1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona – Awake From Hibernation

The CC Effect™ is real! I saw this ’63 Lark Daytona two days after J.P. Cavanaugh’s post. There it was, just outside the backstop fence of the baseball area of a local park.

Actually, on this side it’s a L A R:

“My, what big whitewalls you have!”, said Little –Red– –BeigeChampagne Gold Poly Riding Hood. These are looking rather yellow under the curb scuffs…

…because they are very, very old. They’re Dunlop Gold Seal Sports, size G78-15. The lack of an R after the G means these aren’t radials (see how tall they sit where they meet the road?). That alphanumeric tire sizing system went out with Disco, and this model and size of tire was among those recalled in 1978-’79 in the United States. These tires are most of half a century old, then, and from that I infer this car is recently out of long hibernation. But not like yesterday-recently; the licence plate sticker expired last August, which means this car’s being driven. Maybe not a lot, but on ancient tires like this, more than a couple hundred feet at very low speed is foolhardy. G78-15 is right between a P215/75R15 and a P225/70R15; that’s a lot more tire than GM, for example, were putting on cars bigger than this.

(BC has discontinued registration decals, so it’s no longer possible to tell at a glance if a car’s registration is expired. Which hasn’t stopped the Vancouver parking-violation hotline’s recorded voice asking callers to check if the car they’re reporting has a valid registration sticker.)

Onward! Vestiges of the tailfin era:

And here’s the whole side of the car:

A fair number of Studebakers make me think they’re alternate-timeline Mopars from about the same era. This is one of them.

There’s a great deal of design commonality with the ’60 Valiant here, except this Studebaker’s grille is projected from the headlamp plane.

The front turn signals are amber, newly for ’63. Look closely at them and you can see the bulb, behind the “bullseye” in the lens optics, is at the inboard end of the signal. Configuring it this way with its centroid away from the low beam, meant it could be a less-expensive, lower-output turn signal (in accord with SAE standards; actual legal-force regulations were still five years in the future when this car was built).

It’s an actual four-letter L A R K on the left side…

…though from the rear it’s a S T U D E B   K E:

There’s a lot to see here, and a lot to like. The design elements work well together, and this looks like more bolts holding on the bumper bar than GM; Ford, or Chrysler tended to use. The licence plate lights are tidily integral to the bumper ‘guards’. That gasoline cap is a Stant item; the shape of the black (sometimes they were chrome) handlebar set into that round chrome recess is the tell. Looks as though the trunk lid opens wide.

If the twin tailpipes weren’t clue enough, here’s the badge:

I like these lights, too. The reversing lamp lens is in about the same age-crazed condition as the chrome surrounding it:

The interior’s in generally remarkable condition, with some withered vinyl here and there. White plastic rocker switches, because S T U D E B A K E R: