Saturday, July 9, 2011

"If you want to test a man's character, give him power"

Confession time. I was weak, and in response to Abraham Lincoln's test of character, I found power irresistible. But I'm starting this story in the middle.

Early in the week I received the July newsletter from my local chapter of the Studebaker Driver's Club, and like anyone in the endless quest of finding rare bits and pieces of an automobile (also known as "restoration") I quickly scrolled to the end of the file to the classified ad section, where I found this:

1964 Studebaker Hawk Running Gear. Very good running 289, 3 sp w/od, 373 rearend w/recent brakes and wheel cylinders.  Gets 25 mpg and has 60 pounds oil pressure going down the road. Come hear it run and go for a ride!
I called the number and talked to Jay, the owner. Jay, who has a trophy winning 53 Champion Coupe and is hot rodding a second, had purchased this car a couple of years ago but found it too rusty to restore; however, he did use it as a daily driver for the last year and a half. He's now ready to pull the dash and other electronic bits out of it for his hot rod Stude, and so is ready to pass along the parts to another club member.

So this morning I headed across the valley to go take a look. Jay started it (it started right up and ran like a sewing machine) and let it warm up as we walked around looking at his other vehicles. Then we hopped into it and he drove us down the two lane rural highways about 10 miles or so, then pulled over and let me drive back. The car maintained that 60lbs of oil pressure the entire trip, never skipped a beat, and, when we were back, had 40lbs of oil pressure at idle.

And it gets better. I crawl underneath and look at the rear end to discover that it is a Twin-Traction unit; the twin-traction is a Dana 44 limited-slip differential. It also has 11-inch, finned-drum brakes, which should be a better match to my front disc set up.

The price for the entire drive line was far less than half of what I'd spend on the go fast bits for the Champion 6-cylinder. . .

I'll be going back next weekend to pick up the parts.

The "new" powerplant, glistening in the sun after we removed the hood.

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