Trackside Classic: Studebaker is Racing – Falcon Too

Paul and I stopped at the Portland Vintage Races when he was in town last month, long enough for a couple of the races and a tour of the paddock. Here’s a competitor guaranteed to interest the Curbside Crowd, a 1964 Studebaker Daytona.

The 1964 model year was tough for Studebaker. The South Bend factory closed on December 20, 1963. (Just in time for Christmas.) Studebaker production moved to Hamilton, Ontario.

Editor’s Update: This car actually does have its original Studebaker 289 V8 under the hood, as shown here from an image of it on Flickr. Update #2:  Actually, that’s not a genuine Studebaker engine, but what appears to be the Chevy V8 wearing Studebaker-style valve covers. Why the disguise?

Especially when the owner of this car displayed this sign which makes it fairly clear that this Daytona has a Chevy 283 in it. Hmmm…

Actually, this sign is more than a bit confusing and misleading. Studebaker had been offering the Borg Warner T-10 four speed for several years already. It’s the same transmission Chevy was using. It doesn’t answer the question as to whether these “dealer supported” racing cars originally used the Studebaker engine or not. One suspects so, because by the time Studebaker shifted to Chevy engines in 1965, this car was already a year old, and Studebaker would have looked foolish in promoting the Chevy engine.

Almost certainly, this hulk was found without the engine, and was restored with a Chevy 327, disguised to look like a Studebaker V8.


I love the way the dashboard was adapted for racing instruments.

“Ask The Man Who Owns One?” A last bit of the Packard legacy was kept alive for Studebaker’s craftsmen.

Nearby we found this 1965 Ford Falcon, which competed in the same racing class with the Stude.

It’s running a 302, but which variety I wasn’t able to find out.

Here’s the race results. Our Studebaker and Falcon ran with the Corvettes and Jaguars and turned in quite respectable times!

Paul and I couldn’t stay for all the races so we didn’t get to see these cars out on the track in person. But here’s a photo from the web of the Daytona in competition. Studebaker lives on!