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Author Topic: My long term 55 Stude coupe project  (Read 6901 times)
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38Chevy454
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« on: October 16, 2008, 12:59:31 AM »

Well, I have been unintentionally hijacking on the other Stude build posts, so here goes with details on mine.  My name is Terry, it is in my introduction post, but in case you did not read it several months ago.

So this all started with two free 55 Stude coupes.  Both very rough, rusty and sitting up in the Santa Cruz mountains for 40 years.  Last reg'd in 68 and 69.  So here are some pics of as-found:

My parts car, which started life as a 55 President hardtop model.  This car had no hubs and sat right on the ground.




Now don't laugh, this is the good one that will become my race car, a 55 Commander post model:




Both cars were filled with tree junk from the wood rats piling it up inside the car, the engine compartment and the trunk.  Needless to say these cars are too far gone to return to a street car, but just right to make a race car out of.

The yellow car was a V-8 3-speed OD, and the good car is a V-8 auto.  Since I will want a manual trans, i took the clutch pedal set-up off the yellow car.  The rest of the yellow car is/was parted out to make some money.  The yellow car is gone to scrap now.  The good car has started being stripped, I still have a lot of work to do just getting it ready to build up.

My plan is to build for gas coupe class.  I have not decided on the engine choice yet.  Maybe a V-6 or a V-8, but I do know I plan to start less radical on the engine, get the car all inspected and learn the driving feel and how the car is working.  Then I can step it up later.  Rest of the drivetrain will be a manual trans and a (most likely) 9-inch Ford rearend.

The front end on both cars is no good, so I will go with a fiberglass 53 style front.  Front suspension I am just about set on a dropped solid axle.  Rear will be the stock parallel leafs.  Of course the car will sit real low.  Nothing real exotic, I believe in keeping it simple and having fun.

So not a whole lot of exciting stuff right now besides planning and destruction phase.  Then on to the construction phase.  Since I have too many other projects of the hot rod variety, I anticipate this will be about 3 years until I get it ready.  BTW, this was me at Speedweek this year, one of those other projects, I am sure many of you might have seen this:


It is my 49 Ford COE, also is my daily driver.  Sits on a 74 GM reg cab dually chassis.  Works good for hauling car parts!

I know that I can go faster using a later model more aerodynamic body, but I always have liked the old Stude coupes and I want to look good going fast.  My opinion is that the Studes were unintentionally designed for land speed racing.  My personal goal is to go 200, not sure if a stock body can make that, how about some advice?  well, that's it for now, Terry


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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 04:22:35 AM »




....so, it's the leaf spring model? rolleyes
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2008, 11:00:34 AM »

Looks more like late Fall or Winter leafs molds to me grin
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2008, 03:23:33 PM »

Always a comedian in the group........but it was pretty funny.

Actually those leaves are really evergreen lleaf/needles out of giant fir tree.  The same one that dropped a big branch and smashed out the rear window on the parts car!  Needless to say both cars were becoming one with the ground over time until I pulled them out.

So I do have some questions and would appreciate opinions:
1)  Having talked to many Stude racers a dropped solid axle seems the way to go for front suspension.  Anyone have experience with something different?  I have already talked with Hooley about the Must II set-up on his.  Others?
2)  Since I need to run the stock frame for gas coupe, and the stock Stude frame is rather thin hat section design, is it recommended to use a doubler plate under any rollcage mounting points to help distribute the load?
3)  Anyone have experience with the fiberglass fornt ends?  What mfr is a good one?

Thanks, Terry
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2008, 08:51:29 PM »

Hey Terry...I've seen alot of people on here talk about the studebaker frames not being very strong....We have done 4 mustang II clips....all on street cars with big blocks....that get driven alot....several cross country trips....most of them dome in the late 90's....we haven't seen any problems with any of them. I did the front clip on my car around the same time...so when I started my project that would have already put me in Altered class. I also agree with you on the looks of the cars....their really an icon of lsr. Plus...my family are studebaker freaks....if I started to build anything else I would have be disowned.

Drew Liggan
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2008, 09:32:54 PM »

Terry....love those Studes!  Great projects!  My little car is a little simpler, but started just like yours did, a total rust bucket with hammer welded panels galore..check it out next year.  My frame came out from under a stock car with the front 3 1/2' missing and the rear 3' gone.  It is all in your perception.....you can do this, if you built the beautiful COE Ford, you will have no problem with the Stude.  The best of the best Stude racers who share this site and have years of experience will guide you to build a winner!  Good Luck!
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2008, 10:07:29 PM »

terry  i have a few stude parts if you need anything let me know   willie buchta
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2008, 10:41:37 AM »

Willie sent you a PM, thanks.

DSR, yes I built the COE and am sure I can build the Stude, have the skills necessary.  Just takes time rolleyes  and money  tongue  and few of these  cheers along with help from friends  smiley  Gee that sure makes it sound easy.  The rust issues are not too bad on the grey car surprisingly, but still will require work to patch it up.  I guess I can not complain given the fact I got the car for free.  Can't beat that deal.

Drew, appreciate the feedback on the Must II.  Have you any experience with the Jaguar fornt?  I still think for LSR that a dropped solid axle will be best.  I plan to use coilover type shocks and use the stock spring pockets, then just run some radius rods back along the outside of the frame.  Split wishbone style.  It seems the simple and effective way if i do not use the stock suspension.
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2008, 10:56:04 AM »

38Chevy,

If you use the leafs up front can you get it low enough?  I was thinking new FatMan Mustang II  or Tubular A Arm IFS ?  both using rebound and dampening adjustable coilovers

Keep the pics coming on your build, I too started a build diary and posted a few pics of my black 53 Champion.
(car # 1806)
Hope all goes well for all our 2008/2009 Stude Builds.

Good luck,

Charles
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 03:16:30 PM »

If you use the leafs up front can you get it low enough?  I was thinking new FatMan Mustang II  or Tubular A Arm IFS ?  both using rebound and dampening adjustable coilovers

Hey Charles, saw you build post, you are certainly closer than I am, with your prior experience on your 33 and your car is much better shape starting point.  My initial thought is using a dropped solid axle, to help get the car low and not have interference with the axle and engine/chassis.  But instead of parallel leafs, I think a pair of coilovers, using the stock front coil spring pockets as the upper mount.  Then just simple radius rods going back along the outside of the frame.  Split wishbone style.  Of course i need to fit a panhard bar in there somewhere and figure out the steering, getting that stock Stude stuff out of the way would sure help engine maintenance and clearance for exhaust.  I really need to measure and lay it all out to see if this will work.  Works fine in my head  shocked  I just think the simplicity of the solid axle and proven usage seems to make the solid axle a good choice.  The coilovers would give me adjustable spring rates and compression/rebound.  I definitely want some suspension travel, but will probably limit to only about 1 inch up and 1 inch down to try and keep the car from getting a big air pocket underneath.  In gas coupe I can run an air dam off the front bumper straight down, and plan to have one.
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2008, 05:09:13 PM »

Terry.....I agree that the straight axle is a great way to go....I've talked to several guys in the past at El Mirage that were runnig that setup. Like I said before....no sence for me to try and find a stock frame when I already had the mustang II done. If you need a 5" drop axle...let me know....I have a brand new one laying around. I have a good friend that lives in Livermore that I try and get up to see whenever I get the chance.
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2008, 05:24:18 PM »

Ligg and Terry,  can we cut all the stock Stude front clip out and put new 2x3 Frame rail and use a dropped straight axle ?  Then use Coilovers,, that may be the best of all worlds...

Good ideas ... Still at the drawing board.  Good luck guys, oh well back to the shop to get the Vicky ready for next weekend at Maxton..

Charles
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2008, 06:17:31 PM »

Terry.....I agree that the straight axle is a great way to go....I've talked to several guys in the past at El Mirage that were runnig that setup. Like I said before....no sence for me to try and find a stock frame when I already had the mustang II done. If you need a 5" drop axle...let me know....I have a brand new one laying around. I have a good friend that lives in Livermore that I try and get up to see whenever I get the chance.
That 5 inch drop may be about what I run, want to get down low, but I need to really get in there to measure it up and see what will work.  Let me know when you come into town and i'll give you a garage tour of my junk and project.


Ligg and Terry,  can we cut all the stock Stude front clip out and put new 2x3 Frame rail and use a dropped straight axle ?  Then use Coilovers,, that may be the best of all worlds...

Good ideas ... Still at the drawing board.  Good luck guys, oh well back to the shop to get the Vicky ready for next weekend at Maxton..

Charles
I can not do the front clip if I want to stay gas coupe class.  I have to use the stock frame all the way front to back.  I can do front suspension swap, but no subframe.  You can do it in Altered class.  I do plan to run the rollcage tubing with bars from the firewall down onto the frame by the spring mount areas and also out the back through the trunk area, all in attempt to make the stock frame as stiff as possible.  My 55 frame is supposed to be a bit better than some of the earlier frames with slightly thicker metal.  But they are still not known as really good.
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2008, 08:49:31 PM »

The 55 frames are almost TWICE as thick as the 53 6 cylinder frames. Almost a full 1/8th inch frame material. >120  vs  .067  (I think)

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E/CBFALT, E/CBGALT, E/CGALT, E/CFALT, A/CGALT, C/CGALT, D/CGALT, C/CBGALT, B/CBGALT, C/CFALT
OHIO
B/CGALT, C/CGALT

LTA Record Holder and 200 Club Member
A/CBFALT, B/CBFALT, C/CBFALT, C/CFALT, C/CGALT,   E/CGALT, E/CFALT

Fastest Standing Mile at Ohio  203.343mph
Fastest Standing Mile at Maxton 196.967mph
Fastest Standing 1.5 Mile at Loring 213.624mph
Fastest Standing Mile at Loring 204.109mph

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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2009, 01:57:31 AM »

Hi I'm an Australian photographer. I'm attending Speed Week this year and am looking to photograph the oldr style cars & Rat Rods for an exhibition in Aust'.
Are you taking the Stude & if not do you know of any older cars that will be attending? I'd like to get in contact with some who are to organise snapping their cars for the exhibition.
Regards Darren.
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