off so I just kept on scraping. Except for some patches of surface rust where there was no undercoating it left a nice clean original paint surface. I spent about 4 hours scraping the whole bottom which will now just need a minimal amount of sandblasting to clean some bits of surface rust here and there and to etch the original paint enough so the I can spray a new coat of paint on it.

trunk2.jpg

Trunk cleaned

r-chanel2.jpg

Rear channel, note undercoating starting to peal of the floor beside it.

firstscrp2.jpg

First scrape

r.fin.2.jpg

Floor scraped, no sandblasting yet. Shine is the original finnish on the floor preserved by the undercoating.

frnt.fns2.jpg

From the front, pretty nice for a 56 year old car.

trunk2.jpg r.fin.2.jpg r-chanel2.jpg frnt.fns2.jpg firstscrp2.jpg
 

nicky

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#21
Here is an update on our restoration project. The past week or so we have been working on the inside and outside of the body and are very pleased with the results. Everything cleaned up real nice. What you see is bare clean metal. Now for some metal finishing on a few spots and cleaning up my mig welds here and there and then the new sills. Then we will soon be ready for the epoxy primer and repaint the bottom and inside of the rear fenders with the same Chassis Saver we used on the frame only this time finishing with a light grey for the second coat.
We used crushed glass 20 to 30 grit which really worked great. I was able to recycle each bag about 6 times. We set a 3 ft. high window screen against the wall at about 60 degrees and ran the used sand down it from the top to sift out the fine dust so it would flow in my blaster pot and then resifted it as I poured it into the pot to eliminate any chunks of junk in it. Sure extended the life on it. Once the body is finished and primed we will do the same for the doors, hoods and front fenders.
Nick

inside.jpg

frnt.corner.jpg

left.r.fndr2.jpg

lftcornr.jpg

inside.jpg frnt.corner.jpg left.r.fndr2.jpg lftcornr.jpg
 

NevadaBlue

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#22
Wow, does this bring back memories. My first car was a '55 Studebaker 4 door. It had a 6 and a 3 speed overdrive transmission. The poor thing was ugly, but I really had fun with that car. It was PINK with a black top. My aunt was a school teacher (yep, only driven by a school teacher) and it was her car. She gave it to me when my uncle died.
I learned how to repair rust (over the side vents, behind the front wheel wells) and did a valve job on it. That was the first flat head I had apart and I learned a LOT from that old car. Wish I still had it.
 

nicky

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#23
NevadaBlue
Yes this car is also a six with overdrive. They averaged around 27 MPG on fuel. Most of us thought the 55 was one of the nicest Studebaker built. Back around when mine was built I spent a summer working for my uncle in his Studebaker dealership. I did a lot of sanding I remember that. He was a master mechanic and body man himself so I learned a lot from him. In high school I took auto mechanics too and also became a licensed mechanic at age 21. I spent some time working for various dealers including 2 Chrysler where I served my apprenticeship at the first one, A Pontiac and VW dealerships as well as several service stations and eventually set out on my own in a Sunoco service station. After more than 30 years we sold the shop and semi retired to a new 40 x 48 ft. shop next to the house where I can play with my Studebakers and my machine tools.
This past week I installed the new sills on the 56 Studi. That presented a bit of a challenge. Most door sills sit over the edge of the floor. On Studebakers like mine the floor has the edge bent down and the sill has a channel that gets spot welded in the channel to the floor flange. I drilled a bunch of holes in the channel for plug welding. The channel holds the bottom door rubber.
We had to do a bit of engineering to clamp the sill on to the floor flange. About 25 years ago I built an acoustic guitar from a kit from Martin. I had made some deep throat clamps to use for gluing parts inside the body and the bridge. With a bit of modification I was able to make these work. I cut a bit off the bottom frame and welded new jaws on at a slight angle to reach up into the top of the floor flange as seen in the photographs.
While I was at it I also ran a bead around the bottom of the new floor panels with the mig welder. Sure goes a lot easier with the body on edge than trying to weld with your head stuck under the dash and steering column.

clamping1.2.jpg
Clamping the sill top side.

clamping2.2.jpg

Clamping bottom side

plugwelds1.2.jpg

Plug welds

floorweld bot2.jpg

Floor weld

The following pictures are of my Uncle and his shop.

garage025.2.jpg

The new Studebaker dealership going up. That is my dad and I standing in the far doorway.
We had been working on grading inside ready for the floor. Around 1953

garage026.2.jpg

Uncle John trying to decide where to begin on this one. He would make a car like that look like new.

bridgeview1.3.jpg

The dealership after Studebaker shut down. That is my younger brother with our aunt standing there.

Nick

clamping1.2.jpg clamping2.2.jpg floorweld bot2.jpg plugwelds1.2.jpg garage025.2.jpg garage026.2.jpg bridgeview1.3.jpg
 
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nicky

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#24
Here is an update on our project. We have now got the bottom coated with 2 layers of Chassis Saver in black and a final coat in grey as it came from the factory. We are very happy with the final results.

grey.btm3.jpg

Today we started shooting primer on the ceiling, firewall and cowl. Boy what a difference that made. Finally can see some progress.

intr2.jpg

firewall3.jpg

cowl3.jpg

We also put some primer on he ends of the rear fenders where we had to do extensive body work. It appears that a trailer must have been jack knifed with this car as both fenders had been pushed in from the back. I found a 1/2" layer of bondo and fiberglass on the right rear fender. which I had to burn off with the torch. They hadn't even stripped the paint off before applying the bondo, what a mess. After a lot of effort with a sledge hammer, a chunk of 1/2" by 4" x 10" steel and a jack I managed to get it stretched out to the proper length and with a shrinking slapper and dolly got 99% of the wrinkle out. It also had a deep wrinkle in the top as well as a tear under the bondo. The following pictures show the before and current results. Very pleased indeed. The bondo is now paper thin just enough to level the low spots.
Nick

rearfender2.jpg

r.fender2.jpg

RRfendr2 .jpg

intr2.jpg firewall3.jpg cowl3.jpg RRfendr2 .jpg rearfender2.jpg r.fender2.jpg grey.btm3.jpg
 
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nicky

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#25
Here is an update on the Studi project. As noted above we had to do some extensive work on the right rear fender and also, but not as much, on the left rear fender. The first picture will show what we had to start from when we got the car. The next one shows our repair work to finish it off. In a previous photo after sand blasting you can't see much left of the wrinkles but once you start adding a bit of filler and sanding it you can tell where they were. We now have just a skin of filler in there. After blocking it we had to add a bit of spot putty yet to lose all traces of the damage. I would say all told the thickest might be around 1/16". The body now has 3 coats of epoxy primer on it and is all block sanded and re-sanded to 180 grit. The final sanding of 400 grit will follow when it is all assembled. We also put 3 coats of grey Chassis Saver on the interior of the trunk, back seat area and floor of the car today.
Very pleased with what it is looking like now.
Nick

rr.fndr5.jpg
This is where we had to start from

fender.repr.jpg
This is the final repair before primer and blocking

rt.fndr5.jpg
Blocked and 3 coats of epoxy primer down to 180 grit

left side5.jpg
3 coats of epoxy primer and all sanded to 180 grit

rigt.insd5.jpg
Interior floor and rear seat area finished with Chassis Saver paint

trunk5.jpg
Trunk finished with 3 coats of grey Chassis Saver.

fender.repr.jpg rigt.insd5.jpg rr.fndr5.jpg rt.fndr5.jpg left side5.jpg trunk5.jpg
 

pdentrem

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#26
Looks beautiful! Many hours of love in the car as the pictures show.

My Dad's 55 Chev had issues in the frt fenders. He had bought the car new in Cornwall. $2650 in 55, how much today?
As there were no inners all the crap would end up in the headlights and he had to rebuild behind the headlight pots. He used Alum filler with more unique fillers to reduce the amount of the alum stuff used. As a kid I did not realize that the frts had been repaired. He traded off the car in 1967 for a 64 Pont Parisenne sedan.
Pierre
 

nicky

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#27
Finally got our paint. So we got back at the car after not working on it since May.
The shell is now finished and ready to drop onto the chassis.
We rolled the chassis outside while we picked the shell off the rotisserie with the hoist and then rolled the chassis back through under the shell to the spray booth.
Next week we will start installing the engine and the rest of the drive train into the chassis then we can roll the chassis back under the body and mate them together. After that we can go at the front fenders, doors and hoods. Hopefully by spring we will able to drive it.
Nick

pnt.frnt.jpg pnt.rigt.jpg on.host.jpg

pnt.frnt.jpg pnt.rigt.jpg on.host.jpg
 
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nicky

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#28
Here is the next stage of this project. The engine is ready to run and ready for the body drop.
Nick

eng.4-1.jpg
 

Brandon

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#29
Very nice. I'm starting my 1954 Pontiac this winter. Thank you for giving me inspiration.
 

nicky

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#30
Hi folks
Yesterday I did some more detailing on the engine. Set the distributer timing as close as I could by eye. Made the lines for the oil filter, gas lines and plug wires which all had to have the distributer ends taken of to pass through the conduit tube. Torqued the head down, connected a battery with a disconnect switch on it and a jumper to the coil. Poured a bit of gas into the top of the carb, hit the switch and within about two turns of the crank she fired right up. A bit loud because I have only the exhaust pipe on it so far but what a thrill to hear it come to life. Next is to add the fan , radiator and the rest of the exhaust. Ordered a stainless muffler and tail pipe for it which should last a lifetime. We will now finnish putting the drive shaft in and roll it under the body and drop it onto the chassis.
Nick

put gas in to start.JPG

put gas in to start.JPG
 
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