I just got off the phone with Bill Cathcart of Cathcart Studebaker. Bill is the #1 Studebaker Champion (6-cylinder) performance guru, and it was great to get to talk to him. After bouncing some ideas off of him, I have a plan of attack for the performance portion of the car.
Note--I'm going to make the car safe to drive before doing anything else. So I need to finish going through the brakes. I've ordered the parts for the rear brakes, and am getting ready to pull the trigger on the turner brake dual master cylinder and front disk conversion kit. The hold up here? A bit of pondering--how lazy am I? Do I buy the complete kit--everything I need--from Turner and pay for all the shipping (the disk brake kit itself weighs 74 lbs) or do I buy the economy kit, which is basically just the brackets and adapters, and source the heavier stuff locally so I don't have to pay so much shipping? I'll let you know what I decide after a bit of pricing research. . . [update: all brake components have been ordered. Will only need to source the hard brake lines locally (which I'll have to bend myself but I'm an old hat at that--and I have a handy line bending tool!)]
Back to the fun stuff. Since the original motor runs great (and I need to verify that by running a variety of compression tests, etc.) Bill recommended that I leave the motor stock and just go with bolt on parts. Once I verify the condition of the motor (I will probably do a simple "refresh" on it anyway--rings and bearings, etc.) I will get with Bill and order a finned aluminum head, a dual carb manifold with two new carbs (I'll have to give up my automatic choke) and a split exhaust header. I talked to Bill about boring and stroking the motor--basically upgrading it to the 55-59 model that was a bit bigger and had 110hp vs. my 85hp, and he told me no--he recommended the bolt on stuff and a search for a 4.10 rear end gears instead of the stock 4.56 as an easier way of getting to the performance I'm wanting while saving a lot of money.
All that bolt on stuff is custom made at a foundry that works with Bill, so there will be a 6-month or so lead time to get the parts.
This sounds like a good plan. Once I get it running and driving, I'll turn to the cosmetics--paint, interior and chrome.
Since I didn't have any pics in this post--and I know that you're just here for the pics, here's what the engine will look like when I'm done (with less chrome, of course.)