Sunday, November 27, 2011


My goal for the long weekend was to have the car stripped to its shell, ready to be media blasted. I didn't quite make it.

still remaining. . .
I made very good speed on the back half of the car, but the front end slowed me down considerably.  I still have 5 things to remove--one of the grills (one, the closest to the camera is removed already), both grill surrounds, the area around the grills and the two front fenders. Unlike most of the cars I've worked on, the inner and outer fenders are one piece. They're not held in by many bolts (and 6 of them per side are out already, but it looks like some of them are not very easy to reach.) So the car will go up in the air a little so I can remove the front wheels to access everything.

A clean trunk is a. . .uh, I got nothin' here.
But overall, I'm making decent progress. Definitely running out of room in the garage--so will be glad to get it out of here to get media blasted so I can reorganize things and get it cleaned up for the next stage.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A tale of four colors

Although I still haven't found a single coin or lost dollar bill during the deconstruction of the Stude, I am uncovering some interesting things. I knew that the color of the top was a little bit too light but wasn't quite sure how light. After removing the "Studebaker" script from just above the beltline on the C-pillar, I discovered this:

I didn't spend a good deal of time cleaning this up since it is going to be blasted away soon--I just wiped it clear of several years of gunk with a damp rag. But here you see 4 colors: a baby (or sky) blue (with a little bit of haze from waxing) followed by Studebaker Maui Blue, transitioning to Studebaker Ivory Mist and then a off-white/bone color. While both the sky blue and the off-white color are faded a little, I've polished up a few areas to remove the oxidation and the colors remain close to what you see here in the picture.

How did this happen? Well, someone could have picked different colors, of course, but I have a different idea. You'll recall that the quality of the paint on the car is, uh, let's say inexpensive--I'm thinking it is a typical Earl Scheib or Maaco bargain job. And going into one of those places and simply asking for Maui Blue over Ivory Mist may have gotten you entirely different colors from what Studebaker used. For example, take a look at this GM color called Maui Blue:

While it isn't a perfect match for the upper color (and is a metallic paint) it is much closer to that light blue than the original Studebaker mix.

While we're talking about paint, I also discovered that the car has been painted at least 3 times--possibly more if someone took the car down to bare metal before then--but I suspect not. Each time it appears that people made an attempt to return it to the original color.

More details on the great Stude tear down of 2011 soon. . .stay tuned!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My car USED to look nice

Not so much anymore.

What did I do!
Unlike most modern cars, the rear fenders unbolt on the Studebaker. That'll give the media blaster a chance to get a good, clear shot at the joints and seams (and also allow them to clean up all that surface rust behind the door.)

The trunk lid has also been removed, and that stuff on the floor on this side of the rear tire is the  remains of the headliner (the headliner bows, which will also be media blasted then painted, are resting on top of the car.) That's the engine in the background, covered in plastic. The side glass has been removed.

Front fender comes next (after the hood, which I need help to remove.)  After the front fenders (actually, the entire front "clip"--everything that unbolts up front) I'll decide if I need to pull the doors--those are tough to remove and the hinges are in great shape.

I'm getting quite a collection of parts:

I think I have a 4-day weekend coming up, so my goal is to have it ready to go the media blaster by the end of next weekend. That's a lot of work yet, but so far things have been coming along well. Of course, I still need to locate a media blaster. . .

UPDATE: All glass (windshield, back window, side windows) are now out of the car.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Well, mostly. There's still a thin layer in places, like on the transmission hump, but a quick hit with a sander will clean that right up.

So here's what I found:

The areas marked in red with the Xs through them are the 3 areas where the floor has rusted through. The biggest hole wouldn't fit a quarter, but the metal is thin and has been weakened. These are the areas that I have to replace.  The blue areas are sections of the floor where the metal is still thick and sound, but the rust has penetrated below the surface--this area is pitted. While I could get by with cleaning up this area then using a product like POR-15 (or something newer) I'm going to go ahead and cut it out. The other areas that show up rusty-colored are just a light coating of surface rust. This will be easily removed using mechanical means, such as sanding or media blasting. I'm surprised that the rear foot wells were only surface rusted--they look as if they'd gather a lot of moisture.

I did find that it got a bit hot when sitting in the car with a heat gun and a putty knife removing the old "soundproofing." So every so often I'd stop to cool off, and work on another part of the car (when I didn't run inside and get a drink and watch some football--this is a hobby after all, not a job!) So I removed the side rear window assembly, the outside rear view mirror, and the wing vent. All the glass needs to come out of the car anyway, so I got a head start on it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buried treasure

I'm about halfway done with the tar removal. I work on it for a little bit at a time--it gets pretty warm in the car with the heat gun on full blast after about 30 minutes. It is going well, though.

Some people are lucky. When they clean up their car they find loose change and even the occasional dollar bill between the cushions. I thought I'd at least come away from this with a solid silver quarter or something, but no, not a single coin.

I did find this wedged between the back seat separator and the trunk:

From what I can find on the internet, Hershey-ets were available from 1954 through 2005 and may still be available seasonally. I don't recall ever seeing them. I think this wrapper may be from the 50's or early 60's, judging from other's guesses on their photos when I did a google image search.

Anybody remember these?

Monday, November 7, 2011

How old is your back seat?

I had to remove the rear seat back to get at more of the tar-like undercoating on the floor. When I removed it, I found some tags.

Hard to read, but it says, "Received Jul 27 1953 National Automotive Fibres Los Angeles"

Hmmm, wonder what "Final Run Old Style" means?
Hard to believe that anything made from such cheap paper has survived so many years.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And so it begins, again.

Not as rusty as it looks
I've pulled the front seats, and the bottom of the back seat, out and have started the process of removing the tar-like "undercoating" that covers the surface of the floor. I want to be sure to identify any rust through so I can cut that section out and patch it with new metal; the floor overall is in excellent shape and will not need replacement--just a few spots where moisture was trapped have rusted through. So far, only three small areas have been found.

Another decision awaits. Do you see those two depressions on either side of the drive line hump (under the vacuum cleaner hose)? Those were created to allow a little additional foot space for the rear seat passengers, however, they're very small in size and impractical--apparently, people in the 50's must have had much smaller feet! Most hot rodders remove them to allow more room for exhaust under the car. They're only spot welded in place and easy to remove and replace with fresh metal. Should I flatten out the floor while I'm doing the rest of the repairs?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The new American car with the European look

I found an original dealer's brochure for my car. It is about the size of the old Life Magazine. Click on the pictures for a much larger view.