Eric W

1952 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe

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What a nice desert cruiser.  I wouldn't worry too much about the originality of bits & pieces.  It looks like a proper Studebaker and you can always bring it closer to original as parts/time/money allow.   It's cool that it survived in decent enough shape to allow that to happen.

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Parts car item #13 - radio. There's a threaded hook through the firewall at the back of the radio, and 2 special bolts near the front that engage plate nuts in the bottom edge of the dash. No power to it, but I don't expect it to work, just replace the blank-off plate and give the antenna on the RH fender at least a logical if not functional reason for being there.

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Parts car items #14 & 15 - ignition switch & headlight switch. Since the original wires in the coupe were cut & spliced to change out these switches, I might not be able to get them back in without more extensive re-wiring. Another item from the parts car - replacement wire harnesses were in the trunk!

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No, I didn't see the parts car (other than the online ad couple of low-res photos) until it showed up in front of my house. It's been a pretty good deal, so far. The guys who sold it to me sounded like they had bought a group of 3 or 4 cars, and this one was the one they didn't want/need. They were working on a '47 or '48 Starlight Coupe and a '50's Studebaker pickup, but there may have been more. The wiring in the trunk was under the radiator, a bunch of the front brake parts, and a new/rebuilt water pump.

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The hubcaps that came with the car are a mismatched and beat up group from quite a bit later Studebakers. The originals for this car appear to be essentially "baby moon" type. There wasn't lettering or a logo for '51 - '52 (for the "dog dish" or "poverty" caps - the full-wheel covers DO have logos). Given that, I found a set of new baby moons on eBay. Downside is they have enough dome to them that the rear fender skirts won't fit. I also ordered a set of trim rings, but the seller was down to their last ONE (which they sent). Three more on backorder. Also swapped out the front bumper end bolts from the galvanized/rust hardware-store ones that were on there to a pair that I cleaned up from the parts car.

 

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Parts car items #16 & 17 - front license plate bracket & wheel rims. Got the plate off the bracket, and soaked the plate bracket & bolts in Evap O Rust for a couple of days. Also straightened the bracket some, though it has an arch to it to match the center of the bumper. Painted & installed today. My wife got me a novelty plate for the front based on the "UFO" idea that my son came up with. Wheel rims - got the 5 that were on/in the parts car to the tire shop yesterday to have the tires removed, and then took the rims over to the powder coater. Took longer to settle on a color than I had waited at the tire shop, but working with the powder coat guy I think it will be a good choice... Anyway, a very close representation of the colors I'm going for is on the Dec. 2017 cover of Turning Wheels (Studebaker Driver's Club magazine). Also ordered the wide-white bias-look radials. I didn't think I would go for bias-look radials (I had done bias-plies on the '51 Buick), but the tire shop talked me into it. In driving the bias-plies on the Buick, they lighten up the steering a lot (to what was intended back when it was designed), but they are very squishy when cornering.

 

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Now there's cleaning off the blue protective coating, adding the hubcap clips, putting them on the car... These bias-look radials were wrapped so the two sides were pressed together. This made them as hard as actual bias tires to get the air inside. There's only 3 whitewalls here because the tire shop couldn't get the air into the 4th one (after much trying)! They said they used to have a stronger air source but it was removed. They stayed until past closing time to finish these 3 & they'll try again tomorrow to get the air in. Anyway, that blackwall is a (much) lower-cost radial for the spare.

 

The bias-look radial looks more like bias-ply than I thought it would... It's not just a wide-white radial...

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Eric. Where did you purchase the tires and what brand are they? Just the look i'm wanting. The bias-ply look with the radial ride. Who did you use for powder coating? I do a lot of stuff with Anderson's.

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North American Powder Coating - off Grant at I-10. He's good & quick, and if you can use a color he has in stock, it's $50/wheel.

 

The tires are Coker - they're the "American Classic" model. I got them through Discount Tire - since they price match anything, their price was a little lower than ordering through Coker's website, even with Coker offering free shipping right now. Though the Discount Tire website doesn't bring up any Coker tires, just ask them & they'll call Coker no problem.

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Got the wheels cleaned up & on. Skipping the in-process photos. It's a couple of hours to clean off that blue paint (water soluble) and sand the powder coat out of the lug nut holes. And no, I didn't jack it up to get the wheel vent holes all lined up like that...

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Yes, I think I'm done with the fender skirts. I'll hold onto them, as original parts for the car, but they don't fit with these hubcaps. And now that the wheel / tire is so much better to look at, I don't want to cover them up.

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1 hour ago, Eric W said:

 And now that the wheel / tire is so much better to look at, I don't want to cover them up.

 

Good move, I agree wholeheartedly!

 

I had a very good Studebaker friend that would say "The only thing I like skirts on is women."

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