My mom has a box of my Grandfather’s pictures and letters. We started organizing it on Thanksgiving and we found a picture of the Studebaker dated 8/26/1952. The car was parked in 1953 for 30 years but it was still a daily driver at this point.
The car at this point looks pretty much like it did when my father started working on it. The 51 Stude bumpers are already on it. It is probably painted the same dark green but the paint is a LOT shinier. When we started working on the car the rear fender in the picture above was scraped and dented, that obviously happened after August, 1952. I have the trim rings still and two of the hubcaps that were on it then. The trim rings are stainless and in good shape but the hubcaps are pretty beat up.
The rear tires look just like the spare tire in the car (which is VERY old). I suspect that the same tires were on the car in 1984-85 when the picture below was taken and that one of them was used as the spare when new tires were put on.
I will have to keep looking for earlier pictures of the car. There is a family story about my grandfather trying to teach my grandmother to drive and her hitting a policeman. She never did get a driver’s license. I wonder if that triggered the replacement of the bumpers?
After work I went out to troubleshoot my issues from yesterday.
Time to start the car….
She lives! Don’t worry about the stumble. It is pretty cold and I did not let it warm up at all. So the ignition, regulator, and generator are all wired correctly. So everything works! I let the car warm up while I cleaned up a little.
I only had a couple hours today to work on the car but I got into testing. Of course there are problems…
The next step was to turn on the ignition. No smoke there either. So I started testing.
Turn signals work! Gas gauge does not move so I probably got those wires backwards in spite of my best efforts. And for some reason the passenger brake light does not work. Since the turn signal does work that is a bit of a mystery. However the Climatizer and defroster fans work. I am out of time but I will troubleshoot this and then try to start the car.
For my future reference and maybe to help others this post will have the terminals on all the switches on the car. I have taken thousands of pictures of this car so you would think I would have better ones than some of these. But they are good enough.
I had a about half a day to work on this so my goal was to get as far as I could under the dash. It actually went very well. First I checked out the wiring on the ignition switch that worried me yesterday. Sure enough they were backwards, but as it turns out it does not matter. The switch is set up so you can’t wire it wrong. Nice. Moving on…
Last year I had a short in the headlights and decided that it was really time to replace the wiring harness. I did some shopping around and decided to go with a authentic reproduction wiring harness from Lark Works. The car’s original wiring was all insulated with woven cotton. The reproduction harness will use modern vinyl insulated wire with cotton woven over it so it looks original. I went with Lark Works because they were competitive on price and are Studebaker focused. Their harnesses are designed from factory drawings and use Studebaker part numbers. Plus they were super responsive and helpful when I contacted them. I went with a stock harness with the addition of turn signals. It was a pile of money but the harness is beautiful and the documentation is excellent. All this was late last year. I was going to do it over last winter then we moved. Next I planned to do it after the Delaware car show in July and that got delayed until October. Now I am out of excuses. Time to start.
The harness is in several sections. The big one is the main chassis harness. That is most of the instrument panel and under the hood. So it goes through a lot of tight places. The main chassis harness ties into the rear chassis harness that runs under the car to the gas tank and tail lights. A separate rear compartment harness in the trunk connects all the lights to the rear chassis harness. I want to start simple so I am starting from the back and move forward.
So a word about the 1-1 bullet connector splices. The new harness came with a bag of new connectors. This is one of them disassembled. The new splices do not grip the bullet tightly and the brass tube is very short so pushing one wire in can push the second wire out. Disappointing. You can see in the second connector a tiny dimple which is the only thing “snapping” the bullet in the splice. I can improve them by tightening up the brass tube but still not great. I can reuse the original connectors but the ones that have been riding under the car for 80 years are just FULL of dirt. Honestly I am not sure what I am going to do. If the originals clean up well I will use them, if I have to use the reproductions I will pull test them to make sure the wires are connected well.
Now for the rear chassis harness…
I also identified all the terminals on the ignition switch, headlight switch, and the gauges. I removed the grommet in the firewall and the clamps holding the harness to the firewall. So it is about time to bite the bullet and pull the harness out from behind the dash. But it is super late and time to quit. More to come!
The car show is usually in July but we had severe thunderstorms predicted for that day so the organizers postponed it until October 9th. We woke up to dense fog but my new neighbor fired up his Mustang and I followed him though the pea soup to Delaware. Once the fog burned off the weather was perfect!