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Featured Projects 53 COOP (Studebaker) gets a major makeover

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Irishjr, Oct 10, 2020.

  1. Nice. It´ll be interesting to see the chop too.
    loudbang, 296moon and kidcampbell71 like this.
  2. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 11,548

    from Raytown Mo

    Nice! Looking good
    loudbang likes this.
  3. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 13,075


    Way kool, you have our attention...
    loudbang and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  4. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,676

    dirty old man

    Following with interest, as I did a backyard swap using an SBC engine(and when I say backyard I mean not even an open carport) and Hurst mounts back in the mid '60s.
    Didn't have the knowledge, parts and pieces, or the tools and equipment to do what you're doing to steering and suspension, and I agree, that tie rod bellcrank was a major obstacle.
    lothiandon1940 and loudbang like this.
  5. Following, waiting patiently for this one to come to market, love those Studes !!! 83935442_1441274419365447_5575378999208574976_n.jpg
  6. Working on the motor and transmission mounts. Just worked out that I can do almost all from below:

    Temporary tranny mount. I will be making it easily removable, but for now it is holding up the back end just fine.


    Start of the motor mounts. I have left room for adding or removing shims. right now the crank pulley rests on the crossmember, but I will be notching about an inch for clearance for belt R/R.


    One thing really worked out slick. Here is access to the oil filter thru the wheel housing:

  7. charlesf
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 184


    FYI. When I built the Stewed in my avatar I used a Dodge Diplomat crossmember/suspension/steering/brakes. It increased the track slightly but worked great. I did have to get creative with motor mounts to get the engine (SBC) away from the radiator.
    loudbang likes this.
  8. loudbang and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  9. 'Fraid not. In this one they rebuilt the existing ftont end, including the upper control arms/houdaile shocks. I did that on a '41 Chevy, but being on the east coast, sent the units to Appple Hydraulics, in New York for a rebuild.

    Thanks, anyway
    loudbang and kidcampbell71 like this.
  10. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,263

    Atwater Mike

    Hey, @Irish Jr.!
    Please tell me where you found those early Ford 'biscuit covers'! (the chrome caps over the rubber engine mounts)
    I searched high and low to find those, finally did, (also used 2 for the tranny mounts on my roadster)
    Got them back from the chrome shop, and some cheese ass walked into the shop and lifted 'em. Grrr...
    loudbang likes this.
  11. Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
    jim snow, lothiandon1940 and loudbang like this.
  12. Tranny mount tacked in place:


    I am amazed at the plentiful clearance under the tunnel.
  13. I am temporarily changing gears.

    My next step is to install the new steering column. Since I am changing to a 700R4, I need to have a column shifter, so I bought a tilt column and a N.O.S. 1967 Chrysler steering wheel and horn ring with Chrysler horn button (more on that later). I also am changing to a Hawk dash, which I bought on ebay:


    The '53 dash will not hide the A/C unit and the Hawk dash will (more on that later). So I need to install the Hawk dash and make sure the column is securely mounted to the structure of the car.

    Well, in preparation for the Hawk dash, for which I received new gauges from my wife last Christmas, I wanted to customize the dash. I am moving the position of the gauges and putting a new radio hidden behind a fake AM radio, plus adding A/C outlets. So I made a setup to do an engine-turned stainless steel insert with a bead rolled around the perimeter that mimics the Hawk panel.

    I started a thread last March that I am sending you to to explain the process and show you where I am in completing it:

    Check it out and c'mon back here.
    catdad49, AndersF, loudbang and 3 others like this.
  14. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,083


    Your choice of a Hawk dash was excellent (but of course that's what I did with my 53 coupe) and replacing gauges isn't a bad idea, the org amp meter isn't adequate, chances are the gas gauge is inoperable, and the oil gauge may not operate correct either. How do I know...........well that's the experience I have had. Oh yeah, the speedo doesn't work either:( The only suggestion I'd have is to get a "batwing" from a later car to add some rigidity to the body.. I used a 58 Hawk frame and that had the bat wing. and the dash:) I'm jealous of the Hemi:( Stude interior jump in and drive.JPG
  15. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,055

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    Irish -

    Just a thought...

    Why the T-700-R4 ?
    The T-200-4R has a MUCH better gear ratio package, its outer dimensions are smaller than the T-700, the T-200 is lighter.

    The T-200-4R can be built to handle over 1000hp (first gear thru third anyway). If so desired, you can also instal a trans. brake (I have two with a trans. brake).
    What's better about the T700-R4 ?

    I had a manual T-700R4 in a Chevy II that I used to own. Absolutely hated that trans. Hardly ever used first gear around town. Only for getting on the freeway..!

  16. I have a 700R4 in 40 COOP, which has a 291 DeSoto Hemi. I like it.

    Rich 012.jpg

    53 COOP has a 331 Hemi and 3.73 rear gears. I'm building a leadsled, not Chisenhall's Stude. :confused::confused:

    'Preciate the suggestion, though.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  17. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,055

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    Give the T-200-4R a just may switch camps..!
    It's a better swap than going from an old wide ratio 4-spd. to a close ratio 4-spd.
    The first to second shift is MUCH more friendly an RPM drop.

    Johnny Gee likes this.
  18. I just had it rebuilt. I don't think I want to switch at this point...unless you want to trade? :D
    loudbang and lothiandon1940 like this.
  19. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,055

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    I have an extra T-200-4R, but, I wouldn't know what to do with a T-700-R4.
    And I wouldn't feel right passing it on to someone else..!
    Just wouldn't be right...


  20. Hey, Mike! You're taking my mind off 53 COOP. I'm past the tranny selection. I'm on the dash right now.

    So today, I finished the engine turning on the waterjet cut stainless sheet and tried the fit in the Hawk dash:


    It fits! Now to roll the bead around the edge, cut the holes for the new locations of pieces parts, and install it so I can fit the steering column.

    Abut the color of the dash....I have had 9 hides hanging on a roll in my wood shop that I bought from Jalopyrama Mike Szuba a number of years ago. So I already know the color of the interior. The dash color is complementary to the leather.
  21. I finished out the engine turning thread with these pics:

    IN DASH 2.jpg
    IN DASH 3.jpg

    Feelin' good about the dash. Now to put it in the car and mount the steering column.
  22. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,133


    cool build, loves me a Studebaker, that dash is monster sweet!
  23. Back on the engine swap...

    I removed the Hemi and notched the crossmember. Cut down a ways, so I rebuilt the pocket with 3/16" plate. I welded the engine mounts most of the way, but still may reinforce them more, especially if the rack & pinion mount will be mounted off the bottom of the mounts. I appears that that will be a good spot.


    Today I also temporarily mounted the fan blade with stacked washers to determine how much of a spacer I will need (1-1/2") and cut the fan shroud apart to start reconstructing it with the correct configuration for the lowered height of the engine.


    Now I have even more clearance with the hood:

    DSC02666.JPG DSC02668.JPG

    By the way, my nephew (avatar Cuzzin Bill) gave me a RetroTek EFI setup that I am intending to try. However, I probably will use a carburetor and standard distributor (with mechanical and vacuum advance) for the intitial break-in. I've never fooled with EFI, but the price sure was right.


    'Nuff for now........
  24. It's been a while since I checked in....

    Aligned the third member pinion by adding tapered shims. I had installed the 2.73:1 Ford 8.8 rear a few years ago and welded on the spring pads at the same angle as the Stude had it. Amazingly, no other mods were required. Now that I am putting the Hemi at a reasonable angle, and am using a 1-piece driveshaft, I had to use 7-degrees of shim to bring it parallel with the engine/transmission. The Stude driveshaft was actually done with the pinion pointed down about 3-4 degrees!


    Driveshaft is being built by A-1 Driveshaft in Baltimore. Should have it next week.

    Now for the next update:

    The best laid plans of mice and men somewhow manage to go awry, especially where a Hemi is involved.

    Feeding the steering shaft through that big hole in the firewall looked easy....but NO!


    I am now in the middle of shortening the steering column. More about that later......
    AndersF, James D, milwscruffy and 5 others like this.
  25. Jacksmith
    Joined: Sep 24, 2009
    Posts: 358


    Yeah, that'll work! It''l be fine... When you do your "Gentleman's Chop", you will never regret it. Done right, the lines of the car will be improved. Go for it!!
    loudbang likes this.
  26. OK. Time for an update.....

    Those damn Hemis are so wide! So I had to do the radical thing. I shortened the steering column sufficiently to move the top U-joint behind the firewall and will be using three u-joints to get down to the R&P steering. I did this same type of installation on 40 COOP, when, in 2010, I channeled the car. I used a 3-on-the-tree old Ford truck column that I modified to put a cable shifter assembly of my own making behind the firewall. This was to get to the Camaro gearbox on a '69 subframe that I installed on the first major mods of the '40 in 1979! This time, the challenges were a bit different, but the clearing of a Hemi was similar.

    The aftermarket steering column, with shifter, but no key, was a new learning experience once I got into it. After getting it apart with difficulty, as it is different from a stock GM tilt column, I found that it was actually simpler to put back together than the GM. The compressing of the spring was done after it was fully assembled using only a simple screwdriver. But that's a differnt story...

    I had previously adapted a 1967 NOS Chrysler steering wheel to the column, and really think it will work great on 53 COOP. Note that I bought a Lokar cable shifter kit that clamps on the column, but we'll see how that fits with the brake pedal, etc. So you can see how stubby the column now looks:


    Down on the bottom end, I needed to find room for the R&P that cleared the pan, cleared the tie rods, and allowed the steering shaft to clear the Hemi. First I discovered that I needed to reroute the end-to-end tubing to give better clearance with the pan. So for now I just removed them. Then, I discovered that I am getting too old to just hold the unit up under the car and measure for brackets with only two hands and a 76-year-old body.

    So I made a bracket to use my HF transmission jack to insert it into the correct position:

    20201121_150824.jpg 20201119_152827.jpg

    That made it a lot easier, for sure. After many, many ups and downs with the jack, I found the right spot for it and clamped the brackets in place to the bottom of the frame. I could now verify the steering shaft placement, including cutting the two shafts to length. I still have to install a spherical rod end to hold the geometry for one of the two shafts, but that will be easy by comparison.

    So, here are pics of the shaft in place.

    Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I am giving up on using the aftermarket headers and went back to the stock manifolds to gain even more clearance for the shaft....

    20201121_134735.jpg 9.jpg 11.jpg

    So the next step is to finalize the fitment and work behind the firewall to put a swing pedal for the brakes. I am going without power brakes. The use of a vacuum booster with the Hemi, would require removing the booster to get at the back spark plug. NOT! If I need to use a hydro-boost off the power steering pump later, that will be an option. But it looks like the geometry for the swing pedal will give me good leverage on the master cylinder for teh disc/drum brakes. 33 COOP uses a swing pedal of my own making, where the geometry is not as good, and I have no stopping problems. 53 COOP is not channeled, so the room for the long swing pedal is available.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020 at 6:09 AM
  27. D. GLOVER
    Joined: Apr 17, 2014
    Posts: 43

    from pa

    Irish- Enjoying your project, well documented. I am not a studie guy. Enclosed pic
    of friends car, in storage now, built years ago.
    good luck your coop, would like to see, go to MD often, boat there.
    kidcampbell71, loudbang and AndersF like this.

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