Postwar Studebakers



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    Yep, the Rocket 88 and the Cadillac engines of the late 40s were the first high compression V8s. Then of course, in 1955 the Chevy small block, short-stroke V8 made its debut and that changed the automotive world forever. Very soon after, the goal of "one HP per cubic inch" would be reached in a production car.

    Studebaker's experiments with blowers was a natural branch of the hot-rod scene of the 60s I think; unfortunately, the future really wasn't with *big* engines and blowers, but rather *small* engines and blowers or turbos. Turns out there really WAS a substitute for cubic inches. This is why, as Top Gear proved, a Mitsubishi EVO can kick a Lamborghini's butt.

    Doing the wrong thing really well doesn't actually get you anywhere. This is probably why some of the really terrific "swan songs" from ailing manufacturers in the 50s and 60s did them no good, even if their final products were really interesting and well done. They were still the wrong thing for that moment in time.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yeah, like Kaiser Dragons with blowers.

    Way too little way too late.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I actually drove a blown Kaiser that a friend owned. It was a dog. I was quite disappointed, but the gauge we hooked up showed that yeah, it was blowin'. Not very much pressure, however. I mean, you don't want to push your luck with these old blocks unless you've been in there to rebuild them.

    If you have *any* weakness in your engine to begin with, adding a blower or turbo is a surefire way to bring them right out in the open.

    The R2 Avanti I drove one time had very good giddy-up. Felt like maybe a 7.5 to 8 second car. Quite respectable for 1964. I think a 4-speed would have been faster.

    But to the vast majority of American car buyers, blowers and turbos were like technology from aliens. They didn't "get it". You had to have been either a WW II pilot or a hot rod freak to get excited about turbos and superchargers back then.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    Then of course, in 1955 the Chevy small block, short-stroke V8 made its debut and that changed the automotive world forever. Very soon after, the goal of "one HP per cubic inch" would be reached in a production car.i>

    This is a very close question between Studebaker and Chevrolet fans. Studebaker fans say that the 1951 Studebaker V-8 was the first small block engine at 232 cubic inches, while Chevy fans claim small block V-8 history began with the 1955 Chevy 265 motor.

    Studebaker fans claim that they nearly got one horse power per cubic inch in 1957 with the 275 hp supercharged 289 and got it when the engine got a 4 barrel carburetor in the 1963 R-2 motor and went beyond that with the R-3. Chevy fans claim one horsepower per cubic inch from its 283 engine with fuel injection in 1957.

    A Chevrolet driver would want to race the quarter mile at sea level where the air is nice and thick and the top speed is 100 mph or less. The Studebaker driver would like make the race to top speed at the Bonneville Salt Flats or at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. At the bottom of this page is a video of Andy Granatelli setting speed records at the Bonneville Salt flats.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    I don't think Chevrolet fans think that the 265 was the "first" small block V8, only that it was the first really reliable, efficient, build-able and highly versatile short-stroke ohv small block.

    Historians give Chevy the prize for one HP/ per cubic inch. Life isn't fair.

    It's not really quite the same thing to compare a mass-produced Chevy engine with the hand-built racing engines from Granatelli.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    That 1951 Studebaker V-8 wasn't a very good engine.

    Chevy definatly got it right the first time!
  • omarmanomarman Member Posts: 2,702
    edited November 2010
    The Evo was very impressive against the Lambo Murcielago. I smell a rat though.

    Doesn't the Lambo offer a switch to disable the traction control? Did top gear use a pro driver for the Lambo and maybe "level" the field by running it without traction control? How else did the Lambo spin and Evo didn't?

    What kind of results would top gear find if they were able to disable the Evo ACD 5 + Super AYC 6 traction control? :lemon: I mean, look what the Quattro did in rallying before their competition developed all wheel drive too!
    A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    I don't know. We cannot dismiss the possibility that *all* forms of TV entertainment like this are rigged.

    I have driven modified EVOs and I can tell you they haul like V8s. Performance is pretty astounding. Naturally they are not as civilized as might be a Ferrari but they do get the job done with far fewer CID.

    Blower and turbo technology in the 60s just wasn't very good, at least not in factory cars. I remember pricing out a rebuild for my Paxton supercharger for the Studebaker and back in the 1960s it was $1000 !! That's about what I paid for the car itself. Now that supercharger is still $1000 and the car I had is worth 20X that. :P
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    There is all sorts of misinformation in the statements below.

    The 265 was the "first" small block V8, only that it was the first really reliable, efficient, build-able and highly versatile short-stroke ohv small block.

    REPLY Chevy was the "first" except that Studebaker built and sold 300,000+ V-8 engines between 1951-1954 before Chevrolet sold their first one. It was the first "small block" unless you count size as displacment in cubic inches. It was "efficient" unless you count the Mobilgas Economy runs of the 1950's where the Studebaker V-8 regularly beat the Chevrolet V-8.

    Historians give Chevy the prize for one HP/ per cubic inch. REPLY: Chevy gets the prize because of the Rochester mechanical fuel injection that was available an option for the Corvette V-8. That type of fuel injection was a troublesome dead end.

    It's not really quite the same thing to compare a mass-produced Chevy engine with the hand-built racing engines from Granatelli . REPLY: A Studebaker R-2 was just a stock 289 with a supercharger on it. The handbuilt Granatelli R-5 put out approximately 575 horsepower. That shows how "versatile" the Studebaker V-8 was.

    That 1951 Studebaker V-8 wasn't a very good engine The early 1951 engines had soft camshafts, but that was corrected early. There are many Studebaker V-8s that are still running after 50 years and 200,000 miles on them. The main criticism is that they are heavy for their displacement.

    It is hard getting things right the first time. For example, Honda Civic was the first disposable car sent to America, and the first ones sent were destroyed before sale because their heaters were too dangerous. In 1963, when Studebaker was setting world speed records, Wikipedia explains what Honda was doing: "The first production car from Honda was the S500 sports car, which followed the T360 into production in October 1963. Its chain driven rear wheels point to Honda's motorcycle origins."
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    I always liked this cover of Hot Rod Magazine for October 1953.

    The top of the cover page says ' "New Look" Studebaker Gets REAL HORSEPOWER."

    The photo on the cover appears to show the Chevrolet "Blue Flame" six-cylinder motor that was the motor for in the Corvette that same year and was three years before Chevrolet came out with the "first"small block V-8."

    I am looking for the magazine of that era which has instructions how to put a Studebaker V-8 in your Ford.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    Yeah but c'mon, the Studebaker 289 was a leaker, and it was heavy, and it was not particularly short stroke. If it was such a versatile engine, people would have sought it out for hot rods, racing, etc. But they didn't. Even the famous "Studillac" was a Starliner with a 331 Cadillac engine.

    In fact, the only well-known Studebaker in NASCAR ran a Pontiac GTO engine. They didn't catch him doing it apparently.

    Rodders didn't seek Studebaker power, but rather Cadillac and Chrysler power. This made sense. You got more bang for your buck and modifications were so much easier.

    Chevy made a V-8 in 1917, by the way, a 288cid. It wasn't very good, though. You probably already knew that.

    The Avanti R2 went fast but this was due to aerodynamics, not power. A '64 Corvette could get 375 HP out of a small block, almost 90 more than an Avanti with only 38 more cubic inches.

    So really we should be complimenting the Avanti body, not the engine.

    Another advantage of the Chevy small block was that it was cheap to build and cheap to modify.

    Chevy power was very cheap, and that's what made it King of the Road.

    As was mentioned before, doing the wrong thing very well doesn't get you anywhere.

    As clever as Studebaker was with its dwindling resources, you can't keep the hat trick going forever.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971
    He's right on that one, Shifty...289 hp out of 289 cid was in no way a Granatelli hand-built was a mass-produced engine made in South Bend. Now, the R3, R4, and R5 engines were another story.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    Oh well, ---It's probably not 289 horsepower, or not verified horsepower at any rate. That number you sometimes see bandied about was just a calculated formula HP arrived at some years after the company went out of business. In fact, Studebaker didn't publish HP numbers for the R1 and R2, far as I recall. This is why historians don't count it.

    Even the Studebaker club members tell you to take the numbers "with a grain of salt...possibly even Bonneville salt". You know, those superchargers only have 5 psi of boost and a 9:1 compression ratio. I'd say 275 seems about right.

    Maybe someone will put a totally stock R2 on a dyno someday.

    If it's not on a printed slip on a verified stock engine, I'm apt to remain skeptical of HP talk amongst the faithful.

    When you mentioned speed records and Granatelli, that's the first thing that came to my mind---the handbuilt engines on the R3--because those are the ones that got all the good publicity. .
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    The first year of the Chevrolet OHV-8 was 1955. That year, the strongest Chevy V-8 was 265 cu .in. motor rated at 180 horsepower. If you wanted more power, the strongest Ford V-8 that year was the 272 V-8 with 182 horsepower. The strongest Studebaker V-8 that year only had 259 cu. in but it produced 185 horsepower. Therefore, the smallest V-8 from the smallest car company had the most total horsepower and/or the most horsepower per cubic inch. That is the motor I have in my 1955 Commander. It has a shorter stroke than the 289 and it really revs.

    In 1955, the 324 cu. in Oldsmobile V-8 was increased from 185 202 horsepower, so it stayed ahead of the 259 cu .in. Studebaker V-8 because it was so much bigger than the Studebaker motor. BUT the Studebaker Commander Regal hardtop only weighed 3,140 pounds while the lightest Oldsmobile Super 88 hardtop weighed 3,825 pounds.

    Therefore, the Studebaker V-8 had competitive speed and power when compared to Chevy, Ford and Oldsmobile in the mid 1950s. The Big Three won the horsepower race by building bigger, gas-guzzling motors that nobody else in the world wanted to buy. America won the horsepower battle but lost the war and now cars built by the Big Three are a minority in this country and Ford is the only American car company that survived without government assistance.

    All facts stated above are from.

    This is what Motor Trend said about an early 1963 R-2 Avanti html

    Acceleration times for both 0-60 and the quarter mile are very good. Punching the throttle at 60 mph, it takes but 12 sec to hit 100 mph. Hardest thing to do with the Avanti is to keep the engine revs under 6000 rpm in any gear, as it just wants to keep going; and this was a redline imposed by Studebaker engineering, who still had some tests to finish on this car.
  • wevkwevk Member Posts: 179
    The 1955 Corvette had 195HP thanks to a solid lifter, high lift cam. The first Duntov cam?

    "The 1955 brochure was justifiably proud of the exciting new addition to the Corvette:
    A cyclone of power with the new 195-h.p. V8 engine
    A breath-stopping surge of power that surpasses anything you have ever imagined--that's the story of the Corvette's new 195-h.p. V8 engine. Here is a "dream" powerplant…ultra-compact, free breathing, super-efficient, the most modern valve-in-head V8 engine in the world…and it can be serviced by any Chevrolet dealer. Dual exhausts, a four-barrel carburetor, 8 to 1 compression ratio, and a high-lift camshaft squeeze latent energy out of every drop of gasoline…and careful counter-balancing of the entire engine after assembly keeps it smooth as a jet of steam. "
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,103
    >squeeze latent energy out of every drop of gasoline

    That should be potential energy or stored energy rather than latent energy.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Problem is people didn't want supercharged engines in very expensive cars. Again, it's the case of "doing the wrong thing very well".

    Revving an American V8 of the 50s to 6000 ROM is just wasting gas. That's not where the power band is on these engines. And it's a great way to drastically shorten their lives, especially under SC compression.

    Besides all that, the vast aftermarket of the Chevy small block doomed any competitors.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    I sure learned a lot because of the discussion at this forum. Studebaker fan sites usually don’t make reference to other makes and models.

    For example I did not know that Chevrolet offered a high performance V-8 with solid lifters in 1955, just like the Studebaker V-8. I decided to research the issue to see if it also offered a gear driven camshaft like the Studebaker V-8, but that apparently never happened. Maybe GM will discover that possibility a few more years.

    In the process of learning about the “small block” Chevrolet V-8 of 1955, I discovered that it was NOT the same block that was used in the 283 motor as explained here.

    The 265 ci V-8 was bored out to 3.875 in (98 mm) in 1957, giving it a 283 cu in (4.6 L) displacement. The first 283 motors used the stock 265 blocks. However, the overbore to these blocks resulted in thin cylinder walls. Future 283 blocks were recast to accept the 3.875 bore.

    Therefore, the original Chevrolet V-8 was NOT originally designed for the increases in engine displacement that occurred later. In 1955 both Chevrolet and Studebaker had engine blocks that would not permit them to go to or beyond 300 Chevrolet solved its problem by re designing its engine block because it had the money to do that. Studebaker solved its problem by increasing the stroke and became subject to the criticism that the resulting 289 engine was antiquated because its stroke was longer than its bore.

    In stock car racing of the 1950s,there was no substitute for cubic inches. It is true that that the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the first modern high performance OHV-8 installed in an affordable American car BUT when I looked into the history of that first V-8, I found that it was only rated at 135 horsepower and for the first five years of its existence it was getting beaten at the stock car tracks on a regular basis by the 308 cu. in. Hudson Hornet L-head engine that put out 210 bhp. before racing modifications.

    Therefore, when it is said that Studebakers did not do well on the stock car tracks, that is true because no engines of less than 300 did well at the stock car tracks where cubic inches were king.

    When it is said that the Studebaker 289 engine was antiquated because it had a stroke that was longer than its bore, that is true too. The 289 V-8 bore was 3.56" and the stroke was 3.62". That is a difference of about 1/8 of an inch. A stroke of 3.62" is only a “long stroke engine in relation to the small bore. Chrysler V-8s of that era had a stroke of between 3.65"-3.80"

    In summary the Studebaker engine of 1951 was strong for its size and served Studebaker well considering the engine design changes that took place over the next twelve years.

    I still believe that a camshaft driven by gears is better than one driven by a chain. In 40 years of driving Studebakers, I never had any problem with a warped cylinder head or a cam chain. Then in 1996, I bought a Chevy with the dual overhead Quad 4 developed by Oldsmobile and spent approximately $3,500 when the cylinder head sprank a leak at 30,000 miles and I had to replace the entire engine at 59,000 miles at a cost of $4,500 when the cam chain jumped a tooth in a gear.

    Now I have a GM car that is worth less (this could be one word) than $2,000 but I have $8,000 invested in the two motors. I only did that because no small American convertible is available for less than $20,000 and because I got a three-year 100,000 mile warranty. I will be amazed if the new engine makes it that far because it was not built by Studebaker.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    But alas, no modern driver would tolerate a Studebaker V8 today. A sturdy engine, to be sure, but it leaked and burned oil and was far from perfect.

    100,000 miles would be an excellent life span for any American V8 of the 50s. One would be fortunate to go that far without an overhaul of some sort.

    Gear-driven camshafts are as old as the car itself. Old Volvos from the 50s used it. It's nothing new or unusual.

    The Quad 4 shouldn't be held up in any way as a paragon of GM engines. It's about the worst engine you could have picked, sad to say. Too bad.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,642
    "Then in 1996, I bought a Chevy with the dual overhead Quad 4 developed by Oldsmobile"

    Sorry to hear that, you 'lucked' into one of the most troublesome engines ever made by GM. That experience doesn't really address the worth of chain-driven cams, the current 'gold standard' for cam drive. Belts, now that's another thing...
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    Here are two web sites where you can convert your engine from a chain driven camshaft to a gear driven camshaft:

    Andrews Products - TWIN 88 GEAR DRIVE CAMSHAFTS
    TWIN 88: GEAR DRIVE CAMSHAFTS : Andrews Twin 88 camshafts are available with S & S gear drives. Engines with gear driven cams show a 4 hp gain over cams with 88_GEAR_DRIVE.htm - Cached

    Milodon Chevy and Chrysler Gear Drives
    Allows precise camshaft degreeing using Milodon's adjustable bolt ... GEAR DRIVE
    CONVERSION KITS Designed to change your existing Milodon gear drive ... chevy-chrys.asp - Cached

    By installing these one of these devices in a 1955 Chevrolet V-8 Corvette high performance engine with the solid lifters, you too can have an engine that is as advanced as the 1951 Studebaker V-8 and has almost the horsepower of the 1952 Hudson Hornet six-cylinder flathead motor.

    Gear driven camshafts must be better because I cannot find any sites that convert gear driven cams to chain driven, but I am still looking. Last time I went looking, I found out that the first Honda car in 1963 had chain drive to the wheels.
  • keystonecarfankeystonecarfan Member Posts: 181
    edited November 2010
    Perhaps the Studebaker V-8 wasn't bad when it was introduced in 1951, but the market was moving so quickly that it became outmoded in a very short time.

    When it debuted, the only other ohv V-8s were offered by Cadillac, Chrysler and Oldsmobile. Studebaker was thus the lowest-cost V-8 available at its introduction, if I recall correctly.

    But within four years, Chevrolet rolled out its smallblock V-8, and Studebaker couldn't respond with a new engine. At least when the Chevrolet V-8 thoroughly trumped the new-for-1954 Ford Y-block engine, Ford could afford to regroup in 1958 (with the new big blocks) and 1962 (the thinwall V-8) until it finally got it right, and then continue to develop the small thinwall V-8 through its 260, 289 and 302 versions.

    Studebaker didn't have that luxury. It was stuck with that basic V-8 until the bitter end.

    As for the Olds Quad 4 - in the early 1990s, I remember waiting to cross an intersection. A new Olds Achieva was waiting for the red light to change. I could tell by the badge on the car that it had the Quad 4 engine. I have never heard a engine that sounded as junky and coarse as that one - and that includes the infamous Vega engine. I'm still amazed that anybody bought one after hearing it run, as the Honda and Toyota fours were becoming more common even in my small hometown by that time.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,642
    That Quad 4 engine is overlooked when 'most disappointing technology' lists are put together. It seemed to have all the right parts, but it was pretty much a disaster. I think the first ones even had what looked like a tube header on the INLET side. Looked very neat, but wasn't really needed. Another under-developed GM product... :sick:
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Studebaker didn't have that luxury because they were running on empty in the 50's.

    But, they tried to keep going even when faced with reality.

    Funny, how the final Studebakers ended up with Chevy V-8's.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Conversion from cam chain to gear driven cam? another one of those expensive, virtually useless bits of engine-building esoteria, if you ask me. A 4 HP gain? You could do that with a better air filter.

    That's like converting a new Corvette from pushrods to OHC. What's the point? It goes plenty fast already with "old tech".

    Volvo used this system for the longest time. The gears were so noisy they went to fiber gears---and they, of course, wore out 5 times faster than a chain.

    I'm just not seeing how this helped Studebaker out at all. What they needed was new engine techology, which unfortunately, costs untold millions of dollars to develop. It's about the most expensive project a car company can embark upon.
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    Then in 1996, I bought a Chevy with the dual overhead Quad 4 developed by Oldsmobile" Reply: Sorry to hear that, you 'lucked' into one of the most troublesome engines ever made by GM.

    I think that buying a bad car from GM is more than bad luck. It is hard to choose the worst car made by GM because there are so many to choose from, but I thought that the Chevy Vega was the winner in that category, 50-Years-American-Automobiles-1939-1989 - - sr_1_
    1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290552341&sr=1-1 at pages 87-88 says this about the Chevy Vega

    "Chevrolet spent vast sums designing, launching and promoting this latter day import (and Ford Pinto) fighter, and on a special factory to build it. But like the Corvair of ten years before, Vega missed its target - bought not as basic transportation, but as a small sporty car abetted by the presence of a GT coupe and wagon. Worse, it became notorious for early, severe body rust and the linerless engine suffered persistent oil leaks and cylinder head warping. By 1976 the even smaller Chevette was ready and the Vega was being crowded out of contention by a number of domestic and foreign rivals."

    In 1996 I wanted to buy a new American convertible. At that time the Chevy Cavalier had been in production since 1982 and the Quad 4 motor had been in production since 1988. I knew that GM kills off its bad models every 5 to 7 years, so it finally seemed “safe to go into the water” because it seemed that GM may have finally built a reliable small car. I was wrong. the Jaws of GM got me anyway. You might be right. My Chevy Cavalier could be worse than the Vega.

    BTW 50 Years of American Autos at pages 368 and 371 says the following about the Studebaker V8.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - - -----------------------------------
    The 232 and its successors have been called heavy for their size, but such statements were made on the basis of comparisons with engines developed much later. In fact, Studebaker’s V-8 was the first in a long line of robust, efficient small-blocks of less than 300 cid. Those that followed from Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth certainly benefited from its technology.

    . . .Christened the Gran Turmiso Hawk, the result was a remarkable piece of expeditious design.The GT’s optional 225-bhp engine provided a 120-mph top speed and a 0-60 sprint of less than ten seconds. Although heavy, the 289 V8 was incredibly strong, capable of performance far greater than its displacement suggested. . .

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - - ----------------------------------
    Now I am thinking about buying a Chevy Volt because the Federal government will give me a $7,000 rebate just to buy the thing and the State of California will provide additional incentives. I can then sell the Volt and use the $7,000+ to buy another nice "pre-owned" Studebaker Lark.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    Believe me, there is no way that my lovely and lovable GT Hawk was going to go 120 mph. I know, I tried. This is a theoretical speed that car mags calculate from gear ratios and a (then) slide rule. 105-108 on a good day. It was an engine that ran out of breath pretty quickly in the high 4000s.

    The book you relied on to help you is, regrettably, one of bad reputation---- a Consumer Guide publication which is rife with error and bad research, as are all their books. I've been burned by their "data" so often I've discarded their publications. Take some good counsel and don't use them in your work or publications in your club.

    I mean, I don't want to knock the sturdy and remarkable Studebaker 289, or any other worthy engine (Quad 4, thanks for coming, close the door on your way out), but it's a benefit to automotive history for us to use the best sources.

    If Beverly Rae Kimes or John Gunnell would ever say that in a book about the 289, however, by gawd, it's good with me.

    I don't think weight alone would be a fault of the 289. It's just an old and undeveloped engine, as you say, by the 1960s, in relation to how quickly Chevrolet worked their short blocks. I mean think about all the tricks Chevy was able to do to develop the 302 engine for Trans-Am racing. To say nothing of grabbing truck engines off the shelf (348, 409). GM lifted engine power to a whole new dimension by the time Studebaker was folding their tent.

    Short stroke is fine and all that, but your power band is predicated on lots of other things, like your cam profiles and how your cylinder heads are configured. Studebaker had zero resources to explore and expand their engine technology. People like Granatelli did the best they could with what they had, and given that, did a very good job.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971
    100,000 miles would be an excellent life span for any American V8 of the 50s. One would be fortunate to go that far without an overhaul of some sort.

    Coincidentally, both my Stude V8's (Avanti R1 289 and 259 2-barrel) have 103K miles. Neither has been opened. Stude V8's are very sturdy in the lower end.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971
    ....or at a cruise-in (from the S.D.C. site):

    I've heard 80% or more of those, from the self-proclaimed "experts" out there!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well until you own all the V8 engines ever made in the 1950s, then you are just a database of 1, right?

    Also you are running these engines on modern fuels and oils---BIG difference.

    speaking of databases of 1---------I'm one of them---Why? Because I have a totally trouble-free 2003 MINI Cooper S. The likelihood of 2003 MINI Coopers being remembered as "trouble free" is pretty slight. :P

    You're probably like me and take really good care of your cars.
  • omarmanomarman Member Posts: 2,702
    Which animated figure is the "expert" in that video? I only watched a small bit of it because it seemed so creepy. Is that video supposed to tell facts about Studebaker? Spread myths? Ridicule Studebaker fans? Or parody their critics? wtf?

    Oh well, I have the same problem with the Mac vs. PC-guy commercials. I still can't find the "winner" between those guys but the PC guy is funny so I like him. Fail, right? Haha!
    A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think it was intended as a Studebaker "mythbuster" but really the figure playing the ignorant one was scripted to be pretty lame. I mean, it's hard to get *that much* wrong in one sitting.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,642
    "but I thought that the Chevy Vega was the winner in that category"

    Well, I said 'one of", right? The Vega would certainly be #1, I put the quad 4 as #2. #3 is WAY behind those two. Every time they'd revise the Quad 4 I hoped they had fixed such luck. But I can name a dozen GREAT GM engines. Hence, your bad luck...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971's...a...parody!

    I guess you have to own a Studebaker to laugh at how many times those things are said by sidewalk experts. I'm always polite to them, but the '289 made by Ford', 'still made in Canada', 'made by Rambler' and on and on and on...sheesh!
  • jljacjljac Member Posts: 649
    edited November 2010
    I agree with uplander guy in that it is quite common to meet Studebaker owners who have V-8s with more than 100,000 miles on them. They are very durable, especially the ones built in the 1960s that had full-flow oil filters. My Commander did not make it that far before a rebuild, but it had no oil filter and the oil was black and full of sludge when I first got it.

    One of the reasons early V-8s were heavy is that the engineers at the time believed that compression ratios of 12 to 1 would be possible with the gasoline they believed would be available in the 1950s. They anticipated gasoline with octane ratings of aviation gas . That never happened, but the engines designed around 1950 were heavier because they were designed to take more stress and heat than they actually received.

    This is good news for collectors because the cylinder heads still seal properly after 50 years and interior engine corrosion is not much of a problem because there is plenty of metal inside.

    Studebaker went to the GM Windsor engine for the final two years because they anticipated building only 20,000 cars a year in Canada near Detroit and did not need the overhead (including the pension obligations) maintaining an engine plant that could easily produce ten times that number of engines. The average age of Studebaker employees was 54 years at the time they closed South Bend. I believe that the GM engines cost about $80.00 more.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    50s engine survive past 100,000 miles because they run on modern oils and fuels. If you put most old car owners in an armlock who are claiming 100K+ miles, you will often find that they have done substantial overhaul work, or they have no record of such work since they've only owned the car for say the last 10 years or even 20. We are talking about 50 year old cars here.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971
    I know the owners of my '63 Lark 'til 1965, then from 1969 to now. Engine has never been opened. My '64, I know the original owner 'til 1990, and I bought it last year. While it had been painted (somewhat amateurly) from 1990 to 2009 sometime, I don't think the next owner did a damn other thing with it in that time...I remember the car in 1990. I don't know for sure, but knowing the last owner, he thought the brakes were just fine even though the cylinders were about frozen. I can't imagine he did anything at all to the engine.

    There are original owners of Studes at SDC meets, as well as owners who are second owners/third owners/knew the car since new, and 100K without an engine open-up is not at all atypical.

    Now, the OHV sixes--THAT's another story!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    As I kid, I remember the flathead Studes used to smoke a lot.

    When I worked in a gas station, we had an old guy who would buy gas by the gallon. Old people used to do that.

    He bought cheap, reclaimed oil somewhere. he would tell me.." Give me five" (gallons) and he would hand me a quart of oil out the window.

    " Don't bother checking it, just pour it in!"

    Funny thing, probably ten years later, I spotted him driving down the street, puffing smoke out the tailpipe!
  • wevkwevk Member Posts: 179
    I knew a fellow who had a 1959 Jag sedan that smoked like a commercial mosquito fogger. He would drive it until the bearing started to rap then fill up the crankcase from a five gallon can of reprocessed oil stored in the trunk.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    edited November 2010
    Back in the 50s, most cars had something like 90-day warranties. There was a reason for this.

    Lots of old engines can "go" 100K miles, but they aren't in good shape when they get there. If say your engine is burning oil, has some blow-by and is a bit sluggish, well, that's because it needs an overhaul. This was expected in the 1950s---you'd pull the heads, and with engine in place, install fresh rings and bearings.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I totally agree with you.

    Back in the sixties, a valve job was something that happened around the 40-50,000 mark. 20 thousand miles later, the car probably needed rings and a total rebuild including a rebore usually happened before the 100,000 mile mark.

    People didn't have the long commutes in those days so it took longer to put on the miles.

    Todays cars run hotter and are much more efficient and oils have improved so much over the years.

    Some cars did go 100,000 miles without a rebuild but they usually ran pretty ragged and burned oil.

    As we have talked about before there were cars that were exceptional like straight eight Buicks!
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,000
    My fintail had major engine work about 45K miles ago I think, and now it might need a valve job - it burns oil especially at hot idle, but is only consuming it at about 800-1000 miles per quart, which is well within specs. I've also neglected to give it necessary valve adjustments, so I might be to blame too. It needed rings at about 200K miles - one broke at that point.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971
    I, too, haven't been faithful at all about valve adjustments. Mine both blow a little blue on start-up, but then are fine. The only thing I've heard a few times from people in our Stude club locally, is that they've done valve seals on Stude V8's for this very reason, but honestly...I don't know a soul in our Ohio Region Club that's done a rebuild on a Stude V8 with 100K miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    50s and 60s engines may not all need complete rebuilds at 100K, but most definitely they would need freshening up. New rings and valves were quite common repairs in those day. We know this by examining the typical equipment found in 60s repair shops, like valve grinding machines. Who grinds valves anymore? And of course machine shops to rebuild motors were everywhere. Can we find one now in our neighborhood?

    "Classic" cars alive today have either been previously worked on, or they don't get used very much, or they are the direct benefactors of vastly superior lubricants and gasoline and coolants.

    A hobbyist has no motivation to overhaul an engine with new rings, or do a valve job, because he's not depending on it for everyday driving. Puffs of blue smoke and 95 psi compression are of no consequence to him.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Back in the day, most shops had a Sioux Valve Machine and a hard seat grinder.

    We had ridge reamers and piston ring compressors.

    Once in our shop, they had pulled the head off a Honda that had blown it's head gasket after 250,000 miles. There was no ridge at all at the top of the cylinder bores! Amazing to me!

    Your last sentence sums thing up pretty well.

    I guy I know has about a half dozen old cars. all Fords and Mercurys from the 50's.

    One of these cars is a 53 Merc Convertable that he probably drives less than 1000 miles a year. He drives it on nice days and to the local car shows. It only has, I think, around 60,000 miles on it and it's in need of an overhaul.

    The old flathead starts right up, runs well and has plenty of power. I smokes a bit and uses a quart of oil every 300-500 miles according to him but so what?

    It works just fine as it is and he doesn't care. I know I wouldn't either.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Exactly. If your classic Studebaker breaks down next week on the way to the car meet, you just call a tow truck on your cell phone, drag it home, and then hop in your modern car. You hardly miss a beat. But in the 1950s, most families did not have two cars. If your car broke down, you walked or got driven around by a friend. (people had leisure time back then to help out neighbors).
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Member Posts: 15,971
    I typically put about 1,000 a year on my R1 and 500 on my 259, but I think the current Studebaker hobbyist drives their cars more than other old-car buffs. People take that part of the Studebaker DRIVERS Club seriously, and many will good-naturedly or otherwise, put down Stude drivers who don't drive their cars daily or otherwise often, or only trailer to meets.

    Until he died about ten years ago, I actually knew an old guy who had no other daily driver besides a couple Studebakers...both late-models with Stude V8's.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Hey Shifty...

    Do you remember how far you could rebore a flathead V-8?

    I remember an old house painter that had a Model A pickup that he bought new.

    He used that truck until the mid-seventies when he retired.

    I remember him telling me it had been rebored four times and the guy in the machine shop told him it could be rebored one more time.

    Elmer Sockerson was his name. He carried a hip flask that he took a swig from several times a day. " To kill the fumes"
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 57,000
    That's the fun of old cars. Little things can slide. Along with the valve issue, my car has a little oil leak...I recently had it diagnosed and it isn't a huge job, under $500 to fix. But,as I drive it maybe 1000 miles a year and there are other things I want to do first, I will put it off.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342

    Just keep an eye on that oil leak in case it decides to suddenly worsen.

    Looking back on some of the cars I owned as a youngster, I can't began to imagine what it would have cost to make everything near perfect!
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