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Buyer's Dilemma


jshtulman1
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Hi all,

 

I know I haven't been active on these forums for quite a while, but to make a long story short, I finished restoring my 51' Buick and sold her to an enthusiastic father/son team. Now I'm in the market for a "new" classic car and have narrowed it down to two choices. However, I can't for the life of me decide between them! Thus, I've humbly turned to this community for advice. Let me describe my options:

 

Option 1 - 1953 Kaiser Manhattan 4 door.  $6500. The car is a 3 speed w/OD and in driveable condition.  Cream with green top.The paint is pretty horrendous but the interior is intact and the engine has been rebuilt. All chrome present and in decent shape. New vinyl top and tires with a good amount of tread left in them. Body incredibly clean and rust free. All windows intact with the exception of one vent window. The OD works but does a lot of freewheelin' and she had a hard time shifting into second so at minimum the linkage needs to be looked at. Brakes pull hard to the right. Overall, she's like my Buick when I first got her, before any sort of work done, a well preserved "survivor". 

 

Option 2 - 1955 Studebaker President State 4 door. $8900. Blue body white top. Full rotisserie restoration, I mean literally nothing on this car needs to be looked at. Auto trans with passmaster v8.

 

I like the style of Kaiser more and the 3 speed certainly is a bucket of fun. The "plug and play" nature of the Stude' has its appeal too, though. And the Stude' isn't a terrible looker either, not as graceful as the coupe, but hey, whatcha gonna do. Thoughts?

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Hard to tell without photos but interpreting your descriptions if the Kaiser has horrendous paint, a broken window and a recently replaced top it is not a well preserved survivor.  If the Studebaker is a proper full restoration for an extra $2400 it is a much better deal. 

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17 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

Buy the Kaiser and, please, PM me the contact information on the Studebaker.

Thank you, Bernie

LOL

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Hey guys,

 

Thanks for all the welcome advice. I went and pulled the trigger on the Stude'. The Kaiser definitely had character, but the Stude' was positively immaculate. I simply couldn't pass up that bargain. Once again, I'm immensely grateful for your suggestions. 

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The OD works but does a lot of freewheelin' and she had a hard time shifting into second so at minimum the linkage needs to be looked at.

 

That is a easy fix.. I need to do this on my 49 kaiser.. It is at the wrong position.. 

 

That car did not come with a  vinyl top..

Edited by nick8086 (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, jshtulman1 said:

Kaiser Manhattan  $6500. ...  Cream with green top...... New vinyl top and tires with a good amount of tread left in them.

 Did not recognize that to be a vinyl top just by looking at the picture.

 

1 hour ago, nick8086 said:

That car did not come with a  vinyl top..

That would be a significant negative, n'est-ce pas?

 

00x0x_6HsS0OlwWw2_600x450.jpg

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/6110023218.html I saw Nick's post on this one earlier today.

 

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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18 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

 Did not recognize that to be a vinyl top just by looking at the picture.

 

That would be a significant negative, n'est-ce pas?

 

00x0x_6HsS0OlwWw2_600x450.jpg

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/6110023218.html I saw Nick's post on this one earlier today.

 

Avec un toit en vinyle, oui, négatif.

Sans vinyle, non, positif.

(Je ne pas parlais Français)

Edited by JamesBulldogMiller55Buick (see edit history)
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16 hours ago, jshtulman1 said:

Ha. Bernie, I'll gladly share the information for the Stude', but I have to ask, is the Kaiser your true preference? 

 

That was just my subliminal message to buy the Studebaker. Both are orphan cars and each will carry its own set of ownership characteristics. After 50 years in the hobby I can tell you, being a Studebaker owner will make you less obvious in public.

 

Buy the Kaiser and you may soon notice facial tics, fidgeting, and odd choices in clothing selection, possibly reminiscent of  those 1930's Charles Dickens movies.

 

Only lifetime observations, may be completely unfounded.

Bernie

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As an unapologetic Studebaker owner with some knowledge of Kaiser, here's my two cents worth. In fifty five years of collecting I've owned close to twenty 55 Studebakers. For many reasons 55's are one of the maker's best post war offerings, and unless the low production Speedster is considered, this is the top of the live in 55. Decent power, reliability and build quality sets them apart from the two years previous offerings and some of the later models as well. The four door was loosely styled after the beautiful 1953 Coupe and htp, but it never really found the favor that it's beautiful sibling was able to garner. The demand for the model has always lagged behind. This seems to be a decent car but, there have been three cars offered recently on the west coast (one Washington, one Oregon and one in California) that would give this car a run for it's money. The interior doesn't seem right to me, nice but not original. I don't like the side mirror, it's not proper for the car and it's placement is wrong. I also believe that the asking price is a bit too high. All things considered there is nothing here that's a game breaker and I hope that you choose the Stude.

 

I love the style of the Kaiser and have always been impressed by their build quality. Where they fall short is in the Continental sourced power plant. I have a good friend who owns both Studebakers and Kaisers so have gained some perspective on the two makes. If I was choosing to take one of the two marks on a cross country trip it would be the Stude, without a doubt. For me condition, originality and history should  be considered, but I think that you answered your own question, the Studebaker is ready to go!-Bill 

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On ‎5‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 0:35 PM, jshtulman1 said:

. Now I'm in the market for a "new" classic car and have narrowed it down ......- 1953 Kaiser Manhattan 4 door. .........- 1955 Studebaker ........ Thoughts?

 

May I first suggest my "qualifications" - I worked as an auto mechanic in the 1950's (paid my way thru night school)  so hopefully I have some degree of competence in the area you are asking about.   

 

May I suggest you broaden your horizons just a bit.   If I understand your question,   you apparently believe ANY 1950's car is a "classic".   That being the case,  may I suggest you forget about both of the choices you have asked us about in here.   In both cases,  these were cars that failed in the marketplace, and for good reason.  In both cases, the public rejected these cars for a combination of truly horrid "build quality"  coupled with disgracefully poor reliability once in service.  In the case of the Kaiser - that old long stroke "flat-head" was a miserable performer even by the standards of that era.  The Stude you asked about offered passable performance (when it was not "down" for repairs !).

 

For very little more money, you could have a 1950's era Cadillac or Oldsmobile.  Hardly a month goes by without seeing fine examples advertised in Hemmings - many came with superb "factory air conditioning".,  These cars had very "high"  (numerically low) rear axle ratios, combined with superb, reliable automatic transmissions, offering breathtaking performance and extreme speed cruising ability.    And typically satisfying GM interior fittings.

 

There is a reason why the cars you asked about were rejected by the car buying public.  Owner dissatisfaction!     I suggest you would have much much more satisfaction owning and driving what I suggested.

 

 

 

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I know the decisions been made, and on a dollar invested basis the Stude was simply too good a deal to pass up...all or pretty well done versus a lot of probably expensive unknowns.......

And yet...my heart says Kaiser...

I wouldn't care if it didn't blitz away from stoplights, didn't have superb factory air and AT, didn't feel like driving your living room down the freeways (all of which I've enjoyed)...it just has, to me, such beautiful lines...

PS: Yes, beauty is, often, in the eye of  the beholder....and, when acquired, often expensive to maintain...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got back to this thread, and thought I should comment. As I indicated prviously I'm a Studebaker owner, and the question was about a car with which I am very familiar. I would like to know how many Studebakers SaddleRider has owned and why he the comment "when it was down for repairs!" I'd like a few specifics on what he found as he worked as an auto mechanic during the 50's. I have driven Stude's close to three quarters of a million miles, I would like to compare notes.  

 

I love all cars and I try to give each credit for what it was and what it is now. I try to be honest and stay away form hyperbole regarding my favorites, and condemnation of cars that I know little about. When I read someone talking about "horrid build quality, coupled with disgraceful poor reliability once in service"  I have to wonder what his prejudices are and what axe he has to grind. Or does he have special knowledge that differs from mine.

 

When the gentleman indicated that Kaiser and Studebaker were "rejected by the car buying public" it is only partially true. It should be remembered that Studebaker had been producing horse drawn equipment since 1852, and by the turn of the century they were the largest producers in the world. Of the more then three thousand auto manufacturers, they were among just a hand full that survived to produce cars after the war. That seems to indicate to me that they must have been doing something right. Studebaker did after all survived for 114 years, as a vehicle maker. By 1955 the product of  Big Three had finally caught up with their own fan base. The resulting competition between GM, Ford and Chrysler just left the few remaining independents in their dust. Ultimately improved quality of the Big Three along with the resulting price differences created by the economies of scale created an insurmountable obstacle for the independents to overcome. I don't think that either of the two cars were bad cars, "rejected" by the buying public. They were just outpaced by manufacturers, the products from which, were just too good to pass up.

 

Sorry Rusty but I thought that it was a pretty well known fact that the Continental engine, as used in the Kaiser, suffered from bearing failure. I was just trying to compare the Stude V8 to the Kaiser six cylinder. If the Stude had been a Champion six the gap between the two would have been much closer and my choice might have been different.-Bill

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Any car of the era was considered ready for the scrap pile if it made 100,000 miles. OTOH some of be best race 327s I built started out as a "well seasoned" engine. That said if a four speed Golden (V8) Hawk showed up the same way my GTP did, I'd have a hard time refusing, always liked those lines and particularly the 63.

 

And on the gripping hand I took the Judge to a show today and wound up driving about 100 miles. Had forgotten what it was like to aim rather than steer and that was with a suspension with variable ratio power steering, W30 bars,  Delrin bushings, and 70 series tires. Used to Autocross with similar. Have just gotten used to rack and pinion & low profile.

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I don't know if anyone is going to read any of the stuff on my last post, but I would like to correct something that I said. I meant to say that I had driven Studebakers for one quarter of a million miles and not three quarters of a million. I don't want anyone to think that Studebakers all that I've driven since 1960. I'm sure some have done it, but not me. 

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