Saturday, June 15, 2019

Rear Quarter Windows Assembly

After sanding down and painting the window surround (they were in exceptionally good shape) it was time to install the new seals and reassemble the "flip out" rear quarter windows.
Frame and new seal

First, before doing anything, I thoroughly cleaned the seal to remove any strange coatings left over from the manufacturing process. Then, after spraying the lip of the seal with water with a few drops of dish-washing detergent to use as a lubricant, I aligned the slots for the hinges, and started pushing the top, inside edge of the seal into the slot on the frame.

Next, it is a matter of going around the frame and carefully working in that top, inside edge all the way along one side and into the corners...

Then flipping it over and pushing in with your thumbs along the other edge.

Finally, everything is in place:

The hard part comes next--coaxing the hinges through the small slot in the seal. I lubricated the slot and the hinge with a bit of WD-40. Lots of wriggling and swearing, but the finally got them through.

This part takes the most time. Those new seals are really stubborn.

Once through, align one of the outer holes, clamp with vice grips, and run a rivet through it. Although the originals were blind rivets, nobody will ever see that I used pop rivets (steel so no issues with dissimilar metals.)

And the hinge side complete:

Next, you have to rivet the latch to the frame. Again I used steel rivets, but forgot to take a picture (I'm out of practice!)

A few stainless steel screws, and job done.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Wiring the dash

I'm saving up the rest of the painting photos until I finish the "cut and buff" stage, but there's been other work going on. Remember that my goal is to get everything from the firewall back ready so it can go to the upholstery shop, so, for the past couple of weekends I've been completing the dash and all the wiring to the rear of the car.

First up, the instrument cluster.

That's the old wiring on the top

I'm putting modern wiring in the car. So basically it is a process of translating the wiring diagram for the new kit, which is 12-volt negative ground, the old wiring diagram from the car, which was 6-volt positive ground, and then figuring out any additional accessories or upgrades I may have added. The process, once I identify which wire goes where, is to slide on a piece of heat shrink tubing, put the appropriate connector in place, crimp it, then shrink the heat shrink. It is a bit tedious, and required all of my concentration at times. So I didn't end up taking many pics--there's plenty of instructions out there if you're curious.

Next, I made a small bracket to mount the fuse panel to the inside of the firewall. Nothing special, just some measuring and bending a small piece of sheet metal. Here it is all in place.

I added a few modern convenience features--like plugs so if I ever had to take the instrument cluster out for service I wouldn't have to disconnect each gauge individually:

Then it was simply a matter of tucking everything in place. I used lots of zip ties to keep things neat and orderly. I'm really pleased with the end result:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Painting the body shell

Finally started painting.

Technically, I'm supposed to paint it with the rear fenders attached, but I found some black seam sealer that is a perfect match--and given that I don't have a paint booth, it just seemed easier to do it this way (words I've frequently regretted--but we'll see.)

After a good cleansing it was time for masking.

Always easier than it looks -- it was a lot of work!
 I'm painting a single-stage enamel boat paint. I chose this largely because I can do it without an air-feed respirator which most of the modern automotive paints require. And being a boat paint, it has UV inhibitors in it, giving it a plus over my other options. And from what I've read, it should be a pretty close match to what the car was painted with originally.

Here's my first coat--a light "tack" coat to give the other layer something to stick to...

And here it is after the second coat. Not too bad, considering it has been about 20 years since I painted a car. 

There's a bit more "orange peel" than I liked, as you can see in this close up:

Not bad, but if I put another coat over this, it'll look worse
 So a quick wet sanding of the body shell with 1500 grit, and I was ready for the final coat:

Overall, it laid flat and looks nice. I have a couple small runs that I need to sand out--but that's the beauty of single stage--you can sand out mistakes, then polish it up like they never happened. It's hard to take a picture of black cars--you're seeing more of the reflections of the roof and my lights than of the paint.

On to the rear fenders and doors.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


Today I took off the doors, rear fenders and the trunk (and associated hardware.) Yes, I've been here before.

The cardboard? Still have a tiny leak somewhere in the power steering system.
So what's the plan? This is a little non-traditional, but I'm going to get everything painted and together from the firewall back, send the car to the upholstery shop, and while they're working on that (which will likely take a few months,) finish up the front sheet metal.

Really loving the new shop. I'm still working via extension cords, but it is nice to have all the room I need.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Doghouse removal

While I'm sure there's an odd low spot here or there that I missed, it is close enough that I need to tear it back down to paint the door jambs and other spots that don't show. First step, is to remove the front fenders and hood--also known as the doghouse.

This hood is pretty big, so I had to get creative removing it by myself.

That's as good as an extra pair of hands

Amazingly enough, it doesn't scrape the ground
Next, off comes the front cowling and the driver's side fender.

And it's time for lunch. You didn't expect me to work through lunch to remove the right fender, did you? It's a hobby after all.

Ed. Just so you wouldn't think I was overly lazy...

I really need to send this thing out for alignment...

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Stopped by the car show co-hosted by our local chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club this morning for a little inspiration...

My favorite of the day, and a model of Studebaker I'd like to own someday, was this nice '50 Land Cruiser:

Up next is a very nice '63 Avanti, sporting a factory supercharger and 4-spd. Wish the hood was open!

A very nice '63 Daytona hardtop:

And finally, a 53 pickup survivor. That's not grey primer--that's original paint! A little faded and worn through in spots, but still there after 63 years--just amazing. I'd love to have a late 40s, early 50s Stude pickup just like this.

Monday, January 25, 2016

And we're back!

That was a lot longer break than anticipated. In my defense, a lot of things happened to delay it--a move to a new house in the country with the inevitable millions of little projects surrounding it; the loss of my two dogs a week apart; as well as the destruction of our daily driver (a 2013 VW Sportswagen TDI) from being rear-ended on the highway (fortunately, no injuries.)

But we've moved, we've got a new puppy to heal our broken hearts, a new car to replace the old one (a 2016 GTI) and I'm in the process of getting a shop built--I've gotten bids and found the best spot on our property for it.  Now all that remains is to have some good weather and start signing checks.

Until that new shop is in place, I'm really limited on what I can do--I just don't have the room in the new garage that I did in my old one. However, I've been itching to do something with the Stude, and the first of those arrived today:

What's in the boxes?
After getting the front fenders installed, I found that I really wasn't pleased with how the radiator fit and looked. Another enterprising Studebaker owner discovered that a Datsun 240z radiator fit really well in that space--so I've gotten one designed to cool up to 500hp and the two cooling fans to go with it.

More to come soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Taking a little break

I'm moving in a few weeks. It'll be a good thing for the Stude as I'll have a bit more space to work on her. But I went out to work on it today and realized that I couldn't do anything further on the paint front without disassembling most of the body. Given the short amount of time until the move, it just didn't make much sense.

I may do a few little odds and ends if I get to the point that I just can't pack another thing--if so, I'll post it up here. Otherwise, I'll see you towards the end of June.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wow, that's a shiny trunk lid!

Since it's been a few years (ok, more than a few) since I prepped a car for paint, and even longer since I've painted one, I was having some doubts about my ability. Was my block sanding up to snuff for a black car? Could I even paint a black car?

I decided to go ahead and finish off one body part and see if I was up to snuff. So I painted the trunk. Here it is after a quick color sand and buff.

While not absolutely perfect, I think it looks pretty good. One thing I did learn--my buffing skills are really, really rusty! It'll shine even more once I practice up a bit.