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1932 Studebaker Indy car build


Gary_Ash

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The waiting is over, time to celebrate!  With only two short drives previously, I headed off to the Ford dealer in Fall River, MA to get the car inspected.  It's 9 miles each way.  I had to wait my turn for 15 minutes, but then the car got inspected, passed, and a sticker attached to my small Plexiglas piece.  The guys and girls in the shop were properly blown away.  I drove home in the 80 degree heat, and the cockpit gets quite warm from the engine heat.  More fiddling with the idle adjustment screw is needed, as the idle kept going up 1600 rpm.  I made it home, and all is well.

 

Tomorrow, I'll head back to the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles to see if they will approve my 1932 license plate for "year of manufacture" category.  

 

1829238737_Indycarinspectionsticker.jpg.b494ad72b18b940d035d044e3e5089a5.jpg

The Mass. inspection sticker, at last!

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Gary, considering you crafted (it deserves more than the word "built") this amazing car with your own hands from bits and pieces if these little issues are all you have to deal with than that adds greatly to the satisfaction you earned and must feel.

 

Simply wonderful!

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

The waiting is over, time to celebrate!  With only two short drives previously, I headed off to the Ford dealer in Fall River, MA to get the car inspected.  It's 9 miles each way.  I had to wait my turn for 15 minutes, but then the car got inspected, passed, and a sticker attached to my small Plexiglas piece.  The guys and girls in the shop were properly blown away.  I drove home in the 80 degree heat, and the cockpit gets quite warm from the engine heat.  More fiddling with the idle adjustment screw is needed, as the idle kept going up 1600 rpm.  I made it home, and all is well.

 

Tomorrow, I'll head back to the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles to see if they will approve my 1932 license plate for "year of manufacture" category.  

 

1829238737_Indycarinspectionsticker.jpg.b494ad72b18b940d035d044e3e5089a5.jpg

The Mass. inspection sticker, at last!



Good for you! Looks like the Bay State is getting easier than in the past. 👍

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been fiddling with things, trying to get some niggling issues solved.  While I drove the 18 miles back and forth to the inspection station, the steering was squirrely, too much backlash.  The idle was too high, and the brakes pulled to the left.  There was also a cylinder head stud that was leaking a little water.  Though I didn't want to, I pulled much of the car apart.  Off with the hood, side panels, exhaust pipe, unsnap the side upholstery pads, and remove the cowl sheet metal.  Fortunately, all these things come off with a few screws.  I've trained my wife to help me lift the cowl off the car.  

 

With the steering wheel off (squeeze ring to release), I undid the steering column clamp under the dash, removed the firewall column seals, and removed the five bolts for the steering box mount.  I was then able to slide the steering box out of the car and put it on the bench.  I had previously bought a TightSteer unit with spring-loaded plunger to press against the Ross steering lever.  Ross added an adjustment screw to take out play between the lever pin and worm about 1931 but my 1929 box didn't have any adjustment like that.  After measuring where the center of rotation of the lever arm was located, I drilled and tapped a 1/2-20 thread in the rear cover and threaded in the TightSteer and jam nut.  I had to put a small 3/4" dia. puck under the plunger because the arm had a small drilled center hole from its original machining.  I topped up the grade 00 grease in the box and reinstalled it.  After a little adjustment, I was able to greatly reduce the backlash with the TightSteer's 15 lbs of spring load.

 

To fix the leaking stud in the head, I had to drain the coolant.  Since I hadn't put in a drain cock below the radiator, I pulled a plug out of the water pump on the side of the block, nearly causing a flood in the garage.  There was a large drain pan under the block to collect much of the fluid.  Once I dropped the lower radiator hose, I had able to shorten the hose a few inches and install a short metal tube with a drain cock and a zinc anticorrosion anode.  Then I pulled the stud, put on some non-hardening sealant, re-inserted the stud, and tightened the nut with the torque wrench.  Fourteen quarts of coolant went back in the radiator. 

 

The left front brake took a lot more work.  These are 12" brakes from a 1967 Buick Riviera with new shoes, cylinders, and small parts.  The shoe linings are very thick, more than 1/4 inch.  In spite of many tries to adjust the brake, there was too much drag on the drum.  I jacked up the axle, pulled the wheel off, and managed to get the heavy, 1/4" diameter cotter pin out of the spindle.  Because of the Rudge splined hubs, the hole in the spindle for the cotter in about 2.5 inches into the hub and the cotter has to go in and come out through a 1/2" hole in the side of the splines.  Though I took the drum off a couple of times and fought with the cotter pins, each time I tightened the spindle nut, the drag increased a lot.  After pulling the drum again, I removed the shoes, put the drum back on and tightened the nut - no drag, so the drum wasn't rubbing on anything like the backing plate.  With the shoe placed in the drum, I could see that the ends of the linings were contacting the drum surface first, and that the fixed anchor point might be holding the shoes out.  At that point, I got out the orbital sander with 60 grit paper, beveled the ends of each shoe lining, and took a little off the linings all the way around.  Oh, to own an AMMCO shoe grinder!  I placed the shoes in the drum to test the fit, and was satisfied with the small gaps at each end and a line of contact along the rest of the shoe.  Reassembled, I was able to finally adjust the brake the way it ought to be.  A secondary positive result was that the brake pedal didn't have to be pushed as far. 

 

A test drive confirmed that things were much better.  I might have to screw in the TightSteer another 1/6 turn but most of the backlash is gone.   I may pull the box again this winter and send it off to Lares Corp. for a full rebuild.  They can replace the worn pin and maybe the worm - at a price!   The idle speed still needs a little adjustment and the mixture is still rich from the four carbs.

 

1300635830_bodyworkoff072722.jpg.062c759bb502060d144ab2faf1a4daba.jpg

Indy car with sheet metal removed for steering and cooling work.

 

878288728_TightSteerinstalled.jpg.dd63f1375979dc783d15e16eb60f46e8.jpg 

TightSteer installed in rear cover of Ross steering box.

 

2041857819_brakeshoesassembled-leftfront.jpg.8c16c79780cb1232893576682169a639.jpg

The overly-thick brake shoes before sanding.

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Glad the brake pull had a solution. Sometimes addressing the brake lining ends can save the day when everything else has been tried. 
 

I have tried the TightSteer arrangement my self, but I did not see an improvement over the Ross adjustment screw tuning. I guess as long as I am able to adjust at center top to a fine clearance, I can live with the fact that the off center steering are a bit more loose. I assume that by the design this is more common if one have the single pin version vs the later dual pin box. 
 

Do you have the dual pin steering on the Indy?

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My 1929 box has the single pin, and the cover was blank, no adjustment screw.  In fact, some previous owner had applied a thick layer of lead-tin solder to the inside of the cover to push on the lever arm.  That was strange because the boxes came with a bunch of thin steel shims under the cover so that shims could be removed over time to compensate for wear and the cover would push on the arm.  My lever arm sat about 0.1 inch below the flange surface of the box, hence the solder.  It's a mystery why the arm position was that way, should have sat above the flange surface.

 

183300123_Rosscasewormarm.jpg.1f91eccba7a4492d50f51cac51029c74.jpg

Ross steering box with single-pin lever arm.  Note scuff marks on arm from rubbing against cover. 

Hole in arm is actually a conical depression, probably used for centering during original machining at Ross.

To keep the TightSteer pin out of the hole, I made a 3/4" diameter, 0.19" thick puck to ride over the hole.  A 0.090" deep counterbore in the puck keeps the 

TightSteer pin in the puck.  All is immersed in 00 grease.

 

1927709992_Rosscamleverarm224997.JPG.e02330857d78e25c78169f96171c8aab.JPG

Lever arm with worn pin.  The arm is incredibly hard steel, a file won't touch it.  It was probably case hardened so as not to be brittle inside.

 

1488453390_Rossboxcoverinside.jpg.9df4e762ecaea4cfd464a2a6a635c223.jpg

Cover with solder layer inside.  I removed the solder.  Cover was drilled and tapped for TightSteer mounting, location was 1.25 inch above bottom point of cover.

 

 

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Thanks Gary for the insight. Ross boxes are solid products especially when looking back on the long life these units have had. Some wear are expected and some can be addressed with simple measures, others will be more demanding for sure. I have sourced what I can of NOS parts for my M15A truck Ross box for a later rebuild, and for my 35’ ACE truck it improved much with some adjustment(pin was not to badly worn either). Just keep them well lubricated with correct grease yes. 

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19 hours ago, Autofil said:

Thanks Gary for the insight. Ross boxes are solid products especially when looking back on the long life these units have had. Some wear are expected and some can be addressed with simple measures, others will be more demanding for sure. I have sourced what I can of NOS parts for my M15A truck Ross box for a later rebuild, and for my 35’ ACE truck it improved much with some adjustment(pin was not to badly worn either). Just keep them well lubricated with correct grease yes. 

Starting in 1930, the year AFTER my steering box was produced, Ross added the adjusting screw in the cover to take out backlash.  I'm not sure about the 1935 ACE, but the M15A certainly had a 2-pin cam and an adjusting nut.  On my 1948 M5 truck, the worn pins were pushed out, turned 90 degrees, and welded back in to take out the slop.

 

Now that my dealings with the Registry and inspection stations are over, I finally applied the graphics with the #25 racing numbers.  I hadn't wanted anyone to react negatively to registering a race car for the highway.  These numbers are adhesive vinyl, 24 inches high.  One set on each side of the tail and one more set on the left hood and side panel.  It was a real challenge to put the vinyl over the louvers in the hood side panels, slit and shrink with the heat gun, as needed.  I would have preferred to have the numbers painted on, but the quote I got for hand-painting was $3000 and he wanted the car in Boston for two weeks.  Sign painting by hand is an almost lost art.  I sent graphic files to an on-line printed vinyl supplier, got the two 12-inch diameter logos, two sets of Studebaker Spl script for the frame rails, and three setts of numbers for about $100.  Additionally, I got to control the exact colors and the locations for the graphics.

 

1122520973_wheelcenterfoldcars1024x439.jpg.10ed3a2930114570b5337be7ce423f11.jpg

The original cars in 1932 with their numbers.  Note that the 2's are different on #22 and #25 and 37's hood number is higher on the hood.

The AAA competition committee set the rules for numbering.

 

659066175_Indy25frontqtr.jpg.998bc8fadc9cb7584bbee2a768c31957.jpg

The new graphics on the car.

 

1481479095_Indy25rearqtr.jpg.907dedd654f22594efe04552ff5dd9c1.jpg

Rear quarter view of new numbers.

 

 

 

 

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I think you did right in waiting with the numbers until inspection was done, but the car look great with them in a retro racing autentity aspect. Very nice. And a bargin vs hand paint cost. Whats next with the Indy? Are you planning a longer trip with the gem soon perhaps? It has been a very interesting jurney to follow, on several levels. This one is a keeper Gary 🏆😊

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Now you need to toss that terrible license plate in the trash. There’s a guy in Fort Lauderdale who will make up anything you want custom. I probably put 10,000 miles a year on prewar cars with a fake license plates. I just keep forgetting to change them out before we do a tour.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I'd be more than happy to replace the current "Antique" plate with a more-refined 1932 "year of manufacture" plate with white letters on a cranberry (maroon) background.  I took a plate into the Registry to have it approved for use.  They rejected it on two counts:  a.) they thought the background color was too worn and b.) the plate number was duplicated by a current 2022 plate on a semi-trailer.  The Mass. regulations say that duplication is OK but the Registry software doesn't agree due to a bug, so they wouldn't approve even if the paint was OK.  The Registry agrees that the software is wrong but they won't accept duplicate number plates in spite of that.

 

I exchanged some emails with Phil Doucet of the local AACA chapter asking how do squeaky (antique) wheels get some grease in the state legislature and here is his reply:

 

Hi Gary,

Yes, we've been aware of this YOM problem for a while now, and have reported on it in our newsletter. I believe Henry Diorio first brought it to our attention, as he has quite a collection of plates and told me they're basically not worth anything since the RMV has that "no duplicate numbers" policy in place. I, as you, found that searching 53 categories of plates is basically impossible, and when plates show up for sale, they're likely to be gone before the Registry would ever reply to a written request.

As to squeaky wheels, I believe that principle does not apply to our state government. As you're probably aware, we've been trying to amend the annual inspection requirements for antiques for 7 years. Even this one appears to be in permanent limbo, even though a couple of state representatives keep re-sponsoring it every year. At this point, I believe they're tired of hearing from me!

 

 The woman I spoke to in the Special Plates dept. of the RMV said to "try again in a few months".  This is a race between a turtle and a snail to see when the legislature might approve revising the rules for YOM plates.  There is little one can do.

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  • 1 month later...

Now that I can drive the car on the roads, I wanted some video of what it looks and sounds like as we drive.  I bought a GoPro 11 camera with 27 Megapixel resolution still photo and very high resolution video (5K).  It's very small - 2-3/4 x 2 x 1 inch, weighs 5 ounces.  The problem then became how and where to mount it to get good pictures.  I had some 1-1/4 x 1-1/4 x .062" aluminum angles that I had formed up a while back, so I cut and bent some, riveted two together to make a stiffer U-channel, then put two 1/4" rivet nuts into the edge of the passenger side seatback.  The rivet nuts are almost flush with the seat back surface so they won't normally interfere with the cushion, and I can even have a passenger in the car with the arm in place and the cushion pushed in.  The arm quickly attaches with two 1/4" screws.  Here's the arm with camera attached and an image taken by the wide-angle camera.  When the rain stops, I'll get some video with the car in motion.  The camera has excellent motion compensation, so even if the arm shakes a little, the image won't be shakey.

 

1746061437_GoPromount1.jpg.63cb8e6af04c6bdee1ce8a75698d0d9b.jpg

The GoPro 11 camera on the mounting arm.

 

2012107091_GoProview1.jpg.c7a5bb4d468dba735450c559a6fef13f.jpg

The view from the GoPro camera in the garage on a rainy day.

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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Ed:  I'm still sorting things out, so we go a mile or so up the road and then back, have probably accumulated 30-50 miles.  I think I need to grit my teeth and take a long drive through the countryside, maybe a quick sprint on I-195.  I'll need to wait until my wife is home and near her phone in case something breaks and she has to come get me.  Maybe a drive down to Ted Brito's (Chistech) garage, about 10 miles.  

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  • 1 month later...

I had posted a link on the main page to a YouTube video of driving the car as seen from my GoPro 11 camera.  But, just in case you didn't see it, here is the link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9zosz-9R9E

 

 

Edited by Gary_Ash (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Al:  it actually seems to run pretty well. However, we’ve reached that time of the year in New England when driving down the road is unlikely. No snow yet but can’t be far away. Once salt is on the roads, we have to wait for spring rains to wash it clear. But, I have another car in the garage that will be winter work. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I checked in this section of the Forum to see if there were any new posts about speedsters, but nothing for almost a month.  So, I'll post something.

 

I looked back at the old pages I posted here and the various responses.  Unfortunately, I realize that over the years a number of the early responders are no longer with us:  Spinneyhill, SmithBrother, and others.  There are others who have disappeared from the Forum, just hope they are still kicking.  My friend Jerry Kurtz, who rebuilt my engine, has disappeared into the mist of Alzheimer's.  I miss their interaction, appreciate their contributions, and think of them fondly. 

 

For those of you still here, thanks and best wishes.  It's the beginning of a new year, much lies ahead.  If we get a dry day and no salt on the road, I'll get the Indy car out for a drive in the cold.  Otherwise, we'll be back at it in Spring.  I've got the 1963 Studebaker station wagon to work on over the winter, and the heat pump will keep the temperature in the garage to a reasonable level at relatively low cost.  The grandchildren will be here this coming weekend, so I need to find some car task for them to participate in.  If you have a project going, keep at it!

 

Here is the photo we used on our 2022 Christmas card with our 1941 Studebaker Commander Land Cruiser with some of the family.  Happy new year to all! 

 

IMG_5986_light.jpg.e53fa4319476bfd4c4dc7379ee45febc.jpg  

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I must have too much time on my hands.  I spent a few hours this week creating a paper model of the car by printing out left/right/front/top CAD views of the car, combining them in Photoshop Elements, and printing out an 8.5x11 sheet of paper.  With a lot of trimming and finagling, a car came together.  Not a great model, but entertaining.

 

323323805_Indycarrightside1.jpg.de9c6a9d3a7fb39bed44558ce68ddf9f.jpg

Right side view from TurboCAD computer rendering.

 

56233605_Indycarpapermodel2.jpg.104cf642c8656cb89debc647bf5840f4.jpg

Paper model made from combined views - and a lot of tape!  3D printed solid model in background.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

@Edinmass didn't like the lackluster number on my Massachusetts antique license plate - and neither did I - so I applied for an "antique vanity plate".  The rules for those state only four characters, the first two have to be letters, and once you switch to numbers you can't go back to letters. That reduces the number of choices a lot.  I tried for "INDY" but that was already taken so I chose IN 32.  It took a couple of months for the Registry to make the plates but now I have one on the rear of the car.  Gee, I hope Ed likes this one better!😂

 

licenseplate1A3L9.jpg.c398f8a4fb2338cd8bdb1d653236d333.jpg

Old license plate.

 

licenseplateIN32.jpg.c0749947ac8e05c99f520a1c855ee1d2.jpg

New license plate.

 

 

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  • 5 months later...

My Mass. inspection sticker had expired and I hadn't renewed it, so I started up the car and drove down our rural road towards the inspection station.  It was a warm October day, sun was shining, birds were chirping, a great day to be alive and driving the Indy car.  Until, that is, the car died completely.  The engine just quit!  I coasted to the side of the road and pulled across a driveway.  I had just put 3 or 4 gallons of gas in, so that shouldn't be a problem.  The electric fuel pump was ticking.  I hit the starter  button a bunch of times.  The engine cranked over but no sound of cylinders lighting up.  #$@%&*!!!

 

Fortunately, the driveway I pulled into had a big ramp truck there and as I stood there, the truck driver came home in his car.  After a little discussion and a call to the towing company to discuss with his boss, the guy agreed to take me home for "only" $100 for the full 2 miles.  We loaded the car, drove to my house, and he backed up to my garage door, then rolled the Indy car into its slot.

 

Today, I bit the bullet and went looking for the problem.  I put my voltmeter on the hot side of the coil, key on, no voltage!  Off came the hood panels, the exhaust pipe, some of the upholstery on the side of the cockpit, and finally the cowl.  Now I could see all the wiring that is behind the dash.  It took only a minute or two to spot the connector that had come loose from the coil ballast resistor mounted on the firewall under the cowl.  I tried plugging it back in but it was clearly so loose that it wasn't going to stay there.  I did now have voltage to the coil, so that confirmed I had found the cause of the dead engine.  Tomorrow, I'll have to go buy the right slip-on female terminal and put things back together.  

 

While the wires don't look like 1932 wiring, at least the Ron Francis wiring kit I bought had each wire printed along its length for what it is connected to.  Maybe someday, another caretaker for the car will appreciate that.

 

leftsidecowlbundles.jpg.63e493a6b39f6d440c1da0929ff32bde.jpg

Wiring under the cowl.  The white ballast resistor is near the lower left corner.  Battery cables connect to the side

of the  battery, don't show here.  I can charge the battery from the engine side of the firewall, easy to connect.

 

coilwiredisconnected.jpg.2fa3e8092aae083eb2380ba534f85c74.jpg

The connector that came loose.  When I found it, it wasn't quite so far off the terminal, but it sure wasn't connected!

Note lettering on wires.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Back in May, The Indianapolis  Motor Speedway Amateur Radio Club (W9IMS) was on the air to promote interest in the Indy 500 race.  Since I'm a ham radio operator, I listened for their call on the frequency that they announced on their website.  When I heard them, I answered back and we had a short exchange of information.  Later, I sent them a QSL card and a self-addressed stamped envelope [remember SASE?].  So, finally, 6 months later I got their QSL card in the mail.  A QSL card, the size of a postcard, is sent to confirm a contact in writing, though most confirmations are done electronically now.  So, it was nice to get their color QSL card to hang on the wall.

 

W9IMScardfront.jpg.7a9b7ebd57ca99708de9511c70c56eb2.jpg

The front of the QSL card from the IMS Amateur Radio Club.

 

W9IMScardback.jpg.de48a74fae0a522fe8565aa7893120ba.jpg

The rear side of their QSL card.

 

AB1GAcard-Indycar800.jpg.e30ba2a4f968f404b75918dc5812ff2d.jpg

My QSL card.

 

 

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  • 6 months later...
Posted (edited)

I saw a post on Facebook by Fredi Vollenweider, a Swiss guy who is very active in the car hobby, sells parts for old Peugeots, etc.  He had been to an event in Switzerland where the #46 Studebaker car attended.  Car #46 is now owned by Bernd Link, another Swiss guy.  Here is a photo that Fredi posted.  Too bad we couldn't get Bernd and his car to appear for the Copshaholm Concours in July.

 

Indycar46June2024.jpg.5b8bf3ffe7b25f3d8de8a1e637b42f6f.jpg

Car #46 in Switzerland.

 

StudebakerIndycar1932-Ash.jpg.5367e63e522dc270741b2e22f3b5d55c.jpgA similar view of my car.

Edited by Gary_Ash
added similar view of my car. (see edit history)
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