This is a picture of my newest restoration project, a 1963 Cruiser. That white stuff under the car is snow. When I purchased it, the car was buried in a snowdrift with only a front tire sticking out. You can see it is in a half-finished state right now. When finished, the car will have power steering, a 259 4 bbl, dual exhausts, & a very nice Rose Mist paint job. I will update this picture as work progresses. I have another car that's donating it's running gear, glass, & a few other pieces. Here is a picture: The story starts a while back . .
Donor Car
11/12/96 - The car was sitting in a barn.  The gentleman I purchased it from said that the engine was basically new and that the $500 he was asking for the engine, the body would be free (a good thing too, considering the swiss-cheese rusty floor!).  I hauled it home and it sat on a friend's farm for a couple of weeks during the nice fall weather and I stripped it clean. Once sugar beet harvest was finished I was allowed (VERY GENEROUSLY, I might add) to use their shop. We unloaded off the trailer and into the shop.  I then started to unbold everything possible. I found out 2 things. #1: The interior panels were MINT. #2. The body was so rusted, to try and weld in new pieces of metal would be like trying to juggle cats. It could be done, but what's the point?

1/3/97 - I was calling around to several junk yards to try and find some of the pieces that were rusted out, I found what the owner thought was a couple of '63s in Moorhead (the sister city of Fargo) and went to check it out.  It was December by this time and the "car" that the owner of the junkyard pointed to was a 4 foot snowdrift!  After scraping for 10 minutes, I found that car was indeed a 4-door, it was a Cruiser! The color was Rose Mist, and the chrome looked great! Heck, even the typical fender rust was miniscule. The junkyard was asking $100.00 or it was going to the crusher in the spring. Considering it's condition, I couldn't pass up another Studebaker! Of course my friend Steve thought I was nuts, but we rented a trailer and towed it home. It was without it's 289 engine, but I planned on using the 259 from the 4-door. It was missing the power steering pump, rear end and transmission. O.K. because I could get those from the 4-door.  I got rid of the body from the 4-door. A good thing, too.  It took one cut with the air chisel to render the car asunder. I had purchased 4 fenders, 4 doors, a hood, a trunk, and a few other things from member Pete Peterson of Jamestown. I had primed them and they went on the car very simply.

During the disassembly of the cruiser, I noticed that the floor had some rust holes, so I called Classic Enterprises in Barron, WI as I heard they sold repair panels. Wait for them to arrive.

1/10/97 - Pans arrive. Wait for 2 days to install due to blizzard (they tend to happen a lot in ND!). In the meantime, take alternator & starter to Berg auto to have them checked out.  The starter was o.k., but needed new bushings (a total repair of $11.00, and they had them in stock!). The alternator, on the other hand, was shot. They didn't have any listing for Studebakers, so I had to get on the phone & shop around. Luckily another local vendor had one at the warehouse, $100.00 please. (I'll come back for it later). Cleaned up the alternator's pulley, starter casing, oil pan, tranny dip stick, & motor mounts. Painted them black. I also got the valve covers and was looking around the shop for a spray can of yellow paint when I ran across a couple of cans of John Deere yellow. I tried a test spray on a corner of the valve cover and it was almost and exact match. After cleaning them up, they looked slick! I also sprayed the tranny dipstick.

1/12/97 - I cut out the old, rusted metal and ground the paint off the good metal. With the help of a friend, hammered, pulled, pushed, & clamped the new metal into position. They didn't exactly fit 100%, but they were good enough. I welded the panels into position, ground the welds down. Boy, that new metal sure looks good! Click here to see how I did it.

Continued . . .


If you have comments or suggestions, email me at dgroth@corpcomm.net

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