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1938-42 straight eight needed


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Is there anyone who has a good 38-42 President engine that they would sell? I have a 1941 President Skyway Landcruiser with a frozen engine-one heavily rusted cylinder. It's an all original rust free, original paint and interior that's showing it's age. It came out of Idaho more then a decade ago. I would like to save it but without an engine that I can trust it may be a reach too far.  

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I have one, '40 I think, apart but pretty much all there, stuff looks good. But a pain to ship. I picked it up cheap as a spare for my 41 but i might be talked out of it. Where are you? I'm just N of Seattle. 

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We all love the 41's, Champions included. At least the four of us who responded, all own one or more and have a deep appreciation for them. There is no need to expound on their virtues, of which there are many. However I have come to the conclusion that maybe they were, and are, loved too much. When they were new they were a hit with the public. To be honest 1941 produced some really fine cars, not just Studebaker. Post WWll when the sifting out process of older cars, for disposal, folks held on to their 41's. I contend that because so many were saved that there just is not the demand the would save the marginal car. The President is in the most jeopardy because of the cost of an engine rebuild. I'd like to hear what you guys have to say.  

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Rebuilding any engine these days is expensive.  Assuming the 250 cu. in. straight 8 engine is completely stripped, boiled out, machined, and re-assembled with new or good used parts, it will probably cost $5,000, more if serious machine work is required.  But, wouldn't a 1950s or 1960s V-8 cost the same, or even a modern engine?  I remember thinking of my wonderful 1988 Acura V-6 with 24 valves and 5-speed manual transmission that it would go to the junkyard if some later owned had engine problems.  Not many people would sink $10,000 into rebuilding the engine in a 10-15 year old car.  Shop time gets billed at $60-$75 an hour - or more - so it's easy to run up a big bill.

 

Perhaps the critical problem for pre-war Studebaker Presidents is that there is not a supply of rod and main bearings in a range of sizes.  You can buy new valves and pistons, maybe even rods.   When Jerry Kurtz rebuilt my 1937 engine, he said that it had already had one overhaul and that the pistons were good, just gave them a slight knurl.  The cam was good.  He had the rods shot-peened and installed new ARP bolts.  All the rotating parts got balanced.  I had spent a couple of months collecting bearings from a number of sources, but finally got a complete set.  Sandy Olson supplied a complete set of gaskets.  The aluminum cylinder head got pressure and leak tested, installed with new ARP studs.  Unfortunately, Jerry is no longer able to do this work.  There is an engine shop in Boston that can do this kind of work, has rebuilt many Studebaker engines, usually get jobs done in about one month when parts are available.  A local shop re-surfaced the flywheel for me, and the clutch went to Fort Wayne Clutch for rebuild.  If you want to drive an 80-year old car, you have to be prepared for the costs.  But, since the morning paper had an article saying the average price of a new car is over $38,000, maybe rebuilding the old Studebaker isn't so bad.  Rebuilding a 1931 Studebaker 337 cu. in. President engine is going to set you back a lot, though.

 

735622654_GaryAshJerryKurtz-1937Studebakerengine.jpg.376f2a29f1bf89d8d965c3e42e90e9e8.jpg

Me with Jerry Kurtz when I picked up the rebuilt engine in February 2020 at his shop in Dover, PA.  

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Gary,

 

Thanks for responding. IMO not all owners are as dedicated to the process as you are. Frankly speaking once they experience a road block, they put the project on the back burner. We oldtimers are a dwindling breed. The market for the 41 is stagnant, the supply of good cars just doesn't match up with with enthusiastic new owners. Nobody in their right mind needs to restore one of these. They just have to wait until the right car comes up for sale. Nobody ever accused me of being in my right mind!

 

Congratulations on being able to rebuild a straight eight for $5000. I have about 80% of that tied up in parts for my 37 coupe, and I still don't know if I have enough. In my world the cost is about double the figure you quote. I'm not contradicting what you said. Obviously you know what you had to pay, but it just doesn't comport with what I'm seeing. Other owners see the same things that we know to be true. Whether it's $5K, $10K or something in between it's too much for them to put into a $15K car. I think that I understand what's happening. I even brush by reality on occasion, but I'm a savor at heart. The bottom line has never been my driving force. Soft hearted or soft headed? I'll leave that judgement to others. I'll answer to either or both.

 

Bill

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Bill Allard? hi, "buffalowed" nickname threw me. Lol dont you still owe me an article for the newsletter on your 37 engine?

I suppose you want one that runs, but this might be all you find. It's the one Don Kelstrom had advertised. If you think you can use it, it's yours for the $100 I paid. It was in the same warm dry garage at Al Ticknor's where the blue '41 was. I'll take pics and email you.

I finally made the drive to go get it, as it's a hard engine to find... 

The blue '41 is another great example of not needing to restore, it wasnt problem free but close, the buyer felt it was a steal at $6500. plus 1900 to transport it to Florida! Our President (formerly Jerry Molitor's and Darrell Dye's) was not much more. I bought it knowing it was cheaper than putting the Commander I had on the road, and a nicer model too. 

The engine in the unrestored President I sold last year was stuck. It turned when I sold it to Steve Grinols 30+ years ago... bummer.

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Posted (edited)

John,

 

Nice try, but no cigar! However I was somewhat instrumental in getting Bill A. lined up to buy his 36 coupe. Ask your mom or dad, or Kelstrom who Bill Hallett is. I didn't mean for this to become a guessing game. Don offered me that engine about a year ago, but my back was giving me fits, and he really couldn't tell me anything about the engine. To be honest I don't need another pig in a poke.  Thanks for the offer. 

 

Bill

Edited by Buffalowed Bill (see edit history)
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On 6/5/2021 at 2:19 AM, Gary_Ash said:

Rebuilding any engine these days is expensive.  Assuming the 250 cu. in. straight 8 engine is completely stripped, boiled out, machined, and re-assembled with new or good used parts, it will probably cost $5,000, more if serious machine work is required.  But, wouldn't a 1950s or 1960s V-8 cost the same, or even a modern engine?  I remember thinking of my wonderful 1988 Acura V-6 with 24 valves and 5-speed manual transmission that it would go to the junkyard if some later owned had engine problems.  Not many people would sink $10,000 into rebuilding the engine in a 10-15 year old car.  Shop time gets billed at $60-$75 an hour - or more - so it's easy to run up a big bill.

 

Perhaps the critical problem for pre-war Studebaker Presidents is that there is not a supply of rod and main bearings in a range of sizes.  You can buy new valves and pistons, maybe even rods.   When Jerry Kurtz rebuilt my 1937 engine, he said that it had already had one overhaul and that the pistons were good, just gave them a slight knurl.  The cam was good.  He had the rods shot-peened and installed new ARP bolts.  All the rotating parts got balanced.  I had spent a couple of months collecting bearings from a number of sources, but finally got a complete set.  Sandy Olson supplied a complete set of gaskets.  The aluminum cylinder head got pressure and leak tested, installed with new ARP studs.  Unfortunately, Jerry is no longer able to do this work.  There is an engine shop in Boston that can do this kind of work, has rebuilt many Studebaker engines, usually get jobs done in about one month when parts are available.  A local shop re-surfaced the flywheel for me, and the clutch went to Fort Wayne Clutch for rebuild.  If you want to drive an 80-year old car, you have to be prepared for the costs.  But, since the morning paper had an article saying the average price of a new car is over $38,000, maybe rebuilding the old Studebaker isn't so bad.  Rebuilding a 1931 Studebaker 337 cu. in. President engine is going to set you back a lot, though.

 

735622654_GaryAshJerryKurtz-1937Studebakerengine.jpg.376f2a29f1bf89d8d965c3e42e90e9e8.jpg

Me with Jerry Kurtz when I picked up the rebuilt engine in February 2020 at his shop in Dover, PA.  

 

I am intrigues by the engine colour.  There are many Stude engine pics on the net and most have an olive tinge to the green.

 

I was interested to see this page posted on a Stude facebook page - from the Antique Studebaker Revue Sept-Oct 1975 - which notes one version of the colour was to 'match colour of engine oil' - 


7.jpg

 

My GE Dictator was restored back in the 1970s/'80s and when I bought it last year needed the engine bay tidied. It ran without too many rattles and has good oil pressure so we decided to leave it buttoned up. It needed the starter ring gear replaced and a new clutch plate so it was lifted out and my son, who is an apprentice panel beater and painter, painted the engine from a mix he made up. I thought when I first saw it that it was too dark, but now I think it looks ok. I know that in an ideal world the firewall should be flat black but I decided to leave it the way it was. If you are wondering about the wires coming from the generator in the 'engine painted' photo it is part of the 12 volt conversion which uses the generator field coils, and the regulator, both Bosch parts, from an Australian Holden from the circa 1964. Those parts are from another Stude I had running some eyars ago.

 

 

 

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My 1928 GE Dictator was originally Spruce Green and Dove Grey according to the paint code under the rear seat. There are places on the car where you can see the original Spruce Green color.  It appears to match the engine color as duplicated by many vendors. Since 1928 was when Studebaker first started painting engines green I suspect this may have been the source of the engine color originally. 

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well I know 3 Bills in the area that do Studes, and Bill Bond is a one car guy so it was a 50/50 guess. Bill A is in the local ASC chapter. I usually see you in a post war Stude (iirc lark wagon at the zone meet). Hope to see you soon. 

 

I must confess that I did some measuring on that unrestored LC when I was offered a 2wd Dodge truck v10 and trans for nearly free... a 41 president DOES have room for one.

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