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Technical Studebaker Bulletnose frame swap

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by skdrake, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. skdrake
    Joined: Jul 12, 2018
    Posts: 2

    skdrake

    I am looking at a 1950 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe that has a stuck 6cyl. A buddy has a 1962 Lark 259 automatic that has a bit of cosmetic body damage. Over a couple of beers, we had the idea that maybe we could frame swap the two, and sort of rod the coupe with stude power, vs dropping in a sbc. The wheelbase for both is 113in but the lark has a width of 71.4in while the coupe sits at 69.875in. Will this lead to additional fabricating for us during the swap? Any really obvious issues we might be overlooking?
     
  2. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,777

    goldmountain

    What would be the point of swapping the frame? Just do the engine swap. Much less work.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  3. rudestude
    Joined: Mar 23, 2016
    Posts: 2,741

    rudestude
    Member

    I have a 50 Studebaker Champion and the front springs are coil type , 50-53 used coils , it's getting coil-over springs now with a dropped tube and four-bar set-up.... hopefully I will be back on it real soon...it's been on standby for a bit..... IMG_20171130_225400.jpeg IMG_20150923_173806473.jpeg 20151013_125051.jpeg

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  4. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,551

    73RR
    Member

    Agreed, if the only issue is the engine then swap to whatever makes you happy...how about a nice EarlyHemi?;)

    If the front suspension doesn't please you then change it. Although systems like Fatmans are popular there are innumerable swaps with front clips from 'x'.

    .
     

  5. 48jeep
    Joined: Apr 3, 2009
    Posts: 66

    48jeep
    Member

    If you go over to the Studebaker Drivers Club website I think you can find what the differences are if you want to use the Lark frame.
     
  6. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,490

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I was told that the last new Studebaker chassis was in 1951 when they got the coil spring front end. This chassis was used with minor improvements until the end in 1965. So, it should be possible to do the swap but why bother if they are practically the same?

    If it was up to me I would say try to get the old flathead six running. If that was not possible I might look at a small V8 or V6 swap.
     
  7. skdrake
    Joined: Jul 12, 2018
    Posts: 2

    skdrake

    I appreciate all of the quick responses. One of the reasons that I was looking at doing a full frame swap is that my wife struggles with the three on the tree. I have sat next to her in an older c20, and after a few hours she wanted to call a divorce attorney. My thought was that if I can mate the coupe with a 289/auto she would be able to enjoy it with me. I've looked at the Fatman packages, and I think they might be out of my budget with everything involved.
     
  8. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,911

    Squablow
    Member

    If this is indeed true then it might actually work out nice, now I'm curious to know if the frames changed much in that time span. I like the idea of Stude power in a Stude body. Although if the frame under the earlier car is near identical to the one in the Lark, you might be better off just to swap the drivetrain from the later car into the earlier body, transmission and all.
     

  9. Still not clear why a frame swap is easier than an engine swap ?
     
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  10. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope
    Member

    A buddy had a Loewy coupe that the frame rusted out badly. We found a four door sedan and swapped frames. Everything bolted up, including the Hurst mounts for the 283. Took three of us one weekend to do the whole job.
     
  11. Are you going to do 2 frame swaps?
    Andstill have 2 cars?
    Or just shit can a frame and body?

    It migh make more sense to do the frame swap if you guys have way more energy and time than money , but I think more info needs to be put up

    Sometimes it makes sense to do silly stuff. Like when stuff falls in your lap.
    How about 2 nearly identical cars, one smashed front and one smashed rear. What kind of idiot cuts them both in half and welds the two good halves together and scraps 2 smashed halves.
     
  12. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,777

    goldmountain

    So swap in the engine and tranny together. At one time I had both a 1951 and 1952 Starlight coupes in my back yard and yes, the front suspensions are different but that is still not a good reason to swap frames.

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  13. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,490

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Studebaker's last major body design was the 1953 models and the last suspension design was the coil spring IFS that I thought came out in 1951. It was my impression that they used the same chassis with minor improvements till the end. Whether they made a new chassis frame for the 53s I don't know but, if you have both of them and a tape measure and a camera it shouldn't be hard to figure out.

    I don't think I would bother with a frame swap myself.
     
  14. Lets see I want to use Studebaker power instead of your basic SBC. Now if I am using a stdebaker motor I got to swap the chassis, right? I mean hell I wouldn't have to with the SBC but to use the Stude I sure am gonna have to do that. LOL

    If of want to keep it traditional, and not go the normal new millennium traditional route you swap in a Cadillac and build yourself a Studillac. The upgrade to the Lowey king pin front suspension and call it good.
     
  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,800

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Three main viable reasons for a frame swap.
    1 the frame you have is damaged or rusted beyond reasonable repair.
    2. Suspension pieces are so terribly hard to find and then so expensive for the original frame that it isn't financially prudent when you aren't going for a spot on 100% restoration.
    3. the original suspension has well known design flaws that cause handling issues.
    The guys down at the burger joint cruise night saying that it is what all the cool guys do and you have to swap frames when you upgrade the power isn't a viable or in most cases smart reason.
    There have been plenty of later Studebaker V8 engines swapped into the earlier chassis and I'd bet that it can be done with stock parts if you find out what parts you need to do it as later ones

    After doing a bit of reading I could see swapping to a 52 chassis that was designed for the V8 that the engine in the lark is of the same outward design. That would be unbolt, bolt back in and not fitment issues to speak of
    Still unless there was some real benefit to swapping frames I'd just fit the v8, automatic and maybe the rear axle into the 50 chassis and probably have it running and driving in three or four weekends worth of work while a frame swap might take months or years with all the fitting and changing you have to do to make it work.
     
  16. rudestude
    Joined: Mar 23, 2016
    Posts: 2,741

    rudestude
    Member

    Just for reference on the front suspension changes over the years in question.... IMG_20180712_154044~2.jpeg IMG_20180712_154113~2.jpeg IMG_20180712_154315~2.jpeg IMG_20180712_154340~2.jpeg IMG_20180712_154357~2.jpeg

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  17. rudestude
    Joined: Mar 23, 2016
    Posts: 2,741

    rudestude
    Member

    I was just going through my old 29th edition Hollander to see if there's any frame swap info and noticed a few interesting things under the miscellaneous interchange section here is a couple of them , I like the reference to a dragster rear end in the one list, if anyone would like to see the complete list pm me and I will send it there are some very interesting combinations listed...just thought it was interesting.... IMG_20180712_155706~2.jpeg IMG_20180712_155738~2.jpeg IMG_20180712_155911~2.jpeg

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  18. When we say they are the same - the frame/suspension maybe....the key might be the body mounts - look under and take a see. I'm for the frame chage as you can fix or repair more stuff and easier to get to with a body off. Good luck !
     
  19. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,735

    jimmy six
    Member

    I'm no expert, but wasn't the 62 Lark a unibody car like al the other compacts at that time? Falcon, Valient, Corvair, Comet
     
  20. There is a huge difference between the 1950, and the "newer" 1951-1984 front suspensions and steering arrangements.
    off the subject slightly- I like the style of the 1950 bulletnose much better than the 1951 bulletnose. Compare the two side by side, and the 1950 has a more male mouse look, while the 51 was made to look more female with jewelry. Just my impression :)
    Yes, that 1951 susp and steering was used all the way up to and including the 1984 Steve Blake Avantis.
    The 1950 had a hugely different steering and front engine mount config.
    The 1950 did not use that large center bellcrank system all the later ones used.
    My 1950 had a single front engine mount at the very front and bottom of the timing gear cover.
    And if I remember correctly, it used a mid oil sump on the oil pan, not a rear-sump pan all the 51 and later ones did.
    There were no provisions for the "normal" v8 side mounted engine mounts slightly farther back on the sides of the engine. There was nothing there to attach to.
    You would have to fab your own frame brackets for the bottom half of the engine mounts if you use the 1950 frame.
    The 1950 had huge amounts of body roll even in easy turns.
    All the 1951 and later frames will accept all the later "performance" items such as Blake Avanti quick-steer arms, later sway bars etc that the later better performing cars including Avanti had.
    There is some advantage to using the later frames, but I do not want to guess if its worth all that extra work unless the 1950 frame has some rust-weakening going on.
    All the Stude frames I have worked with have been more flexible than I would have liked, even decades ago when very low mileage rust free Studes were plentiful and cheap.
    The "top hat" style of frame may have been easy for Stude to build, but even the thicker gauge V8 frames would flex.
    I cringe when I see how popular the s-10 swaps, and the Pinto front ends have become, but if the rust-trap Stude frame deteriorates, sometimes there is no other way out.

    P.S. There were NO unibody Studes ever made unless there is an experimental one no one has found yet. Stude didn't have the money for such major tooling changes. They were barely hanging on.



    WHY BE ORDINARY ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  21. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,581

    aircap
    Member

    Nope. In fact, the Avanti frame was simply a lengthened Lark frame....
     
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  22. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 2,069

    Peanut 1959
    Member

    Nope. Studebaker was always body on frame. Never had a unibody car. In fact, I don't even recall mention of any design exercises for a unibody Studebaker.
     
  23. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 2,777

    goldmountain

    The old memory thing was off a bit. Had a '50 and '52 at the time but they weren't my cars. Belonged to a buddy.
     
  24. Even the Avanti was a chassis car and it was pretty advanced.

    I haven't look at one for a while but it seems to me that the Lark used a true independent suspension unlike the king pin suspension of the earlier cars. Maybe that is a @Peanut 1959 question looks like he is a Lark man.
     
  25. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,735

    jimmy six
    Member

    Okydoak...didn't know..learn something everyday here on the HAMB..
     
  26. ALL Studes were kingpin cars all the way up to 1984 Avanti.
    ALL Stude cars used the same front susp and steering from 1951 to 1984.
    Any differences in kingpins part numbers etc were simply due to their experimenting with different wheel alignment ideas.
    They were all kingpin cars, and you can swap parts around from one to another as long as you do it in pairs.
    right-and-left parts must match each other from the same year, otherwise swap parts as you please.

    WHY BE ORDINARY ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    Bearcat_V8 likes this.
  27. Did we figure out why a frame swap was easier than an engine swap ?
     

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