'49 Commander Gasser project

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tlap
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'49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 09 Sep 2016, 00:30

Hello, I am a Studebaker Virgin, and new to this site. 8)
I picked up a 1949 Commander Starlight coupe back in July.
It is my first Studebaker ever.
When I was considering a Gasser project, I wanted something a bit "out of the ordinary". One of my buddies in our local car club told me to come look at a car that he thought would make a "bitchin gasser".
When my twin sons and I saw it, we were immediately interested. I made an offer and we came to a deal.
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This car was purchased here in my home town of Santa Maria, Ca. in 1949. Then sold to a man that was a local body shop legend in the early '60's. He then did a complete frame off restoration, new interior and black paint. He also grafted a 1954 Studebaker sub frame with a Packard 289.
It was kept in the family until I was able to buy it from his grand son. It even came with a full pictured build book from July 4th 1964 to July 4th 1965 when the restoration was completed.
My plans are to create a cool, as authentic old school Gasser as I can.
Some of the progress I have made so far is to remove the front bumper, installed new door rubber, narrow a Ford 9" to fit my American Racing 15X8 wheels with Firestone pie crust slicks in between the fender wells.
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I also have a Chevy 454 BB, tunnel ram and two Holley 600 vacuum carbs. Behind that is a Muncie M20 with a Hurst Ram Rod shifter.
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I plan to install Speedway's front straight axle, build a tilt front end and fender well headers.
All the parts on this car are CL and swap meet finds, and deals from friends.
I plan to leave all the minor scars this Studey has acquired over the years. I'm not using any parts that are polished or shiny, its going to be a quality built, old school looking, budget street gasser.
I am more than open to you all's in put to help me build an authentic looking 60's gasser.
So please help me out.
I plan to post update progress and pictures as I go along.
Oh, please include any pictures that you may have of similar builds.
thanks

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SilverHawkDan
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by SilverHawkDan » 09 Sep 2016, 01:32

Welcome aboard Tony

I spoke to Tony last night and I encouraged him to check us out. Little did I know he would make his first post right away. Cool looking car and I have seen it before here in town. If anyone has or knows where to find the photos of other 47 to 51 Stude gasser pictures he would appreciate it. I will be going over to see the car and offer tips to help make it as period correct looking as possible.
Dan
Grew up Studebaker. Drag raced successfully in Southern California. Flew down the salt in the Burke Avanti in 2010 at 159 mph as the Bucket List Dream Avanti. Now part of the Dutch Treat Racing Team, Super Lark driver/team member.

tlap
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 09 Sep 2016, 09:05

Thank you Dan, after talking to you the other night just gave me more inspiration to get more done on this project.
I look forward to actually meeting you and hearing some more cool stories and get some insight from you.
I cruised around this site like you suggested and found that it was definitely one I would like to participate in.
Thank again.
Tony

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Jeff Rice
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by Jeff Rice » 09 Sep 2016, 16:18

Welcome Tony!

Looks like a fun project.
My only suggestion is to lose the crossover tubes and o-rings on those Holley's.
I hate those. Had a leak and a fire once because of an o-ring going bad.

Post lot's of pic's and post often.
Love to watch a build.

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Mike Van Veghten
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by Mike Van Veghten » 09 Sep 2016, 20:41

What Jeff said. Bring the carburetors more up to date.
Remove both float bowls, metering plate attached to the main body (rear), install a regular jet plate and install a pair of center hung float bowls.

Or...a pair of newer carburetors..!
Worth the effort.

Mike

tlap
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 18 Sep 2016, 22:08

I spent some time giving the ol Studey a bit of a "face lift".
When I removed the front bumper, I never liked the big air inlet to the radiator that was just behind the bumper, it looked to me like a wasted, open hole.
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So I found two more of the lower valance trim pieces and built frames to mount them on. Positioned them equally in the opening and here is the results.
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I have also removed the driver side door and am removing all the old weather stripping and prepping it for the new rubber.

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PackardV8
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by PackardV8 » 18 Sep 2016, 23:54

Nicely done and removing the bumper and brackets takes off about 100#.

jack vines

tlap
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 22 Sep 2016, 12:04

I know, I couldn't believe how heavy it all was.
By the way, this car has a '54 Packard V-8 in it that runs GREAT!
The pictures I have of it that show the engine being installed back in 1964 show it with a supercharger on it. Unfortunately it wasn't retained.
The engine block number is LS1214, from what I've researched, I'm pretty sure this is a factory supercharged engine.
I'm not going to use this engine in my build, so if any one knows where it might be appreciated, let me know.
Or if you all know what a fair price for it might be, I'll be putting it out there for sale pretty soon.

tlap
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 11 Oct 2016, 21:23

Well I have been making a little progress lately. Mainly working on the 9" rear.
I ordered a 31 spline Track Lock, 3:70-1 gear set and installation kit from Quick Performance.
I was able to get it installed this weekend. It all went great! In fact a little to good. I always get nervous when things just seem to go too well??
The pinion bearing pre load was set then the pinion depth was calculated and set.
I put the gear set into the saddles and set the carrier bearing pre load. Then installed the pinion gear, and set an approximate back lash by feel. When I measured the backlash, it turned out to be at 0.009" - 0.0095".

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And this is the pattern I ended up with.

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next I plan to install the new leaf springs and mock up the rear end. Hopefully I can achieve the desired ride height and button it all up.

tlap
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 21 Jun 2018, 22:07

Well guys, I haven't posted in a LONG time.
But I did manage to finish this project. :)
After building the front sub frame and hanging the straight axle, steering and hydraulics, I built a new 327 small block Chevy with a nice lumpy Crower cam, camel hump 202 heads , and Edelbrock C3B intake with a Holley 750 vacuum carb.
Transmission is a Muncie 4 speed attached to a Lakewood scatter shield.
I built a tilt front end, rewired the whole car, and had a new brass radiator built.
The brake/clutch peddle unit I ended up using is an old Ansen swing peddle with a hydraulic clutch.
We started it for the first time last weekend and broke in the cam. That is a very strenuous 20 minutes!
The plan for this car was to keep it as close to what an early '60's gasser would have been. I am very happy with how it turned out.
Dan, I plan to have it at the Elks show this Saturday the 23rd.
Hope to see you there.

Here are some pictures.....
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SilverHawkDan
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by SilverHawkDan » 22 Jun 2018, 23:22

Tony,

Good for you man. I have been out of touch for almost two months now. Just getting back on my feet. I am the opening ceremonies speaker tomorrow morning at the fair grounds at the Relay For Life event. After that Kathy says she will drive me over to see the show. So I should be there and I will look for your car.
Dan
Grew up Studebaker. Drag raced successfully in Southern California. Flew down the salt in the Burke Avanti in 2010 at 159 mph as the Bucket List Dream Avanti. Now part of the Dutch Treat Racing Team, Super Lark driver/team member.

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63larkr1
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by 63larkr1 » 23 Jun 2018, 18:39

Tony,
Looks like you are having fun.
Richard
Studebaker Drag Racing You can't beat it.
The 11th annual all Studebaker Nationals Drag Race is Saturday May 25th, 2018 at 9:00 am at Brown County Dragway in Bean Blossom, Indiana. For more information contact Richard Poe

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SilverHawkDan
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by SilverHawkDan » 23 Jun 2018, 21:02

I saw this car today at the Elks car show. It is so cool. I had Tony fire it up for me and the thumper cam is right on. Looks and sounds old school. Good job Tony. Looking forward to going cruising in it.
Dan
Grew up Studebaker. Drag raced successfully in Southern California. Flew down the salt in the Burke Avanti in 2010 at 159 mph as the Bucket List Dream Avanti. Now part of the Dutch Treat Racing Team, Super Lark driver/team member.

tlap
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by tlap » 24 Jun 2018, 18:12

Thanks Dan, any excuse to drive it. lol
My boys and I took it to Orcutt doughnuts this morning, then out to Los Alamos and had lunch at Charlies.
It did great.
There is a minor oil leak around the bottom of the timing cover and a slight coolant leak from the water pump.
We'll get em straightened out though.
Thanks Richard, its a BLAST...

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Jeff Rice
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Re: '49 Commander Gasser project

Post by Jeff Rice » 24 Jun 2018, 18:29

Totally COOL!

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