oldcar

Early 1920s Studebaker ?

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Well good morning! Today is Father's Day in Australia. Oh Paul, if you only knew.

I have recently started re-reading my way through my collection of (almost 100) P G Wodehouse books. One thing that many people do not realise is that while a master of "British" humour of the 1920s, he actually lived in and wrote about life in New York in addition to living in England and France. While remembered mostly for his books centered around the "adventures" of Bertie Wooster and his "man" Jeeves, they were just a small part of his incredible output. He gives a wonderful insight of life in the 19'teens and twenties.  

Right now I am hobbling around like a 80 year old person. Right at the tail end of (our) winter were are having some reall;y cold (for us) weather. As a result I have for the first time, I think, Chilblains under my heels and the underside of my feet. Too much standing around on cold concrete.

 

Bj.

 

 

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My new 32 X 4 (400 X 24) tyres arrived this morning. First impression is that they look very narrow but hopefully by the time they are mounted on the rims and inflated they will be OK. These are what Studebaker specified in 1920 so who am I to argue. I should  get the wheels back tomorrow so I will not have too long to wait.

 

BjDSCN5611.thumb.jpg.9a8ef0c278dac3b3162c8a3c6d3d89ee.jpgDSCN5612.thumb.jpg.b22fe0f9bb90c7d3da52f2f98e751d31.jpg

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It will be good to see them mounted on the car. Currently on ebay Australia there is a 1923 light six at Miners Rest for sale. It has the same wheels and it appears tyres too.

 

I'll be fascinated once you have the Studebaker mobile, on your driving impressions between the Light Six and the First series Packard you restored. I am keen to get into vintage motoring and have joined the VSCC Victoria (newsletter subscriber). I am forming the opinion that the "lighter the vintage car" the more enjoyable the ownership experience.

 

Lyndon

light six.jpg

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Thank you Lyndon

Welcome to the VSCC of Victoria,  Please do make your self known if attending a club event.

Your photograph of the 1923 Light Six is very interesting. Just looking at it quickly I can see a number of differences. How the doors are hinged, one piece windscreen, cowl vent, the moulding around the waist line, side lights below the windscreen and the small creases in the radiator surround in line with the bonnet (hood) hinge for starters. Interestingly while it is 1923 with the cast iron cylinder head motor it does have the same American Bosch magneto ignition.  Perhaps this was considered preferable by the Australian buyers along with the Budd wire spoke wheels.

I agree Vintage "light cars" do have a special appeal. No soomer had I bought the Studebaker than I was offered a delightful1922 Humber 8/18 Chummy by a dealer in Belgium. Sorry "Too Late".....

 

Bj.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)

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5 hours ago, oldcar said:

For anyone interested

 http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Studebaker-1923-Light-Six-Vintage-Car/132316169018?hash=item1ecea8833a%3Ag%3AGrcAAOSwk6ZZq0Ar

At this time it does not seem a lot of money considering that a lot of the hard work is done already.

 

bj.

Bernie,

Thanks for posting... just a few comments on this car.  Tires are Olympic 4.40 x 23.  According to the parts book, the 1923 wire wheels had 25" rims not 23" (not the first time I found discrepancies in the parts manual). The serial number is either missing the first digit (a 1) or it is the engine serial number.  Either way, it would make sense for a 1923. In 1923, Studebaker changed to an all metal body and the front doors hinged the opposite way.  Also, mid-year they changed from the aluminum head to the cast iron design so this engine was built after the change.  Nickel radiator shells were available in 1924 but this may just be the owner adding some bling (like the nickel plated windshield supports). Notice the added priming bulb to fill the fuel pump - interesting concept. Hopefully the car comes with the missing parts....particularly the seats.

 

If you go back to posting #10 and look at the pictures of Mark and Lynne Bennett's 1923 Light Six touring car you will see a significant number of body changes.  My guess is that his car was built in the Walkerville, Ontario plant and shipped to Australia for final assembly.  It has a wood framed body and a few Special Six characteristics. The eBay car listed above sports an all-steel body and probably came out of the South Bend plant....not sure how it got to Australia afterwards.

 

I don't think I've seen a Light Six on wire wheels in the States, just on export cars and that seems to be the more popular option for exports.  Same with the magneto ignition.  BTW - I have 4" wide tires on my Light Six, I agree they look a bit skinny but that was the design of the day, tall and skinny, like old wagon wheels. I'm really looking forward to participating in the Old Car Festival in Greenfield Village (Dearborn, MI) this weekend....lots of pre-war cars, period dress and best of all, you get to drive around and see and hear all the other cars driving around. You are looking to be making great progress, so your roadworthy day will come.  Keep posting updates (and pictures) it makes for interesting reading.

Scott

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Hello Scott

I for one really appreciate your input and your knowledge. I think that many of the Australian car buyers in the 1920s were influenced by British tastes so that both wire spoke wheels and magneto ignition were considered indicators of a "quality" car. e.g. My model Lagonda (a Rapier) still had magneto ignition right through to the end of the 1930s. I know that my Studebaker has led, in some ways, a "sheltered" life. All four doors shut with a definite "clunk" as more usually associated with  coach-built bodies.  and if there is any rust in the body I am yet to discover it. Ultimately I will need to find some replacements for rubber grommets that go at the base of the windscreen pillars. Does anyone have any suggestions of a possible source. My car obviously (originally in 1920) had quite a bit of Nickel plating; on the radiator surround, wheel hub caps, windscreen pillars & frame(s) and door handles (on the outside only). It has a Boyce Motor Meter, temperature gauge on the radiator cap, this too is nickel plated, but not the screw on cap. It does not have the Studebaker insignia on the front side so may have been an after market addition.  My Packard Single Six had the Packard Script on the front side of its Motor Meter where-as the one on the Studebaker is labeled "Universal Model".

I am looking forward to getting my wheels back from being painted, these are Black as I believe they would have been originally. I can then mount the tires and get the car standing on them again. I am in two minds about the Nickel plating, whether to have it redone, paint over it, or leave it alone but I have plenty of time to think about it. I started to remove the head nuts yesterday and soak the studs with penetration oil. I am not sure how to tackle removing the cylinder head as it certainly looks fragile even if it is not. The spare head that came with the car is a mass of welds. and I would be reluctant to try using it. All or any suggestions would be welcome.

 

Bernie j.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)

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Personally, I like the magneto ignition systems...simple and reliable. The Boyce Motometer was an addition. Typical of the day, folks would by a Motometer and drill a hole in their radiator cap to mount it. That is exactly what you have.  I have the same but they used a Messko Motometer.

A few other things are incorrect on your car (hand crank, oil filler/fan support, distributor support). I have all three of these if you are interested. I have been waiting for someone with an early car that wants to bring it back to originality. You are missing the radiator splash shield...that is no easy part to make. I have most of an original one if you want to attempt that someday or you may just want to leave it off.

 

For the most part your car is very well preserved and intact. They are only that way once so as far as the nickel goes. ..I would polish it up as best you can and leave it. If you decide to restore the car for some reason, then replate. I did most of my own nickel work using a Caswell Plating System (polish, copper, polish, nickel). Polishing is the hard part, plating is easy.

 

The cylinder head. Or better yet...the dreaded aluminum cylinder head removal. People have cut them off using a thin bladed saw through the gasket. Then you just need to pull out all the studs and replace them (no fun). I have one stuck on a spare block currently. I have tried almost everything and no luck. I may just scrap the head and block. I was hoping to make a spare engine. Judging but the very nice condition of your car, your head may come off fairly easy. You are doing the right thing. Pull the nuts and soak the studs. I managed to get mine off using about a dozen little screwdrivers I gently pounded into the edge of the gasket. You have to pull the exhuast manifold and carb to do a decent job of this. I just kept working my way around by tapping each screwdriver and it started to move. Hopefully yours comes off easily. I think it depends on how it was installed last and how many times water got between the stud and head causing galvanic corrosion.

 

I suggest a few gentle screw driver taps first..you may be surprised. If that doesn't work then pull the manifold and add more little screwdrivers. Try not to ding the edges of the head up too much. I've seen some folks use a chisel at an angle right into the side of the head. That makes a mess of the aluminum. Be prepared to buy a new gasket (Olsens).

Good luck,

Scott

Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)

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Hello Scott

I understand all you have to say, the one thing I have is lots of time, unless something that I do not want to think about happens. Even then it will not worry me personally.

My plan is to work on one stud at a time. Some years ago I saw in England, some tubular cutters that would go down between the stud and the cylinder head removing a minimal amount of metal as it cut its way down.

I have bought gaskets from Olsens before but the postage is a killer. I have a local man (about eight miles away) who makes gaskets for me and have never had a problem with one. He makes a lot of gaskets for all sorts of cars for people here is Australia. All he needs in the way of a pattern is a used gasket in reasonably complete condition. I have seen gaskets he has made from a tracing of both the block and the head that looked good.

Regarding your front "apron" I would love to get your surplus one but again the cost of freight will be the killer! If you can tell me where you live,  I can get some prices for "Surface" post. There is no real hurry to have it. I have plenty of other things to keep me occupied. If I cannot free up the cylinder head My next trick is to try freeing the pistons, one at a time, from underneath.

As some people will tell you, "Running chickens down with a bull-dozer is not the only way to kill them! Or the best way for that matter."

 

Bernie j.

 

Re: Non standard components, we are used to seeing all sorts of odd combination (export specials) here in Australia. The British were great ones for using up any old stock parts in all sorts of unlikely combinations in cars sent to "the Colonies" during the 1920s especially during the "Great Depression". A very long time ago I had a 1930 Riley 9hp that must have been built the day before "stock-taking" to get rid of all the old obsolete parts.

 

Bj.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)

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Hi Bernie,

Freeing stuck pistons....I used a mixture of ATF and Acetone with great success. If you find an outlet to purchase a thin wall cutter that would go over a 1/2" stud, please share that info as I could use one. The front apron....I could just take a tracing on heavy paper, fold it up and send it.  As far as the oil fill/fan support, distributor support and hand crank...that should all fit into a large flat rate box.  Shipping cost is $100.  I live in mid-Michigan (Oakley).

 

Please send me a PM with your email address as I have several files I can send you that may help you out as you go through your car.

 

Scott

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Bernie

If you change your fan support to the style of the later engines with the oil filler on the water pump/distributor/oil pump bracket. I would like to trade or buy your fan support bracket,the one with the oil filler.

I am helping an older couple to fix their 1922 light six.

Robert Kapteyn

Light six.JPG

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Hello All

I am yet to be convinced the various features of my car are not exactly as the car was delivered. Having been involved with "old cars" in Australia for over 60 years I am very familiar with the type of "Friday"  cars that were sent here during the 1920s & 30s. Perhaps more especially, the British used the "colonies" as a dumping ground for cars built to use up their stock of obsolete parts. So far I have yet to discover anything that would lead me to believe that the indicated 36,019 miles is not the actual distance the car has covered from NEW.

It will not be until I have removed the cylinder head* that I can measure the cylinder bores to establish how much wear has taken place in the past 97 years.

1920, if that is the year the car was manufacturered and sold, was just two years after the end of the first World War. This  war had been disastrous for the cream of the Australian population with the ranks of our male population under 30 years of age being decimated. My mother lost two of her brothers, both in their early 20s. It took some years for Australia to recover if indeed it did ever recover completely. Just  a few short years later the "Great Depression was to send shock waves through the Australian population. It was virtually right up to the end of WW2 in the late 1940s or early 50s, the thought of buying a New car could be entertained by the vast bulk of the population.  I am old enough to remember the excitement of my father being able to buy a new car in the early 1950s having been on a "waiting list" for some considerable time before a New Car became available. At that time petrol among other things for the private motorist was still subject to rationing. 

 

* Having seen  an example of a 1920/2 Studebaker Aluminium cylinder head that had been forcibly removed, I am taking this process extremely carefully.

 

As I don't plan to"drop of the twig" any time soon, I have no need to rush these things.

If I do, I will no longer be concerned.

 

Bernie j.

 

For people wishing to contact me directly send me a "P M' including their email address and I will respond.

 

Bernie j.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)

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My dad used to talk about what he had to do to get a new car in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in the spring of 1947.  There were no waiting lists.  Instead, he (and a lot of other people) had to stand in line outside car dealers.  When a dealer ran out of new cars, the line would move to the next available one that had any new cars and the wait began again.  Ultimately, he got a new 1946 Austin 10 from a dealer that sold any and every new British car it could lay its hands on.  I still have the bill of sale for it.  It cost the princely sum of $1500, tax included.  One week after purchasing it, it was driven south through Lethbridge, Alberta into the US, across the northern US to Seattle, Washington and north to Vancouver, British Columbia, then to Victoria, BC, a distance close to 2000 kilometres.  He sold it shortly after arriving for $1700 and bought a new 1947 Austin Dorset, followed by two Austin Devons (1949 and 1951).

 

Terry

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Bernie,

For what it is worth here are some photographs of the aluminum molding on my 1924 light six coup carcass. I can give measurements if you are interested. This molding is nailed into the wood through the metal. Sorry about the wet pictures. It has been raining here for months.

DSC01890.JPG

DSC01889.JPG

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Good morning

Thank you Studeboy

The body on my car is a Budd all-steel and the only wood is in the doors. There is day-light behind all or most of the fixing holes for the bead.  I suspect the bead would have been brass with 1/8 steel "threads" either tapped or soldered into it and fixed to be body with nuts. This could explain its removal by some scrap metal hunter.

I have recently joined the "Historical Studebaker Register of Australia". below is a letter I have only last night sent to the Newsletter Editor.

 

Now I am really confused, I am a regular contributor to the AACA (Antique Auto Club ofAmerica) Internet Forum and my Studebaker has attracted quite a degree of interest.  Having located the engine number and the chassis number it appears that my car is a early 1920. It has the aluminium head motor. As I understand it, this would indicate that it was built before Mid-1923. The car Serial Number on the plate riveted to the left hand side of the chassis under the front mudguard appears to be 1002243. or perhaps 1002273.  The engine number appears to be 2350. This matches the engine number given on the Registration label.  The chassis plate number would indicate that the car is, as I understand it, early 1920. The body does NOT have either a cowl vent or the windscreen mounted side lights. There is no provision for side lights on the combined ignition (magneto) and light switch. The Briggs & Stratton ignition key is #39. The windscreen itself is of the two piece style with both pieces designed to open.  Unfortunately the AOMC could no give me any information from the registration records they hold despite banking my “donation” of $110.  All they managed to find was that the Registration Number may have been changed in or about 1926 from 74593 to 103981, the number shown on the 1940 Registration label. Their records seem to confirm that this registration was not renewed and was deemed to be cancelled on 15 2 1942. There is no evidence that the car was re-registered after this date. They were unable to give me a date when the car was first registered. One or two of the other ( American) contributors to the AACA Forum believe that the car is a very early if not the earliest surviving EJ Light Six
BUT to add to the confusion the motor has the (later ?) type oil filler combined in the water pump/generator drive housing. The motor has Magneto ignition with the magneto driven from the front of the accessory drive shaft*. The starter motor and generator are both Wagner type. The car is fitted with Budd wire spoke wheels taking 4.00 x 32 tyres. The Body is a Budd five seater four door tourer, the front doors hinge at the rear and the rear doors hinge at the front. The milage shown on the speedo is 36,019.

My questions now are:- 
How does this compare with the other (EJ) Light Sixes in Australia. 
Do any of the members know anything of my cars history. 
I am told by the previous owner that he bought it at a (deceased estate) Farm Clearance Sale about 8 to 10 years ago possibly in the Shepparton area or in Central Victoria.
When I bought it, it was advertised for sale on the Gumtree internet site. The Vendor told me that I was the only person to have looked at the car. At that time it was stored at the Silver Top Taxi depot in Rupert St Collingwood.

 

*Thinking about this, with the magneto, the drive housing for the water pump  etc is quite  different to the coil ignition motor. This may explain why this otherwise early motor had the oil filler located at the side of the engine. The location of the magneto would have inhibited access to a front mounted oil filler.

 

It is all these little anomalies that in my humble opinion make early motor cars so interesting. 

 

Bernie j.
 

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Hello Paul

Thank you. There certainly appears to be a lot of "stuff" there; much of it I would not want or need. I would much sooner persevere with the original bits that I have. I have a couple of problems.  It is all in New Zealand and every time in the past I have bought anything from NZ I have ended up with a lot of useless rubbish. i.e a six cylinder 1929 Renault engine that turned out to be a collection of loosely assorted bits, including just five and a half con-rods for a six cylinder engine. AND I was silly enough to pay  for air freight for it.

So far,  I am not really needing any parts. I do not really want to use a 1924 Cast iron cylinder head engine if I can avoid it.

 

Bernie j.

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)

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That is a mixture of model years, some of those parts will fit your car.  The engine is a 1925 and not much is interchangeable with yours.

Scott

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Hello Scott
After a lifetime involved with old cars I still find it fascinating how some makes of car attract people who are ready to assist total strangers while others simply do not want to know. It is not where they live  our how rich or poor they are. Perhaps it has something to do with a willingness to pick up a spanner and to get their hands dirty. That and the willingness to help a comparative stranger.

It seems that I have devoted a large part of my life rescuing “Lost Causes and Basket case" motor cars. The one car I have owned longer than anything else in my 1934 Lagonda Rapier. I have owned it since 1978 and together with my wife, Helen, we have covered over 100,000 miles in it. It has travelled to the UK & Europe with us no less than 5 times and we have visited in addition to the UK, France - Spain -  Italy - Germany -  Belgium and Holland, using it as a daily driver during the time we are away. I have a long list, in height order, of the Alpine passes we have climbed in it. My Profile photograph is one Helen took at the summit of the highest road pass in France. The Col d'Ilseran 2769 metres.
I am very aware that I along with the other owners of Lagonda Rapiers I am spoilt. The entire production of Rapiers between 1934 and 38  was less than 400 cars. Added to this is the fact that the Lagonda Factory never built any bodies on Rapier Chassis relying on various coach-building firms to supply the bodies of the customers choice. Today the UK based Rapier Register's (Club) Spares carries a full stock of new mechanical parts (for an 80 year old limited production car) run by an enthusiastic group of members on a voluntary basis. There is virtually no mechanical part that I cannot buy new and have it delivered from the UK to Australia within two weeks.
By contrast I have recently bought and sold within a month a 1924 Amilcar  because despite joining the relevant owners club, I was told that I would not be able to buy spares through the club despite becoming a paid up member, because I would possibly sell the car again having restored it.
I experienced a similar thing some years back with a 1922 Packard Single Six with a well known Dealer in the US suggesting that people should not buy the car because it was, in his terms, a "Mongrel” without him having ever seen the car. I offered to re-imburse the cost of an return airfare from anywhere in the world to Australia to anyone who could come and point out any part that was not on the car when it left the factory. Nobody came to take up my offer!
It had been a Doctor’s Coupe. It had been exported from USA to Australia some 30 years earlier as a “Parts  Car”. Following a dispute with the Australian Customs over the amount of Duty to be paid it had been abandoned on the Docks in Melbourne. To save space in the container it had the roof cut off around the waist line and thrown away along with the original seats and much of the trim. I bought it from a person who had bought it 30 years later. He had a contract to do steam cleaning with the Australian Customs Service and saw it standing in a shed on the waterfront.
I rebuilt the car as a convertible, look at :

Please tell me what terrible sin I had committed. Yet not one of the local Melbourne based Packard Club members showed any interest in or even looked at the car.
I am sorry but now being almost 81, I am not going to embark on a restoration of the Studebaker to the magnitude of that I may have done even ten years earlier.

It will be what the British refer to as an "Oily Rag Restoration".

The Dixie Flyer referred to above is now in Louisville Kentucky with the family who today run the Company that originally built Dixie Flyers 1917 -1923. Now, The Kentucky Trailer Co.

 

Bernie j

Edited by oldcar (see edit history)

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At last I can think of something for all the people wanting to sell me parts. I will eventually require a horn and a horn button for the centre of the steering wheel. 
To meet present day saftey requirements I will also need two combined Stop/Tail lamps although I will probably simply buy repoduction lamps for those and I will not be needing them for some time yet. I will probably manage to find a suitable horn at a swap-meet locally which just leaves the horn button if someone can show me a close up photograph of the button and how it mounts onto the centre of the steering wheel/column. Perhaps someone  can tell me the make and model horn I should be looking for too.

 

Bj.

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First real step forward. 32 X 4 tire mounted on a freshly painted (not too glossy) wheel.

 

BjDSCN5614.thumb.jpg.45cd5c9e4e2407d505dd2b24ff1ec51e.jpg

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Looking good. Spartan AJ model on the horn. I'll post a picture of the horn button when I get a chance.

Scott

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Golly! How small is the world? I have earlier today recieved an email from Greg Diffen, a member of the Autralian Historical Studebaker Register who is now living in England. This what he had to say having seen the photo of my Studebaker. Rotating Spokes is the name of the clubs bi-monthly newsletter.

 

Hi Bernie,
I have just opened up the latest Rotating Spokes here in the UK where I now live and seen your inquiry about this car.

It may have been one I was trying to buy years ago, but the farmer would never sell it. I did visit them several times but until the old Cocky was dead then it was a no go.

Back in about 1987 I went up to a wedding with a girlfriend in Dookie. The couple getting married, did tell me there was an old Studebaker on a farm out there and sent me out to the farm to see it.
If it is the same car it was the first farm on the South side of Cashel Road in between Cosgrove-Caniambo Road and Kellows road. The farmer was always pleasant enough and a great guy to talk to.

Somewhere here I would have pictures of the car but have no idea where. 

The car had come onto the farm before the war from memory and been used a bit around the farm and parked up. I can't remember if the car had been on the farm since new or not, but it may have been. My memory is hazy on this as it was so long ago. I think the farm was traded at some point before the war or in the recession and the car was on the property then and came with the farm.

It was a rust free car stored in an open sided barn. The hood was going to pot and the interior was original. It looked like a great car to restore at the time.

It may be the same car, but without looking at my old pictures taken of it on the farm, I can't be sure.


Regards
Greg Diffen

 

Below are two photographs of the farm in question.

 

Bernie J

 

9407491_01_x.jpg.e8b50759b9cb58b47a74e78ab5fd1fe1.jpg9407491_03_x.jpg.f58d4cdc5e9145b314ed3c4facfd1d26.jpg

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