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CabDriver

1953 AMT Studebaker restoration

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I got a text a couple of weeks ago from my wife’s aunt saying that she found a few Studebaker kits that had belonged to my wife’s Grandpa, who was a real Studebaker nut, and would I like them.  They arrived late last week, and included with them is this built-up that we think he built as replica of a car he had owned in the fifties or sixties maybe:  

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I said to my wife that it might be nice to rebuild this one so she’d have a nice build to remember her Grandpa by, so I broke it down as far as I could (including giving it a 24 hour trip into the freezer) so I could start fixing it up. 
 

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I’m going to keep the color scheme as he built it originally - red interior but with an Ivory body (which is how we think he had his 1:1 car).

I can’t quite bear to build something completely stock but it’s going to be pretty close - as though you maybe had a shop blow it apart today and rebuild it pretty close to original but maybe even nicer than the factory did.  
 

I did a little work on the engine over the weekend and (with the addition of a couple of parts from a second later-issue kit that I have here too) and got that ready for primer: 

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I spent a couple of hours on trying to fix up the old body - it was complete but REALLY rough once I cleaned it up and got the glass out of it...so seeing as this is meant to be a nice factory-stock-ish build I’m thinking of saving the old one and swapping a brand new replacement body that I’ve got here...don’t worry, I’ve got a plan I’m excited about for that old body...

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I decided to check the local hardware stores last night and found this rattle can of an Ivory-color paint...totally NOT what I’d choose for this car personally, but seeing as I’m trying to replicate Grandpa’s car I’m going to go with it...

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Doesn’t look too far off from the 1:1 color to me!  
 

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I’m going to mess with some different color primers and see how close I can get to the 1:1 color (or, at least the pictures of it I can find online) - but it should be a fairly handsome looking car when it’s done!

More soon, soon as I’ve done more!

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Ps: how about dropping that old body over an airbagged-chassis, painting it a bright satin-finished paint job and giving it a little hot-rod treatment? 😍

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More on that another time tho...

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1 minute ago, thatz4u said:

keep going, love those old Studys...

I never got super-excited about them until I started messing with this kit a little - but they’re really cool!  I like the lines of the body and I bet this was a pretty spaceship-looking car to see on the road in 53 or 54!  
 

I did some reading up on the engines for these too - apparently they’re a GREAT engine; over engineered in terms of build quality but as simple as a SBC and they respond to being warmed up a little really nicely.  I saw that a lot of Studebaker owners like throwing a turbo on these with little or no other modifications.  Very cool!

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Nice.  Excited to see this project progress.  My dad had a 53 he bought new and then back around 2000 had a 54.  Good cars.  

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8 minutes ago, drodg said:

Nice.  Excited to see this project progress.  My dad had a 53 he bought new and then back around 2000 had a 54.  Good cars.  

Very cool!  Did he have the V8 or the 6?  
 

I was going to google this this afternoon but you may know...what are the two hatches for one the front fenders?  Just curious...

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Well I am a Mopar guy and my dad worked for Studebaker back in the fifties, so my knowledge is a tad limited.  The first one he had  was a V8 so it was a Commander.  The black 54 I found for him was a six so I think they called them Champions.  The two hatches on the front fenders behind the wheel well was to open up to let fresh air in.  I am pretty sure but I may be mistaken.   

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22 minutes ago, drodg said:

Well I am a Mopar guy and my dad worked for Studebaker back in the fifties, so my knowledge is a tad limited.  The first one he had  was a V8 so it was a Commander.  The black 54 I found for him was a six so I think they called them Champions.  The two hatches on the front fenders behind the wheel well was to open up to let fresh air in.  I am pretty sure but I may be mistaken.   

Huh, fascinating!  I wondered what they could be for - thanks for the info!  Makes sense!

Funnily enough, my wife's Aunt who sent me these kits lives in Valparaiso, and these kits came from the Grandpa's garage in Munster!  Throw in that the Studebaker factory was in South Bend and my wife is a Hoosier and we've got a lot of Indiana connections on this build!

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27 minutes ago, CabDriver said:

Huh, fascinating!  I wondered what they could be for - thanks for the info!  Makes sense!

Funnily enough, my wife's Aunt who sent me these kits lives in Valparaiso, and these kits came from the Grandpa's garage in Munster!  Throw in that the Studebaker factory was in South Bend and my wife is a Hoosier and we've got a lot of Indiana connections on this build!

Wow it is a small world.  My dad's second  the 54 which is virtually identical to the 53 except for the grill was an all black original car with 7000 miles on it.  A gentleman I knew found it and we put a deal together for it.  Unfortunately my father started to get dementia a few years after getting the 54.  I sold the car and my dad has since passed but I will always have a soft spot for those 53's and 54's.  

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18 minutes ago, drodg said:

Wow it is a small world.  My dad's second  the 54 which is virtually identical to the 53 except for the grill was an all black original car with 7000 miles on it.  A gentleman I knew found it and we put a deal together for it.  Unfortunately my father started to get dementia a few years after getting the 54.  I sold the car and my dad has since passed but I will always have a soft spot for those 53's and 54's.  

Sorry to hear about your father - but cool to hear about his cars!  I’d like to visit the Studebaker museum next time we’re visiting family near there!  
 

Whilst I’m replying anyway, I’ve been messing with this paint to see how close I can get it to the factory color - it’s not a dealbreaker for me if it’s not perfect as I haven’t got access to a 1:1 to compare to anyway...but I tried the paint over a couple of different color bases and a white base seems to get it pretty close:

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Actually, it dried a little lighter than it is in my spoon-test pic there so I think it’ll work ok.  
 

I shot the engine with white Duplicolor primer (which I really like, it lays down like Tamiya primer but it’s a quarter of the price) and then hit the block with some of the hearing aid beige (sorry, Studebaker Ivory Mist 😂)
 

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Now, all the 1:1s I found seem to have either a dark green or a black block but I’m building this more as a nice almost-stock restoration rather than straight-off-the-production-line so I decided I’d like to see a nice immaculately-clean engine bay so I’m going with a matching block, body and frame here.  Something that you’d see at a car show and say “wow, that’s CLEAN” rather than “wow, that’s just like original”.  
 

I don’t want to go full-streetrod with the color-coding though, so I’ll be painting the various accessories and components that attach to the block in a variety of metal tones...I picked up this paint at Target a couple of weeks back and thought that’d be a nice shade for a bare-metal oil pan-color and mixed in some Tamiya chrome to get some slightly different tones for a couple of the other parts:

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I got some white primer on the body too this afternoon - I’ll let it shrink and set-up overnight and give the body a check for any cleanup that it needs and then give it another flag to make sure the final color is as nice as it can be.  I’m thinking I’ll need to use the foil-under-the-paint trick for the various emblems and details on this body and then use some more BMF once it’s done for the spears and window frames

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More soon, soon as I’ve done more!

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I'm enjoying the progress here with this and I love that color, gonna be elegant and glamorous like a 50's movie star... 

these cars make cool looking gassers also...

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6 hours ago, drodg said:

The two hatches on the front fenders behind the wheel well was to open up to let fresh air in.  I am pretty sure but I may be mistaken.   

Correct.  Early 'flow through ventilation.'

Also correct: the 6 cyl post coupes were Champions while the V8 hardtops were Commanders.

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Great project.  

FYI - The Stude engines were olive green from the factory, but your color scheme is just fine.  

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2 hours ago, disconovaman said:

I'm enjoying the progress here with this and I love that color, gonna be elegant and glamorous like a 50's movie star... 

these cars make cool looking gassers also...

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absolutely beautiful !!!!!!

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41 minutes ago, Scott8950 said:

absolutely beautiful !!!!!!

Thanks, I started this project but ended up selling it off in part of my collection to one of my fellow local club members. He finished the car. It's not exactly how I envisioned it finished but it's all good... I have a plan to build another which is why I sold this one. 

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GOOD job on this so far as I'll be following along! I grew up around Studies particularly the finned Hawks so this has my attention! Studebaker gets no credit for this, but those Loewy designed coupes were arguable the first of what would be called a "personal car". The early two seat T-Birds took the credit for that as they were not "sports cars" in the strictest sense, but Studebaker had them beat by a couple years.

It sure would be nice to see some newly tooled later Hawks such as the finned '57-'61 cars as well as the '62-'64's.

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Thanks for all the comments everyone - cool gasser Disco!

The humidity was really high this week which slowed me down a little in getting the body color laid down...but it dropped to 55% today from 85% and I managed to get some spraying done:

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I bare metal foiled the decals on the body before I shot the paint, after I saw a technique Steven Guthmiller recommended in a thread here - hoping I can pull it off! 
 

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I prepped a bunch of pieces and got them in primer ready for paint - the interior tub’s primed, most of the engine parts are done and this thing should go together pretty smoothly all being well seeing as I’m building it pretty much out of the box.  I’m adding a little detail here and there though, like replacing the levers on the steering column with a little scratchbuilt assembly:

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More soon, soon as I’ve done more!

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On 9/27/2019 at 1:50 PM, drodg said:

Looking good.   

Thanks buddy!

Mini update - got plug wires in there and a few bits attached to the block.  I used some Detail Master wire (with a thicker wire from an old phone charger for the plug boots) and scratchbuilt a distributor...And a quick inspection of the paint on the body that I shot yesterday shows nothing much in the way of dust or other nonsense in my nice finish - a tricky thing to achieve shooting in a New York apartment with nowhere good to paint!

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More soon, soon as I’ve done more 😂

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A little more progress on this one - did some work on the engine this week - added a few little details, did some detail painting and got it pretty much wrapped up except for the air filter;

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And got all the interior pieces prepped and into their red paint - plenty of detail painting and stuff to go on these but it’s cool to see them in color! 
 

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This red is a little bright compared to the factory color I think...but it’ll dull down some once I brush some pastels into the nooks and crannies and start breaking all that red up with the chrome and so on.  
 

More soon, soon as I’ve done more!

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On 10/4/2019 at 2:15 PM, drodg said:

Looking good.   

Thanks buddy!  I found a great video online of a walk-around of one of these...I haven’t been able to find as many good reference pictures as I would like to this has been invaluable...

About half-way through they talk about the rear speaker on the back shelf, which I thought was a really cool feature...I’m not sure if that was standard or an option or just on certain models, but the AMT kit doesn’t model that so I figured that’d be a fun Saturday project.  Using the video as reference I make the approximate shape in my vinyl cutter software:

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And then ran to the dollar store to pick up a sheet of their $1 styrene sheet 😂

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A quick cut later...

...and we’ve got this!

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I made the Studebaker ‘S’ a seperate piece and whilst I had the cutter fired up I had it cut a fabric insert to replicate a cloth cover for the speaker:

I’ve just shot the parts with some primer and paint and once it’s good and dry I can insert the cloth piece, add the letter and add some photoetch screw heads to match the 1:1 part.  I had to take some liberties with the thickness of the letter to make it possible to cut it and the dimensions are approximate because I couldn’t find any other pics for reference - but it’s a fun little detail to add to the interior that you’ll be able to see through the rear window pretty easily when the car’s assembled.

More soon, soon as the paint dries!

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And...done!  
 

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Ended up being nine pieces in this little speaker 😂. I’m only doing it to distract me from knowing I have to foil all those bits of trim inside the interior tub next 😩😂

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