Postwar Studebakers

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I know of a family that wants to unload a warehouse full of Studebaker NOS, as well as used, parts. Do you know any reliable outlet that can take on a big load like this and offer fair prices? Former Studebaker dealer/hoarder who passed away. I've seen only photos of mounds of stuff---some looks promising, some just rusty old junk, a few cars in the background. LOTS of it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    Here's an even nicer SC Golden Hawk for considerably less asking price.

    http://www.azcarsandtrucks.com/1957goldenhawk.html

    I'm sure you could get this beauty for $10,000 less than the RM auction, and it's a nicer car with a fairly recent restoration.

    Auction prices are often not real market prices. If you take the time to hunt, rather than sit in an auction and drink cheap wine, you're going to make yourself a much better deal. About $35,000 is market correct for a very sharp SC GH, in my opinion.

    I just saw a very decent '63 Avanti, with a re-paint in non-original color, go off for $11,000. Solid #3+ driver, outstanding interior, good fiberglass throughout, motor was typical leaker but ran well.

    Also, what's a Paxton supercharger for an Avanti worth about? Maybe $1000?? This one looks rebuilt, the later type with multiple mounting holes, not the original type that Studebaker put on it.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I know of a family that wants to unload a warehouse full of Studebaker NOS, as well as used, parts.

    They are located near which US city and state?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Massachusetts
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I do not know any Studebaker vendors in Mass. If your friends have been selling Studebaker parts there, they must know a few. I would advise them to run an add in Turning Wheels. http://www.studebakerdriversclub.com/classifiedads.asp

    There is probably a local Chapter of the Driver's Club near them too.
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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Thanks for that lead!

    Oh, the family has no interest in the parts. They just had a virtual warehouse of parts dumped on them. We are talking about buildings-full, not a few parts to sell. So this is a problem for them. I saw some pix, and there are definitely stacks of NOS parts in original boxes--but also old transmissions, engines, generators--lots of tired looking stuff. I saw a few cars stashed in the background--a '55 something (couldn't see beyond the grille) and what looks to be a 4-door Lark. There may be more cars, dunno. I saw bunches of steering wheels and fenders hanging from the ceiling. Photos weren't great.

    Anyway, this is a boatload of stuff pretty much thrown into a couple of buildings. A big mess but you know, there must be treasures in there.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    I hope that now you will concede that Uplander guy and me won the argument that there are still a lot of Studebaker parts out there. :)

    I have a Studebaker Driver's Club Roster at home and will find some names and phone numbers of members/clubs/vendors in that area when I return tonight. However, you will have to contact me through my website because I am not supposed to state the names and addresses here in the public forum.

    Avanti always.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    No, don't post names--good call there.

    I'd be interested in forwarding names of BIG players to the owners, --buyers who could put up thousands of bucks and buy wholesale lots (and preferably with a big truck). I don't think this is an opportunity for swap meet types.

    One problem with NOS parts supplies is that the NOS parts left over are often the ones that DIDN'T require replacement--that's why they are NOS--they are leftover stuff. Of course, that sometimes applies to those nice rare shiny metal bits, that alsos didn't break or wear out for decades.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I'd be interested in forwarding names of BIG players to the owners

    So far as I know, there are no BIG players in Studebaker parts near Taxachusetts. They are as rare as conservative Republicans in that State. You should have your friends buy you a subscription to Turning Wheels Magazine and then contact a local drivers club chapter in that area. I suggest that you send images by E-mail of this treasure trove.

    The name of Studebaker International has been mentioned in some of uplander guy's earlier posts. Another possibility is http://www.myersstudebaker.com/ I know those people because they were located in Los Angeles, California before it got too expensive to do business here.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    thanks! That's another good lead, which I have duly recorded. I would think any serious dealer in Studebaker parts would fly out to view a horde like this. I don't have a lot of details on what's available yet, so I need to gather more information to forward to these suppliers. I think I can value the cars for them without seeing them, if they send me good photos and descriptions and VIN #s. Those can just be disposed of locally I would think.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,945
    I like authenticity in an old car, so far as colors, wheels, interior, etc. That one you posted is a '58 per the grille emblem, which is rarer than a '57, but I've never seen one that color combination, and the black hood panel is wrong. Of course, the aftermarket wheels can be changed easily, but that interior I don't believe is authentic. The style seems right, but I've never seen that color combination. That's all stuff that shaves $$$ off the price.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    The first thing I would do is to scrape the Packard Hawk toilet seat off of the trunk. There are are a lot of drunk and homeless people in Santa Monica and that would be an attractive nuisance if the car were left out on the street at night. The white-white color would certainly contribute to the confusion. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That's minor stuff. I don't think, if the paint scheme is wrong, that this is going to vastly affect value----just whatever it takes to repaint the hood and fins. Studebaker collectors aren't as fussy as Corvette people (thankfully).
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,945
    Studebaker people in general probably aren't as fussy as Corvette people, but trust me, at a Studebaker national meet, there are bare-bones stock cars there vying for that perfect 400-point score, and with Studebakers being about the only make besides Pontiac where build sheets are readily available for order for your car, a lot of guys restore to match the build sheet.

    I know a guy who said the judging at a Studebaker Drivers' Club national meet was stricter than at Hershey when he had the same car judged. Some of that, no doubt, is that at Hershey the judges aren't specifically Studebaker experts.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,945
    Here's an interesting string of very-recent posts about Studebaker's NOS parts situation and an excellent example of such, on eBay:

    http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?46179-another-type-of-Cand- y
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well the one I posted isn't a show car. It's a very sharp touring car, not for sitting in a lawn chair all day while judges check for the correct muffler bolt heads. :P

    I used to judge and it finally reached a point where I found it ridiculous (by my standards), especially when the cars were assembly-line products.

    I think mass-produced cars should be judged by the same standards as the people who built them.

    I used to dock cars that were over-restored, and people used to get *very* mad at me.

    This nit-picking takes all the joy out of the hobby, in my opinion.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,945
    This nit-picking takes all the joy out of the hobby, in my opinion.

    Shifty, Amen! I agree!

    I really can enjoy looking at a perfectly-restored car, but an unrestored, excellent original does more for me. People definitely over-restore.

    My '63 Lark Daytona Hardtop with R1 and Skytop scored 350 out of 400 at the last S.D.C. national meet I had it judged at, in 2002. I was happy with that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I love original cars. Over-restored cars seem lifeless to me sometimes. I want to see where the previous owners or owners, over the years, have touched parts of the car. It's like seeing a wooden staircase in a fine old house. You can see the wear in the center of the steps. How much more interesting that is than perfectly straight, restored, over-glossed steps!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,103
    I'm not sure what you mean by over restored.

    However my pet peeve is cars that don't look the way they usually were back in the day. 3 out of 4 of the Chevs had continental tire kits? Nope, not here in Indiana.
    Even the Ford is over done. Most people didn't have the hood ornament and the bumper reflectors mirroring the shape of the taillights.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    yeah, like that. Or paint jobs with 10 coats of lacquer, and no visible body seam GOOP or weatherstrip glue drips...AND...as you say, over-optioned with stuff from ten other cars.

    When I see Model A owners arguing over the shape of a bolt-head, I really want to be somewhere else. As if Henry Ford's workers didn't use whatever was on the shelf.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,103
    edited November 2010
    No chrome valve covers. No red spark plug wires. No chrome air cleaner. It had been voted "most original" at the small, first year car show.

    I believe I recall that color in 1956. Is it original paint or a repair? Andre 1969 has a website that shows original colors with their names. I don't recall I've ever seen this color in a car show on a 55-56 Chev. But it feels perfectly original. Not every Chev in 1956 or 57 was red, but a lot of red ones survived. There were lots of green-blue Chevs and there are several here in Midwest on the car show circuits.

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  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,635
    One thing that bugs me about this '56, and the cars in your prior post, is the rear fender skirt. Besides being much less common in my mind back then, most don't make the cars look better, especially cars like that '56 that wasn't designed for them.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    What is the deal with fender skirts?

    I don't think anything makes a nice old car look more hokey than a set of fender skirts! I think it's more of a back east thing.

    The only thing (in my not so humble opinion) that looks worse is a continental kit.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    or tiny wire wheels. I just saw a set on an Avanti and it looks wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,945
    I dislike skirts on almost any car that didn't come with them as standard equipment--and I don't even like some of them!

    Continental kits are the worst.

    I always complain how Chevys and Fords at old car shows are so commonplace, but I could really enjoy a '56 Chevy Bel Air Sport Coupe in a non-red color with no skirts, no continental kit, and no other exterior accessories...just the whitewalls and full wheel covers.

    Although it doesn't make sense, money-wise, to restore them, I always enjoy seeing a lower-line model at a Hershey meet....like a '58 Bel Air, or '53 Ford Mainline. By the looks of most old car meets, all the manufacturers ever made were brightly-colored hardtops and convertibles!

    I think a car which looked good with fender skirts--they were a factory option--was the '70-72 Monte Carlo. To me, that car's lines looked very natural with skirts and they didn't make the car look too bulbous/heavy.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,635
    One other tri-Chevy plague - the gold lettering and trim kits...how common were those, really??
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,945
    I'm thinking the gold "Bel Air" scripts were factory on a '56 and '57, and on the '57 I think the "V" emblems on the hood and trunk were gold. I'm going from memory though...not the best thing.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Another thing I don't like are those blue dot tailight lenses. Nobody ever had those in the day!
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I favor stock Studebakers in the best original condition possible because these are historical vehicles that might end up in a museum some day. I used to be most impressed by the V-8 Hawks and Avantis, but I have been to so many Studebaker car shows that I now am most impressed when a Silver Hawk or Scotsman shows up. I can remember when many Larks were painted a salmon or coral color which I did not care for at the time, but I enjoy seeing them now.

    Look how nice the 1959 Silver Hawk flathead 6 is. No power steering pump, power brake booster, electric window or seat motors. The spark plugs are in the top of the cylinder head where you can change them in 5 minutes plus you can easily get 20 miles to a gallon of gas.
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  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I'm always attracted to the lesser models too. They represent mainstream America at the time. Not many people bought the top of the line cars in those days.

    A Chevy 210 did the job as well as a Bel Air hardtop and the 6 cyl engines were more than enough to please most people.

    Back then, people were more practical. They didn't "need" sunroofs, NAVI, leather etc. Air Conditioning in most parts of the country was a luxury and people wouldn't pony up the extra 400.00.

    A lot of people looked at power windows as "just another thing to break".

    My parents always bought Buicks. The 1951 Roadmaster they bought new was kept until 1966 when they replaced it with a spiffy new Skylark that they kept until my mother died in 1993. I remember as a kid, I thought the factory A/C was a wonderful thing. Crank windows and manual brakes that worked fine.

    When a family friend bought a new Chevy II, I remember my mother saying..." She will be paying on that car for three years!"

    Back in those days, a 24 month term was common and a 36 month term was considered foolish.

    Now, the norm is 60 months with some people going 84 months which is worse than nuts!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I also see the appeal except for the lack of power steering. These old cars are TANKS and parking them without p/s is something that gets old really fast. Ditto the brakes---old drums brakes without power assist on these heavy old cars is pretty scary. At least the Flathead 6 can't get up enough speed in city driving to get you into too much trouble.

    But flatheads are kinda cool. They can idle at 350 rpm and with an overdrive transmission, can get fairly good mileage. Very simple to work on as long as you don't break head bolts.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Oh, I've heard that horrible sound when a head bolt breaks and your ratchet go's slack.

    It was on a Pontiac. Luckilly an old timer was there who knew how to bail a 17 yer old kid out of a jam.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    One of the neatest tricks I ever got from an old-timer was, in fact, while working on a Studebaker flathead. It had some special aftermarket cylinder head on it (Not sure why it was necessary, since a flathead cylinder head is nothing more than a slab of metal, pretty much). Well that head simply would not come off, even with all the bolts out.

    So the old guy takes some rope, cuts it into small lengths, and stuffs the rope into the spark plug holes and let's it drop down into the cylinder. Then he gets a socket wrench, grabs hold of the pulley nut, and turns the engine over by hand. Well the rope, bunched up on top of the piston, gently presses the head off the block!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I watched a guy literally beat a head off a flathead Ford V-8 with a sledge hammer after trying everything. He even started the engine after all of the bolts were out in an attempt to blow the head off! It wouldn't budge!

    So, he sacrificed a head to save the block.

    The rope trick sounds like it might have worked on that Ford!

    Interesting, some of the tricks these old timers picked up along the way!
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    You don't really need power steering or brakes on a Silver Hawk 6 because the coupe body and frame is lighter than the hardtop "K" body and the six-cylinder motor is much lighter than a Studebaker V-8. The hardtop convertible body (full proper name) needs a heavier frame because there is no body support from the pillar behind the driver's seat. A V-8 engine really should not be put into a body-frame designed for a six-cylinder motor even though people often do that.

    The Studebaker steering provides a pretty good mechanical advantage steering so you really don't need the power if you have a light motor up front. Although it is a bit slow, it steers true. My mother had a 1975 Mustang that needed constant correction when driving straight ahead at speed and had to get the ball joints serviced or replaced on a regular basis too.

    A few issues ago in Turning Wheels, someone asked about converting standard brakes to power and was advised not to bother with that unless there was a junk parts car near by.

    The Studebaker Champion 6 is very smooth and quiet, even if it is not strong. I don't need to go faster than than 80 mph in a 50-year old car. I had two Larks with that motor and never had to adjust or grind the valves. The ease of maintenance was wonderful compared to my Commander where I have to pull the battery and battery box to change the spark plugs on the driver's side and then try to get the plugs in around the power steering hoses. I had to get the hydrovac power booster rebuilt again a few months ago and will install a new electric window motor in the passengers side door when I get the motivation.

    My army surplus 1960 Lark was the most maintenance- free car I ever owned and the three speed with overdrive transmission made the car quicker and is still my favorite transmission.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    You are very optimistic about the steering. You just try to squeeze out of a parking space with one of those things. You'll be sweaty and exhausted. These are heavy old blocks regardless of the cylinder size. A 289 was a porker and probably weighed 650---so a typical flathead was about 450. Basically this means that on an old car the theory would be that if I, weighing 200 lbs. sat on the hood, it would be hard to steer but if I got off the hood it would be demonstrably easier? Doesn't make sense to me.

    About the best conclusion I could make on the subject would be that a flathead 6 car might be "less difficult" to steer than a big V8, but still not easy by any means.

    After all, power steering was developed for trucks.

    Back in the 50s, people were used to not having power steering, so you won't hear contemporary complaints in 50s car magazines very much.

    My opinion of the easiest 'old American car' to steer? Chrysler Airflows--due to the unusual engine placement.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,103
    edited November 2010
    >Interesting, some of the tricks these old timers picked up along the way!

    Old time mechanics were a lot smarter than I might have given them credit for being. At least most of them.

    I was around a lot of mechanics in my youth. My dad was always going to different mechanics asking them how to do, what to do for repairing farm equipment, and even cars, etc. I realized that as much of a do-it-yourself mechanic he was, he was always clear that others knew more. He made use of that knowledge.

    It's amazing how smart some of those guys were. They didn't have texting, email, and the WWW to share through. But they learned and shared some of what they learned.

    The low idle speed of the Studebaker flathead made me recall my brother teaching me to drive when I was 10,11,12? or so. I already drove tractors. But he put me in his 1950 Ford in third gear. Had me start it and let the clutch out slowly. Who needs first and second. It pulled itself right out of the bog down. I even remember it was on the lovers lane road near our farm, a little used gravel road in between the 1-mile spaced roads characteristic of Indiana in our eastern area of the state.

    And, our 1950 Studebaker had a 6-cylinder. I recall dad calling it an L-head motor.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, the term L head relates to valve orientation in the block (sitting beside the piston). Willys also made an F head, a peculiar combination of flathead and overhead. The F head is one type of IOE engine (intake over exhaust) or "pocket valve" engine. Its advantages were dubious at best. Early Harley Davidson used this, as did lots of early automakers and motorcycle manufacturers. There are other types of IOE engines that are not F-heads.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    other old timer tricks I learned while working on my Studebaker were:

    1. Deliberately cross-wire the spark plug wires so that the engine would backfire through the carburetor, blowing dirt out of the float valve when it got stuck.

    2. Putting your palm over the carburetor when the choke didn't work and then cranking the engine by shorting out the solenoid with a screwdriver (got you out of walking when your car wouldn't start on a cold cold day because the choke was frozen open). You need to have the ignition key to the "ON' position for this to work.

    3. When adjusting valves, split the firing order into two halves and write them in chalk on the inside hood. So 153624 for a six cylinder was

    153
    624

    What this told you was that you adjust #1 when you see #6 lifters both closed...and so on through all six of them.

    4. If your anemic 6V battery was too weak to crank your car in the cold, you just took it out of the car and brought it in the house for 1/2 hour and warmed it up---often cranked much better after that.

    5. A collapsed or stuck hydraulic lifter could often be revived by putting a pint or so of automatic transmission fluid into the engine oil. ATF is highly detergent.

    6. Driveshaft imbalance and vibration could often be cured by tightening a hose clamp around the driveshaft, and rotating it time and again until the weight of the clamp's bolthead served as a balance weight. Sometimes this took you 3 or 4 tries (you turned it 90 degrees each time if the first one didn't work).

    7. You could often remove and even install a fan belt that was in a tight spot by inserting a piece of wood under the belt and hitting the starting with a remote starter button---the belt would jump off, and also jump back on. Very slick.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    Those were very good old timer tricks. I heard a few of them before. I can confirm that auto trans fluid is a good lead substitute from time to time. I had to take my 12 volt battery inside at night when it got below zero in Chicago or the Lark would not start in the morning.

    I learned the hard way that to pull the rear brake drums with a puller, you better leave the nut on the end of the axle or it might flare at the end and won't be able to get the nut back on after you replace the brake shoes..

    The good news is you can cut the flared end off with a hacksaw. :)

    The bad news is that it will take a couple of hours to do it. :(
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yeah, an old timer taught me the spark plug wire trick to dislodge a stuck float and it worked!

    And I lerned the AT trick only my guy poured half of the can into the carburator while the car ran. Smoked like hell and the stuck lifter was cured.

    But the scariest one was watching a old guy pour WATER into the carb of a carboned up Buick. You should have heard the noises that came from that old Buick and you should have seen the black crap that came out of the exhaust!

    It ran like a top afterwards.

    His caution to me was to not pour the water in too fast or it would shatter a piston.

    We once told a guy that the fastest way to blow out carbon and increase power was to come down a long hill in second gear, switch off the ignition, count to ten and turn it back on. He believed us.

    He enjoyed the explosion so much that he spent the next few days scaring people and rattling windows until he finally blew the muffler apart!

    Todays cars are no fun.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Back in the 50s, especially with inefficient flathead engines, water injection was a sure-fire way to de-carbonize the combustion chambers, decrease pinging and "post-ignition" (engine run on). There's good science behind that procedure.

    While Studebaker flatheads were gutless, the engines made by Packard and Hudson of that type had tremendous torque for their day. Hudson did quite well in early NASCAR and stock car racing, and really well in road-racing, using those old flatheads. Even today, you can see old Hudsons on the vintage race circuit and believe me, they can move out.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    As I recall, the Hudsons held some record for years.

    HAd another "old timer" tell me a story about a night he was driving his 1955 Oldsmobile flat out going through Montana. Not a car in sight and he was cruising along at 100 MPH or more. Real smart with the tires they made at the time.

    He looked in his rear view mirror and saw the headlights of an approaching car! he figured it was a cop so he backed off a little but not much.

    The car quickly narrowed the gap. He just couldn't believe his eyes when he saw it was a Hudson! He watched the Hudson't tailights fade out of sight!

    Those Oldsmobiles were no slouches so that took something to do that!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    50s cars could be made to go quite fast, even flatheads.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Not only were those Hudsons fast but they cornered pretty good too.

    Oldsmobile built a car in 49-50 people called "Bubble Coupes". They were basically a Chevy with that overhead valve Olds engine.

    One of the fastest cars of all were the 1955 Buick Centurys. Nothing more that the smaller Special with the Roadmaster engine. At a recent car show, I saw a 2 door post Century with a stick shift. Nothing fancy. All black. Small hubcaps etc.

    It looked fast just sitting there. I think the CHP used these.
  • martianmartian Member Posts: 220
    In those days of live front axles, and king pin joints, I suspect that the behavior of these cars was like modern cars, with very strong anti-sway bars.
    At any rate, in a smooth highway, would an old suspension be acceptable today?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I've driven any number of 50s cars that have been modified into "pro touring" cars, and they handle and brake beautifully on smooth roads.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I guess my last "old" car was my 1953 Buick Super.

    I never hesitated driving it anywhere but I knew it's limits.

    I would cruise at no more than 70 leaving more tnan ample room from other cars.

    I didn't push it through corners and I respected it's age.

    Once when a guy ran a red light, I had to make a panic stop and it did fine.

    Still, it was a floaty old Buick and I kept that in mind!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Most cars from the 50s handled badly, including GM, Ford, Studebaker, Rambler, etc.---but the Chrysler cars with the "new" torsion bar suspension starting in 1957, were a cut above, at least by 50s standards.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    But the scariest one was watching a old guy pour WATER into the carb of a carboned up Buick. You should have heard the noises that came from that old Buick and you should have seen the black crap that came out of the exhaust!

    I believe that is true and I do it to my own motor from time to time. The water steam cleans the valves and combustion chambers.

    We once told a guy that the fastest way to blow out carbon and increase power was to come down a long hill in second gear, switch off the ignition, count to ten and turn it back on. He believed us.

    We used to do the same thing with Jeeps when I was in the army in Germany. Sometimes we did it in a tunnel, which scared the hell out of the "rads."

    In Re flathead vs. OHV: The OHV engine has an advantage when high octane gasoline is available because it can have higher compression and a better combustion chamber. The "L-head" engine is something like an overhead cam engine because the camshaft pushes in a direct line to the valves without going through push rods and rocker arms. Both L-head and overhead cam engines are quiet and can attain high rpm's before "valve float" becomes a problem. The overhead cam engine has the best features of both engines.

    The increased octane in gasoline had a lot to do with increased engine performance in the 1950s. The Studebaker Champion 6 had only 80 horsepower in 1950, but was up to 100 -103 hp. by 1955. By comparison the 1950 Ford V-8 was rated at 100 hp in 1950. The OHV engine did not have a great advantage over the L-Head engine until the octane rating of gasoline increased which made higher compression possible..
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