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.
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!
Amazing, and I would love to see them in action!
This seems to be the continuation of whatever remained of the NASCAR experiment with the compacts in 1961. The Valiants, Falcons, Corvairs, Tempests, and Larks were used in that series, but it never really caught on. Running these as SCCA or similar would make sense, as that is what happened with any smaller cars that were used for racing in the USA. It really is a shame it never caught on, and one could posit so many “what ifs” on what we would have seen had it bourne out better. The closest to a comeback was the Dash series, which used the small cars with 4 cylinder engines, but built more like a Cup car, and run on the same speedways as support races for NASCAR. The trucks took off and have some success, but not the small cars. I guess it is an American thing.
Most Excellent. I think I’ve seen web photos of this car before but so cool you could check it out in person.
Always good to see a fellow Hamiltonian doing well into their 50’s.
This is a really interesting car. I found a Flickr page that had a bit more information on it, but not much. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vintage_racer/sets/72157607658643415/)
It appears that the GM engine was retrofitted to the car because the GM engine never went into a Daytona hardtop (as that body was discontinued at the end of the 1964 model year, all of which remained Studebaker-powered. The T-10 transmission was a Borg-Warner unit. Perhaps the confusion is that Chevy also used the same transmission for the Corvette.
I wonder just how much engineering support Studebaker provided for the GM engines. Andy Granatelli had led the performance unit in 1963-64, so it is not inconceivable that he might have done a little backchannel support for the McKinnon-sourced Chevy V8 engines, but this would be the first I have heard of it. (I will not claim deep knowledge here, though.) In any case, it is fun to see an old Stude out proving itself. They were pretty competitive considering how old and crude the chassis was by then.
I believe the confusion comes from the Checker using a BW automatic behind its Chevy engines, as it didn’t want the Powerglide. I doubt a manual was even still available on Checkers at this time.
Some neighbors of ours in Iowa City had a beautiful ’64 Daytona coupe, and I seem to remember a 283 badge on it, but I must have transposed that from another ’65 Studebaker nearby.
Paul, my dad bought a new ’65 Checker Marathon complete with Chevy 230 6-cylinder, 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive.
And for a brief time, he owned a used ’64 Marathon with a 327 3-speed manual transmission. I don’t know if that one had overdrive or not.
Whoa. i just followed your link, and it clearly shows a Studebaker V8 in the engine compartment (see image attached).
So why the sign talking about the 283 Chevy? Odd.
Woah, I didn’t even pay attention to the engine shots!
I know that the old “Studebaker used the Ford 289” thing has been an epidemic for a long time, but confusing an old Stude V8 for a Chebby is a new one. Perhaps . . . (I was going to start guessing but have decided against it.)
Edit – that engine with the yellow valve covers looks a little off. They look like Stude valve covers, but the bolts should be lower to the outside rather than higher up towards the inside. This one looks like the valve covers are swapped (breather should be at the back on the passenger side and forward on drivers side). Also that area where the hose goes into what looks to be the thermostat housing looks all wrong. Can Stude-style valve covers be adapted/fabricated for a SBC?
Here is a real Stude V8.
Whoa x2! I just quickly glanced at the valve covers. But I thought it looked a bit narrow and slightly off. That is not a genuine Studebaker. But Chevy valve covers are held on by studs on the outside of the covers. This would have taken a bit of doing to make these up.
It raises a question: Why? How about just being honest about it having an SBC? I’m more confused than ever now…
A bit of oddball, thinking. However, This could be sold today. It has the hghbeltline look while still giving good views in all directions, A true hardtop, too, The fared in front bumper with the low air flow opening is right in line with todays styling. Just imagine the front bumper cover cutline below the badging on the forward front fender. The extraneous fender “fleet lines” would be on par wth some of the excessive Lnes of today as well, but done a bit more decorously Headlights could be quad rounds for the retro look or a full composite Maybe both depending on whether a luxury or sport version. Would it sell? Aye, there’s the rub.
What always gets me about ’64 Larks is how completely up to date they looked, inside and out, despite actually being facelifted 1953 bodies. It says alot about how modern-looking the (oft-criticized) ’53 Studebaker sedan series was. I don’t think even the most extensive of facelifts could make a ’53 Chevy look contemporary in 1964.
The first year for Trans Am was 1966 and the SCCA was looking for manufacturers through 1965. Maybe some Studebaker employees were working on this in the off hours through 1965? Studebaker ended production in early 1966 and they did use the Chevy 6 in the last few years. I don’t know if the Chevy agreement extended to the V8 or not. Maybe the 283\T10 combo was just the expedient solution. There are no Studebaker V8s because there is no Studebaker. The 283 would fit in the under 5 liter rules of Trans Am for 1966.
The Chevy 283 was very much available on the ’65 and ’66 Studebakers. But built in Canada, by a contractor for GM of Canada.
Studebaker people will grouse about calling it a “Chevy” 283, pointing out that it was manufactured by McKinnon Industries Ltd. Division of GM (Canada). It was, of course, a Chevrolet design (with “Studebaker Thunderbolt 283” stickers on the valve covers).
It appears that McKinnon (which had a large foundry) built Canadian engines for more than one GM Division.
That also raises an interesting question: how many of the internal parts did McKinnon manufacture? Inquiring minds would like to know. 🙂
My guess is maybe some, but undoubtedly not all.
I just noticed in the standings it’s listed as 327 cid. That’s a different SBC. Is it a 327 in the picture?
Identical on the outside. Just bigger holes on the inside. 🙂
The simple reality is that this owner apparently has mixed feelings about the SBC in his Studebaker. Re-reading that sign next to the car makes me realize it’s quite misleading. What did Studebaker have to prove in 1964? With a Chevy V8? I think not. They had proved themselves three years running at Bonneville, with genuine Studebaker engines.
And Studebaker had been offering the BW four speed in their cars for several years.
I’m increasingly disappointed in what this owner is doing in trying to disguise his Chevy V8 and create a sign that is confusing and misleading. I’m sorry we got taken in too.
I still think it’s plausible, even likely, that this ’64 Studebaker did originally have the SBC 283 for racing and engineering shakedown. Given that they registered for the race as having a 327 I’m thinking the restorer was just unable to recover or replace the 283 and put a 327 in its place. That sign should have said so.
On the other hand, it shouldn’t be hard to find a Chevy 283, a bunch of them were made for years. Taking a 283 from a rusted-out Chevy and painting its valve covers yellow would’ve been pretty close to the real thing. Why didn’t the restorer do that? Oh well….
By the way, here’s what the SBC 283 aka “Studebaker Thunderbolt 283 V8” looked like in a ’66 Daytona at Classic Register.
PS: I love that magazine ad, Paul.
Nice to see one being used in anger, Studebakers were raced at Bathurst in Australia one was even on pole in 63 pole was decided by engine size and Stude had the biggest, however a Ford Cortina GT took the chequered flag smaller lighter and disc brakes proved their point, the Aussie favourites EH Holdens led untill their drum brakes faded away, There are Falcon sprints being raced in historic classes down here, they shouldnt be as the V8 Sprints werent sold here but their age allows them in.
Rather than repeat the Studebaker Lark racing in Australia story, here is an excellent article on it. They took 2nd outright in 1961 & 62 when the Armstrong 500 was held at Phillip Island, but after the move to Bathurst with its bigger demand on brakes that they had a harder time – after leading the first 7 1/2 laps of the 1963 race the brake pedal went to the floor because the linings and backing shoes were worn through. They finished 27th, 15 laps down…
In 1964 they were leading the race with an hour to go when the outside front wheel rim ripped off the centre – came 4th. Things didn’t get any better in the following years, even with a car with disc brakes in 1967 (need lots of pads).
An eclectic assortment of “vintage” cars to include the 240SX and Chevy Lumina. I recognized the name of the Lumina driver, Buzz Dyer, who raced an AMC Javelin back when it was not vintage. I’ll see if I can find one of my own trackside photos of that car from the seventies. As for a road racing Studebaker Daytona, I vaguely remember seeing pictures of one in my long-discarded magazine collection …
Still very cool to see this run, I’m sure. No matter what engine it was running!
This 1964 Lark is seen on the Australian historic touring car scene, here at last year’s Winton Historics